What Is Backlinking In SEO? Why You Need to Know ASAP

So, you have worked hard building your website, create content regularly and some time has passed to allow your site to mature, but you are getting very little traffic. Didn’t you read that you just need the right keywords and some time to pass? What is the problem?

The problem is, that unless other sites with high domain authority link back to your site, Google (and other search engines), will not trust your site. So what is backlinking in SEO and how do you get backlinks? In this post, I will share what your options are but first let’s look at:

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What is Domain Authority

Domain Authority is a score assigned to your website regarding how trustworthy the content is. Google rank the most authoritative sites with the highest quality content ahead of lesser websites, so in order for you to be able to rank, you need to build your own website authority.

The ranking of domains was developed by Moz, an SEO software company. Websites are graded from 1 to 100 for Domain Authority, 100 being the best. With a new site you start at 1 and build from there.

The higher the score, the higher your posts will rank on Google which accounts for why new sites get very little traffic. The good news is that there are actions you can take to increase your Domain Authority (or DA).

The bad news is that it can go down as well at up!

What is backlinking in SEO
Thanks to Sitechecker for this infographic!

How can I improve my Domain Authority?

Moz monitors 40 metrics to decide the DA of your site but the key ones you can actively do something about are:

  • Acquiring backlinks to your website from high DA websites – this adds credibility to your site
  • Create compelling content – you want visitors to your site to linger for as long as possible and ideally engage too. Always end posts with a question to encourage comments
  • By guest blogging – in addition to increased DA for your own website, you will get referral traffic from the sites that feature your posts
  • Include links to relevant, high DA blogs in your own content
  • Do a round-up of quotes from top bloggers in your niche

How can I persuade someone that they should share my link?

First of all, do a Google search for terms that you are trying to rank for and read the top posts that appear. Can you see some that could be improved with more in-depth coverage of the topic, infographics and images? Or better still, all the above? Great!

Then, put the results of these into Ubersuggest – it will show you the Domain Authority (they call it Domain Score but it is the same thing) along with the rough number of visits the site has got along with the social shares.

Even better, it shows the pages that linked back to the posts! You can download this for use later. If you have never come acrosss Ubersuggest, check out my post What Is The Ubersuggest Tool. (I am not an affiliate for Ubersuggest, I just find it has lots of great features.)

In addition to the Domain Authority you will see how many backlinks they have along with how difficult is it likely to be to rank for this keyword. Fear not if this is a high number, as this strategy will help enable you to rank.

Check out how to use Ubersuggest for this purpose by clicking the image below:

Ubersuggest is a great free resource for finding what sites link back to your competitors

The next thing to do is write a post better than the one that appeared towards of the top results. This is called the ‘sky scraper’ technique. The sky scraper technique was identified as a winning strategy by Brian Dean of Backlinco.

When he says better, he generally means longer, includes every possible element of the subject, expands on aspects not covered in the original post, includes info graphics, links to quality sources of information and a includes a video (it doesn’t have to be yours, just make sure it’s good, on-topic and adds value).

Relevance is absolutely key with any post so when looking at keywords and deciding on your content, ask yourself if they match up – will the user who has clicked through to your content find the answer to their question / search term? If the answer is ‘no’, take the time to re-think and make sure that it does.

Having done all this, go to your list of websites that that linked to the posts that came up in your search earlier, contact them and offer them the opportunity to link to your content or share on Social Media. You can also go to those who linked to similar content. Don’t forget to share with your own social media following too.

To learn more about the sky scraper technique get it from Brian Dean’s original post on the subject. This post is a prefect example of what he is talking about. He has put a huge amount of work into it – most people would not take the time which is why this strategy is a winner.

What is backlinking in SEO
Okay, so top bloggers could help you but you get the point. Help everyone as you go

Link out to top bloggers

When you are writing a post for your blog, make a point of finding another, really good, related post and put a link in. Then reach out to the relevant blogger, tell them you love their blog and have linked to the specific post.

Do not ask for anything in return – they might choose to share or they might not. In any case, you will naturally find that more comes back to you than you give and it helps you to develop relationships with some really good bloggers out there.

Neil Patel has a really good selection of ourtreach templates to help you to set the right tone when contacting these people. (You never get a second chance to make a first impression!)

Do a round-up of quotes for top bloggers in your niche

If you have asked a top blogger for a quote and they have given you one to incorporate in a post, it is very likely that they will link to you or at the very least give you a share on social media. I was so impressed by this example, 23+ Successful Bloggers Share Their Top Tips To Beginners by Enrique Ambrocio. Enrique’s story is amazing and with posts like this, he is on his way to increasing his website’s DA.

 

What is backlinking in SEO
The bloggers Enrique reached out to for his super post

How do I get started with guest blogging?

Guest blogging is a really great way to get backlinks. You will get to know other people in the industry and by genuinely offering value, you will ultimately drive more traffic to your blog.

