After optimizing your homepage with target keywords, putting descriptive alt tags on images, linking all inner pages and redesigning your website to load very fast. Your website and blog posts are ready for quality backlinks.
What is a backlink on a website?
First off, there are two types of links; internal links and external links. Internal links are links between pages and posts of the same website. While external links (also known as backlinks) are links from another website to yours. Backlinks are the focus of this article as I will be guiding you on how to build white-hat links in 2019, without attracting a Google penalty when they roll out a core update in the future.
Are backlinks still important?
As a matter of fact, they will continue to be a top 3 Google ranking factor. This is because reaching out for links from websites in your niche is how Google transfers Authority and Trust to your website or blog posts. To put it in perspective, you write a blog post on making a chicken noodle soup and a Wikipedia page on recipes refers to (or backlinks to that article). Wikipedia happens to be one of the most trustworthy information hubs in the universe and linking to your article will see your blog post jump to the top of Search Engine Results when people search “how to make chicken noodle soup”.
Create quality and informative content
When you take time to do thorough research in a topic and you make credible references, don’t be surprised to find other websites naturally linking to you. Quality content on peculiar topics is still an unexplored goldmine in today’s Internet and other blog owners will happily make reference to your masterpiece. Google wants you to add value to readers. So make sure you are not writing for search engines. Write to the understanding of a 12-year old. Take your time to answer “how to” and “what is” questions. The search algorithm is so intelligent that it studies the behaviour of readers and a satisfied reader reads to the very end of the post. Such article is bound to rank for its keywords.
Optimize for relevant keywords
Without keywords, we may not be able to navigate through the magnitude of information available on the Internet. Keywords make Search easier and that’s why the are the gems of knowledge mapping. Before you start clacking off on your keyboard, writing that awesome insight on a topic, take a minute to think what keywords online users might have to search to find it. Use keyword research tools to narrow down to the specific terms peculiar to the subject and optimize your whole content for that keyword or keyphrase and its variations. However, there are guidelines to the density of keywords, otherwise your article would be flagged for keyword stuffing and spam.
Don’t copy or spin others’ work. Be unique!
Google frowns at plagiarized content. It is expected of bloggers to write in their own voice to influence and educate readers in their own unique style. Copying or spinning other bloggers’ work doesn’t signal trust to Google and it is highly regarded as spam. Apart from the fact that readers can sniff originality from a mile away, Google’s algorithm scans published articles on the Internet frequently and if you are found defaulting on their guidelines for creating content, you will be penalized. Your domain would be flagged for spam and ranking in the future would be a difficult task. Is the trouble worth it for just a few backlinks for ranking? No.
Reach out to influential bloggers in your niche
Developing a reputation for creative writing is the best investment you could make in your blogging career. Nobody is born a writer, so it is a skill that is developed with constant practice over a period of time. This manifests in the quality of your blog posts and the readership you would have built organically. Having a following under your belt builds the confidence to outreach to influencers by mentioning their work in your articles and reaching out to them to feature you as well. Methods of outreach include, and not limited to;
- Send them a cold outreach email – Start by introducing yourself and telling them about how you’ve been following their work for a while and how it has inspired your creativity, in one paragraph. Then immediately go straight to the point. Expect that it takes practice and consistent efforts to be successful with this method.
- DM them on Twitter or Instagram – basically the same with the cold email, but the tone here is more relaxed because it is a platform where influencers are looking to connect with their followers as well.
- Comment on their blog consistently – a lot of people get this wrong by being cliche or canned in their comments, e.g “Nice post, thanks!”. Be sure to have read the entire length of the article, take your time to add meaningful inputs to the conversation and stay on-topic.
After a while, reaching out to them persistently is bound to get you noticed and finally you may get them to link to you from their article or even offer you a guest post on their blog.
Adetola Adebiyi is an SEO consultant for Lead Idea, a digital marketing agency based in Lagos, Nigeria. When he’s not writing SEO content, he attends business classes and is passionate about fitness. Follow him on Twitter @thetolaguy