6 Key Elements for Assessing Backlink Quality
Whether you’re doing a quarterly audit to assess your backlink profile and prospects, just getting...
We’ve heard it time and time again: “Link building is hard, and it takes forever.” But, does that mean you shouldn’t put in the time and effort that’s needed for it? Absolutely not.
Sure, the link building landscape, like SEO in general, is always changing. But today, even in 2022, building high-quality links has never been more important. In fact, research shows that the #1 result in Google has an average of 3.8x more backlinks than positions #2- #10. If you want to improve your rankings and grow in authority and trust to both users and search engines, building more quality backlinks is critical.
Of course, acquiring links that you didn’t ask for is like the holy grail of SEO - this should always be something you’re striving toward. However, it requires time and effort to make your website link-worthy. In addition to this long-term strategy, there are a number of link building techniques that can help you improve your traffic, rankings, authority, and brand awareness.
Whether you already have experience in building links or are just starting out, these link building strategies for 2022 are tried and true ways to help you build a solid process this year (and well beyond). Before we jump into the top strategies, let’s back up to review our basics.
Backlinks are incoming hyperlinks from one web page to another website. Put more simply, they are links from someone else’s website to a page on your website. They are created when an external website links to yours.
Search engines use these links to help discover and understand pages on the web, as well as help determine how well a page should rank in search results. Search engines will crawl the links between the individual pages on your website as well as the links between different websites.
As we mentioned earlier, earning backlinks takes time. This can be done through the link building process, or acquiring links from other websites to your own. The ultimate goal is to continue to earn them through your differentiated product and service offerings and great content that is link-worthy. You should also leverage a variety of link building techniques such as link reclamation, digital PR, unlinked brand mentions, and more. We’ll get to those soon!
In general, you want to acquire links that will drive high quality traffic to your website and generate leads. When search engines crawl pages on the web, they can extract the content of those pages and add it to their indexes. This helps them decide if a page’s quality is sufficient enough to be ranked well for relevant keywords.
However, search engines don’t just look at the content of the page; they also look at the number of links pointing to that page from external websites and the quality of those external websites. Essentially, the more high-quality websites that link to you, the more likely you are to rank well in search results.
Absolutely, earning backlinks is still important in 2022. If you want to manage a successful, long-term SEO strategy, backlinks can’t be ignored. Backlinks continue to help sites grow in E-A-T (expertise, authority, and trust). Search engines favor authoritative and trustworthy sites. In fact, trust is at the center of search engines and consumers.
Link building still matters in 2022 for a number of reasons:
In addition to E-A-T and search rankings, link building can also influence:
Now that we’ve nailed down some important basics, let’s dive into the top tried and true quality link building strategies to focus your efforts in 2022.
Broken link building is one of the first “quick win” strategies to use when addressing your low hanging fruit of backlinks. Broken link building is the practice of building backlinks by redirecting and replacing links to 404 pages—sometimes referred to as “dead links”—with a new working link to a target website.
Fixing broken links enhances user experience and builds trust. Broken links may drift away users from your site, as they will no longer be able to access the information they are looking for. Of course, no one wants this experience for their site’s visitors. Thankfully, referring sites are receptive to remediation.
Most paid SEO software tools have a backlink tool that will allow you to identify broken links. Once you’ve pulled the list of broken links for your website, you will want to find, or create, a replacement URL that the broken link should be redirected to. You can put a redirect in place on your website so users are redirected to a valid URL. To go a step further, reach out to the website who is linking to the broken link and ask them to replace it with the new link on their website.
Ideally, having a paid SEO tool will get you the most accurate results for link building. However, if that’s not in your SEO budget, there are some free tools available.
Unlinked brand mentions are mentions of your brand on published sites that do not provide a link back to your website. Sites are talking about you, but are they also driving traffic and leads to your website? Unlinked brand mentions are an ideal way to enhance your backlink profile while simultaneously building brand awareness and brand equity.
The Ahrefs Content Explorer tool is a great tool for finding unlinked brand mentions. However, you’ll want to filter out your own website from the results. To do so, you can type in the name of your company in quotation marks, such as “The Getaway”. You should also exclude the actual website by appending your search with the same name.
For example: “the getaway” -site:thegetawaytampabay.com
This way you can filter out your company’s own website during your search.
Once you’ve compiled a list of websites that have mentioned your brand but are not linking to your website, you can start your outreach. In your outreach to these websites, you’ll want to mention the exact URL with the content, the location on the page that the site mentions your brand, and the relevant URL for them to link to on that page.
