There’s been a lot of controversy surrounding Backlinks in recent years.
Proponents of backlink building swear that it’s the most critical strategy for ranking high on SERPs.
On the other hand, critics of link-building claim that it will destroy your website.
So which is it?
In this article, we will dispel any myths about backlinking and teach you how to use backlinking as a way to boost your SEO and SERP in 2022.
- What Are Backlinks?
- Why Are Backlinks So Important?
- What Do Backlinks Look Like?
- Types of Backlinks
- How Do I Get Free Backlinks?
- The Ones That TRULY Matter: High-Quality Backlinks
- Quality Link-Building Takes Time
- How to Build High-Quality Backlinks
- Wrapping Up
Backlinks are links between one website to another.
You receive backlinks when someone adds a link to your website onto their website.
Likewise, you can give backlinks by linking to other websites.
Backlinks are sometimes called “inbound links,” “inlinks,” “inward links,” or “incoming links.”
An essential distinction of backlinks is that they must come from another website.
Backlinks differ from internal links when a web page links to another page on the same website.
Quality backlinks are essential for search engine optimization, as they are one of the key indicators search engines use to determine the value of a webpage.
Search engines see backlinks as “votes of approval” from one website to another.
Additionally, backlinks help with discoverability.
Search engines crawl web pages they know to keep themselves up-to-date with the content on that page.
Popular websites are crawled more often.
As a result, you can get discovered by search engines faster when popular pages link to you.
Back in the day, Google’s PageRank system determined where a website would be placed on search engines.
The plan entirely rested on backlinks, seen as “votes of confidence” from one website to another.
However, “linkspam” became an issue, as companies would add as many inbound links as possible regardless of the context to increase their SEO.
As a result, Google changed its algorithm to devalue irrelevant linking strategies.
Even though Google has changed its original algorithm, backlinks continue to be one of the three most important factors for a ranking on google’s search engine.
Absolutely! Backlinking is still essential in 2022.
However, implementing backlinking for search engine optimization has changed drastically.
In 2022, quality backlink building needs to pair with other SEO-building strategies.
Specifically, your web content quality needs to be worthy of receiving organic backlinks.
We still consider backlinks as “votes of confidence.”
They still signal to search engines that your website is trustworthy, authoritative, and helpful.
However, backlinks need to be high quality because google, and other search engines, can tell when your backlink is authentic or part of a link scheme.
To regular internet users, backlinks generally look the same.
They are hyperlinks from one webpage to another.
A backlink is clickable and might have a different color or style from the other text that surrounds it.
Sometimes, backlinks are displayed like buttons.
On the development side of a website, backlinks are hyperlinks defined by <a> tags.
These <a> tags contain attributes such as an href and rel.
The href attribute or the hyperlink reference informs the tag to link to a certain website destination.
On the other hand, the rel attribute describes the relationship between the current page and the linked page.
The information in rel attributes can tell search engines how to interact with the hyperlink.
For instance, is rel=” nofollow” indicates that the author does not endorse the link.
Google search spiders know not to follow links with “nofollow” relationships.
In recent years, Google has introduced new rel attributes to communicate the purpose of certain hyperlinks better.
Rel=” sponsored” indicates that the link was paid for or sponsored.
These can be used to identify affiliate links.
Links from user-generated content such as comments and forums can use implement rel=” UGC” to inform Google that the link was placed by a user and not the website’s author.
Earlier, we touched upon a few of the different types of backlinks.
In this section, let’s take a deeper dive into all of the different types of backlinks.
Spam backlinks are backlinks that originate from an out-of-context website or webpage.
The links might originate from low-quality websites with little domain authority or websites designed for spamming, such as a link farm.
Editorial backlinks are the most ideal form of backlink.
They are mentions or references to your website, placed as a citation or source of specific information within high-quality content.
Editorial backlinks can be hard to receive and require your website to demonstrate itself as an industry leader and go-to-resource.
