Why Backlinks Are Necessary And How to Build Them

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It’s that beautiful moment in blogging. You’ve spent three days searching for keywords, writing an optimised article, interlinking between existing posts, editing images and now you are about to hit publish and wash your hands of the post you just gave birth to. You’re done. WRONG!

After hitting the publish button, you are only halfway there. You still need to work on your off-page SEO which includes building your brand, marketing through social media and building backlinks.

Here’s our guide to ways to gain useful backlinks to enhance the chances of your article of being seen and ranked well in Google.

If you like our content why not join our free Facebook group and sign up for our free 4-part SEO mini-course

What You Will Learn

  • What is off-page SEO?
  • Ways to gain backlinks
  • Follow vs No Follow links

What is Off-Page SEO?

Many of us are familiar with on-page SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), which includes searching for rankable keywords and creating content that answers user intent well. Two of the key ingredients of our solid on-page SEO strategy.

By implementing this strategy, we are allowing our posts to speak Google’s language in the hope of making it to page one of Google’s search engines page results (SERPs).

However, bloggers often ignore the need to work on off-page SEO, as well.

One important aspect of off-page SEO that we find useful for ranking an article is gaining backlinks.

Backlinks signal to Google that the article is worthy of its attention because other websites have linked to it, passing valuable link juice to the post.

Throughout your blogging career you should aim to build a healthy backlink profile to your homepage and specific posts that you are trying to push to page one of Google.

Domain Authority (DA)

You will hear bloggers talk about Domain Authority (DA).

Domain authority is a score developed by Moz that predicts your rankability, based on more than 40 important criteria, including your link profile, link popularity, and the trustworthiness of sites linking to you.

The idea is that the higher your domain authority, the better chance your site has of ranking in the search results.

This is not a definitive score and it is not connected to Google or how Google chooses to rank sites. It can only give you a “best guess” of your rankability.

You may have a low DA and still be able to rank really well in Google, especially if you are an authority on a topic.

This is why it’s wise to create a well- defined niche and build authority on that topic.

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Types of Backlinks

It’s a known fact that backlinks are not created equally!

The best links are the ones that are created naturally and add insight to the post or page linking out to it.

For the best link juice and kudos the ideal backlink comes from:

  • An authoritative and topical sites that don’t link to you often
  • Linking from a post that is related to what you write about
  • This post only has a few other outbound links including yours
  • The link is do follow to allow the link juice to flow
  • Natural anchor text (the text that the link is hyperlinked to)

How to Gain Useful Backlinks

1. Write Great Content

We just can’t get away from quality content!

If you publish posts on topics that there is little competition for and you do it really well, sites won’t be able to help themselves linking to it.

Especially if you are solving problems that no one else has been able to do so before.

It also helps to rank one page one of Google in the top positions which is a bit of an oxymoron considering sites build backlinks to get to page one but it is true.

You can learn all about how to rank on page one of Google by enrolling for our SEO the Easy Way Course.

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2. Build Relationships

Once you spend time in Facebook groups and attend events virtually or in person, you will be start to form relationships with bloggers who you have things in common with.

These bloggers will become friends who get to know your content.

They may link to your helpful posts naturally or ask for image use with a backlink.

Recently my friend Megan from Bobo and Chichi created cute travel quizzes for travel fans to do at home.

I loved that idea so linked to one of her quizzes from my travel from home article.

Below is Megan and I in my home region, Fife (Scotland)! We met through blogging, she came to stay with me. We’re friends IRL!

Genuine friends who want to see each other’s businesses thrive.

I truly hope you get to form these relationships during your blogging journey too.

3. Guest Posts

A guest post is when you write an article for another website in order to build your own authority and widen the marketing of your brand.

Guest posts are usually unpaid and the reward is gaining access to a new audience for you to show off your writing skills!

It is common that you writers are given an author box where they can include their unique selling points.

Some brand, bloggers and link builders use guest posting as a way to build backlinks back to their websites and specific posts.

This has brought about success for many however it is a link building strategy that must be used with cautious as Google has stated that they see it as rank manipulation.

Regardless, guest posts are a great way to widen your audience potential and network with other bloggers.

3. Collaboration or Roundup Posts

Collaboration and round up posts are when a blogger coordinates a compilation of contributions from multiple bloggers.

For example, the collaboration topic could be related to eco-tourism and each blogger might contribute 300 words on zero waste travel products.

