As with everything else in search engine optimisation, getting high-quality backlinks begins with creating awesome content. If you don’t have relevant, useful content to share then there is no point in attempting this process. If this is the case, then begin with putting together a content plan, if not then continue on the road to backlink awesomeness…
Why do backlinks matter?
Backlinks, (or referred hyperlinks from other sites, click here to read et cetera…) are one of the tools that Google uses to decide whether your site is just producing good content – which will get you on page 3 or 4 – or if you are a respected thought leader with credibility through backlinks and should be on page 1.
Generating high-quality backlinks from sites with an excellent reputation will literally transform your SEO efforts from being, “okay,” to being the reason you get out of bed in the morning.
How do you get backlinks?
There are several different ways to curate backlinks. They are commonly referred to as:
– White Hat: Meaning that the backlinks on your site are of a high-quality and ethically sourced.
– Grey Hat: The shady middle ground between flat out breaking the rules and just bending them to within an inch of their lives. Common grey hat tactics include creating or purchasing sites that develop authority and then share backlinks, known as Private Blogging Networks (PBN’s) or Link Wheels, depending on which side of the argument you fall on – seriously, check out this Wikipedia page to see just how passionate people are.
– Black Hat: If you are purchasing links, then it is highly likely that you are either in a grey or black hat area. It’s not SEO Tips’ job to tell you that by going down this path you are both lazy and stupid, but…you know. The only one who will end up suffering is you and by extension your site which will lose rankings and reputation.
Importantly, sites who sell links will claim that Google no longer punishes bad links after the review of the Penguin update, but this is only partially true. While sites will not be punished, they will also not be rewarded. Bad links will still have a negative effect on your ability to rank.
Let’s Talk White Hat Links
Ironically enough – considering the amount of money spent on black and grey hat links – the strategy for generating high-quality white hat links is pretty darn simple:
- Identify sites with good authority who would benefit from your content.
- Send them your content and ask them to link to it.
Despite what thousands of blogs will attempt to tell you, there is nothing more effective than this approach.
Identifying suitable sites
There is a multitude of software available that will help you identify sites that have a good reputation and even find the easiest way to connect with them. These blogger outreach platforms, the best of which we’ll mention shortly, usually work off keyword identification systems – so put in your keyword (if you run a site selling kid’s clothes, you may look for ‘parent blogs’ or something similar) and the application will come up with a list of potential sites, their details and options for contacting them.
Then, using the same platform, you can send a somewhat personalised message to suitable sites, explaining why they may want to link to your blog. Remember, the key here is making the message personal. A great way to screen potential backlinkers is based on their recent articles. If they have written a blog that strikes a similar tone to your blog, or that your article could compliment or agree with, then point this out to them in your introduction. Again, the blogger outreach applications will allow you to select or deselect blogs based on criteria such as this.
Most of these platforms come with a trial period, so test them out and decide which one is best for you. In the spirit of being impartial, these are in no particular order. In saying that, we have used all of these platforms and are more than comfortable recommending them.