In the online world where Google reigns supreme, there is no way to build authority without backlinks. They are simply the lifeblood of search engine optimization but without great content you won’t get great links. It’s really pretty simple and yet people get very confused about link building and think it’s some kind of weird medieval tactic to be shunned and talked about in the back room.
Link building is good. Really good. Why? Not just because Google’s algorithms – starting back in 1997 before they were even called Google – dictate that they are important but because they show that you are one of the cool kids. One of the important sites. An authority.
This post is inspired by me having just written an email to one of my SEO and authority marketing clients. I meant to send a five-minute email but as I often do, I went and did research to back up why content-based link building is going to be critical in getting him out of his Google Penguin penalty. Below are a few of the tools I used to make my point.
How to build backlinks for SEO and authority
Lately I have been using a tool called BuzzSumo to find content that is heavily shared. Just pop in a keyword that you care about and it will show you top content on the web and how much it has been shared. In the image below I put in the words “link building authority”. Aha, I really like the first result that talks about the power of being an author and having great content for link building. I think I will rewrite that piece with my own perspective later and share my post with the people that shared it.
Here is another example and the one I showed to my client using the keyword mesothelioma.
His website is about asbestos testing and mold testing so we need to find some content that is popular or of great concern to his potential customers and topically related communities.
The piece highlighted above is from the UK but has about 3,500 shares and is worth potentially rewriting as a link bait. I also need to know if it has a lot of links to it, so I move on to the next link building tool: ahrefs.com.
In order to judge how important that page is, you can pop in the exact link – not just the domain name and see how many people are pointing at it.
This particular page has 38 links: (make sure to click the referring domains left navigation item)
After looking at some of the links, I realize that while this is a really good article and it does have quality links to it, it doesn’t have enough to stop me for looking for something better. On to the next tool.
This link building tool lets you see how many people link to the top pages listed in Google and what their domain authority is. Domain authority is essentially how important their website is, largely based on how many people link to them.
I then searched for “black mold health effects” in Google and look at how many people are linking to those pages that rank:
Now you can go back to Ahrefs and look at the quality and types of links that point to each of these pages. You can export the complete list of people linking to the high-ranking pages and email them to see if they would like to link to your newly created version of this type of content.
Looking at competitors links for top content
I should also note that I used Ahrefs to look at the top pages indexed by several of his competitors to see if they had any great content that was heavily linked to. Since they were largely local mold testing sites, what I found was not inspiring at all and also included a lot of old-school black hat links.
It is really important to look at the most authoritative sites ranking in the top search results for things that are interesting about your industry. Link building doesn’t have to be hard if you are creative. In fact, it can be really fun if you are willing to think beyond exactly what you are trying to sell and at what people will find interesting and likely to share.
The more you build high quality content, a blog that is worth visiting based on thought leaders and authors in your company and not just for SEO, the more likely people will want to link to you. The rich get richer and so it is with link building and authority.
In addition, the more links you have, the more easily you will rank for various keywords. The more ranks you have, the more likely you are to get leads.
One of our recent link bait articles called 100 Fun Facts about Lobsters is now the third most visited page on our client’s website. It is also driving many thousands of visitors through an incredible amount of keywords that it is ranking for.
Once your site appears to be a high-quality resource, and is shared frequently, it becomes easier to convince people to link to you. After all, you’re an authority and not just some link building shmuck, trying to beg your way to the top.