Backlinking for SEO: how to increase site authority and traffic

Backlinking for SEO, when done the right way, improves your website’s domain authority score and brings in more organic traffic.

backlinking for SEO, two arrows crossing

When you research backlinking for SEO, you’re presented with a whole lot of fluff and generic tips that don’t actually teach you how to get backlinks correctly.

In this post, we’re covering everything you need to know about improving your website’s authority and traffic by implementing an effective backlinking strategy.

Ready to see real examples and learn what real startups are doing today to gain quality backlinks for their sites? Let’s go!

What is backlinking for SEO?

linked question marks, what is back linking for SEO

If you’re confused about what a backlink is altogether, here’s a simple definition: “a backlink is any link that takes readers to your website from outside of it.”

Essentially, it’s a link on another site that leads to your website.

Now that we know what a backlink is, then we can understand that a backlink for SEO is a simply a backlink gained for SEO purposes.

Meanwhile, a link within your website that takes readers to a different page or post on your website is called an internal link.

Why you should include backlinking in your SEO strategy

back linking targets for SEO

There are several reasons why backlinking should be a part of your SEO strategy:

  • Gain website traffic directly from people clicking on the external backlink
  • Improve domain authority, which increases the chances of ranking any new and existing content (check your score and your competitors’ scores here)
  • Increase the chances of ranking for specific posts and pages that target a keyphrase (when you gain backlinks for these posts and pages)
  • Beat out competing content that relies primarily on on-site SEO (keyphrase optimisation) but doesn’t actively do off-site SEO (which includes backlinking among other tactics)

In certain industries and niches, it can be relatively easy to rank content without actively driving backlinks to your home page and priority pages and posts, but in others, you really do need that leg up.

Website searchers tend to think favorably about websites that rank organically, so in addition to gaining more traffic, you can also improve your brand’s perception as an authority.

Ways that you can get backlinks to improve your domain’s authority

improve domain authority with backlinks, linked thumbs up

Backlinking for SEO is important. So how do you do it? Here are all of the effective, safe ways to get quality backlinks for the homepage of your website.

Later, we’ll provide tips for getting backlinks to specific pages and posts, but for now, we’ll look at how you can drive more backlinks to your homepage.

The goal here isn’t to increase the ranking of any one page, but to increase your website’s domain authority score, which can improve your chances of ranking for any SEO-optimised content you might publish.

Guest posting

guest posting for SEO

A guest post is one that is written on another website or blog. You can write guest posts for relevant service companies, product companies, and SaaS companies in addition to popular industry blogs.

Here’s an example guest post.

example guest post

Most guest post opportunities allow you to just include one link to your website. Typically, you would put this in an “About the author” paragraph at the end of the post.

Make a spreadsheet of all the potential blogs you can write for. Include bloggers and companies that have blogs. The companies you reach out to should serve a similar audience as you, but should not be a direct competitor offering the same product or service as you.

Find the contact information for the website owner, blogger, or content marketing manager either on the website’s contact page or by using an email finding tool like Clearbit.

Here’s an example of how to reach out to write a guest post:

guest posting

Some websites also let you submit a guest post on a webpage called “Write for us” or “Contribute” or something similar.

Podcast interviews

podcast appearances for SEO

Getting interviewed on podcasts is a great way to drive backlinks to your website. Pretty much every podcast host allows their guests to introduce their business and then includes a link to their business URL in the show notes or resources.

Advice roundups

listicles and advice for better SEO

Another way to gain backlinks for your homepage is to be featured in a roundup of experts, usually anywhere from 5 to 100+ people will give their response to one question.

You can find these opportunities by signing up for Help a Reporter Out (HARO). If you join Slack communities and Facebook groups in your industry, you might also see content marketers and bloggers looking for expert input on a post.

advice roundup example

When you see an opportunity to add your voice (and get a backlink), do it! The responses are usually in the 75 -150 word range, and won’t take you long to write.

Backlinking outreach to listicle writers

backlinking from listicles SEO

To get a backlink to your homepage, you can also reach out to people who have written listicles that you want your company to be featured on.

For example:

  • X office management software
  • X online stores for holiday decorations
  • X best accounting firms in California

When you see a listicle you want to be featured on, just send the blogger or content manager something like this:

backlinks outreach example

This email is particularly effective because it offers a number of benefits if the person agrees to add the company:

  • Free software
  • Guest post opportunity
  • Backlink in upcoming content
  • Free social media promotion

Press features

press features for SEO purposes

Contributors for high authority sites like Forbes and Entrepreneur frequently include quotes from subject matter experts, and they give a backlink to the person’s website in the article.

You can also find these opportunities using HARO, and by reaching out to writers for sites you want to be featured out. Let them know what sort of topics you can provide quotes for.

How to get backlinks for specific pages or posts

blog pages for backlinks

Getting backlinks to the homepage of your site increases your website’s domain authority and brings in traffic and brand awareness. However, that’s not the only way to execute on a backlinking strategy.

