Backlinks to your website are like internet currency. Google and other search engines heavily consider those links when determining the domain (DA) and page authority (PA).
A general rule of thumb. If two sites have similar content the one that has higher quality backlinks will rank higher.
A link building strategy should be the cornerstone of everything you do with search engine optimization. It’s an ongoing effort, something that needs to be done every day.
Before we get in on the various free ways to build links, let’s quickly explain what goes into link building.
What is Link Building?
Link building is the search engine optimization practice of creating links on external websites that point back to your website through anchor text, images, and buttons. There are really two general types of backlinks, follow and nofollow.
Follow backlinks tell search spiders to follow the link to its final destination, passing link juice along the way. This is one of the things that influences a pages page and domain authority.
Nofollow links tell those same crawlers to not follow.
Generally, local listing databases, social networks and most blogs all have nofollow links associated with them. Your website should contain a fine balance of 4:1 ratio of follow to nofollow backlinks.
One of the easiest ways to obtain authentic backlinks is through content distribution. Submitting your content to blogging and press release websites.
There are also paid options, but it’s best to avoid these when possible. You want to target websites that have a domain authority above 20 and a page authority above 20.
You can check DA and PA for free here.
Whenever you create backlinks, you always want to keep track of them. For two reasons. One to know where you are business information or content are. And two to manage and delete if necessary if they are negatively affecting your SEO profile.
Get in the habit of always tracking these.
Majestic, Moz, SEO Powersuite are just some of the tools that allow you to track and monitor backlinks.
How to locate quality links
The best place to start is by opening up a google search for the keywords you are hoping to rank for. For this tutorial, we’ll use “Denver Dentists”
Your competitors are ranking high on these pages because they are seen as authorities for the keyword “Denver Dentists”. Your competitors have already done the research portion of link building for you.
In the above example, I would probably look at Barotz Dental first because they have a high PA/DA and they have 60 backlinks already registered in Google.
The two content boxes below the search result are Chrome extensions called Mozbar and SEOQuake, two necessities to make your life easier.
Now begins the link building fun.
From here you’ll enter the address in one of the various backlink tools out there. I’m going to use Spyglass for this tutorial.
From this snapshot, you can see there are 240 backlinks (206 dofollow) pointing to the the dentists’ website. Those links are coming from 65 different domains.
What you’ll want to do next is review the various anchor texts being used, domains and pages that the links are coming from.
You’ll also want to run through each domain and see what type of link it is. Is it a blog post, a listing, a mention. A majority of these you’ll be able to submit your business information and a backlink to your site for free.
Sometimes you’ll see blog posts that mention their business or content they have as a reference. If you have better content you can email the webmaster and say, “Hey, I have some updated content for your blog post about dentists”
That is a much longer process.
What you want to do here, is locate the easy ones that can quickly get you indexed. Typically sites with a DA above 50 get indexed more frequently.