One of the most important things to look for in a blog that you want to write for is relevance. What blogs have you taken inspiration from? Again, you can search Google for keywords that are particularly relevant to your niche. Look at those that appear at the top of the search and have a look to see if they accept guest posts.

If they do accept guest posts it should be in the ‘about us’ or ‘contact us’ details. You should be able to get their email address from there or if not, you can put the domain address into hunter.io – a great tool for finding email contacts.

You are ideally aiming to contact the website owner, but some larger sites will have an editor or content manager which would do just fine.

Websites doing this well in the search are most likely to have a reasonable domain authority and a good amount of traffic but do check for yourself again at Ubersuggest.

In addition to DA, look for the top ranking pages for that domain. This can be really useful – the site owner will know what they rank the best for so more content on a similar theme is could be well-received.

To give you a head start in your search for suitable website to pitch to, check out this article that shares a list of 150+ Sites To Guest Post On In 2020. They have even gone to the trouble of linking you directly to the guidelines for submissions of each page which makes it much easier.

 

How do I get guest blogging opportunities?

Start off by simply introducing yourself in an email. Say that you enjoy their blog and would like the opportunity to contribute. Include links to a some of your very best posts and advise that you would be happy to come up with some post ideas that could suit them.

If you are accepted be sure to follow their guidelines, also read lots of their current posts and you will get an idea for the format and the style and be sure to check, double-check and then get someone else to check your spelling and grammar before sending off.

By including interesting stats, perhaps some infographics and really good, engaging images – people like to share stats and infographics so you are much more likely to get extra backlinks and social shares.

To create your post, you can use Google Docs and even use the Outline Tool so that you can submit a draft to make sure that your post is going to be along the right lines before submitting the finished article.

Conclusion

It would be lovely if we could just do the keyword research, write engaging posts and get ranked, but the reality is that we need to put in equal (if not even more) effort into increasing our website DA. On the plus side, there are so many useful blog posts telling us how to do it!

Have you had success with any of the strategies above? Or do you know some others? I would love to hear about it in the comments.

16 thoughts on “What Is Backlinking In SEO? Why You Need to Know ASAP

  • Hi Jean,

    You’ve immediately given me a fantastic idea that hadn’t really occurred to me – a round-up of quotes from top bloggers in my niche.

    What a superb idea. I blog in the health and fitness niche and typically link out to other’s content, as well as receiving links back to my own content, so I understand the importance of gaining backlinks.

    However, this pearl of wisdom about a round-up of quotes seems like a fabulous idea to me, and I can produce a real humdinger of a post with some awesome material. Thank you for that.

    Interesting that you mention Brian Dean’s skyscraper post. I first read this a few months back and it certainly struck a chord with me.

    I’ve even gone as far as creating a few “ultimate guides” and pillar posts, some of which are well in excess of 5,000 words. I guess if you’re covering every single angle, it won’t be long before others notice and (hopefully) start linking back to you.

    I do like the idea of guest posting as well, but am yet to dip my toe into the water. I guess I just have to pluck up some courage and get over my fear of rejection, LOL.

    What about you?

    Do you have a preferred method of attaining backlinks?

    You’ve certainly provided some great ideas here, and I’d be interested to know whether you use some or all of these methods.

    A fantastic post Jean, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this.

    Partha

    • Hi Partha

      Thanks a lot for the fab feedback. I have noticed that your posts are really substantial and cover the topics in-depth. I bet people in your niche would love to have you guest post on their blog. Also it will take a bit of time to get a round-up together but it could be great – and who knows where it could lead for future link sharing.

      I am working on my list of blog owners to approach (and have been including links to high DA blogs – must remember to let them know!). Will let you know how I get on with my guest posting.

      Best,

      Jean

      • Oh thanks Jean that’s very kind of you to say.

        Hmm, I think guest posting is definitely becoming more attractive to me.

        I do still love this round-up idea though. I have a fair few people that I regularly interact with via Twitter, so I could probably quite easily get a number of people committed to it.

        That’ll be my next thing to work on, LOL.

        On a separate matter, I read a post recently by Neil Patel (I’ll have to dig it out) who created a template email to send to site owners that we link out to from our own posts.

        So, in effect just letting someone know that we have linked out to a specific article of theirs, what we liked about it, and how we’ve used it to craft our own articles.

        Seems like a great idea to me. Unfortunately, I typically link out to high DA sites and just leave it at that.

        Anyway, yes please do let me know how you get on with your guest posting. It’ll be interesting to hear about someone else’s experience, and perhaps provide me with the push in the right direction that I need.

        Thanks
        Partha

        • Hi Partha,

          Yes, I saw that Neil Patel template – it looked really good. I might dig it out and add it pop it in the post. Then go back over all my posts, check who I linked out to and send it! Part of the reason I am focusing on writing about best practices is to make sure I do it myself!