Earned backlinks are any backlinks that a website has earned through means other than spam or paid links.
There are many ways to earn backlinks, such as guest blogging, infographic backlinks, editorial backlinks, and more.
Guest Blogging is an important and valuable way to earn backlinks.
If you provide a guest post to a well-established website, you can add editorial backlinks to your own website.
You can find guest blogging opportunities by building relationships with other bloggers in your industry or searching for options on google.
Niche edit backlinks are backlinks to your website placed on old web content.
It differs from guest blogging or editorial blogging, which puts your backlinks on new web content.
Niche edit backlinks have a leg up on guest blogging and editorial backlinks because the web page is already established.
Link Bait Backlinks are backlinks from content specifically curated to attract backlinks.
Link-Bait content commonly includes controversial news, guides, statistics, and visuals.
Press-Releases for websites are much like press releases for governments and companies.
They are prepared to document for the media that contains a newsworthy announcement.
Unlike regular press releases, there is no speaker at a podium surrounded by news reporters and camera operators.
Instead, a company distributes the press-release documents for other news platforms to publish.
The links in the document point back to your website from a number of news outlets, thereby earning backlinks.
Comment Backlinks are somewhat self-explanatory.
They are backlinks posted in the comment sections of web content or forums.
They do not help with building SEO and can even result in your website being penalized by Google.
VIDEO: “The Types of Backlinks You Need to Know for SEO | SEO for Beginners” by Stan Ventures
Paying for backlinks is against Google’s Policy and can result in getting shadow banned by Google and other search engines.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to build backlinks for free.
However, good strategies take time, effort, and dedication to see results.
Let’s take a look at how you can build backlinks for free.
VIDEO: “How to Build Backlinks Without Paying for Them” by Neil Patel
Build Quality Content and User Experience
Google values editorial backlinks above all other backlinks because editorial backlinks actively demonstrate that your page contains valuable content to its users.
So naturally, you need to produce quality content so others can use you as their preferred reference.
There is a caveat.
The internet is already filled with helpful information for your content to stand out from everything else.
You must produce the best quality content that enhances the user’s experience.
UX writing is a vast topic on its own.
For the purpose of generating more organic backlinks, you can implement many of its principles to enhance your reader’s experience.
Researching your audience, using a consistent tone and voice, and testing your content for comprehension before publishing are all UX writing principles that help your content stand out from your competitors.
You also need to ensure that the content on your page is of the highest quality.
Look at your competitors receiving editorial backlinks and find the gaps in their content.
Then, generate your own article on the same topic, but make sure to fill in the gaps your competitor left out.
Free backlinks are not inherently bad. In many cases, they’re terrific.
However, they can be unreliable because you don’t have much control over them.
You don’t have control over organic backlinks like editorials references.
The free backlinks you can control, like social media posts and profile links, are often “nofollow” links and will not do anything to bolster your SEO.
Beyond this, free links are hard to get.
Most website owners understand the value of linking to their website.
Consequently, they will not link to your website without proper compensation in the form of sponsored posts.
In fact, for many bloggers, sponsored posts make up a sizable portion of their annual revenue.
The downside of paying for a backlink is that Google may not be happy with your website and can potentially carry out manual action towards you.
However, manual action is generally reserved for link spam attempts.
In other words, the occasional sponsored post usually goes unnoticed by Google.
Purchasing a backlink doesn’t necessarily mean you will improve your SEO.
For instance, many directory sites will allow you to purchase the ability to link your website to your online listing.
However, directory links are usually “no follow” links, so google will probably ignore them.
Directories, forums, and comment sections are a quick way to build a large number of backlinks.
But they lack the quality needed to help you rank high on search engines.
On the other hand, you can purchase a sponsored post from an already established website.
However, if that website is outside of your niche or has low domain authority, it may not improve your performance on SERPs.
If you want to use backlinking to improve your SEO, you need to focus on receiving high-quality backlinks from domains that are relevant to your niche and have high domain authority.
