A key component of your digital marketing strategy is search engine optimization (SEO). You’re already using keywords in your website headlines, meta descriptions, and digital content as part of your SEO strategy. However, have you considered backlinks? Backlinks are when a website is mentioned and linked on another website.
Read on to learn about backlinks, how important they are to SEO, and how you can use them to boost your online presence.
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What are website backlinks?
Backlinks refer to any inbound link to your website. Whenever someone references your website on theirs and includes a link back to your original content or one of your landing pages, this is considered a backlink. Backlinks are also when someone shares a link to your website on social media.
This marketing tool helps enhance your SEO because it communicates to Google and other search engines that your site offers quality content.
Ahrefs, an organization specializing in SEO, indicated that websites with more backlinks get more organic traffic from Google. When people post links to your website on their sites or via social media, you can rely less on paid Google ads to drive traffic since your site will rank higher on search engines.
Why your company should utilize website backlinks
Website backlinks enhance your SEO and move you higher in search results while expanding your brand’s credibility and audience reach. High-quality backlinks establish you as a knowledgeable resource that, in turn, builds brand awareness with a wider audience.
If your company has ever benefited from a mention by a popular social media personality, you know what comes with being associated with influencers. You may have seen a substantial bump in Twitter followers after a celebrity retweeted you. A similar principle applies to backlinks. When you are quoted and sourced on a popular website, you expose your business to leads who may click on your website and potentially convert into customers.
How to build backlinks
One of the best ways to encourage people to link your company is by building relationships with vendors and clients. If your primary customers are businesses, you can encourage them to post backlinks, particularly if you work with the client frequently.
You can use tools like Google’s Check My Links plugin or a similar tool to search for existing links to your content. Once you’ve found them, check them out to see if they still work. If someone has a backlink on their website that is broken or redirects to a different page, reach out with the correct link.
Another way to build backlinks is by publishing high-quality content. Regularly posting blogs about topics that are relevant to your audience and using SEO that helps people find them can result in more backlinks. Additionally, using social media to promote these posts with hashtags helps people stumble on them, generating more useful links.
If your industry regularly offers conferences, apply to conduct presentations or author articles in the association’s trade publication. Doing so establishes you as an expert in your field and may entice people to cite your content in their blog posts, newsletters, and more.
For backlinks to be successful, they need to be organic. Don’t pay for them, and don’t promote your own company on a blog that you set up with the purpose of backlinking your content. The best way to generate backlinks is to build up your credibility and leverage existing relationships with your customers and adjacent professionals.
Examples of website campaigns
When you have established relationships with clients, vendors, and others in your industry, you can leverage them to build brand awareness. Ask someone with whom you frequently work if you can author a guest blog on their website. In that post, you can offer backlinks to your relevant content. You can also offer to post links to their blog on your website, creating a reciprocal backlink to your partner company.
Aim to write guest blogs for companies that fit your business well. Your expertise should be apparent, and the topic should logically fit within your partner organization’s blog. For instance, if you own a hair salon, it would make sense to write a guest blog for a spa that offers other wellness services. You want to tailor your guest blog to be relevant to your partner’s customers.
Serving as an expert in interviews
If you’re a credible expert in your field, you may be approached by journalists and publicists to give interviews about certain topics. If you’re a small business owner, local bloggers, podcasters, media professionals, and content creators might not know you. But your expertise could be the perfect fit for an episode or an article.
Brainstorm potential interview topics and search the internet for bloggers, podcasters, and other media professionals who might interview you. Pitch your ideas to them. You’ll likely get rejected more than once, but one yes can lead to a larger pool of people who want to interview you. You can also build interest in your expertise by following these professionals on social media and contributing quality feedback to their work.
You can also set up a profile on Help a Reporter or a similar platform. This site serves as a resource that journalists and other media professionals use to find experts for stories about a wide variety of topics.
As part of your social media strategy, you likely have a LinkedIn page. LinkedIn offers several groups that you can join with your company’s page. Build brand awareness by regularly contributing to conversations. If it makes sense, you can share your blog posts and other content with these groups.
Don’t use a group simply for self-promotion, however. If the only thing you ever post in a group is links to your company’s blog, people will probably stop clicking on your content. Take time to add meaningful comments on existing posts and participate in discussions.
