How To Get Quality Backlinks?

Are you looking to build high-quality backlinks but don’t know where to start? With the right strategy, a healthy dose of resilience and a little commitment, earning backlinks regardless of your business’s size is 100% possible. 

At Warren Digital, we have been helping clients reach their SEO goals for over a decade. And we’ve managed dozens of successful link building campaigns within that time.

As experts in the SEO industry, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know to create a winning link building strategy. 

Let’s start with the basics. What are backlinks, and why do they matter?

What is a backlink? 

A backlink, often called an incoming or inbound link, is a link from one website to another. Think of each backlink as a digital endorsement that tells Google your content is valuable and trustworthy.

A link can be broken down into 2 main categories, these being:

  • White hat backlinks: Links obtained by earning links from reputable websites.
  • Black hat backlinks: Links obtained from doing shady stuff like buying links that go against Google’s anti-spam policies.

Link building is a crucial part of every business’s content marketing strategy. It’s important with on-page SEO, technical SEO, and local SEO. Despite this, over 95% of all websites have no backlinks. 

Fortunately, this gives you a leg up over the competition when prioritising link building. Let’s explore why backlinks matter in a little more detail.

Related: E-commerce website SEO tips from Google

Why do backlinks matter?

As we just touched on, every backlink you receive acts as a vote of confidence for your website. The more quality backlinks to your website, the higher you’ll rank on the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Image credit: Adam Connell

Building high-quality backlinks is absolutely crucial for your business if you’re interested in driving traffic to your site. Don’t believe us? Just ask the world’s top-ranking companies. 

According to Backlinko’s study, the first website on Google’s search results has an average of 3.8x more backlinks than positions 2-10. If this tells us anything, backlinks matter greatly, and the search engine leaders know it.

As you can see, getting links is essential for your website’s success. But before you start asking every page you find to link to your website, it’s vital to know that some backlinks are worth more than others. 

Related: Why is SEO important for your website?

Does it matter where my backlinks come from?

Sadly, not all backlinks are created equal. And, when it comes to link building, there is such a thing as bad publicity. To improve your website’s ranking in the long term, you need to focus on acquiring quality backlinks.

Image credit: Semrush

Determining whether a backlink is ‘high-quality’ may initially seem subjective. But every excellent backlink profile has at least two things in common:

  • They come from an authoritative website.
  • They are relevant to your content.

Let’s explore both of these factors in greater detail.

Authoritative websites

Unsurprisingly, a backlink from a household brand is a bigger endorsement than a link from your family member’s lifestyle blog. Still, many businesses don’t realise how much a very high domain authority score from a reputable site can impact a website’s growth.

Put simply, the greater the credibility of the linking website, the more powerful their endorsement is for your business.

Relevant content

To secure high-quality links, the content that links to you should be relevant to your business. 

For example, suppose you run a blog about engineering. In that case, Google will favour contextual links from other reputable, authoritative sources in the same sector, which will help you increase your rankings faster. 

Conversely, If a new bakery shop provides website links to your article on screwdriver sets, it may not help you climb the rankings quite as much. You get the picture.

It’s worth noting that a lack of domain relevancy isn’t necessarily a dealbreaker. If a website has high authority, it’s still a good backlink to grab. No one will turn their nose up at a Forbes backlink just because the content isn’t explicitly related to their website.

How to check backlink quality?

Assessing the quality of a backlink is a tall order. Fortunately, there are several accessible backlink checker tools available to help. Here are a few of the most popular choices for assessing backlink quality.