Many companies also work on getting backlinks to priority content like:

  • Features pages
  • Product pages
  • Evergreen blog post content

When getting backlinks for a specific post or page, make sure it is optimized for a target keyphrase. That way, any backlinks you acquire make it more likely that you will rank for that keyphrase.

Prioritise the page in guest post backlinks

When writing a guest post, many content managers and bloggers will only allow you to include one link to your website. If that’s the case, then simply opt to include a link to that high-priority page or post instead of your main site.

In your author bio, you can write something short about the content, and then link to it in that sentence, as opposed to adding the backlink to your company name, which would confuse readers expecting to click through to your main site.

If the site will allow, however, you can include a link to the page or post in the article, and then also link to your homepage in your author bio.

Mention resources in podcast interviews

While every podcast host is different, most will link to whatever resources you talk about during the show. So, if you have an evergreen blog post, you can call it a guide or tutorial, and talk about it at the end of the show or wherever it can fit naturally in the conversation.

Then provide the podcast host with the link to include in the show notes.

Backlinking outreach to writers of relevant content

You can also do backlinking outreach to get backlinks for specific pieces of content. Check out these examples:

outreach example for SEO

outreach example for SEO

To increase your chances of success, make sure to only reach out to writers of relevant content. You could also search for broken links on websites you want to target, and suggest your article as something they should link to instead.

SEO backlinking tools

SEO Toolkits and tools

If everything we’ve detailed above sounds like a ton of work, you’re not wrong.

Backlinking for SEO is a lot of work. Fortunately, there are software tools that were built specifically to help you out.

Check out these options and mix and match them depending on what tactics you plan on executing:

  • Ahrefs – Track backlinks, research keyphrases, track page ranking and more
  • BuzzSumo – Find influencers and manage link building outreach
  • BuzzStream – Find influencers and manage link building outreach
  • JustReachOut – Find journalists and manage pitches
  • NinjaOutreach – Find multiple link building opportunities and manage outreach
  • SmallSEOTools – Check for broken links on any site

SEO backlinking services

SEO services

There are a lot of options for executing on your backlinking strategy.

In-house marketing and PR employees can go it alone, or share the work with freelancers or agencies. If you decide to outsource the work to virtual assistants or freelancers, you should first do it in-house so that you can develop an internal process and be ready to train them.

There are a lot of black hat practices like paying for low quality links and getting links from PBNs and fake sites that only exist to give out backlinks. That’s why you should delegate this wisely and only work with a freelancer or virtual assistant you trust.

How to vet a service provider that offers backlinks

vetting SEO tools

Because there are so many companies and freelancers that offer blackhat backlinking, you should work with service providers who have been recommended by someone you trust.

Even with a sound recommendation, you should still try to vet them.

  • Ask what sorts of companies they’ve worked with (hopefully they’ve worked with companies similar to yours)
  • Ask how they acquire backlinks (they should say guest posting, backlink outreach, or both)
  • Ask what level of domain authority they get backlinks from (they should get most of your backlinks from sites with a domain score of 40 and above)
  • Ask how they incentivise backlinking outreach (they should suggest ways that you can make bloggers and content marketers more likely to backlink to your site, and you should be comfortable with those suggestions)

Tips on backlinking for SEO

tips for SEO backlinks

These tips can help make your backlinking strategy much more successful.

Offer something in return

While paying for backlinks is technically a “no no,” you might feel comfortable with it when you’re paying a trustworthy blogger with a high domain authority. You’d be better off doing that than paying the same amount for a higher quantity of backlinks, which will probably come from low quality sites.

Besides payment, you can also offer the following in your backlink outreach email:

  • Free product
  • Free software subscription (for SaaS companies)
  • Promote the bloggers’ content on your social media
  • Feature the bloggers’ content in your email newsletter
  • Link to their site or an article in an upcoming post

Focus on quality anchor text

You won’t always have control over the anchor text (the text used for the backlink), but when you are in control, make sure that the anchor text closely matches the target keyphrase of the page you are acquiring backlinks for.

anchor text for SEO

The anchor text is another signal to Google that the page or post is an authority on the keyphrase you’re trying to rank for.

Aim for sites with good domain authority

When doing outreach for guest post opportunities or for backlinks in already-published blogs, you should only reach out to websites with at least a domain authority score of 20, preferably 40 or higher.

When creating your outreach list, include the site’s domain authority. Be willing to offer even better incentives (multiple email newsletter features, premium free software, etc.) for domains with a high authority, if the site owner wants to negotiate with you.

Key takeaways

key takeaways

Initially, setting up your backlinking strategy will feel a little daunting. But pretty soon, you’ll develop a process and it will become a regular task that you maintain without too many challenges.

A good backlinking for SEO strategy should incorporate:

  • Guest posting
  • Backlink outreach
  • Press features
  • Advice roundups
  • Backlinks from non-competing companies with the same audience
  • Backlinks from influencers and bloggers with the same audience