Infographics are a visually appealing way to distill complex information into a format that is easy to understand. If you are an expert in a complicated process, creating infographics and featuring them on your website is a good way to entice people to add backlinks.
When creating infographics, keep them simple. Use fonts and colors that are easy to see and read. Keep your audience in mind when writing the copy for your infographics. You might be tempted to share everything you know about a topic, but successful infographics are more focused. Only include information that is most relevant to your target audience.
People can’t reference your company and backlink to your website if they don’t know about you. Use your digital marketing tools to promote your company and encourage people to share. When you write a blog or create a video, promote it across your social media channels hashtagging keywords that help people find it.
Another way to promote your web content is to install widgets on your blog page. Most website building platforms offer widgets, which are blocks of separate code that enhance the functionality of your website. You should be able to find available widgets in your website design template that let people share your page on social media. Include these blocks on your blog and video pages that make it easy for people to share your content through their social media feeds. Include a call to action at the end of every post encouraging people to share.
Cross promoting with other businesses
You don’t have to write a full blog post to get a backlink on someone’s website. Sometimes, you can ask them to provide a link to your page in any spot where it makes sense. Talk to your clients or professionals in adjacent industries to see where cross-promotion is feasible. Make sure they mention your brand and include information about your services.
Partner companies will probably ask you to promote their company on your website as well, so post their information where it’s best suited.
Serving as a sponsor for events in your area not only gets you a spot in the promotional materials but you may also be backlinked on the organization’s website. For best results, set up a custom landing page on your site dedicated to the event while promoting your company. It can be something as simple as a listing with all of the event details and a link to buy tickets, or it could include a story about your company’s history with the organization.
Post the landing page’s link to your social media feed and tag the host organization. Use other hashtags that they are using to promote the event. People who follow you can then share this information on their social feeds.
Sponsoring local athletic teams through an entire season can also get you website backlinks from their websites and social media pages.
Following COVID-19 related shutdowns, professionals across industries were forced to leave the office, and many networking events shifted to digital platforms. While things are getting back to normal, and people are looking forward to in-person conferences again, there is still a benefit to hosting short webinars.
Hosting short yet engaging webinars makes it easier for people to learn about relevant topics in the industry without taking too much time out of their day. They’re also more cost-effective than in-person conferences since no travel is involved. When participating, find interesting angles on relevant topics in your field that can benefit others. Share a link to your presentation at the end of the webinar to encourage attendees to share it with others.
When you work with vendors who give excellent customer service, you can offer them testimonials. Not only is this a good marketing tool for your vendor, but they can also promote your company by including a link to your website.
If your favorite vendor hasn’t asked for one, send a quick email to touch base. Allow them to put your testimonial on their website. It’s ideal to save your testimonials for the vendors who provide excellent products or services.
Don’t send out testimonials just to build website backlinks. Offering a testimonial for a business that you aren’t enthusiastic about or for a business with low-quality customer service just to get a backlink can damage your credibility with customers who trust your professional opinion.
Many local news websites often feature a variety of “best of” articles. This type of content is popular because it is evergreen and encourages people to interact with their website. Set up Google alerts to be notified whenever your competitors and other key phrases in your industry are mentioned in an article.
This is an easy way to track which of your competitors have been included in local listicles and how often. You can also contact the writer or the webmaster and pitch your company. They may edit the listicle to include your company or they might keep your information and include you in a different article.
Where to start
Building backlinks is a key feature of your SEO strategy. Being promoted and linked on another website not only boosts your performance on Google and other search engines but also establishes you as an expert. Plus, a diverse and broad array of backlinks on various websites and social media pages builds brand awareness.
Start building a strong set of backlinks by looking for those that already exist and making sure the links are still valid. If not, ask the host of the website to fix your link. Once you know that your links are correct, scope out the competition. To make this easy, Constant Contact offers an SEO tool that you can use to track this information.
Looking for backlinks to your competitors’ websites can help you determine what types of content are shared most often. You might notice that one topic, in particular, gets quoted by multiple websites. Look for these trends, tailor your content around them, and then create high-quality blogs, videos, and social media posts to establish yourself as an expert.
With an arsenal of high-quality backlinks, your website will stay at the top of search engines, making it easy for customers to find you while encouraging organic web traffic. Tap into your network and start building your backlink strategies.