Relevancy and Authority Are Key
Relevance and authority are the two main qualities that a backlink must possess in order for it to be considered a high-quality backlink.
Relevance refers to the context that the backlink is being placed in.
An ideal backlink with relevance would be placed within a body of content.
The author would literally be recommending your page as a resource or listing it as a reference.
A relevant backlink alone cannot help your web page rank higher.
The backlink also has to come from a source with authority.
Authority, or domain authority, relates to how well a page ranks on search engines and dictates the power a web page has on providing links.
Pages with higher authority can pass on that authority to websites they link to.
VIDEO: “What makes a backlink “Good”? – 3.3. SEO Course by Ahrefs” by Ahref
Quality Link-Building Takes Time
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither are high-quality backlinks.
Building high-quality backlinks takes considerable time and requires a lot of patients.
If you expect results as soon as you receive a quality backlink, you’re in for some disappointment.
Backlink campaigns can take 6 months to see results, and up to a year to reach peak performance.
Google takes a considerable amount of time to index the links.
Indexing links is done by google spiders that scrape through webpages it already knows to refresh itself on new content.
This can take anywhere between 4 days and 4 weeks.
Generally speaking, the lower the website’s authority, the longer it takes.
Once google indexes your webpage, it still takes time for them to determine your rank.
Now that Google is acquainted with your webpage, its algorithm will gradually increase your exposure, while testing to understand how users interact with the page.
In the meantime, it’s important to not lose hope in the process of building SEO with backlinks.
Use the time in between to focus on building high quality content.
Most importantly, never cut corners.
It takes months for Google to improve your ranking with high-quality backlinks and hours for Google to destroy your ranking with poor-quality links.
Now that we’ve established the importance of earning high-quality backlinks let’s explore ways to build them.
You need to find and secure guest blogging opportunities before you get started.
Searching on google or social media is a good place to start.
However, your ideal websites for guest blogging are your competitors.
Join communities in your niche and reach out to your competitors for guest blogging opportunities.
Once you find an opportunity, make it count by delivering high-quality content.
Remember, even though they gave you a chance, they can still reject your post if it doesn’t deliver on quality.
Broken Link Blogging
Broken-link Blogging requires some extra effort but is worth it for the results.
To build broken-link backlinks, you need to find web content with links to 404 errors, write posts that can address what’s missing in the error, and then reach out to the original authors with your proposition to replace the broken link with your link.
Finding broken links in articles can be challenging on its own.
Luckily, tools like ahref can help by finding backlinks to broken pages.
If you find unlinked mentions, you can reach out to the original author and ask if they can link your website to the mention.
This tactic is beneficial for companies that sell products or services.
Let’s take Apple Inc as an example. Every time a person uses the terms “iPad”, “iPhone”, or “MacBook,” that’s a brand mention, and you can ask the author to add links.
Tools like Ahref, Content Explorer and Keyword Explorer can help you easily locate brand mentions.
Link Reclamation is finding and fixing broken links that are supposed to point back to your own website.
A good place to start looking for broken links is on your own website.
Tools like Majestic can help you find broken internal links.
Unfortunately, reclaiming broken backlinks can be much more challenging.
However, if you produce a lot of high-quality visual content, you can use reverse image search to find potential broken links.
Redirect Outdated Content
If the content on a page is outdated, but the page also has a lot of backlinks, you can simply redirect the page to an updated source of information.
By redirecting to a page with better content, you are able to provide better value and an enhanced user experience without losing your backlink.
Spamming community sites like forums won’t do too much for backlink building.
However, engaging your thoughtful conversation on topics within your niche can help you build an authoritative reputation in the community.
When other websites respect you, they’ll be more inclined to link to you.
If you want websites to link to you, you need to provide quality content that’s worth linking to.
Unfortunately, information is worth a dime a dozen on the internet.
