Hey everyone, this is Mukul, and today, we’ll talk about Backlinks.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn today:
- What are backlinks?
- Why are they important? Should you really build them?
- Can you rank without backlinks?
- How to actually build backlinks? What’s the best way to build links?
- Things to note while building backlinks
- What makes up for a good backlink?
- What metrics should a link have?
- What are the tools you can use to build links?
- Quick Overview of the Link Building Process
- How fast should you expect results after building backlinks?
What are backlinks?
The easy way to describe backlinks is backlinks are links from one website to a page on another website. They’re like votes for a specific page or a website, indicating its relevance, quality, and authority. Pages with a high number of relevant backlinks tend to have high organic search engine rankings. So, if you want your website to rank higher in search engine results, you need to focus on building quality backlinks.
Why are they important? Should you really build them?
Backlinks are important for SEO because they signal to search engines that other websites vouch for your content.
If many sites link to the same webpage or website, search engines can mean that the content is worth linking to, and therefore also worth ranking on a SERP.
So, earning these backlinks can have a positive effect on a site’s ranking position or search visibility.
Imagine a famous actor promoting a newly launched product. People will immediately trust the product and buy it as it’s endorsed by a famous actor. The same goes for websites and backlinks. Google being ‘people’ here will trust a website way better and faster if you’re acquiring links by ‘actors’ which here are the websites.
Can you rank without backlinks?
Yes and no. It’s highly subjective. It totally depends on what kind and type of keywords you are targeting.
Let’s consider 3 different scenarios here to help clarify this:
- Scenario 1: You are in a low-competition niche, targeting low-competition keywords and going heavy on content, you don’t really need backlinks or a lot of backlinks here. It’s easier to rank because your competitors probably won’t have many backlinks either and will be low-authority sites.
- Scenario 2: You’re targeting a very high competitive niche for example Health and one of your competing sites is Healthline. There is no way you are outcompeting Healthline without backlinks. These backlinks don’t have to be paid but you definitely need a crazy amount of links to outrank Healthline. The trust, authority, and expertise that Healthline has is hard to beat even with a considerable amount of backlinks as a niche like Health goes way beyond links and EAT (expertise, authoritativeness, and trust) is important as well. Google just won’t trust a random site with 100 good backlinks for a high-volume keyword. You need a mix of things here but nevertheless, you NEED backlinks here.
- Scenario 3: Any medium-high competition niche or if you’re targeting any medium-high competition keywords, even if it’s with a low competition niche, you would need some backlinks to get traction. You need a bunch of ranking signals in favor of you and backlinks would really help get initial traction and trust with Google to start ranking.
All other scenarios possible that we did not discuss here would also need backlinks. What people don’t realize is that almost every website needs links to rank. It doesn’t always have to be a paid link but maybe you’re an exceptional writer with great command of the niche and you’re naturally attracting links, that could work too. The key here is LINKS. The reason people buy it as it’s easier to control, scale and build businesses that way around.
Google is definitely against any ‘paid link campaign’ but how people get away with it is they get links from good sites. In reality, there are still a lot of sites that are clearly a link farm and are only selling links to make money but it takes some time for Google to hit these websites built off of shitty links under an algo penalty. While buying good links is recommended, buying shitty backlinks is never a good thing.
How to actually build backlinks?
Now, let’s talk about how to build backlinks. Here are some strategies that have proven to be effective:
- Create Linkable Assets: If you want people to link to your website, you need something on your site worth linking to. This could be a blog post, a video, a piece of software, a quiz, a survey, or any other piece of content that people will want to link to.
- Guest Posting: Guest blogging is one of the best ways to get links to your site. Write guest posts for quality sites in your niche, and you’ll get a high-quality link in return. It’s one of the best and easiest methods to build links right now, it’s super scalable, and can be approached with creative ways and methods, and what not. I’ll make an individual video just on this soon.
