Google has been cracking down hard on black hat SEO tactics such as link manipulation in the recent past. If anything, this shows how seriously Google takes links to determine the authority and usefulness of your site.
Now that Google is taking user experience even more importantly in 2021, backlinks are proving to be one of the most important factors when it comes to linking, rivaled only by quality content.
The problem with link-building is that it takes a lot of time and money, whether you do it organically or using black hat means. Many business owners and marketers invariably end up buying “20,000 backlinks for $100” services on Fiverr and other platforms, only to get harsh penalties.
This guide will go over the value of link-building in 2021 and make sure that you do them right. Take it from the expert: backlinks could be your ticket to your desired website traffic and conversion goals.
Link-building Hasn’t Changed, Backlinks Rule
As far as Google is concerned, the importance of links hasn’t changed even after years of algorithm updates. High-authority links are used as evidence that others find your content valuable enough to cite as an authority or as a source, which ideally should be enough proof of quality content.
However, sly marketers realized the potential of black market link farms, guest-posting networks, link schemes, and other sneaky tactics to artificially enhance the authority of their sites.
The original way that linking should be done is organic. In particular, backlinks should be earned through high-quality content, content promotion, and ethical guest posting. This allows your links to be reliable and authentic, but more importantly, it forces content marketers to create better and better content.
It’s funny how big brands like HubSpot never have to scavenge for links. They have tons of original, evergreen content that automatically attracts external links and builds up their content authority. Many sites that create lots of original content such as media websites, scientific platforms, and other naturally trustworthy sites also build their links almost effortlessly.
What you can learn from these sites is what Google has been trying to get you to do for years. Be original, be awesome, and stick to the rules, and you will be fine.
If you need proof that link building still rocks the content marketing boat, here are a few stats:
- According to a study by SEMrush, backlinks are the fifth most important factor for ranking.
- Ahrefs estimates that top-ranking pages get backlinks at a rate of 5%-14.5% by new websites every month
- Also according to Ahrefs, the average cost of a backlink is $361.44
- The number of referring domains is a top indicator of overall traffic, even though it isn’t proven to influence ranking. That’s according to io.
This is why shortcut methods for link building are so popular among brands today. However, search engines like Google have become smarter and better at identifying sites that use such strategies. The penalties for such black hat tactics have certainly changed and become much more punitive.
Backlink Strategies to Use in 2021
You must know by now the dos and don’ts of backlinking. Google’s main advice on linking strategies is, don’t do it (according to George Mueller, a chief Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google.) However, there are ways to do it right without incurring Google’s wrath.
- Create Valuable, Information-Rich Content
Quality content is still the most reliable way to generate organic backlinks. Invest in creating content that sets you apart from the rest by providing valuable, unique information. One of the best ways to do this is to create authority content.
It is also a good strategy to create value-packed, shareable infographics and other visual content that attracts backlinks naturally. If your content team isn’t up to par, consider outsourcing to an external agency.
- Choose Your External Links Wisely
Linking out to other authoritative sites is often underappreciated, yet is one of the most useful ways to enhance your domain authority. Always link your articles and posts to high D.A. sources such as academic sites, mainstream media, scientific sources, among others.
- Network in Person as Well as Online
Creating networks in your industry is a great way to create relationships that result in mutual backlink opportunities. You can do this by attending events, conferences, and interviews, and other in-person networking opportunities. This is especially useful if you invest in setting yourself up as an authority in your niche/industry.
- Conduct Backlink Research
Your competitors could be valuable sources of insights into how to gain backlinks organically.
- Get Your Links From Affiliate Sites
Get your affiliate sites to link to your blog often, especially if you are getting started. You can also extend this network to clients, suppliers, and others within your circle.
- Convert Your Site Mentions Into Useful Backlinks
As part of your outreach practices, reach out to high-authority sites that simply mention your website without including links and request them to do so. You should also follow any broken backlinks to your site diligently and ask them to repair them.
- Repair Broken Links
Talking of broken links, many webmasters will appreciate it if you can draw their attention to broken links on their website. Use the opportunity to suggest content that you already have which could help fill in any gaps.
- Get Your Content Out There
Promote your content using ethical strategies such as social media and email outreach. You can also use paid campaigns and various other incentives to get the ball rolling on your link-building program.
Link-building is one of those things that you shouldn’t have to think about in the first place, but ranking on search engines has become too competitive to leave it entirely to fate. As a brand, you need to embrace modern strategies and ethical tactics to get ahead, especially if yours is a new website.
At ArticleHub, we have strong relationships with the best influencers and bloggers of a broad range of industries. Talk to us about getting your website visible through high-quality content, organic backlinks, and many more.