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.
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.
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.
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.
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 seriously 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.
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