How to Build Backlinks the Right Way
Along with on-page optimisation and killer content, backlink building is the bread and butter of a great SEO strategy. But as Google gets smarter at distinguishing between genuine web presence and manufactured SEO activity, how you go about building backlinks can really make or break a website. Here's our advice on how to build backlinks in a genuine, Google-approved manner.
If you’re a business with physical store locations, one of the best ways to build effective backlinks is to create listings of your store details in relevant directories. In the realm of SEO, we call these listings NAPs (Name, Address and Phone Number). And if Google sees consistent NAP details on multiple directories, it’s a great signal to them that your business is genuine.
For example, if you’ve got a store in Brisbane, you’ll want to make sure it’s listed in Australia-wide directories like The Yellow Pages, and local directories like BrisbaneAustralia.com. Any directory is fair game as long as it looks legitimate, and not some sort of scheme designed to help you build backlinks (more on this next).
Only Use High-Quality Websites
Whenever you find a website with potential for creating backlinks, it’s important to do a legitimacy test first. Because if your site links to poor-quality, dodgy-looking sites, Google will notice and demote your site accordingly. We use tools like Ahrefs or Moz to look at the domain rating of a site before building a backlink on it. This is a score out of 100 that tells you how much ‘weight’ a backlink on that site will carry. The higher the score, the better.
Make the Most of Brand Mentions
If you want one backlink building tactic that requires the least effort for quite possibly the greatest gain, here it is: don’t let your brand mentions go to waste. Whenever another website mentions your business in a blog article or product page, make sure they’re linking back to your website. If they’re not, send them a friendly email requesting them to do so and nine times out of ten, they’ll happily add the link.
How can you keep track of every single brand mention out there in the ether? Set up a Google Alert of your business name. It’ll take two seconds, and you can forward the notifications to your email whenever they pop up.
Stay on Top of Redirects
Without the right redirect strategy, any time you take down a page, you’re losing backlinks. Whether you’re removing the page because a blog post isn’t relevant anymore, or a product has sold out, or you’re no longer stocking a particular brand, every single link to that page on the Internet will now be broken. And the only thing Google hates more than no links, is broken links.
Luckily, the solution for this one is simple. Whenever you remove a particular page, make sure to implement a 301 redirect to the most similar content you can. For example, if you’re removing an outdated blog article, redirect to the updated version. If you’re removing a variety of chocolate by a particular brand, redirect to that same brand’s other products. Anything you can do to direct your website users to similar content will improve their overall experience.
Outreach With Your Content
While this might be the most time-consuming method of backlink building, it can also be very effective when executed well. If your business has great website content, like detailed how-to guides and insightful blog posts, consider whether other relevant websites might like to feature your content as a guest-post, with appropriate backlinks included. Everyone is hungry for content these days, so free content in exchange for a handful of backlinks is a pretty great deal for the other party.
Things to Avoid
The main thing to remember when building backlinks, is that Google is getting incredibly good at distinguishing between genuine, logical backlinks and ones that have been created in less-than-authentic ways. So steer clear of paying for services that use automated link building technology – this is an immediate red flag for search engines. And avoid stuffing content with too many links or unnatural links.
These old tricks are a bit like buying followers on Instagram. Sure, the boost in fake followers might help you attract a few real ones, but once people realise what you’ve been doing, your brand credibility will be in the toilet.
If you try to cheat the system, or in this case, the algorithm, you’re putting yourself at risk of being heavily penalised by Google, or de-indexed altogether. Building high-quality backlinks is an integral part of any long-term SEO strategy, so chip away at it slowly and thoughtfully, and you’ll see results.