According to Moz, backlinks are the virtual version of a vote of confidence, and an indicator that a site is doing something right.
The more backlinks a site has, the more likely Google is to reward that site with better rankings. That said, not all links are created equal.
For instance, a single link from a site such as Forbes or Copyblogger may earn you higher rankings than links from 20 unheard-of or low-quality websites.
That's not to say that you need to target national newsgroups or industry leaders to earn rankings. Instead, you need to make sure that the links you do earn come from trustworthy sites with good reputations.
That said, unless you're a marketer, you may struggle to earn the type of backlinks that lead to better rankings. If that's the case, use the advice below to learn how you can start generating authoritative backlinks like a pro.
Create Quality Assets
The number one way to earn quality backlinks is to create quality content. Content can come in many forms and may include the following types of assets:
- Blog posts
- Data visualizations
- White papers
- How-to guides
- Image galleries
Once you publish an asset, the next step is to share that asset via email, social media, and on your website.
At first, you may encourage people to share your asset with others if they find the asset relevant, entertaining, or funny.
However, over time, the goal is to reach a point where you no longer need to ask for links, but rather, people just give them to you.
Again, the best backlinks are ones that come from high authority sites, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that links from the average Joe aren't helpful.
As long as your backlinks are earned and organic, they'll go a long way toward boosting your rankings and your online reputation in the eyes of Google.
When it comes to your knowledge and expertise, don't be selfish. Google thrives under the motto that sharing is caring, and therefore, it rewards others who hold the same belief.
As a result, guest blogging is a tried and true tactic that often results in the quality backlinks businesses desire.
That said, too many bloggers were abusing this tactic and both accepting and submitting low-quality content for the sake of generating links.
Google noticed and has since cracked down on marketers who abuse the guest blogging tactic with low-quality or irrelevant content that is overstuffed with links.
Bait the Egotistical
Ego bait is another common and effective link building tactic. Ego bait is precisely what it sounds like – content that plays to the egos of people featured within the content.
The hope is that those shared within the content will be more inclined to share it with a link. One example of ego bait is this list of the 30 most influential individuals within the world of web design.
Another example is this list of the ten best garden blogs to follow. Chances are you see ego bait all the time and don't even realize it, hence its effectiveness.
Broken Link Building
Nothing is more frustrating than receiving a 404—for most people. However, for people like you who need links, 404s can be a gold mine.
Google dings websites that link to broken pages, so webmasters are thankful when people bring broken links to their attention.
They're even more grateful when those informers also provide a new page to which to link. If you want to use this tactic, research broken links and identify suitable targets.
Create content to which the broken link can navigate to and then reach out to the website owner. If your content is good enough, the webmaster will likely be more than happy to give you the link.
Slightly different than broken link building is the process of link reclamation. Link reclamation refers to the practice of finding links that once pointed to your site and reclaiming them.
For instance, one of your own pages may be 404'd, in which case, all you would need to do is fix that page and make sure it works.
Link reclamation also involves finding mentions of your site, content, or brand that have no links.
Contact the site owner and politely request that they link your brand name or information to a page on your site. You can also do the same for images that have no attribution.
Backlinks are a vital component of any SEO campaign. Start building your backlinks today with the above tips.
We go into more detail about backlinks, as well as other important aspects of link building in our FREE Ultimate Link Building Guide. Download your own copy today.