Your content and SEO strategy go hand-in-hand. You don’t create content just for the sake of creating it. You do so with the intent of having it rank for keywords your audience uses to find resources online and so that you can have a bank of reliable, educational resources to fuel your email marketing efforts.
But part of ensuring your content ranks is making sure you focus on acquiring backlinks from high-quality sites. These efforts help you gain recognition and third-party credibility that impresses and grows your audience.
Acquiring these links can seem like an effort all their own. It requires a thought-out approach and careful thought around what sites you target and why. In this article, we’ll break down the value you’ll get from authority backlinks, some rules for acquiring them, and a step-by-step process to follow that will improve your search rankings and domain rank.
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The value backlinks offer
Getting quality, authority backlinks is an essential part of any SEO strategy. The more backlinks your website has, from sites that are high-quality with high domain authority, the better it is for your site. The higher your site will rank over time, and when your site ranks higher in search results, it’s easier to find for your audience that’s heading to search engines to find answers to their questions.
The backlink rules
If you’re looking to increase the domain authority of your site, then there are some important rules you’ll want to follow. Establishing these before you do any outreach or implement a strategy is crucial, as it will help keep your efforts in check and aligned with your goals.
Know your site’s standings
Make sure you know your site’s domain authority and authority score before you do anything. You’ll want to track this not only so you can see how it increases over time but so you know what sites make sense for you to reach out to. For instance, if your site’s domain authority is 64, it wouldn’t make a ton of sense to seek out placement on sites with a domain authority of 50 or lower.
Remember: Quality over quantity
While your aim may be to increase the number of backlinks you get, you shouldn’t just try to get placed on any and every site possible. You want your backlinks to make sense based on where they’re getting placed, and you want to make sure the sites you’re seeking out pertain to your industry and generate traffic from individuals that fall within your audience base.
Why does that matter? Well, even though your main goal is to get authority backlinks, there is still a chance that those reading the article your link is in will click on your link, see your website, and opt-in to your inbound marketing funnel. So, even though building your email list is secondary in these efforts, you want to make sure you’re building your list with qualified leads.
Plus, if you get too many links too quickly, you could get penalized by Google and goodbye SEO. So, make sure you’re selective with your backlinks and put quality over quantity.
Mix it up
Don’t just focus on other websites or online publications. You’ll want to get links back from other sources, like social media, industry blogs, reports, etc. These diversified efforts will help improve your SERP position.
Prioritize your links
SEO and backlinks go hand-in-hand with your content marketing strategy. And if you’ve taken your content marketing strategy seriously, then you’re probably building pillar pages or at least familiar with them.
It’s a smart decision to establish a few pages as the high-priority links that you’ll focus your backlink efforts around. It’s even better if these pages are “pillar pages,” as that means they’ll include other links to your content. So, when these pillar pages get placed, you’ll absorb the SEO juice of the site it’s placed on, and so will the links within the pillar page.
Also, make sure you have desired anchor text in mind for these links. It’s helpful if the anchor text for each link includes the keyword or words you want those pages to rank for. But, be flexible. You don’t want your content to get flagged for being involved in any keyword stuffing efforts.
Tools are marketers’ best friends, and with SEO, it’s no different. Anything regarding Google rankings and SERP positions is very technical, and your standings can change day to day. That’s why we highly recommend tapping into the data and analysis that certain tools can offer you.
Use Moz and SEMRush to track your domain authority and authority score. These tools will also let you track those metrics for other sites so you can determine which makes sense to focus on for your strategy. They also tap into a ton of other data, like what sites link to your competitors, keyword gaps (so you can create new, high-quality content that has rank potential), and where your backlinks are coming from.
How to get authority backlinks
Okay, let’s get down to business by outlining a step-by-step process for obtaining quality backlinks.
Create quality content
You have to lay the groundwork for these efforts, and that means ensuring that the content you’re creating is high-quality. You can’t simply post a blog post here and there about company updates and hope for the best, especially if you’re hoping another site will be open to linking to your content.
Other sites only want to link to content that is valuable and that has helpful insights to share with people. So, make sure you know your audience well, including their needs and pain points, and center your content creation process around those needs. Pay attention to industry trends, hot takes from other influencers, and the real needs of your customer base to shape your strategy. That’s the best way to ensure the content you’re publishing on your website will add value to other pieces of content in the space.
Make a list of your pillar pages
Identify the links on your site that are the most valuable. These are links that are often considered pillar pages, and they contain the most educational content pertaining to your area of expertise. By following the standard rules pertaining to pillar posts, these pages should already be optimized for SEO and built around keywords related to your audience and what they’re searching for online.
These pages should also be optimized to drive conversions. So, they should include website forms or CTAs that encourage visitors to sign up for your email marketing, download a whitepaper, or sign up for a demo request. This helps you capitalize on all that new site traffic and generate leads for your inbound funnel.
Target specific sites
Each online publication or company blog has an audience demographic. You can usually tell by the content they publish. Make sure you identify the other blogs or online publications within your industry that your audience might read. Try and find a contact email or fill out a form on their website to see if they’d be interested in a partnership of some kind.
It also doesn’t hurt to reach out to them via social media. You can tweet at them or send them a DM to see if they may be interested in a blog swap or link exchange.
Know your resources
There are sites and communities out there geared towards these kinds of efforts; it’s just up to you to seek them out.
Look at sites like HARO for opportunities you can contribute to. Make sure that what you’re offering up are unique, tactical, helpful insights. And be as specific as possible. Only go for opportunities that are related to your industry and that are placed on sites that align with your domain authority or rank and that tap into a similar audience as yours.
Create a co-branded opportunities page
Let the opportunities come to you by creating a page on your website that encourages co-branded opportunities with other brands. This page can list blog posts you have coming up in your pipeline that could use some helpful insights from other influencers. Link each opportunity to a form that asks specific questions and use the best answers to add some substance to your upcoming posts.
Once your post is live, you can let each contributor know and encourage them to share it out on their social platforms for additional exposure.
If these efforts are going to be successful, then they need to be consistent. Building your site rankings takes time because you will not see success from just one backlink placement. It requires many on a consistent basis to see any real results.
I recommend dedicating a couple of hours a week to these efforts by blocking out some time on your schedule. It’s easy to let other things get in the way, but if you prioritize your backlink strategy, you won’t let it fall by the wayside.
Getting authority backlinks is great for your brand. It helps you establish more credibility and increase your online rankings and domain authority. If this hasn’t been a focus of yours, or if you haven’t prioritized these efforts yet, it doesn’t matter. Just follow the tips above and watch your domain rank and authority increase and your pillar pages rise in search results.