Being one of Google’s top ranking factors in 2021, Backlinks are especially valuable for SEO and ranking on Google. In essence, a backlink to your website represents a "vote of confidence", which goes a long way if you’re trying to appear as high as possible on Google’s search results pages. Backlinks from high authority websites (and even lower authority websites to an extent) are a signal to search engines that your content is high quality. However, the question remains,
How do you get backlinks to your website?
There is a knack to acquiring backlinks in the year 2021 that never existed in previous years. You can no longer send out masses of spammy emails asking for backlinks to your site, nowadays, certain levels of care and finesse are required. I’m going to be covering some of my favourite tips and tricks to acquiring backlinks to your website with care and precise targeting.
Search for your brand name products name
A relatively painless way to find backlink opportunities is to perform a Google search for your brand name and products, and check each of the search results to figure out if your brand has been mentioned, but not linked. You can contact the webmaster and request them to provide a link back to your site. This tends to work more often than cold messaging webmasters that aren’t already aware of your brand, so why not try this as part of your outreach efforts?
The same can be done for images that you believe are being used on sites other than yours. You can perform a reverse image search and locate websites that have taken your images and used them. This is simply asking for credit for your photography/graphics, so it is likely to be successful.
Redirect 404 pages
Something that is often neglected in the world of outreach, is the preservation of the links you have already obtained. Links pointing to a specific page on your site will be lost if that page gets deleted, however, there are ways to preserve the links.
Using a crawling tool (Screaming Frog), scan your website and locate all the broken pages that result in a 4xx error (400, 404… etc). Using your preferred redirection method (redirection plugins for Wordpress users), you can redirect both the user and Googlebot to a different page on your website. This ensures that all authority on the broken page isn’t wasted, and it can be redirected to other parts of the website.
Create wanted/desired content
The first rule of creating natural looking links, is to create desirable content that people link to without your input. Set content goals, imagine a viewer persona and create content that is interesting to look at and read. How do you know what your viewers want? Through informed keyword research of course! Use free tools such as Google Trends, or paid tools on Moz and SEMrush to learn more about what captivates your audience the most.
Neglecting the content creation process is a sure fire way to sabotage your own outreach efforts.
Create a list of domains that want your content to appear on
There are multiple methods of finding directories, resource sites and blogs for your backlinks to appear on, so I’ll take you through some of my favourites.
If a website is linking to your competitors, why can’t they link to you too? Use your preferred tool (Moz’s Link Intersect Tool) to figure out which websites link to your competitors, and try to find a way to get your own content on there too.
Advanced search operators
Use Google’s own search function to find relevant websites to request a backlink. This can be done much easier by leveraging advanced search operators to your advantage. An important search operator is the quotation mark, which ensures that all search results contain the word in the quotation marks. For example, searching for the following on Google will result in new websites that discuss roof thatching:
Roof thatching “news”
Websites that offer news and resources are more likely to offer backlinks, so ensure that when you’re doing your research you include the following in quotations after your topic “statistics” “tips” “resources” “news”.
SparkToro is a market research tool that will really help with your local SEO outreach efforts. What’s more, it’s easy to use and totally free! Simply search for a topic, select a location and SparkToro will provide a list of top media outlets that are both relevant and local. It’s a must for local SEO strategies.
The importance of rapport building for getting backlinks in 2021 cannot be understated. Gone are the days where you could send a thoughtless email requesting a link to your site, nowadays it’s important that you can appear approachable and entice interest, all while not coming across as desperate. The initial email is vital and will either start you off on the right food or the wrong foot with a potential contact. Ensure that you write in a professional manner, but don’t forget to be friendly. Don’t mention links right off the bat, and try to form a connection with the recipient. Entice interest with a point of commonality; if you’re messaging a blog owner, maybe reference something funny they’ve mentioned on their blog. Above all, keep it short and sweet, nothing worse than receiving a long winded email that doesn’t get to the point! It’s unlikely that you will find success with spammy, impersonal greetings, so if you follow these techniques, you will find that you get an improved response rate.