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backlink strategy for seo
14 Oct
By Jarrod | 14 Oct | backlink building strategy for seo, backlink strategy for seo |

Backlink Strategy for SEO

There are many important aspects to establishing an effective backlink strategy for SEO. I'm not going to get too in depth here on the keys to writing your article, in this segment we will assume you have great content and it's ready to be released to the world wide web. The first step to building backlinks is doing your research on the key words you are targeting for your articles, before you write your article. This will lay a solid foundation for the steps that come. You will want to make sure you are writing your content around these keywords so that search engines know, without a doubt, what your blog or article is about.

I use Googles' Keyword Planner to do my research on keywords. In Keyword Planner you enter a few keywords you want to write about, then you can see approximately how many searches there are per a month for related keywords. You can also see how competitive the keywords are, but it's important to note that the level of competition (low, medium, high), at least in the Keyword Planner, is related to the level of competition between businesses bidding on those keywords for advertisements. It is not a reflection of how competitive they are between sites. Keyword planner also shows the price range of what businesses are willing to pay for ads; there is a low range and a high range. This is good to look at as it will give you an idea of what type of earnings you will receive when visitors click on those ads on your page.

Here it's important to draw the distinction between short-tail keywords and long-tail keywords. Short-tail are one or two word combinations, for example "business blog." These are typically harder to rank high for in search results because they are typically more competitive. Long-tail keywords, which are your "sweet spot," are a combination of 3 or more words, for example "business blog about setting up a business," and these generally are easier to rank higher in search results for because they are more specific to what your content is about. I would focus on long-tail keywords in the beginning. You also want to make sure there is an adequate number of searches for the keywords you are discussing within your blog. I personally aim for keywords that get between 1k-10k searches a month. The break-out for searches per month in Googles' Keyword planner is: 100-1k, 1k-10k, 10k-100k, and 100k-1m. I make an assumption that keywords with 10k and above are fairly competitive, with a lot of sites competing for those keywords, so I'm not really chasing those yet since my blog is fairly new. Less than 1k searches doesn't seem like enough potential traffic for the effort involved... so 1k-10k seems just right for me.

Building Internal Links

Now that you have a fairly solid understanding of the importance of keywords and how to find them, we can start digging into how you use those keywords to leverage your position in the SERP's. This is the strategic part. First, it's important to note there are internal links and external links, and how you link is a critical component to your strategy. Let's say you have 10 articles in your blog, and while each one focuses on a specific topic, there may be relationships between those topics. Here you will want to look for opportunities to link keywords from one article and point to another article based on the relationship (the keyword) between the two. This not only tells the search engines that there is a relationship, but it is an opportunity to specify (reiterate... reinforce) that the page you are linking to is about "x subject." Anything you can do to tell the search engines that a page is about "subject x" will help ensure there is no confusion, and increase the likelihood that you rank for that specific keyword.

In addition to creating internal links from within your content, you can also create links to the articles from the sidebar. For example, say you have a "Recent Articles" section in your sidebar. Here you have another opportunity to link to an article and use your keyword (your primary keyword(s)) to tell search engines these words describe what the content on this page is about. Internal links are something you can develop as your site evolves. As you generate more content periodically go back to older content and see if there is an opportunity to create a link (either to the new content, or the older content). Which brings up another important consideration; search engines like fresh content. Not only are they looking for new and original content, but if you have older content it will help you if you periodically update the content, even minor changes.

Building Backlinks

With your solid foundation in place with internal links, now it's time to start pointing back to your site; developing your backlink strategy by applying SEO techniques. There are numerous places to build backlinks; web directories, blog directories, social sites, bookmarking sites, commenting on blogs, and the most crucial is either through guest blogging on another site (preferably on a site with content related to your own) or drawing organic backlinks from other bloggers that place links to your content from within their own blog.

The easiest link building occurs with bookmarking sites, social sites, and directories. See our backlink list for a list of 40+ sites that I have found and am actively using to build backlinks. While these are "easy" targets, they will require effort. You will need to set up an account for most of them, then add your links. Additionally, it's important to note that not all of the links from the list are "dofollow." Part of my personal strategy is to get my site out there to draw organic traffic, so if I can find places to draw traffic, regardless of the link type, then I'll put in the effort. However, the most important links from an SEO perspective are "dofollow" links. These tell search engines that site "A" found the content of value on site "B", and they are "vouching" for the content; that site B is legitimate and has valuable information. In some cases, though, a site may be cautious and put a "nofollow" because they don't want to affect the page they are referencing. For example if site "A" is a new site with low Domain Authority (DA), they may not want to impact the page they are referring to on site "B" from a SERP perspective... and site "B" may not want a referral link from site "A" if site "A" isn't an established site. In short, keeping it a "nofollow" link will avoid potential requests to remove a backlink if the site doesn't want their site "advertised" from your site.

