SEO boosting backlinks – the what, the why, and how to get them for free.

When people think about search engine optimisation (SEO), many seem to think it’s all about stuffing keywords all over the shop. Where a few carefully placed keywords can make a world of difference in your SEO optimisation strategy, there’s a lot more to it than that.

SEO link building is fast becoming a favourite strategy of digital marketers who know the value of this slightly more difficult – but highly worthwhile – endeavour.

What is link building?

Don’t overthink this one – link building is simply any activity you undertake to encourage other websites to link back to your site. Naturally, these links are known as backlinks.

And if backlinks weighed anything, they’d be worth their weight in gold.

The reason why link building strategies are so important is that search engines (AKA Google) use these links to help determine how useful your page is. For example, if Forbes were to put a link in one of their articles to your page, Google would essentially see that your page is useful and informative.

A backlink for SEO can also come in the form of links from directories and social media platforms like Google, Yellow Pages Online and Facebook, or credits in the ‘about the author’ section if you’re contributing to a website.

Not all backlinks are created equal, however. The difference between Forbes linking to your site and a tiny unheard of blog that no one reads linking to your site is massive. When you’re looking for potential candidates to talk to about links, try to find those that are not only relevant to your brand in some way, but also have a reasonable level of social following and a solid domain authority as well.

RELATED: 11 free SEO tools to simplify your marketing strategy.

SEO Backlinks

Why is backlinking so important for SEO?

1. It boosts your website’s authority.

Google’s search algorithm is designed to help connect searchers with the most relevant and useful information out there. One of the ways it judges websites is using backlinks. When a website has more links directing back to it on a certain subject, Google starts to see it as a trusted resource — and displays it more highly in relevant searches as a result.

Simply put, backlinking helps boost your website’s authority in Google’s eyes. This in turn pushes your site up in the search engine rankings, and ultimately gets your business in front of more people who are looking for your product or service.

2. It speeds up indexing time.

Stay with us here! Search engine indexing might sound like a mouthful, but it basically refers to how Google sorts all of the information out there on the web.

Google uses bots to crawl websites for information and stores this away in their index. When someone types in a search — say, for ‘martial arts in Sydney’ — Google trawls through their index to quickly match that search with the most relevant pages to answer their question.

But with so much information online, it can take days before Google gets to crawl your website. Even if you post a new blog or make website updates, it won’t show up on Google until the search engine indexes it.

The good news is that when your site has more backlinks, Google sees it as more authoritative and prioritises your website, indexing the new content as quickly as possible. Ultimately, this means searchers come across your content faster than they normally would and you get more visitors to your site.

3. It increases brand awareness and visitors to your site.

Beyond SEO, backlinking is also a valuable way to get more visitors to your site. The more high-quality websites that link back to your business, the higher the chances are that people will see the link, click on it and end up visiting your site. Then it’s all up to your website design (and your stellar product or service) to work its magic.

How to get more backlinks.

By now, the point has probably hit home: backlinking matters. But how do you get more backlinks to your website for free?

These tips will help you build more links back to your website:

  • Run a backlink check. Use a free tool like Ahrefs backlinks checker to see exactly how many sites are linking back to yours. This helps you get a clear idea of where your links and traffic are currently coming from. You can also use Ahrefs to look at competitor websites to see who’s linking back to them, to get inspiration on where they’re getting links.
  • Use social media. As we touched on earlier, backlinks can come from a number of sources. Make sure you link back to your website on your Google My Places listing, Facebook account, and business directory listings.
  • Link to other websites. The best way to get backlinks? Share the love! Chances are, when you’re backlinking websites in your blog posts, they’ll be more inclined to give you a link back in return.
  • Reach out to relevant sites. If you come across any websites that might be interested in linking to your product or service, simply get in touch! You could invite a local influencer to review your product, or ask an online publication to consider your product for a ‘Best of …’ article.

Reaching out to websites – doing outreach.

Aside from simply hoping the quality of your products and services will organically earn backlinks to your website, the major way to create backlinks is with outreach. Outreach is an email marketing tool where you get in touch with bloggers or websites to ask for backlinks.

Many big businesses dedicate a portion of their digital marketing budget to outreach to help build their backlink profile. While you probably don’t have the luxury of a big budget, you can still conduct outreach on your own.

Start by creating a list of places you’d ideally like backlinks from, and narrow it down to those with plenty of clout of their own.

One way to evaluate this is by looking at a site’s ‘domain authority’ or ‘domain score’ This is a score developed by Moz that predicts how likely a website is to rank on search engine result pages. The higher a website’s domain authority, the more likely it is to be trusted by Google.

You can find out a website’s domain authority by using Moz’s free domain SEO analysis tool:

The closer to 100 a website’s score is, the more valuable backlinks from that site would be in terms of SEO.

Once you have your list, it’s time to start your outreach.

RELATED: 11 free SEO tools to simplify your marketing strategy.

Templates to send out for SEO link building.

To ask for a review:

Hi there [influencer name],

My name is [your name], and I work for [company name]. We [explain your brand or service and what makes you special].

I was recently browsing through blogs in [your industry or field] and came across yours. I particularly loved the article on [name specific article] because [give specific, realistic and fun reason for why you genuinely liked it, expand as much as you can to make this personal].

I’m sure you get plenty of review requests, but I’d love to add one to the mix. I’d like to [offer you a free trial/send you a free product]. [If it’s not immediately obvious, explain more about what the product or service is and what makes it stand out here]. I think it would be right up your alley, and we understand that if you don’t like it, it won’t get a positive review (although we’re pretty confident you’ll love it!). To keep our marketing team happy, we are looking for a backlink included somewhere in the review as part of the agreement as well.

Please let me know if you’d like to give (product/service) a try, or if you have any questions for me at all.

Many thanks,

[Your name]

To ask for a backlink:

Hi there [influencer name],

My name is [your name], and I work for [company name]. We [explain your brand or service and what makes you special].

I was recently browsing through blogs in [your industry or field] and came across yours. I particularly loved the article on [name specific article] because [give specific, realistic and fun reason for why you genuinely liked it, expand as much as you can to make this personal].

Now I’ll cut to the chase as I’m sure you get plenty of inquiries, but I was wondering if you are open to working with brands? At the moment we’re working on creating a few great backlinks to our site, and I’m only getting in touch with a handful of bloggers that I think would be a good fit for the brand.

Please let me know if this is something you’d be interested in at all and we can take it from there!

Many thanks,

[Your name]

What next for your digital marketing plan?

The team at Yellow Pages provides expert digital marketing advice and products that boost your business’ online presence. From an online listing to digital display or social media ads, we’ll tailor a digital marketing strategy designed for your business. Find out more.

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