          Best,

          Jean

  • I’ve been doing research on backlinking for a while now and managed to find a lot of good resources on this topic. I even found a company that will build a backlink profile for you, but they charge $1000’s for the service. In a nutshell, they will do all the research and outreach for you and make sure you get only high-quality and highly relevant backlinks to your site. It’s a great idea (and legitimate as well), but expensive for now.

    I will have to get started with building backlinks to my site in one way or another. I have a lot of content between positions 5 and 20 in SERP and no matter how much I update them and share on social, a lot of them don’t move a bit. I have done very good, even great on-page SEO, and my blog counts about 350 posts, but my DA is low (14 according to MOZ). I’ll try your suggestions here and see if I can at a few links for relevant, authority blogs in my niche. Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Ivan

      Wow, that would be amazing to have someone do the work to get your backlinks. Most of the ones I have seen are not ligitimate but this one sounds great (but yeah, I will be doing the donkey work myself for now).

      I have seen your blog and wondered if it gets you a lot of traffic – your posts are seriously good, in-depth, and you have so many! Do not be down on a score of 14 – you are on your way!

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      Best,

      Jean

  • I enjoyed this post and learnt a lot about SEO backlinking. I’d never thought of using Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest, and surprised by how much information you can find. I’ve also made a note of it! I also love the idea of guest posting and will definitely look for related blogs in my niche. In addition, round up quotes is another thing I’ll look into. Thanks for sharing:)

    • Many thanks for this. Yes, Ubersuggest is great (I wish he had an affiliate program lol). I have seen your website and I’m sure your sort of content would be welcomed on lots of sites so do give it a go. It would be great to hook up with other bloggers in your niche to for the quotes thing and who knows what other ideas might come out of the relationships you would create.

      Best,

      Jean

  • Hi,

    In all honesty I’ve never checked my site for back links, as I’m sure there’s not many at all…if any. There’s so much to know for a website owner, that you neglect other important things like back links.

    I’m going to check the websites for my DA. Great post and very helpful.

    • Yeah, backlinks have to be a strategy. Otherwise you will pick up one or two but it won’t make too much impact on your DA. There are so many things to think about indeed – this is definiately an area to start on.

      Many thanks for the feedback.

      Best,

      Jean

  • Cool, Jean, I tried MOZ! 🙂 In fact not so cool, of course, as my numbers are very low ROFLOL. But now I know how I can work my way up and have a comparison point.

    I learned such a lot from this article. It’s really marvelous! In my case there is also the risk of feeling overwhelmed by all the things I still have to learn. But I know that by now. And also know that it’s all a matter of taking step by step and continuously working my way around. So thank you so much!

    • Hello Hannie

      Glad you found it helpful. I have discovered a few facebook groups for guest posting opportunities so will be having a go at finding some opportunites there.

      You are absolutely right about the possibility of getting overwhelmed and taking small steps in the right direction is definitely the way to go.

      Best,

      Jean

  • “It would be lovely if we could just do the keyword research, write engaging posts and get ranked, but the reality is that we need to put in equal (if not even more) effort into increasing our website DA.”

    Wow. Thank you for a really informative and useful article. I am just beginning to learn about backlinking and the relevance of DA, and I have learned a lot more from this article.

    I have just checked my site on MOZ and am disappointed with the results…. It just shows me that following my passion is not enough to succeed in the world of affiliate marketing. We also have to have the knowledge, skills, and time to make it work!

    I’m not sure how successful people find the necessary time to do everything that is required to rank and generate a steady income. I have been slowly working on my site for two years now and still, every day, find new information, new techniques, and new strategies to implement to improve my site. Does the learning never end?

    I have t quote you again, “It would be lovely if we could just do the keyword research, write engaging posts and get ranked.”

    Many thanks for sharing your knowledge with us.

    • Hi Andrew

      Many thanks for these well thought-out comments and your kind words. I think I know how (many) successful people do it – they outsource lots of it! I rencently wrote a post about hiring freelancers. I’m not quite there yet, and to be honest, I don’t want to outsource the writing (which takes the most time) as it’s the most fun part!

      Glad this post helped you.

      Best,

      Jean

  • This is an excellent guide on backlinking, and it is honestly one of the most straightforward ones I’ve ever come across.

    I’ve been an affiliate marketer for quite some time now, and my answer remains the same every time I get asked whether backlinking is crucial.\

    I always advise newcomers to focus on link building but to do it naturally and not in a way that seems alarming in Google’s eyes.

    In other words, just focus on creating valuable content, and let others link out to you. As simple as that.

    Once again, great work you have here, and I encourage you to keep it up!

    • Thanks, Gorjan for your kind comments. I agree that your initial focus has to be on building your site and creating good quality content so others will want to link to you.

      All the best,

      Jean

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