You can also use Google Alerts to monitor mentions of your brand in the news and across search engines. You can assess the content piece and whether or not the referring page has provided a backlink to your website. If not, this would be a great opportunity for outreach to request a backlink from that website.
Digital PR is all about using PR tactics to earn backlinks to support your SEO strategy. This means creating linkable assets and promoting these to relevant journalists and publications to encourage them to write about your content and link to it. However, digital PR success is all about having quality ideas that journalists want to cover while creating engaging assets that get linked to as a way to add editorial value to an article.
From press releases to podcasts, digital PR is a prudent way to obtain links while garnering added value. It provides an opportunity to personalize your brand further and garner a new vein of trust, journalistically. Digital PR strategies may include: thought leadership, interviews, data-driven research studies, and more.
BuzzStream’s Digital PR tool allows you to build press lists, conduct outreach and nurture your PR relationships. In addition, you can manage your outreach campaigns and the link placements that you’ve earned all in one place.
HARO (Help a Reporter Out) is a great digital PR tool that connects journalists who are seeking expertise on a subject with sources who have that expertise. This gives you a valuable chance to be included in their content. You can sign up and select the categories for your company that you could contribute to. By receiving daily emails about topics that reporters need information on, you can quickly find topics that you may be able to quickly pitch an idea and link to. These categories include: Biotech & Healthcare, Business & Finance, Education, Energy Green Tech, Entertainment & Media, General, Lifestyle & Fitness, Public Policy & Government, and Travel.
Qwoted is another great alternative for digital PR link building strategies. Sign up to receive real-time media requests and pitch reporters with great ideas and linkable content in areas where your company can provide sound expertise.
Resource guides, or link roundups, are curated lists of the best content (product/service, etc.) in a particular industry. The reason this is a great link building strategy is because the sole purpose of these pages is to link out to other websites. A resource page’s value is determined by the quality and quantity of the third-party resources to which it links. When you reach out and suggest useful content to the creators of resource pages, what you’re doing is helping them to improve the page, so they’re more than willing to share links.
From topics as simple as shoes to Saas, resource guides and link roundups are prolific. These guides are curated and valuable to most consumers for finding recommendations and valuable resources to make informed decisions. For example, this could look something like “Top 5 Link Building Tools You Should Be Using,” which links out to 5 different link building tools and provides a valuable list of resources and information to the reader. This is mutually beneficial for both your business and the businesses that you are linking to.
Your first step is to find opportunities where your business can be included in a guide or roundup related to your industry, product, or service. You would then pitch that site as to why you should be added and provide a relevant link to your site on the topic. To find these opportunities, you can utilize search operators while searching on Google. Let’s take an example of search operators for link building:
And so on…
You can also consider building these yourself, if it makes sense for your brand, by gathering resources into one big guide around a certain topic. These are often referred to as “listicles.” However, curating content and maintaining a link roundup is a lot of work. By creating a link roundup, you can:
When scraping search results for ideas for these resource pages, you can do a manual scrape and export results using the Ahrefs SEO toolbar. Or, you can pull these guides manually for free using simply the search engine and a spreadsheet to compile your list of results.
The “skyscraper technique” is a technique coined by Brian Dean of Backlinko. This link building strategy is essentially improving existing popular content and replicating the backlinks for your own site. The goal is to ultimately ignite virality via content.
To use the skyscraper link building technique, you should:
However, for link building in 2022, the skyscraper technique moves beyond the goal of backlinks by focusing on user intent and hyper-targeted content placements. The goal is high-quality, relevant content.
You can also consider the “reverse” Skyscraper technique and focus on content that did not perform well and create something better. You can use the Ahrefs Content Explorer tool and Keywords Explorer to search for content that is relevant to your industry, product, or service.
If you don’t have a paid SEO tool, you can simply use search engine results pages to assess the top ranking results for the topic you’re researching and want to build better content around.
We know that was a lot to digest. Each of these 5 techniques requires time and research in order to build a successful link building program for SEO. Link building requires attention to detail, patience, and continuous outreach. It is not a one-and-done strategy; rather, it’s an ongoing, long-term strategy that takes time.
Here are a few final tips to keep in mind for your outreach when utilizing these strategies:
Stay tuned for more link building updates and expertise to help you build a solid foundation and grow your link building efforts in 2022 and beyond. Is your digital marketing team in need of more hands-on help with your link building strategies? Get in touch with our team to help take your link building program to the next level.
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