High-Quality Backlinks: Boost SEO & Lead Gen


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In the ever-changing world of SEO and the rollercoaster of algorithms, many of us are tempted to keep chasing the newest techniques: As long as we keep our finger on the pulse, we’ll keep up, right?

But there are some tried-and-true strategies that can help us build an established practice of growing authority through SEO.

SEO backlinking is one such strategy that holds a pivotal role in any robust digital marketing strategy.

Let’s Cut to the Chase: The Secret Sauce of Link-Building

We’ll dive into the nitty-gritty of link-building and its importance in a little bit. But for those who might already have that foundational knowledge, I’ll go ahead and share the secret of successful link-building: the golden rule.

In link-building, the golden rule involves…

  1. Looking to whoever is ranking in the top spot for the keyword phrase you want your business to score
  2. Seeing what high-authority pages are linking to their website
  3. Trying to emulate that for yourself

In other words: do what the search leaders are doing.

But how do you do that?

If you’re targeting a national keyword phrase, use a tool like Majestic to look at the link profiles of the Top 5 positions in search results for the target keyword phrase. In Majestic, you can export a spreadsheet for each ranking website that you’re evaluating. Once you’ve exported all five spreadsheets, you can merge them to see the most powerful, highest-authority pages that are linking to the sites that are ranking in the Top 5 spots.

By taking this approach, you’re basically learning what the top companies are doing, and then you can emulate their link profile to achieve high rankings.

If you’re targeting a local keyword phrase (think “Denver marketing agency,” “Chicago marketing agency,” etc.), you’ll take a similar approach: You’ll just need to broaden your research to several different cities. Use a tool to find out what the top-ranking person is doing for 50 cities. Merge those 50 spreadsheets, sort in descending order based on domain authority, and then you can see the Top 20 mega-powerful pages that you can try to get to link to your site.

Now let’s go over why backlinks are important and how they can bolster your SEO and lead generation efforts.

What Is A Backlink, and How Does It Work?

A backlink is a weblink that forms a bridge between your own website and another. Also referred to as “inbound” links, backlinks bring traffic to your website.

Backlinks are great for growing your influence online for a few key reasons.

  • First, they can take interested, like-minded users from another site and another audience and turn them into hot leads for your products and services.
  • Second, backlinks allow search engine crawlers and bots to discover your content more easily, making your pages more likely to be featured on results pages.
  • Third, a site with a great network of backlinks becomes a competitive signal in an environment packed with potential thought leaders.

Why Quality Trumps Quantity With Backlinks

It can be tempting to fill text with SEO backlinks to squeeze more backlink benefits from your content, but that strategy may be more trouble than it’s worth and it can actually harm your reputation in search results.

Focusing your efforts on fewer backlinks that are high-quality and highly relevant can provide the authority and credibility your site needs. So it’s imperative that you take some time to understand the difference between a good backlink and a bad backlink:

  • High-quality backlinks are links that come from trusted sources and are relevant to your content. They are usually not traded for money or perks; they arise organically and are requested thoughtfully and selectively. They feature diverse anchor text and take the user where they expect to go based on the information they’re reading.
  • Low-quality backlinks are links that are usually not gained by merit, meaning they come from an exchange of money or result from large-scale link exchange schemes. Bad links are connected to sites that engage in spamming behaviors or inject hidden links into their pages. Bad links can also be repetitive or overly specific.

Using high-quality backlinks over time can grow your website’s authority, but low-quality backlinks could jeopardize that progress.

It’s worth understanding that Google actively calls out bad backlink practices in its Webmaster Guidelines and can heavily penalize websites that rely on these tactics.

How to Establish an Evergreen, High-Quality Backlink Strategy

Now you know what a backlink is and the importance of backlinks that build authority and trust. The remaining question is this: How can you build a set of backlink best-practices that change with the times but also rest squarely on the shoulders of high-quality backlinks?

Use backlinks to boost your domain authority

Relevant links that have been thoughtfully, strategically curated will enhance your site’s domain authority.

High-authority backlinks lead to better search rankings because, although Google doesn’t expressly rank for “domain authority,” that metric is often used by SEO tools to pinpoint ways you can improve your strategy by comparing you to the competition. In turn, those improvements can earn you higher positions on search engine results pages (SERPs).

Generate leads with a backlink campaign

Part of your evergreen backlink strategy should be to actively and purposefully use high-quality backlinks to generate new leads. After all, a solid backlink strategy can play a major role in driving targeted, high-intent traffic to your website.

If you secure backlinks from high-quality, relevant sites, the leads who find you via those links will be more relevant to your business and, therefore, more qualified.

Build relationships with authority

Good backlinks are useful not just for achieving higher rankings on SERPs; they can also bring you closer to grabbing the attention of high-authority sources and individuals.

For example, let’s say an industry leader who has a great following that’s relevant to your niche finds a backlink to your website in a great article they’re reading. From that starting point, they might be inspired to learn more about your company and maybe even forge a collaborative or consumer relationship with you.

Use backlinks to amplify your content

You know that content is your voice in a noisy, oversaturated online world. Content can inspire, entertain, and educate—but only if it’s able to find likeminded people in the crowd and ears that are willing and eager to listen.

A high-quality backlink strategy should involve amplifying each piece of content you put out, expanding its reach, sharing it across a variety of channels, and ultimately generating more traffic to your site.

One way you to do that is to create multiple types of content (such as blog posts, guest posts, etc.) around a similar topic and then interlinking among them to build a web of helpful content to further educate your audience and keep them engaged with your company.

Monitor backlinks to create a better strategy over time

Many teams spray backlinks onto the Web and then forget about them, letting them do their work unmonitored. But an important part of a backlink SEO strategy is to check how your backlinks are working over time—to assess their shifting value so you can continue to hone your tactics.

Thankfully, there are simple ways to see the performance of your backlinks. You could add your site to Google Search Console, a tool that generates a free backlink report, or you could use a tool like Moz Pro or Majestic to gather insights.

* * *

SEO practices and trends will surely change, and algorithms will keep telling you what new thing to prioritize, but the logic of building authority with good backlinks will remain constant.

You can set up your website for success and sustainability by leaning into the core principles of link-building. Focus on gradually building authority, credibility, relevance, and relationships through backlink campaigns and your SEO will reward you.

More Resources on Backlink Strategy in SEO

The Great SEO Question: Is Backlinking Dead? [Infographic]

Effective Link-Building for B2B Marketers

Top 4 Reasons Businesses Don’t Get Backlinks

A Complete Guide to Anchor Text Optimization in Four Steps