In this guide, we’re going to show you how to build backlinks with staying power–those that will hold up in the age of AI and an era of increasingly strict Google spam and useful content updates.
Pay special attention to the first three bullet points.
They are important pieces of information because they indicate what serious websites with serious editorial policies and the desire to stay in Google’s good books (so that their content will rank and be well-received) are considering when placing outbound links.
If you want to get backlinks from relevant, high authority sites in your niche (i.e., high quality backlinks), you need to consider what these sites require in their own content. These are the kinds of links that we build for our clients at dofollow.
Inbound links from good referring domains are definitely a ranking factor. But the outbound links you have in your content also affect how readers and Google rate you. This has serious implications for link builders and businesses.
Quality websites are careful about who they link to, which means you, as a link builder, have to put the effort into finding and building relationships with these kinds of websites.
So, with all of that in mind (and hopefully taken to heart), let’s get into how to build quality backlinks.
Why are backlinks important?
Before we get into the how, let’s first have a quick breakdown of why quality backlinks are important and, therefore, why link building is important.
In a nutshell: link building is important because backlinks are the main currency of the web.
When other sites and website owners provide dofollow backlinks to yours, they are essentially telling Google, “I vouch for the authority and quality of this content.”
SEO analytics companies like Ahrefs have done very convincing studies backing this assertion up, with top-ranking sites consistently receiving more backlinks than lower-ranking ones.
Links, therefore, from an EEAT (Experience, Expertise, Authority and Trust) perspective, are an important part of communicating your authority and trustworthiness to Google.
Trustworthy and authoritative websites are the ones that Google is most interested in showing its users, which means they are most likely to be the ones appearing at the top of the search engine results pages.
Now, let’s get into how you can find the kind of link opportunities and build the kind of backlinks that are going to impress Google and build your traffic.
Broken link building
Broken link building (or broken links link building) is a link building strategy that involves using Google search (and/or paid SEO analytics tools like Ahrefs) to find links in people’s content that lead to broken pages.
Pages “break” or disappear from their original location all the time, for a variety of reasons. The site owner may have decided to get rid of a page altogether because it wasn’t performing or was no longer relevant or current.
Maybe the page was redirected to a new URL (the site could have moved, or simply the page to a new location on a website).
Either way, a broken link is a user experience issue and something that most site owners want to fix whenever possible.
The reason broken link building can be such a great way to find link building opportunities is because it is high “value-add.” You are informing someone of a potentially significant problem in their content (for free).
Well, mostly for free.
The way this link building strategy works is you notify the site of a link leading to a page that no longer works, and you offer your similar page as a replacement.
This means you have to already have your target page(s) in mind when you utilize this tactic, of course. You then look for pages and make a list of all the broken links you find, reach out to the website owners, and attempt to build your backlink.
How to build broken links
There are a few common strategies used when building broken links. The first is free, the second involves paying for an SEO analytics tool like Ahrefs.
The free method: Google search
The free method is quite simple. It involves Google search (free) and a free Chrome plugin like Broken Link Checker.
It’s basically a two-step process now:
- Find resource pages where you are likely to encounter broken links
- Spot the links
The best way to find broken links is to find pages with a lot of links. The more links on a page, the more likely one or more of them is to be broken.
Search strings (specific search terms) are your friends here.
Here’s an example:
If you searched “the ultimate through hiking guide,” Google would return a list of pages claiming to be “the ultimate through hiking” guides.
The ultimate of anything has to be loaded with as much comprehensive information as possible, which means a high number of outbound links.
Other good search terms to this end include things like:
- “101”--as in “thru hiking 101,” “link building 101,” etc.
- “The only guide”
- “What is”--as in “what is link building,” “what are tiny homes,” etc.
Presumably you’ve got your broken link checker installed. What you would do now is scan the articles for instances of broken links.
Compile those URLs into an excel file, find the contact information for each one, draft up your outreach emails and contact the site owners.
Supercharging this with an SEO analytics tool
If you really want to take this link building strategy to the next level, then you need a good SEO analytics tool like Ahrefs.
For every broken link you find, you can then enter it into something like Ahrefs site explorer and filter the results by backlinks.
This will give you a list of most of the websites that are also linking to that broken page.
A lot of the time, site owners don’t know they are linking to a broken page. You can inform them en masse, send your outreach emails (automating them using tools like Snov or Hunter) and potentially scale your broken link building enormously.
Done right, broken link building is one of those link building strategies that can help you build the kinds of backlinks that really boost domain authority.
Niche edits are what used to be referred to as “link insertions,” but the idea of a niche edit implies something quite a bit more sophisticated.
Search engines like Google have become increasingly adept at spotting link manipulation. This is from Google’s 2022 Link Spam update:
Pay attention to that last line there. “Links obtained primarily for artificial manipulation of Search rankings are link spam”...and will be “neutralized.”
Worse than that, get too many of these kinds of backlinks and you might even find yourself hit with a manual action penalty.
You definitely don’t want to be on the receiving end of one of these. They can have major, long-lasting impacts on your traffic and revenue.
Link insertions (where you simply trawl the internet for sites that are willing to accept money to insert a backlink into an existing article) are an example of these spammy tactics Google was talking about.
