What Are Backlinks? 5 Building Link Methods That Work

If you have a website, if you manage a blog, basically if you’re a part of the web industry at all, you’ve probably heard about backlinks. But do you know exactly what they do and how they can help drive traffic to your site? In this week’s blog post we are going to unpack the question “What are backlinks?” and also give you some great tips and tricks to use a building link strategy to increase your organic web traffic.

Are you totally new to the concept of a building link strategy? Don’t worry, here’s a quick video from The Deep End that does a pretty great job of explaining backlinks and their value for beginners. 

What Are Backlinks?

First off, what are backlinks? A backlink takes place when one website mentions another website and links to it. These links can also be called “incoming links” and the method to use them can be called “building link” or “link building”. While they seem like they might be insignificant or unimportant pieces of SEO, this method of creating and generating backlinks for your website has been proven to be vital to a website’s performance, especially with Google search engine rankings. In fact, backlinks may be the single most effective way to boost your digital marketing ROI. 

These backlinks are links from outside domains, essentially siting you as a valuable resource. Each backlink acts as a kind of “vote” for your webpage. The more backlinks you receive from reliable, trusted websites, the more authority you will appear to have, and the better your website will perform in search rankings and visibility. 

There can be several different kinds of backlinks to consider that will help you when you’re thinking of your building link strategy. 

We love this list, compiled by Junto, that describes the many different kinds of backlinks you can use to drive traffic to your site, and increase your Google rankings. 

Why Do Backlinks Matter?

In many of our previous blog posts we have talked about SEO, or search engine optimization, and how Google rankings play a huge part in website traffic. Because backlinks are such an integral part of SEO, you may be doing everything else right, but if you’re ignoring this one important step you might be wasting your time.
In 2016, an analysis of Google’s ranking practices proved that backlinks were the ranking factor that most strongly affected your search rankings.

However, many website owners just saw the importance of backlinks, and started to buy thousands of low-quality backlinks in order to rank higher. But Google figured out about these black hat SEO practices, and developed an algorithm that could identify when websites were generating low-quality backlinks simply to promote their own site. So now you not only need to worry about quantity of your backlinks, but also the quality.

What Is A Quality Backlink?

Quality backlinks will be generated when a highly-regarded, reputable site is willing to post a blog, article, or web page with a hyperlink to your site. Backlinks follow a similar pattern to customer reviews or word-of-mouth recommendation. When you know someone is an authority and is trustworthy, how much more likely are you to trust their recommendation? Similarly, a backlink from Forbes or Time Magazine is going to hold much more weight than 20 backlinks to sites or blogs that nobody has ever heard of. 

Putting time and energy into curating and collecting the RIGHT KIND of backlinks will make a world of difference in the long run. 

Developing A Building Link Method

So, now we know why we need backlinks. The next question naturally follows: how do I get them? It all starts by having an effective building link strategy. 

1. Have Killer Content

People are only going to link back to your site if the information found there is relevant and valuable. Your ideal audience may be small, even a niche audience but if you’re writing great content that has value, you’re always going to be able to find visitors. Make sure your subjects are clearly defined, you’re offering good resources to your site visitors, and you put some time and energy into your design. In the digital age, presentation is everything, so make sure your site can make an impact on the people who visit and read your content.

2. Infographics

Google spiders (the little drones that crawl your site to establish your content and determine your website ranking) LOVE infographics. Infographics are basically a creative way of displaying data. They are one of the most popular ways to bring traffic to your site: they can be time consuming to build, so if you’ve invested the energy into creating a great looking infographic, chances are people are going to want to borrow it for their own sites. Again, this comes back to the killer content rule. If you’re making infographics about topics that people don’t really care about, or your data is incorrect or misrepresented, it may cost you. But people love finding great content to curate, share, and reblog, and if you can provide a well-design infographic to your audience, it’s going to greatly increase your SEO rankings, and organically drive traffic to your site. 

For more help with creating your own great infographic, check out the full infographic here at 99Signals

3. Use Your Partners

If you have other websites that you have an existing relationship with, this can be a great way to get a few free backlinks. Backlinks from your partners can even be as easy as being featured on a “providers” or “partners” page, they don’t necessarily have to write long-form blog content featuring your website. Any hyperlink that appears on their page counts as a valuable backlink and can make a big difference to your rankings.
If you do have a partner who also has a blog on their website, it’s always incredibly useful to ask them to write guest posts for your website. If you have a guest write a post for your blog, and they use their own website to advertise about their guest post, those are credible backlinks. But this method works both ways! Writing guest articles for other websites can help get your great content in front of a whole new audience of viewers, and can generate fresh interest in your content and backlinks at the same time. Never be afraid to use guest blogging as a way to leverage your online relationships and expand your audience.

4. Broken-Link Building

According to Moz the broken-link building tactic is a favorite because it is an effective, scalable, content-focused strategy. Broken-link building strategy can take a bit more effort on your part, but it has proven to be one of the most successful strategies of building link methods. This strategy focuses on finding other content on the web that is related to your content, finding broken links to important content, and recreating that content on your own webpage. This can be mutually beneficial, because websites receive lower search rankings when their internal links are broken. By providing these webmasters with functioning hyperlinks that take them to your relevant content, you increase both your search rankings, generate backlinks, and potentially create relationship between you and another webmaster. 

5. Build Relationships With Influencers

“Influencers” are fairly new to the marketing scene, but their arrival has changed the face of digital marketing as we know it. Since ads are so pervasive, people have started to tune them out, and can even be annoyed by them. But influencers are people with a large audience, who have spent time curating and building relationship and trust with that audience. By connecting with a popular influencer, you can not only garner backlinks that will generate lots of views and high click-through rate, but it can also help build the trust and authority of your own site.  By connecting with an influencer who is willing to promote your brand, you’ve successfully managed to quickly expand your audience, potentially grown your social following, and opened up access to many more potential leads. Try reaching out to someone who is an influencer in your field. Many times influencers are willing to provide a platform if you’re willing to provide the content. Once again, this building link method method can be a mutually beneficial relationship for you and the influencer. 

Final Thoughts

There are a lot more methods that work for building links, and it isn’t as difficult as most people think it is. Most online businesses can successfully manage to start building link methods without even creating new content! 

With a building link strategy, it’s also ok to start small. Designate an hour a day to try out one, two, or all of these methods. See which works best for your business, and invest more energy and time into those methods.

In no time, you should be seeing an increase of organic web traffic, a rise in your search engine rankings, and more connections with other online businesses. If you just don’t have the time, or you need help getting started, reach out to epicShops today. We’d be happy to help with your building link strategy, and with ten years of experience, we’re pretty good at it. After all, it’s what we do.