If you spend enough time in the SEO space, one question that always gets asked by people struggling to rank is: why do some websites come to dominate the search engine results pages, and why do others languish in obscurity?
It’s simple: niche relevant backlinks.
Relevant backlinks are the lifeblood of the internet and the main currency of off-page search engine optimization. They are one of the most important ways in which search engines like Google evaluate, qualify and rank web pages and they are one of the hardest parts of SEO to do well.
It’s also what we at dofollow specialize in as a link building service. These are the kinds of high quality backlinks we build for our predominantly software as a service clients on a regular basis:
In this article, we’re going to give you a crash course in niche relevant backlinks, including why they are important, how Google views them (and backlinks more broadly) and how you can build and acquire them yourself.
Let’s dive in.
Why niche relevant backlinks are important
Why are backlinks important?
Search engines like Google see niche relevant backlinks as important ranking signals because they indicate authority and trust.
When trusted, authoritative websites in the same niche as yours link to your site, that tells Google that “this site can be trusted.” The logic goes, if reputable websites have seen fit to send their traffic and “link equity” to another site, they must believe that site is worth “vouching” for.
This logic underpins the concept of Domain Authority (DA) and Domain Rating (DR), two proprietary metrics used by SEO tools MOZ and Ahrefs, respectively, to calculate where a page is likely to fall in the search engine results based on its backlinks profile.
The higher your domain authority, the higher your ranking in the search engine results, the higher your organic traffic–the top results take the lion’s share of the traffic.
The self-reinforcing nature of niche relevant backlinks
Perhaps the most powerful part of targeting relevant link building opportunities on niche relevant websites is that the more niche relevant links you build, the more you are likely to acquire as time goes on.
As your pages rise to the top of the SERP–whether it’s an infographic or an informative blog post, or a comprehensive resource page–other websites and site owners, searching for information, come upon your site and link back to it.
This is how to build and acquire high quality links to and from relevant sites well into the future.
How Google’s views on backlinks and link building have evolved
What a lot of new link builders and businesses online fail to grasp the full importance of when it comes to link building is this idea of relevance.
Building niche relevant backlinks and seeking out relevant niche sites when planning and executing a link building strategy plays an outsized role in determining a website’s search engine rankings.
The era of quantity over quality is long gone
Whether you are just beginning your link building journey or you’ve been at it for a while with mixed (or even poor results), the most important thing to understand about off-page search engine optimization is that the era of building backlinks haphazardly is over.
In fact, it ended quite some time ago. Below is probably the most important takeaway from Google Search Central when it comes to link building:
“Google uses links as an important factor in determining the relevancy of web pages” and “any links that are intended to manipulate rankings in Google Search results may be considered link spam.”
Google has always played it pretty close to the chest when it comes to how it views link building strategies and what it does and doesn’t look favorably upon, but consider that back in the day (way back), you could pretty much build links however you wanted and as long as you got a lot of them, you’d dominate the search engine results–even black hat links.
Over the years, Google has moved further and further in the direction of ignoring non relevant backlinks and rewarding niche backlinks when it comes to SEO value and ranking.
In fact, a couple of highly niche relevant backlinks from smaller sites with less traffic but in good standing with Google can do more for your authority and trust in the eyes of Google than several huge backlinks from massive sites with almost no niche relevance.
An example might be: if you were running a gardening website, a backlink from an independent, but nonetheless respected blogger in the gardening space would very likely garner you much more SEO value than a link from a leading automotive trade journal with a domain authority of 90.
How you can land your own niche relevant quality backlinks
Below are some things you can start doing today to find more niche relevant link building opportunities for yourself.
Understand your niche
To establish a robust strategy for building niche-relevant backlinks, a foundational step is a comprehensive understanding of your niche.
This involves delving deep into the intricacies of your industry, identifying key players, competitors, and the specific topics that resonate with your target audience.
It is important to know your niche inside out because it allows you to do two essential things in your pursuit of backlinks:
- It enables you to pinpoint authoritative websites, influencers, and platforms that are influential in your space.