  • Ahrefs offers a free website authority checker tool that ranks the authority score of a given domain from 0 to 100. The higher the number, the more authoritative the domain. It’ll also show other things like referring domains (RDs) and organic traffic (OT).
  • Moz’s Link Explorer provides a free domain authority checker tool (DA) score for websites or pages. Much like Ahrefs, higher numbers mean more credible backlinks.
  • Semrush offers up to 10 free daily backlink quality assessments via their domain overview tool.
  • Website SEO Checker is a free tool that shows a variety of metrics, such as spam score (SS), domain authority (DA), and page quality (PQ). The only downside is that this tool has limited functionality and will require you to fill out a captcha form after you’ve used the tools a couple of times. 
  • Majestic has a free backlink checker tool containing advanced backlink analytics such as trust flow (TF), citation flow (CF), link graphs, and many other features that can analyse your link profile.

Additionally, most SEO tools will also allow you to check your search engine rankings for your keywords, for example, the current ranking position and the percentage increase or decrease of a set period of time.

Related: 7 SEO trends that can help you improve your organic results

What is a low-quality backlink?

Let’s be realistic for a second. Not every backlink you’ll get will be of exceptional quality. Securing editorial links from pages like Forbes is tough. Sometimes, you have to start small, and that’s okay. 

That said, just as we should always aim to source the best-quality backlinks and avoid low-quality links.

What do we mean by a ‘low-quality backlink? Low-quality backlinks contain the following characteristics:

  • Come from low-quality spam sites, for example, a private blog network (PBN).
  • Have no relevance to your content. 
  • Come from link farms.
  • Include excessive, paid, or unnatural link anchor texts.
  • Social bookmarking and web 2.0 links (e.g., a link from Blogger on a subdomain).
  • Fake traffic (e.g., if a site has 10,000 organic traffic news per month on Ahrefs, and these are all branded searches from a website you’ve never heard of, then it’s highly likely that this particular site is buying traffic to inflate their site metrics). 

Related: What to look for in a technical SEO audit?

Will low-quality backlinks affect my ranking?

Google algorithms are incredibly good at detecting black hat link building tactics. If it thinks your backlinks are unnatural, unfair, or spammy, you may be penalised with a lower ranking factor on the search engine results page (SERPs). 

That said, it is rare for Google to penalise websites using black hat link tactics; instead, Google will often just not count those links. However, if you’re buying lots of backlinks (e.g., 100s or 1000s), then this will definitely run the risk of Google cracking down on your site.

If you’re looking for links with a high spam score that harms your SEO efforts, try performing a backlink audit with a company like Semrush. A backlink analysis will help you determine the links boosting the rankings and find those resulting in a Google penalty.

Google’s Disavow Tool is an excellent way to remove toxic links. Just be aware that if you use it, you’ll need to manually inspect each link, as you wouldn’t want to make a mistake by disavowing some quality links.

Related: What’s better for my business: SEO or PPC?

6 tactics to get high-quality backlinks

Now that we’ve explained what makes a good (and not-so-good) backlink let’s get into the nitty-gritty.

Link building opportunities are everywhere. The key is to know where to look. Let’s run through six great white hat strategies that actually work when it comes to building authoritative, relevant backlinks for your business.

1. Make quality content a top priority

Outstanding content and quality backlinks go together like Koalas and Eucalyptus — you’ll rarely find one without the other. It’s crucial to build your campaign on a bedrock of quality content. 

How do you create content that websites will want to link to? The key is to provide unique value to your customers. To accomplish this, you could:

  • Publish original research.
  • Provide more in-depth insights than the competition.
  • Create unique resources or research tools.
  • Create visual content, infographics, or interactive materials.
  • Engage users with original storytelling.
  • Publish ultimate guides or step-by-step tutorials.

This is a rather general link building tactic. But it’s undoubtedly the most important as it helps with earning links. 

Suppose you don’t build your backlinks strategy on a foundation of great content. In that case, you’re thwarting your campaign before you’ve even begun, which will positively impact your branding strategy.

2. Guest posts

Guest blogging is a tried-and-tested link building approach that’s still as popular as ever. Here’s how it works. 

In short, you write an article for another website relevant to your industry. Within the article, you reference your own website with relevant backlinks. 