Nowadays, the goal is to present high-quality information in an easy-to-understand way.
Infographics are a great way to visually represent complex topics.
They also help with engaging the reader at a deeper level.
Canva is a wonderful tool for making visually stimulating infographics quickly and easily.
Stats & Data
Statistics and Data are incredibly link-worthy because they add empirical proof that needs to be cited to be taken seriously.
You can conduct your own case studies as a way to generate data and statistics only available on web content.
Answer Niche Questions
Nowadays, search engines are all about answering questions.
But people aren’t at ease until they receive easy-to-understand answers with lots of detail.
When answering niche questions, look at how your competitors address the question and fill in any gaps they leave out.
Reaching out to possible backlink prospects is possibly one of the best ways to build backlinks.
Interactions are straightforward, both parties can negotiate on their terms, and backlinks are reliable.
You can reach out to backlink prospects with PR emails and social media messages.
VIDEO: “How to Use HARO for SEO & Link Building” by First Page Strategy
What is HARO?
HARO, “Helping A Reporter Out,” is an online community where reporters can connect with industry experts for sources.
Website owners can use this great resource to gain backlinks and industry credibility.
How Does HARO Work?
HARO offers free and paid versions of their subscriptions.
In the free version, community members are sent emails with upcoming reports that they can contribute to with sources.
Does Haro Actually Work for Backlinking?
There’s no guarantee that your response will be selected in the news report.
However, your website will receive a backlink from a domain with a high Page Rank, brand awareness, and media recognition if it does.
Although buying backlinks is risky, it’s still a very effective strategy for boosting SEO.
Let’s take a look at some options for buying links.
Link Brokerages are risky but can yield good results.
If your Link Broker stays up-to-date with proper link-building protocols, they will find link-building opportunities to keep you under Google’s radar.
Unfortunately, most Link Brokers continue to use old-school techniques that result in Manual Action from Google.
Links That Rank
Links That Rank is a link-building service that ensures that backlinks are high quality and risk-free.
Links That Rank has 23 quality control checkpoints to ensure that each link will deliver results.
They also have a strict blacklist policy on sites, guest post sites, resellers, PBNs, and hack links.
Logix makes it easier for website owners to participate in guest posts, authority links, editorial links, and content marketing.
The best part is that website owners can approve or deny anything before it’s published.
Authority Builders act as the middlemen between bloggers and websites.
They negotiate prices and placements to ensure you get the best link for your dollar.
Serp Pro easily connects bloggers, websites, and guest posting opportunities at wholesale prices.
You can pick from their content list, and Serp Pro will deliver the content.
SerpTrust delivers quality guest posts and niche edits without hassle.
You pick a from their database of relevant websites, and they will deliver a 1000-word article within 4 weeks.
Crowdo.net delivers natural backlinks, including a mix of “dofollow” and “nofollow” links from high-ranking relevant domains.
Their websites receive over 350,000 monthly visits, and their forums are heavily moderated for quality assurance.
Rather than using a service to purchase paid links, you can opt for hiring a Backlink Agency.
Agencies deliver results with more holistic strategies to maximize your results.
Stackers Studios has a network of over 3000 reputable publications.
They work with their network to deliver newsworthy, research-driven articles.
Stackers Studios’ data-driven approach ensures that articles are SEO-friendly, authoritative, newsworthy, and objective.
The Upper Ranks
The Upper Ranks does link building correctly.
They have assisted some of the largest brands in the world and featured on Semrush, Inc Magazine, and Ahref.
Page One Power
One page power is a service focused on link building, strategic content and SEO.
They are a white label SEO company with over 1000 clients.
Fat Joe is an all-around marketing and SEO agency.
The agency offers services in blogger outreach, niche edits, HARO links, blog writing, copywriting, and more.
Even though link building has caused some controversy in recent years, it’s still essential to every SEO strategy.
However, staying on top of link-building strategies and protocols is essential to ensure that your website stays in Google’s good grace.