What you should be doing instead are niche edits.
This is where you find a high quality resource page that is already ranking well, that Google clearly has already deemed quality content, and then build a relationship with the site owner so that they might allow you to make a small change to an existing article in a way that allows your backlink to be placed naturally and contextually.
We’ve been building relationships with fantastic sites over the years that allow us to take advantage of link building opportunities that normally aren’t available to the public.
A niche edit looks for other websites with a lot of contextual relevance and then finds opportunities to add value to their existing content by including links to informational articles that help their readers better understand a concept.
Guest posting (or guest blogging) is one of the most commonly practiced and one of the most hotly debated link building tactics out there.
When you write guest posts, you create content (a blog post) for someone else’s site in exchange for one or more links back to your own (your own page is also usually a blog post).
Not all backlinks from guest posting are good, however.
Guest posting is big business. A lot of websites know that if they have a high enough DR or DA (and really that’s it), they will receive a constant influx of emails from marketers willing to pay to have their link hosted on their site.
Very often, the editorial requirements for these guest posts are very relaxed. AI-generated content full of factual and spelling errors with nothing but a single paid link somewhere in there.
A lot of these sites will allow topics that are all over the place. Healthcare, marketing, business, crypto, cannabis, you name it. These kinds of sites are what are known as link farms.
Typically, it is a site with residual high DR or DA that someone has purchased with the sole intent of “farming” out links to unwitting or unscrupulous buyers. The DA is high, but other key metrics like traffic and a clean SEO history (i.e., no penalties from Google) are absent.
That is why you have to be very cautious about where you place your guest posts.
A lot of SEOs and marketers will tell you that any website with a “write for us” or “become a contributor”-type page is a no-go. That you’re setting yourself up to waste money and have any potential link juice neutralized.
While there is some truth to the idea that you should be innately skeptical of sites that advertise their willingness to accept guest posts, it’s not as cut and dried as that.
Evaluating guest post opportunities
When we’re looking at guest post opportunities, what we are ultimately checking for are indicators that the link is going to be beneficial to our clients and will pass on significant link equity.
Key Indicators for Beneficial Guest Posts:
- Relevant content
- Links pointing to other high-quality and relevant sites
- Actual helpful content
- Internal links in the content
In the realm of guest posting, the significance of relevance cannot be overstated. Our approach revolves around meticulously aligning the content of guest posts with the specific industry, products, or services of our clients.
By choosing opportunities that seamlessly integrate with our clients' offerings, we ensure that the content not only captures the attention of the target audience but also establishes a meaningful connection. This alignment contributes to the overall success of the guest post, making the link more valuable and credible in the eyes of search engines.
Links Pointing to Other High-Quality Sites
In our pursuit of quality backlinks, we prioritize guest post opportunities on websites renowned for linking to authoritative and high-quality sources.
This strategic selection goes beyond simply securing a link – it's about embedding our clients within a network of reputable sites.
By associating our clients' links with platforms that have a proven track record of promoting quality content, we enhance the credibility of the link itself. This not only benefits the immediate guest post but also contributes to a positive link profile, reinforcing our clients' standing in the digital landscape.
Actual Helpful Content
Distinguishing between sites that merely sell backlinks and those genuinely committed to delivering value is integral to our guest post strategy. We actively seek opportunities on platforms that prioritize education and engagement over mere promotional tactics.
Our goal is to place our clients' links in environments where the overarching mission is to provide real value to readers. By doing so, we ensure that our clients become associated with content that goes beyond self-promotion, fostering a positive perception and long-term trust among their target audience.
Internal Links in the Content
Internal linking is not just an SEO tactic; it's a reflection of a website's commitment to user experience and content coherence. When evaluating guest post opportunities, we specifically look for websites that seamlessly incorporate internal links within their articles.
This strategic approach not only signals to search engines that the site is well-structured and content-rich but also amplifies the value of the external link. By associating our clients' links with platforms that understand the significance of internal linking, we contribute to an enhanced SEO standing and a more rewarding user experience for readers.
While building backlinks has certainly become a much more strategic and relationship-based endeavor over the last couple of years, backlinks are still of immense importance to search engine optimization.
Along with good experience and expertise signals, your backlink profile is how you communicate to Google that your content and website are worthy of being shown at the top of the search engine results page.
That’s where dofollow.io’s link building service comes in. Get in touch with us today and let’s chat more about how our full-service, user-centric approach to link building can help turn your website into an organic lead-generating machine.
Why Trust Us On SEO
Eric Carrell & Sebastian Schaffer have been working in SEO for over a decade, building their own projects - understanding and testing SEO strategy, along with building hundreds of white hat links per month for our projects. They take their learnings and experience and apply them to the strategy that drives our link building strategy for our clients.
Eric & Seb have always believed in quality over quantity, doing things the right way so we future proof our client’s websites against future Google updates and the evolving industry of search.
While Seb handles the company strategy around culture, processes and structure, Eric is constantly working to improve our service offering, customer experience, and following the industry in parallel with Google’s Quality Guidelines so that we are always one step ahead of our competition and aligned with what Google wants to see for your site to rank higher.