Backlinks are a foundational component of SEO. While the practice of acquiring links can seem daunting, with a little brainstorming and knowing what to look for, you can begin to build high-quality links to your website. In the video below, I give a brief lesson on the importance of backlinks, how to brainstorm for your link campaign and 7 types of links to acquire.

In the video I mention a great book called, “Ultimate Guide to Link Building: How to Build Backlinks, Authority and Credibility for Your Website, and Increase Click Traffic and Search Ranking (Ultimate Series)” by Eric Ward and Garrett French. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in building links the right way.

Video Transcript:


Hey, what’s up everybody and welcome to Hack My Growth. Today’s episode is all about backlinks for beginners.

Hey, thanks so much for checking out this video. If you haven’t yet hit subscribe, please do so right now, we would love to have you join our community. So today we’re talking about backlinks. We’ll be talking about opportunities that we can look for, and how we start the backlink process. Now if you’re doing SEO or you want your site to rank, you need links. Links are extremely important, they still matter, they’re one of the main ranking factors when it comes to how your site performs in the SERPs.

A backlink can be seen as a vote or a thumbs up from another site, saying, “Hey, this site we’re mentioning here has great content, you can trust them, they’re authoritative.” We want to have sites link to us and show Google (as well as other visitors or that other site for referral traffic bases) that we know what we’re talking about and that we’re a valuable resource online. Now, there’s a number of ways to go about acquiring backlinks, sometimes you can just let it happen naturally or you can be a little bit more intentional about how you acquire those backlinks. Now, not all links are created equal. If you have a lot of links from low-quality sites, that is not going to help you. You want to have links from well-known sites or sites that at least are good quality, or are seen in Google’s eyes as authoritative, trustworthy and legitimate.

So one of the things we need to do is we need to brainstorm before we just go out and start firing off and building links. We need to really think about the purpose of our link building strategy. And we need to look at a couple of things within our business and within other resources we may have if we’re tasked with building links or part of the SEO team. What is the expertise of our team and what is the expertise of the people within our organization that we have access to? So, maybe you have access to your CEO and you can get him on board and help you write some really great technical content or passionate content about your company and about the services or products that you have, that you can probably get out into some other publications in the industry because it’s coming from the CEO. Or maybe your expertise is just within the marketing team, you have to get a little bit more creative because you’re not going to have access to that high-quality content from your CEO and you don’t want an intern or somebody just randomly writing an article for you.

What assets do you have?

Do you have some PDFs or slide decks or pages on your site that are really valuable and that could deliver a ton of value to somebody that you could offer up as an asset to link to? What industry are you in? There’s a number of industries that have really great niche directories or niche pages or niche online communities that you could connect with and build links. And then what’s your influence? What’s your brand’s influence in the industry? Are you going to be able to get coverage from maybe a major news organization or a local news organization? By taking time to brainstorm and think about where you are positioned, where you are within the realm of your industry, it’s going to help you line up what kind of options you should be seeking first.

How do we start looking for different types of links and what do they really look like? So we have seven different types of links that we’re going to walk through and this comes from a really great book by Eric Ward and Garrett French, and it’s called, “The Ultimate Guide to Link Building.” Highly recommend it if you’re new to SEO. These guys know what they’re talking about. Now, we did lose Eric last year, but he was the godfather of link building, we called him Link Moses. An amazing guy, we learned so much from him. Read any of the stuff that he’s ever written, it will help you greatly when it comes to your link building efforts.

What they talk about are these seven different types of link opportunities, and one of them is content placement opportunities. And these are things like blogs, Op-Ed pieces, how to posts, RSS feeds, where you can get your content out on a site that’s going to publish it. Maybe they’re going to either get your RSS feed from your website, basically republishing your blog post, or maybe they’re going to allow you to submit a guest blog post, and guest posting does work if you’re not doing it for the sole purpose of just spamming and linking, but if you’re providing value and creating connections. That’s the whole goal of links, it’s not just to do something for the sake of a link, but do something for the sake of building the influence of your brand and showcasing yourself on as many platforms as you can. Now, we can do Op-Ed pieces, how to pieces, these are content placement opportunities. As it sounds, you’re looking to place your content online.

We also have company profile listings. These are job listings, maybe PDFs for industry PDFs or coupon sites, free tool site and event site where you can showcase your company. Your company listing, where your company’s doing something specific within the industry. We also have open conversation opportunities and these are like blog comments or a forum or a Q&A site. Quora is very popular right now, you can go on and ask questions and get answers. These are places where you can begin to show your expertise. Yes, you can share about your brand, you can add a link, a lot of times there will be no followers, especially in today’s world because these have been highly abused by SEO spammers, but it doesn’t matter, you can still get link equity from a no follow content, no follow mention or engagement on one of these channels if you’re doing it in the right way. Don’t just drop in, try to answer a question, throw a link and bounce. Be a regular. Involve yourself and get involved in these platforms. That will help you out way more, it’s going to show that you have influence, it’s going to help drive more people to your site and it’s also going to make the links that are in your comments look more valid, because they actually will be valid because you’ll be part of that community.

Editorial mentions. These are mentions from newspaper sites or industry news sites or maybe high-level bloggers. You typically have to earn these, you’re not going to be able to just to go get a link on the Wall Street Journal, but if you have somebody higher up in your company who has some of that influence, that authority, you can then position your brand or maybe a piece of content or a quote that, maybe they can get interviewed, that’s a great way to acquire links through editorial mentions.

Directory listings. Now, directories get a bad rap I think a lot of the time, and there’s a good reason because there have been directories built for the sole purpose of link spam. But there are also really, really great niche directories that solve very specific purposes. Now, some of these you’re going to have to pay for and one of the ideas is often if you’re paying a lot to be in this directory, it’s probably going to be worth it. Make sure you do run the metrics on those links, make sure they are high quality because that directory link on a higher quality directory site’s not just going to count as a great backlink, it could also be a way to position your brand and get yourself out in front of more people because you can drive referral traffic. So, link building done right should not just impact SERPs, it should also impact traffic from referral sources as well. Look for directories that are specific to your industry, that really help people in the industry, that are known in the industry.

Resource listings. These are resource pages, maybe it’s on a library site or a government site or an education site, where people are saying, “Hey. Here’s a list of really good resources about X.” Again, be industry-specific when you’re making outreaches to these lists, show them that you have value and that you care more than just having your resource listed, but that you want to be involved in their community, that you want to help them out, that you really believe that what you have to offer is of value to them. And all this comes back to just being an authentic human and opening that connection, and again, not acquiring a link for the sake of link building. While that is what we’re doing, we are building links, but also having another motive, which is creating value and showing people that you care and that you have authority behind what you’re saying.

The final type is a sponsor link. Now these are typically going to be no followed. If you ever do buy a link or sponsor a link, it’s supposed to be no follow. I know Google recently just got caught breaking their own rule with a link that they bought by sponsoring an event, they got a do follow link for that, and the reality is that that’s not what they want to see. So if you’re going to sponsor an event, they may mention you. You know, so you’re sponsored by X company, we’ve done this before, we’ve sponsored local events and charities and things of that nature. They’ve given us a link, but that link should be a no follow link to be built right and to be seen as good, I guess, in Google’s eyes because they don’t want you buying links. That’s seen as a very spammy action.

So this is a beginner’s guide to backlinks, the types of backlinks we should build and how you kind of should start going about brainstorming to finding links. So I hope you found this educational, I hope you found it helpful. Go out there do some research on your own, find some great areas where you can connect online, create some great backlinks, improve your search results, but even more important, it should improve your relationships with people on the web who have like minds, just like you. Until next time, Happy Marketing.