Or it might be a recipe roundup related to soups, where multiple bloggers contribute their soup recipes.

To participate, you provide your contribution and receive a “follow” link back to your site in exchange.

The link is usually to a post you are building backlinks to, like your zero-waste article, or your soup recipe, or sometimes just to your homepage.

Joining collaborations are a great way to meet other bloggers and also stamp your authority on a topic in front of a new audience.

Although these types of collaboration posts are easy to do, great for networking, and a way to earn a new backlink, there are several reasons why they aren’t the most effective link-building method.

First, your link will be sharing the link juice from that post with all the other links that are included.

If there are 20 contributions, you’ll only be receiving a small portion of the link juice.

Secondly, you may only be allowed to contribute a homepage link.

While you will still gain credit from Google for the backlink, these links don’t carry as much weight as linking to a post about related content and might even be seen as unnatural links.

It is almost always better for you, as a contributor, to receive a link to your related article, rather than your homepage.

Why is this?

Because when Google’s spiders crawl through the collaboration post and onto your homepage, there is very little correlation between the topics.

It’s not a “natural” link to related content that the reader will find useful.

Since relevancy is very important to Google, it’s counterproductive to link to a bunch of homepages; it’s not all that helpful to Google, or to your audience.

So why do bloggers still request homepage-links only in a collaboration?

Bloggers tend to become over-sensitive to competition.

They think that giving a link to an article they might already cover on their own site (or want to cover in the future) gives away some of their authority, and helps the other blogger’s post rank better than their own.

While there is some validity to that argument, it could be even more detrimental to provide a dozen or more non-relevant links in a post.

Google could see that as a link scheme and manual penalties are no joke.

Whenever you contribute to a collaboration post, be aware of these pitfalls. Clarify ahead of time if you’ll be receiving a link to a post or only to your homepage.

Then you can decide if it’s worth it for you. If it’s quick and you need homepage links to balance out your link profile, you want to build authority on a topic you’re promoting or passionate about, or you don’t have a post you can link back to, it’s okay to accept a homepage link.

Similar to guest posts, collaborations and roundup posts require bloggers to decide if it is a link building strategy they are will to risk.

READ UP! Another aspect of off-page SEO that is very important for ranking is brand signals. Google considers 200 factors when ranking pages, and brand signals are increasingly becoming more important with every algorithm update. Laura addressed Google’s EAT (expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness) guidelines here.

4. Link Exchanges

Link exchanges can be considered black hat, and in many cases, they are.

Google’s Penguin update specifically targeted link exchanges, because webmasters were intentionally manipulating the search results by exchanging irrelevant, poor-quality links with anyone who would make the swap.

Content or link exchanges which many bloggers participate in involve collaborating with relevant bloggers to trade links.

Again, you make the decisions about your own site.

Never make a link exchange just for the sake of exchanging.

For instance, receiving a link to your travel blog from a fitness blog with no context is not a good idea.

The content of the blog, the post, and even the paragraph surrounding the link should be highly relevant.

Recently one of our Facebook group members asked what people’s link exchange strategy was.

I asked for feedback, here is a summary:

  • Rarely – only when an attractive offer (usually higher DA) comes up (we recommend that you gain links from authority/niche sites too regardless of DA).
  • Every single post.
  • Mix it up with collabs + guest posts.
  • No strategy.
  • Three-way exchange only (so blogger A links to B and B links to C).

So you can see that no blogger has the same strategy, the decision is yours!

If you are serious about increasing your traffic, we cover off-page SEO extensively in our SEO the Easy Way course. Click here to read the full details and testimonials from our successful students.

Alternatively, sign up for our free 4-part SEO mini-course to see if search engine optimisation is right for you.

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What are your favourite backlink building techniques? Tell us in the comments.

27 thoughts on “Why Backlinks Are Necessary And How to Build Them

  1. Hazel Joy says:

    Hi Gemma, Thanks for the every helpful info, especially with regard to follow/nofollow links.
    “Please stop cold emailing other bloggers” – Just wondering about this. I’ve discovered an excellent blog post that I would like to link to in an upcoming post of mine. Mine is a general country guide and the post I want to include relates to a very specific sight. I was thinking of asking for just one social share in return but will offer a link swap as an option if the blogger wishes. Am I being cheeky by doing this?

    • Laura says:

      Hi Hazel. As we suggestion, it’s always best to establish some sort of relationship with the other blogger before asking for a link. Why not try to establish familiarity with this blogger before proceeding?