- Infographics and Other Visual Assets: Infographics are a great way to build backlinks. They’re visually appealing, easy to understand, and highly shareable, which makes them a favorite for many bloggers and website owners. In my fair opinion, while this strategy works, you should only make these with the intention of really providing value and improving your content, not with a pure intention of links. This works and works great when it does but doesn’t have a high success rate. Also, you only start attracting more links using this method when your website has significant traction and traffic because that’s actually when people start noticing your content.
- Submit Testimonials: Companies love to show off customer testimonials. If you’re using a product or service that you love, consider sending them a testimonial. In return, they might just link back to your site. This is a method where you can make good use of your network. Not a lot of people think about it and do it so this is a good easy way for now. Also, the fact that a lot of companies would have really nice authority and would barely, if ever sell links, you would actually have an excellent unique backlink that not a lot of people can replicate or steal.
- Use HARO (Help a Reporter Out): HARO is a platform where journalists seek expert quotes for their stories. By providing valuable insights, you can earn a backlink from a high-authority news site. After ChatGPT, it has been quite hard to get links from this method but again, if you’re legit and actually provide insights that journalists are looking for, you will succeed.
- Reverse Engineer Your Competitor’s Backlinks: Every industry has its own set of link-building opportunities. Spend some time to reverse engineer your competition to find link opportunities that only exist in your niche. These can be weird Web 2.0s, profile backlinks, or PBNs. Although Web 2.0s and profile backlinks don’t work anymore and this is not 2012, it’s still fine to replicate to just add to the chances of your ranking.
What’s the best way to build links?
The best way to build links right now depends on one of these two paths you take:
- You want to pay for links.
- You don’t want to build paid backlinks.
The benefit of paying for links is that you scale faster, are easier, and can control what links you get to your site. The best way here is to buy Guest Posts, Niche Edits, and Press Releases. A mix of all 3 is probably the best way to approach building links right now.
The second, not paying for backlinks is a route that not a lot of people take but you would really have to create excellent content, network offline and ask for links, do natural collabs with people, do manual outreach with really low conversion rates, and try to create a big brand off of the SEO space, for example, social media and then this would be a very possible justifiable path. You just get random links here of all types so no type is considered as ‘best’ here.
Things to note while building backlinks
Let’s break this down into points.
- Don’t trust any automated software that builds links.
- Don’t do PBNs if you don’t know how to treat them and when to build/rent them
- Don’t trust any random link seller. Look at their credibility first.
- Don’t build links, especially guest posts and niche edits from sites that sell links to almost every site that asks them to. Check outbound links on Ahrefs to make sure the site is fine and not a Guest Post farm
- Avoid building links from sites that publicly advertise the fact that they sell links. For example, look out for sites with write for us, and guest post pages.
- Avoid building links to pages that have low-quality content as you will eventually lose rankings. You need to combine good content and good links to sustain rankings.
I’ll make a separate video focus on this soon!
What makes up for a good backlink?
Not all backlinks are created equal. There are certain traits that make some backlinks more valuable than others.
- They Come From Trusted, Authoritative Websites: A backlink from a well-known, authoritative website is more valuable than one from a lesser-known website. NYTimes or Forbes are great websites to be considered as ‘authoritative’. These are big websites and Google trusts them and ranks them for almost any single keyword they want to rank on. A shitty link would be from bestlaptopsandmicrophones.com which openly advertises that they sell links. You get the idea.
- You Can Control the Anchor Text: You want your links to have anchor text that includes your target keyword or any other type of anchor, depending on your link campaign. This only applies when you’re buying paid links, you should be able to control the anchor text. If you’re getting links from great websites naturally, don’t worry about anchor texts because you’re clearly doing something right to attract these links.
- The Site (and Page) Linking to You Is Topically Related To Your Site: Google wants to see that the two sites are related. So, if you have a website about fitness, a backlink from a fitness-related website will be more valuable than one from a website about laptops. Niche-relevant websites with traffic are really good.