They get a free article that brings visitors to their website. You get free publicity back to your own site via the links. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.

When searching for websites to guest blog for, we recommend avoiding all sites that tell you they’re ‘looking for guest bloggers.’ Chances are these websites post hundreds of guest blogs every month, making their backlinks less authoritative. 

Instead, we recommend pitching high-authority sites that don’t mention guest blogs. Simply write a friendly email, explain your idea, and hit send. You’ll be surprised how many businesses will jump at the chance to secure free content.

Here’s a pro tip: If you are creating guest post content, then if you can optimise the content and have it targeting a keyword that a site is not currently targeting, you’ll have a greater chance of success. You can use a keyword research tool like Ahrefs to do this.

It’s important to point out that many sites will have ‘write for us’ pages. Some of these are massive, for example, news sites and large brands. Most are low-quality and are disguised to sell guest posts, which goes against Google’s Search Essentials.

3. Broken Links

How often have you clicked a link on a website only to find the linked page no longer exists? Broken link building aims to capitalise on this problem. 

Broken link building works in a few easy steps:

  1. Find an outdated resource with a link that doesn’t work on a website.
  2. Create something better than the broken resource.
  3. Encourage the site owner to replace the broken link with your new, working resource.

Broken link building is an incredibly effective strategy because, like guest blogging, you’re offering another website a free service. After all, no website owner wants outdated links on their page. 

There are also several broken-link discovery tools available online, such as Ahrefs Broken Link Checker, meaning you won’t need to head out on the hunt for outdated links alone.

4. Skyscraper technique

There’s always room for improvement, even regarding the most popular posts online. The skyscraper method involves building backlinks with a simple three-step process:

  1. Find quality content online that many sites link to by checking websites in your niche. You can do this easily on Ahrefs by clicking “Best pages by links.”
  2. Then, create new content that is 100x better than the original content.
  3. Contact all sites linking to that original article and see if they will replace it with your link, as your content is much better. 

People naturally want to link to the best content available online. If you approach a prospective website with content better than the resources they already backlink to, they have every reason to accept your offer.

In short, you aim to become the ‘tallest skyscraper’ in your niche. You’re creating content that’s better than the best of the best. In doing so, you’ve made yourself the clear option over the competition.

How do I find content to improve? Finding content for the skyscraper method is deceptively simple. Top-ranking content generally has 3.8x more backlinks on the front page than other sites.

Therefore, to find content with many links, we need to enter related keywords that we want to rank for and view the result at the top of Google. 

A range of link building tools, such as Ahrefs, can be used to check the quality of backlinks on a website. You can also use Ahrefs to find potential skyscraper content by using Site Explorer and Content Explorer.

5. Leverage link roundups and resource page link building 

You may think it sounds too good to be true if we told you that certain websites post blogs for the sole reason of providing backlinks. But start believing. 

Link roundups are regular, niche blog posts that link to valuable content and resources. Here’s a recent example we found on Big Apple Media’s page.

To get started, simply:

  • Search for a link roundup or business directory relevant to your niche (enter a target keyword + link roundup on Google).
  • Write a pitch to the site’s owner suggesting they use your linkable asset in their next roundup.

You’ll earn a powerful backlink if someone deems your blog article awesome. They may even share your post on social media if you’re lucky.

6. Ask for credit where it’s due

Sometimes, a website mentions your business but doesn’t provide a backlink. While this may initially be a source of frustration, you can turn it into a great link building opportunity.

Always ask those who reference your resources to provide a backlink to your site. Almost every single time, they’ll be more than happy to accommodate.

Consider setting up Google Alerts to ensure you never miss a website that mentions your business online. 

Summing up

Building quality backlinks is no walk in the park. Still, with the right SEO strategy, it’s possible to source authoritative, relevant links that propel your site to success and boost your organic traffic and sales.

How can Warren Digital help? Our digital marketing and SEO experts have the skills to get your website noticed. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

Relevant Insights