Backlinks are extremely important for SEO. Simply put, they are the base of off-page search engine optimization for your website. Building backlinks is a work that takes time and can be relatively costly. However, it's your best bet for getting on the first page of search results and staying there.
Without investing serious time and effort, you will be nowhere to be seen online (except when you share it with your friends and family). Losing all that traffic would be a shame because online is definitely the cheapest sales channel. In recent years, eCommerce has been trending towards taking over the majority share of product sales.
If you're looking for a quick fact for why you should build backlinks, it's enough to know that Google shows websites with tens of thousands of backlinks at the top of its search results. Depending on your industry and geographical location, you might not need that much.
In this overview, we're going to be looking at the steps you need to go through when writing a backlink strategy for your venture. Start implementing these actions, and you will quickly notice results!
2. Understand the costs of backlinks
When ventures start building their backlink strategy without previous knowledge about the field, they are often disappointed when they find out that backlinks cost money. Why is that so? It's simple: they have to be located somewhere, and sites, where you place your backlinks, cost money (you personally know all about prices for domains and hosting).
The costs can get even higher if you hire people to write content for you and set up links on other websites. The highest cost of backlinks is in media, which is widely read because these backlinks have the highest value in terms of domain authority. Basically, it's just like "in real life": you won't pay nearly the same for an ad in a local newspaper as you would during a Superbowl commercial break.
Of course, there is such a thing as a free backlink. In this regard, you can write up something by yourself and send it to sites that are relevant to your venture's industry. This is not a bad process, but it can be very time-consuming. Another option is to use software for automated backlinks, but experts highly recommend that you don't use them. With these programs, you can easily get blacklisted by Google.
Now, after you understand the real costs of a backlinking strategy, it's time to set up a budget. The more generous it is, the more quickly you can expect to build backlinks and start seeing results in SEO performance. Most likely, you will have to tweak the budget as you go.
3. Write a consistent timing schedule
This brings us to our next topic: the speed at which you should set up backlinks. Simply put, links should be built in a logical, consistent way. In other words, the time spacing should be similar to the actual time it takes to write up a piece of content, arrange a backlink, etc.
If you place a backlink one day at a time, Google will not find it strange if you place two on the next day. However, if you haven't received a backlink in a year and then you get 5 backlinks in 2 days, you will likely get blacklisted because this can be considered a suspicious activity – black-hat SEO.
4. Find potential websites
Next comes the central part of any backlink strategies: finding actual websites where you can pitch your content and get a backlink to your website or post. You can do this by searching for websites that accept guest posts online, but it's always possible to reach out to websites that you like, even if they are not publicly accepting blog posts.
A great way to compile a list of potential websites you can reach out to is by using tools like Alexa (find similar websites) or SimilarWeb (find industry-leading websites ranked according to the traffic they receive). Another cool feature of SimilarWeb is that you can compare your competitors, see how much traffic they get, what are their main traffic sources and keywords.
Also, SimilarWeb offers the feature of viewing Referral traffic from other websites. This means that you can find high-performing backlinks for your competitors. Let's say you're a competitor of Yoast:
As you can see on the left, you can see the top referring sites and 995 more (in this case). This is a great resource for compiling your own list of websites to reach out to, especially if you are direct competitors. The chances that your backlink blog post will be accepted are much higher if they have already done so for another player in your industry.
This is a great tool because it lets you determine where a website got a backlink from a direct advertisement (like WordPress.org), and where a guest blog was the case. Reach out only to those websites where guest blogging was involved.
5. Determine how you will do outreach
Another important aspect of the backlink strategy is to figure out how, when and how much will you reach out to these websites and ask them to link to your website. It seems trivial, but it is another time-consuming task. If you hire someone to do it for you, it is yet another cost you have to think of.
If you want to do it yourself, you have to find a reliable mail service provider that will make sure your outreach emails don't end up in spam. Also, determine how many sites you want to reach out to every day, every week and every month. Remember to track the performance of your emails and track the success rate of your outreach using the formula (total backlinks/total emails sent). Don't worry if this percentage is low.
6. Order and prioritize the value of your backlinks
When you are developing your backlink strategy, you should also know that not every link is worth the same. The quality of the links depends on many things: it's important whether it's an article or an advertising banner; it's relevant whether the site is forbes.com or somerandomweirdblog.org. (No, it's not a real website, you don't have to check.) From a technical aspect, you need to know that Google does not record each and every link that directs to your website.
So, when you are coming up with a comprehensive backlinks strategy, it would be a great idea to somehow rank your priorities in terms of link value. For example, you can check domain authority for each of the websites where you're interested in posting and rank them according to their level. This way, you will be saving some of the precious time you could be wasting on links that are less valuable.
Finally, it's worth it to repeat: natural backlinks building is the backbone of great ranking on Google. However, this work is extremely tough, and you should never stop building links, no matter how many you have already – the competition increases or appears and quickly endangers your position. Also, it's important that you constantly check that you don't have any broken links on your website.
Time is a key factor in building a good backlink strategy – you should aim to start as soon as possible, but maintain a pace of work that's sustainable. In other words, it doesn't make sense to do some backlinking if you are not planning to do it all the way. If you are really serious about SEO as your primary traffic source, you really need to go all in with investing in backlinks.
About the Author
Content Marketing Specialist
Angela Baker is a writer, editor and content marketing specialist working with a dissertation help service. She helps college and PhD-level students deliver the best possible work at cheap rates. Angela is an expert in marketing and economics.