Backlinks have long been established as an important means of improving site rank and attracting more traffic towards your content. When other sites link to your page, you receive immediate benefits from the increased traffic towards your website. Since you were cited as a source by the original website, this traffic that arrives through the link will also likely view you as a trustworthy brand.
One of the most valued benefits of a quality backlink, however, is its ability to increase your search ranking. Google trusts that when one website links to another, it is because that second site is also beneficial to readers. Once SEOs realized the value of the backlink in the Google algorithm, however, some of them began to manipulate the system with purchased links and other black hat practices.
In an effort to stem these problems, Google released their Penguin update, beginning back in April 2012. This updated was created to eliminate any potential advantage that sites could gain through illicitly-obtained backlinks.
Once this update went live, marketers and site owners everywhere scrambled to improve their backlink profile. Before Penguin, even the most honest of SEOs likely did not pay much attention to poor backlinks and instead just focused on increasing the number. Now sites use the disavow tool through Google to make sure that they have no association with poor-quality, spam sites. They also look for ways to organically build a quality backlink profile that will help them boost their rankings honestly. Here are the top three ways to attract links to your content, increase readers, and boost your ranking.
Develop Quality Content and a Content Distribution System
Your own web properties should be your primary focus when cultivating a quality backlink profile. If you want people to create links to your content, then you need to make sure that your content is worth linking to. It needs to add value for the end user. A backlink is like a voucher from the linking website– they are entrusting their visitors to your content. They are telling their readers that your content is worth exploring if they want more information about a particular topic.
This level of quality requires you to delve deeply into the particular subject and offer genuine insights. Cursory overviews or an article that basically just repeats information found in dozens of other articles online will not be the type of content that people will find worthy of a link from their website.
Once you have developed the quality-content that people will want to link to, you next need to use a content distribution system that will get your material noticed. You should consider all the resources available to you including:
- the ‘big three’ social media platforms– Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn
- other applicable social media options, such as SlideShare or Pinterest
- paid distribution– such as OutBrain or Facebook promo posts
As you use your content distribution systems, it is important to use strategy to get the material in front of the most relevant audiences. Track which platforms are generating the most traffic and the highest levels of engagement. Consider the type of content you are promoting and where it fits in the buyer’s journey. For example, social media and paid distribution are often good means of promoting content geared towards those at the beginning of the buyer’s journey. Segmented email, on the other hand, can help target those more towards the middle or end of the journey.
Create Thought-Leadership Pieces for Publication
Most industries have a variety of publications online geared towards various niches. These publications have built-in audiences that make it easy to attraction attention to you and your brand. Although people reading the content on the publication platform will not necessarily be finding and linking to content on your website, these efforts can still help you build a backlink profile.
- It will introduce people to your brand and help establish you as an industry leader. This improves your reputation and encourages people to learn what else you have to say.
- Many sites will allow you to include a link back to your website in your signature. Even if this link is a Nofollow link, it can still help drive people to your website. As people find your website and explore your content, they will be more likely to link back to specific pieces on your page.
- If the publication allows it, you might also be able to reference your own content occasionally during the thought-leadership piece, thus creating your own quality backlinks.
Use Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing can be a powerful way to build a backlink profile. An influencer is a person in your industry who has already cultivated a good reputation and has large numbers of people who follow them and trust their opinion on industry subjects, such as best practices, products, services, and brands. When you use influencer marketing, you build a relationship with a few of these respected individuals and ask them to help you promote yourself. They might share an article of yours or ‘like’ a specific piece. They might also offer you space on their blog for a guest post.
All of these actions by the influencer can be valuable for building an organic backlink profile. When they like or share a piece with their massive audience, they are helping to attract attention to your piece, which can then increase backlinks. Since the influencer is the one promoting the content, and they already have the trust of their audience, people will naturally have more confidence in the material than they would if it was someone unfamiliar sharing the content.
If you are offered space for a guest post, you also have an opportunity to increase your own authority. Like the publication post, you can learn about the influencer’s policy on including links to your website in the signature or as sources throughout the content, which will serve as backlinks and can help drive more traffic towards your site.
Creating a strong backlink profile is an excellent way to boost your rankings and your readership. Now that Google has made it clear how much they dislike spam and poor-quality backlinks, efforts like those above can make an enormous difference in your SERP position and credibility.