The more difficult backlinks to establish are those that come from either guest blogging, or from organic methods where another blogger finds your content, sees value in it and links to your page from their own blog. Of the two, guest blogging is easier. There are a variety of ways to guest blog, and there are a lot of sites out there that let bloggers submit content (our site for example!). This is a benefit for both the site that hosts the article and the blogger. For the site hosting the article, they get a fresh content for their site, and as I discussed earlier, search engines love new content. For a new site, site that is run by one person, or that has minimal staff, this is great because they can focus on other tasks related to SEO and building their web presence. For the blogger submitting the content this is a win because they get a backlink to their site (hopefully one that leads to a page with the keyword they are trying to focus on) and it's an opportunity to gain organic traffic.

Because I glossed over the most important part, I'll backtrack a bit. In the article you submit you will want to have a handful of outbound links. Many sites want you to add outbound links that not only add value to your content, but it indirectly shows you have done research and are validating your claims that you've made in your article. These outbound links also tell the search engines that you are citing and using references in your content to substantiate what you are saying. In your article, though, you will want to reference a page back to your site using the keywords of that page... this is where you get big "points" from the search engines, and this is how you truly build a solid backlink. This paragraph in particular is the key to your success in establishing an effective backlink strategy for SEO! If you do this, and repeat, you WILL build a strong and successful site. The challenge in this is you must write unique content each time you submit an article to a site that accepts guest posts. You may be able to get away with "recycling" an article or two with sites that aren't adamant about original content, but most sites that bear weight, that will have a solid impact on driving traffic to your site while improving your position in the SERPs, make this a requirement. Note there is a distinction between an outbound link and a backlink. To learn more about this distinction visit What are Backlinks?.

There are many ways to find sites that allow you to submit content, one in particular is to go to Google and do a search for "niche" + contribute, or "niche" + submit content. Where I say "niche" you place the niche you are seeking to write about, i.e. business, or recipes, or sports. The search results you get will (or should be) be a mix of sites that accept content submissions, and lists that other bloggers have created. The lists will contain sites that accept content from guest bloggers. It is important to look at the Domain Authority (DA) for the site(s) you are thinking of submitting content to. While I'm not sure that DA/PA plays any role in Google's algorithm, it is an indication of the strength of the site. You want your best, quality content to be submitted to high DA sites, because they bear strong weight. A site with a DA of 20 will carry less weight than a site with a DA of 80; however, if you are submitting content to a site with a DA of 80, that site is most likely in a "class" similar to that of Forbe's, or other well-known and highly sought after content providers that likely have a fairly large editorial staff in place.

SEO Linkbuilding Strategy Tips

1. If you do use external links in your blog don't create the link in your first or second paragraph! You do this for two reasons;

a) if a reader clicks on that link, you have just sent them to a different site before they've had an opportunity to read any of your content, and

b) this will give you a bad bounce rate (the length of time a user is on your page). The user will have found your page, it may have been what they were looking for, and now you've just sent them to another site! Your bounce rate is an indication to Google of how valuable your content was and how relevant it was for the search results it provided you; based on the keyword they listed in the search results. While I don't know how much weight is given to bounce rate as part of their algorithm, it is as far as I can tell, a component of how they rank you in the SERPs.

2. This may seem trivial, but when linking to content within your site, try to use words related to the article wherever possible... avoid linking your content with the word "here" or "next" or "go to this page." This doesn't tell search engines anything about the page. To search engines, it looks like the content on the page is related to "here" or "next"... so unless you are looking to rank for the word "here" or "next" I would advise against using these general terms whenever possible.

3. When submitting content, or seeking sites that accept content submissions, it's important to look at their Domain Authority (DA). You can download the Moz toolbar (for free) from Moz.com (the founders of this metric) then add it to your browser. In the top right you will be able to see the DA's of each site you visit. You can also check other important characteristics.

4. This is a marathon, not a sprint! You're not going to have 500 visitors a day in the first month... it may even take 6 months before you see this level of traffic. It's not going to happen overnight, that is a guarantee! It's a "long game" and will take several months, if not years, to create great content, build a web presence, establish solid backlinks, and generate levels of traffic that will be significant enough to make "real" money with your website or blog. It's a test of patience, passion, persistence, and perseverance.