- The Link Is a “Dofollow” Link: Google and other search engines ignore links with the “nofollow” tag attached to them. So, you want to aim for “do follow” links. Although some people have noticed and claimed that no-follow links help rank too, which can be true in the sense that they pass authority it hasn’t been proved with a solid case study yet.
- The Link Is From a Domain That Hasn’t Linked to You Before: Links from the same website have less returns. It’s usually better to get 100 links from 100 different websites than a 1,000 links from the same website.
What metrics should a link have?
This is where the process of ‘vetting’ a backlink comes along.
Here’s my list:
- The site should be niche relevant. If not, it should be at least covering a topic that’s relevant to your website from the page it links to you.
- The minimum DR should be 20
- Minimum traffic should be 5,000/mo. Nowadays it’s easy to get a few hundred traffic on Ahrefs even when you’re not actually getting that much traffic. 5k is not an easy target to reach though and requires some effort to say the least.
- Site is getting traffic that is of its own niche.
- The site isn’t badly penalised by Google recently.
- The site isn’t a link farm
- The site doesn’t openly sell links.
I’ll create a video covering this in-depth soon.
What are the tools you can use to build links?
“Building backlinks can be a time-consuming process, but fortunately, there are tools that can help. Some of the best tools for building backlinks include:
- Semrush: This is a comprehensive SEO tool that includes a backlink checker, a keyword research tool, and a site audit feature.
- Ahrefs: This is another all-in-one SEO tool that includes a backlink checker, a keyword research tool, and a site audit feature. Probably the best tool and the tool I use the most. Although the pricing is heavy now, it’s still worth it. Maybe try buying it for a month or two to test it out and complete your research and then cancel. This will help you save costs.
- Snov: This is an email outreach tool that can help you find the right contacts for your link building outreach. It’s quite affordable as well.
- Hunter.io: This tool can help you find email addresses associated with a particular domain, making it easier to reach out to the right people. Probably the best tool to find emails of websites in bulk or individually. I always use this. You can try the free version first, it’s pretty good.
- Scrapebox: This is a powerful tool that can help you find link-building opportunities, check the status of your backlinks, and more. Mostly helps in scraping which would help create lists of different types of niche-related SERPS.
- GWarm by GMass: This tool can help you improve your email deliverability, making it more likely that your outreach emails will reach their intended recipients as they get warmed up and it’s all automated and FREE. Really nice to prep your email for bulk outreach.
- Link Validator IO: This tool is useful to track links. You always should track your links to see if they’re still on the site as webmasters sometimes remove them after you pay for them. This is a great tool to make sure everything’s going good with your link campaign tracking wise.
Quick Overview of the Link Building Process
Building a successful link-building campaign involves several steps:
- Identify Your Assets: What do you have to offer to other websites? This could be a piece of content, a product, a service, your expertise or money.
- Find Potential Linking Sites: Use a tool like Semrush or Ahrefs to find sites that might be interested in linking to your assets OR find them manually. A video on this soon too.
- Qualify Those Sites: Not all sites are worth getting a link from. You want to focus on sites that are relevant to your niche, have high domain authority, and get a decent amount of traffic.
- Find the Right Contact: Once you’ve identified potential linking sites, you need to find the right person to reach out to. This could be the site owner, a blogger, an editor, or anyone else who has the power to add a link to their site.
- Send a Personalized Outreach Email: When you reach out to potential linking sites, make sure to personalize your email. Explain why you’re reaching out, and what value you bring to them in return for getting a link from them and settling it there.
How fast should you expect results after building backlinks?
A link typically takes 4-6 weeks to show any effect. This varies when there’s a Google algorithm update, which nowadays is almost always. It’s really hard to conclude on a timeline here as not all links are equal, and not all links show effect and movement in rankings.
I hope you liked the video and if you’re interested in getting a personalized SEO roadmap for your website that helps you figure out exactly what to do and how to rank on Google, check out my website mukul.tech/seo-roadmap down below in the description. Thank you!