- This in turn allows you to create content and outreach strategies that align seamlessly with the nuances of your industry, increasing the likelihood of earning high-quality, niche-relevant backlinks.
Furthermore, a profound understanding of your niche positions you as an authoritative voice within your industry. This can’t help but influence your content.
When you produce content that demonstrates expertise, addresses industry pain points, or offers valuable insights, other websites and influencers are more inclined to link to your content as a reputable source.
This not only strengthens your backlink profile but also enhances your overall online presence, signaling to Google that your website is a valuable resource in your specific niche. All of this makes investing time in comprehending the nuances of your niche lays a solid foundation for a successful and targeted backlink strategy.
At dofollow, we like to think of ourselves as a lot more than just a link building agency. We understand that it is relationship cultivation and network expansion that form the basis of sustainable, long-term link building efforts.
In the realm of SEO, building strong relationships is not only a key component of effective link building but also a strategic investment in the longevity and credibility of your online presence.
Cultivating relationships within your niche involves genuine engagement with industry influencers, thought leaders, and authoritative websites. Establishing these connections not only opens avenues for potential backlinks but also creates opportunities for collaborations, content partnerships, and mutual support.
One of the things we’ve come to realize over the years, and particularly as Google has become more focused on the quality of your links, not the quantity, is that building relationships within your niche is crucial for acquiring organic and contextually relevant backlinks.
When you have cultivated a network of trusted connections, influencers and website owners are more likely to link to your content naturally. This organic link-building approach is what will get you the most attention from search engines, as it reflects the authenticity and credibility of your website within the niche.
Furthermore, these relationships can lead to guest posting opportunities, collaborative content creation, or mentions in industry discussions—all of which contribute to a diverse and high-quality backlink profile. You never know when and where the opportunity to acquire a niche relevant backlink might crop up.
In essence, the emphasis on relationship-building in your niche not only strengthens your SEO strategy but also fosters a supportive community that can positively impact your online visibility and authority.
Broken link building
Broken link building is a strategic approach that involves identifying broken or outdated links on authoritative websites within your niche and offering relevant, high-quality content as a replacement.
This tactic is essential for several reasons. Firstly, it provides a solution to webmasters who are likely unaware of the broken links on their site, showcasing your proactive approach and willingness to contribute value.
Secondly, from an SEO perspective, replacing broken links with your relevant content contributes to the improvement of the linking website's user experience and overall quality. Google values websites that maintain a healthy and functional link structure, and by assisting in the upkeep of these links, you're fostering a positive signal for search engines.
This tactic not only helps you secure niche-relevant backlinks but also aligns with Google's preference for user-friendly web environments.
In a nutshell, Google’s new philosophy (allegedly) on content and ranking can be summarized by their below statement:
How to go about broken link building
Broken link building is a proactive and strategic approach to acquiring high-quality backlinks by identifying and replacing broken or outdated links on authoritative websites within your niche. To effectively leverage this tactic, you can utilize search strings in Google to pinpoint pages in your niche that are likely to have broken links.
Crafting specific search queries helps you discover relevant opportunities where your content could serve as a valuable replacement. Craft search queries that specifically target pages likely to contain a wealth of external links, such as:
- "Your Niche" + "101"
- "Your Niche" + "Explained"
- "Your Niche" + "Guide"
These search strings are tailored to reveal resource pages and comprehensive guides within your niche that often use terms like "101," "Explained," or "Guide." These pages typically serve as valuable broken link building prospects due to their comprehensive nature and the multitude of external links they may contain.
Maximizing Efforts with Tools like Ahrefs
To maximize your broken link building efforts, leveraging tools like Ahrefs becomes invaluable. Ahrefs is a comprehensive SEO tool that offers features specifically designed for identifying broken links and assessing the overall backlink landscape of a website.
- Site Explorer: Use Ahrefs' Site Explorer to analyze the backlink profile of a potential target website. This tool provides insights into the website's overall authority, the number of backlinks, and the referring domains. Identify pages with high authority that are relevant to your niche.
- Broken Backlinks Report: Utilize Ahrefs' Broken Backlinks report to identify broken links pointing to the target website. This report highlights links that are no longer functional, offering you a list of broken link opportunities.