    • Fredrik says:

      Why not just put up the link and then follow up with a mail to the other blog author? ”Hi X! My name is Y and I love your article Z so much I linked to it here: www-stuff. If you like it I would appriciate your feedback, a social share or a link back”

      It doesn’t have to be harder than that. It could have two results:
      A) You get a new (?) Reader because People are Vain and Conceited
      B) You get nothing back because People sometimes are as Sho Les!

      Anyway, I think you should first create – then connect. That’s the easiest way and you can leave the post as it is whatever action the other part takes.

  2. Mijia Eggers says:

    Hi Gamma,

    You said “You can buy links to your site by buying content placement on other people’s websites. However, if you hope to receive a follow link back to your site, this practice is seen as manipulation by the search engines. “.

    I don’t understand here. There are many ways how, for example other bloggers might link to my site. How does Google know that I didn’t buy links?

    • Laura says:

      Miija, Google won’t necessarily know you’ve bought links, but they do have ways of detecting unusual link patterns and when a link doesn’t naturally fit the content, which is an indication that the links were manipulated. It’s a risk you take.

  3. Terri says:

    What about backlinks to your own posts on other pages? It was suggested by my SEO guy to include several links to my other psts in each post. I tried it at the end of a couple of posts, and received a ping back from my apge marking the “comment” as suspicious, due to the link. I added it at the end, not like a comment, but as “Other posts you may enjoy” and then the links. Is this a benefit to get people to go to more posts? Is it white hat? Thank you.

    • Laura says:

      Hi Terri. Yes you should be linking to your other posts within each post. It’s called internal linking and is very important to keep people engaged in your site. It’s completely white hat. In fact, Google highly encourages it. It helps them crawl sites.

  4. Suraj Kapoor says:

    Nice and Informative Article! After reading this blog , I’m ready with some new techniques of building backlinks for my blog(creating backlinks through facebook groups is my personal best). Keep posting articles like this.

  5. barkha verma says:

    I know Backlinks is must for SEO and I know it’s a link building But I don’t know NO-follow and Do-follow and thanks for your article because this article helps me to understand Two types of backlinks they give us.

  6. alok verma says:

    Everyone can make backlinks but who don’t know why they make it and otherwise what they get from backlinks. But your article is useful and readable for them who making backlinks without any reason and don’t know why they do that and its results are they increase spam score in backlinks
    site. I will share this article from those people who make backlinks.
    Thanks for your article

  7. Megan Kulluk says:

    Awesome. Thank you. I am just starting out with my blog and I find there is so much to take in with SEO and I am learning new things every day. This was super helpful and clarified a lot of confusion. I have been having.

  8. lg arvind gupta says:

    hanks for the great insight on backlinks.

    In my opinion backlinks and content on webpage goes hand in hand.
    One without the other cannot provide the results that a person is looking for. The Backlinks act as a body and Good Content acts a soul.

    I would like to add one more thing to your article and it’s about the bad backlinks that various marketers and bloggers add to their website and get penalized by Google. Hence it’s important to check the page authority and spam score with MOZ bar (Which can be added by a chrome or firefox extension).

    Great going, keep up the good work!

  9. Jane Frith says:

    Really helpful article. Thank you. Pinned so I can refer back to it. I now need to look at building links as I have not yet ventured there! With a DA of just 11 though, it may not be attractive to more established bloggers?

  10. Ella Wilson says:

    Hey Gemma, thank you for explaining the importance of backlink creation and its techniques. Guest posting is no doubt one of the most useful ways to acquire high-quality backlinks and connect with potential audiences. Keep sharing such valuable information.

  11. GO Empower says:

    Wonderful Job Gemma..! I was looking for some working strategy for 2021 and thus you told each and everything which is effected for building backlinks. And also I am wonder that link exchange is another great way to get a good backlink. Thanks a lot for the ideas.

    • Gemma says:

      Thanks for the feedback! There are definitely bloggers who do exchange links as part of their link building process. Comes with a risk naturally.

  12. Luish Mahida says:

    wow, I searching about backlinks and I just know about backlinks but I don’t know that there are types of backlinks. very informative and good explanation content. thank you.

  13. Jay says:

    I have a blog in local non-English language. The thing is that there are not many blogs in my blogs language. Will it be good if I have backlinks from English blogs?

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