It’s the digital version of “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch your back.” Backlinking sounds like such a small thing, but can be extremely advantageous for those who do it strategically. Implementing backlinks into your site is something you need to be thinking about if your business relies on digital exposure. In fact, many businesses should be putting as much time into a back linking campaign as they put into public relations and social media updates. It really is that important.
According to Google, back linking is one of the most important metrics to measure site authority and relevance. As you can probably guess, ‘site authority’ and ‘relevance’ are SEO terms that mean higher ranking – and thus more revenue! That’s why the ROI is so strong for back linking strategies as compared to PPC campaigns.
The principle behind Google’s approach is this: the more sites of high-quality content linked to pages on your site, the more relevant your site becomes. So, basically, that means you want to publish high-quality content that references (and is shared by) influential authority sites in your niche.
Five years ago their approach was not so specific. It used to be that the volume of links meant more than the quality of the links, which induced site managers to take part in back link stuffing. Google penalizes this type of practice these days, so it’s important to stay on top of best-practices in your digital marketing strategy.
Not Complicated, Just Specific
It might seem like back linking is a complicated part of high-level search engine optimization, involving HTML code and dense analytical work. In reality, building a strong back linking strategy is something any business owner can do in collaboration with a digital marketing agency. All it requires is some basic knowledge of HTML, a thorough understanding of important players in your niche, and a commitment to hard work.
Let’s say you run an e-commerce site selling barbeques in Indianapolis. What are some back linking strategies you could use?
- Keyword Research – The best way to start is by typing in the short and long tail keywords you want to get backlinks for.
An example might be: “best BBQ Indianapolis”.
Once you generate a list of 5-10 phrases, do a bit of research into what sites rank for each phrase. Take note of these sites - because they are your competitors – and build and Excel sheet with all the relevant backlinks on their site. You want to have 7-10 relevant sites from each competitor that you should link to as well. This research will become the basis of your back linking strategy because it clarifies what terms and what sites you want to backlink too.
- Broken Link Strategy – Based on your keyword research, go through high authority sites that link to competitors and look for broken links. There are some great back linking tools to help you with this step. Simply write to the site manager informing them of a broken link, offer your site as an alternative link, and start watching your SEO ranking improve.
- Rely on Bloggers – Back linking is still dependant on volume of links, and the best way to boost your volume is to rely on social shares and blog shares. Chances are your business has a pretty strong social media presence, likely being followed by influential writers in your industry. Getting them to write a feature on your business is a great way to build authoritative backlinks because it’s essentially an endorsement.
It’s A Multi-Pronged Approach
As with a lot of entrepreneurial work, a proper backlink strategy requires a multi-pronged approach. It’s one piece of the puzzle that will deliver stronger results when used in conjunction with the right social media strategy, funnels, email campaigns, and website design. Considering that these technologies (and Google rankings) are always changing, rather than take everything onto your shoulders, it’s best to work with a digital marketing strategist who will have the tools and expertise you require to stay ahead of the curve.