- Content Explorer: Ahrefs' Content Explorer allows you to search for specific topics or keywords within your niche. Identify content that aligns with your expertise and could potentially serve as a replacement for broken links.
By combining Google search strings to find relevant pages and Ahrefs to assess the backlink landscape and identify broken link opportunities, you streamline the broken link building process.
This approach ensures that your outreach efforts are targeted, increasing the likelihood of successfully replacing broken links with your valuable, niche-specific content. Remember to approach webmasters with a courteous and well-crafted outreach pitch, emphasizing the value your content brings to their audience and offering a seamless replacement for the broken link.
Broken link building is all about providing up front value and making a site owner or webmaster’s job as easy as possible.
Niche edits involve strategically placing your links within existing, relevant content on authoritative websites. Unlike traditional link-building methods, niche edits leverage the strength of established content that is already indexed and valued by search engines.
This approach is significant for several reasons.
Firstly, it allows you to insert your link into content that is contextually relevant to your niche, ensuring that the link is seamlessly integrated into the existing narrative. This contextual relevance enhances the perceived value of your link, both for users and search engines.
Secondly, niche edits often involve updating or expanding upon existing content to make it even more valuable. This collaborative approach benefits both parties—the website owner benefits from improved content, and you gain a high-quality, niche-relevant backlink. This strategy aligns with Google's emphasis on content quality and relevance, positioning your website favorably in search engine rankings.
By strategically choosing the right pages and ensuring your link adds value to the existing content, you enhance the credibility and authority of your website within your niche.
Unlinked mentions refer to instances where your brand, product, or content is mentioned on a website, but no hyperlink is provided. Identifying and claiming these unlinked mentions is a crucial tactic for securing niche-relevant backlinks.
Firstly, unlinked mentions represent opportunities where your brand is already recognized or discussed within your niche.
By reaching out to the website owner or content creator and requesting a link to your website, you're capitalizing on existing brand visibility and converting it into a tangible SEO asset.
Secondly, claiming unlinked mentions ensures that your online presence is accurately represented and linked back to your website. This is essential for building a consistent and authoritative online profile.
When Google sees that your brand is consistently linked in contextually relevant discussions or content within your niche, it reinforces your website's relevance and authority. It's a proactive step towards maximizing the SEO potential of existing brand mentions, turning them into valuable backlinks that contribute to your niche-specific authority and visibility.
One of the best ways of finding your unlinked mentions as they appear is using Google’s free Google Alerts tool.
Simply specify the keywords and phrases you want Google to scan newly crawled pages for and you will get an email notification each time they find something.
Then, ascertain whether it’s worth your while trying to convert the mention into a dofollow backlink (is the website niche relevant? Does it have good traffic? Will Google like it?) and reach out.
Ahrefs provides powerful tools that can assist you in locating these unlinked mentions and capitalizing on them for effective link building.
Here’s how it’s done:
- Content Explorer: Begin by utilizing Ahrefs' Content Explorer feature. Enter your brand name, product, or specific content-related keywords into the search bar. This tool scours a massive database of web pages to find instances where your brand or content is mentioned, even if it lacks a hyperlink.
- Set Filters: Refine your search results using filters. Ahrefs allows you to set filters based on various criteria such as domain rating, language, and date. This helps narrow down the results to recent and relevant mentions that are more likely to offer link building opportunities
- Review Mentions: Carefully review the mentions identified by Ahrefs. Pay attention to the context in which your brand or content is mentioned. These mentions could be in blog posts, articles, or other types of content where a link would enhance the user experience or provide additional context.
Using both of these approaches will help you stay on top of your unlinked mentions as new pages are published, crawled and indexed by Google.
Like most things worthwhile, building niche relevant backlinks is not easy. Knowing how and where to build backlinks in the current era of unpredictable and sweeping core updates is no small task, and you can get burned quite easily (both in terms of lost time and money).
If you have the budget for it and are interested in learning more, reach out to dofollow today and let’s chat about how our transparent, contract-free, performance-based link building can help you land niche relevant backlinks on the biggest and most influential sites in your industry.
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.