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The Power of Backlinks in SEO: A Beginner's Guide

In the world of SEO, backlinks are like gold. 

What is a backlink? Well, it’s just that - a backlink is a link back to your website from another site. 

They are a vote of confidence from one site to another, a signal to search engines that your content is valuable, trustworthy, and useful. 

For small business owners, understanding how to acquire good backlinks can mean the difference between obscurity and visibility. 

If you’re like me, you often get emails from companies that have a blog they want you to publish on your website. These are from SEO or backlink businesses that want to build backlinks on behalf of their clients.

In my humble experience, backlinks work WAY better if you reach out to collaborators in person - people you know, like and trust. And can add real value to each other. It’s all about relationships rather than cold emails.

Here's how you can begin building these critical connections.

The Cornerstone of Backlinks: High-Quality Content

The most organic way to earn backlinks is by creating content that stands out. Whether it's insightful blog posts, compelling infographics, or innovative solutions, your content should offer something that others find worth sharing. 

Your content is a great way to show that you’re an expert in your field, give value and build connections. It also shows collaborators that you’re committed to creating great content. 

So - step one to harness the power of backlinks is to create great content.

Write content that

  • Addresses hot news

  • Is a different take on a common question or problem?

  • Shows an innovative solution

  • Challenges current opinion

Proactive Ways to Build Backlinks

Guest Blogging: Sharing Expertise

Guest blogging opens the door to new audiences. By offering your insight on other reputable websites, you establish authority and create opportunities for backlinks. 

The non-icky way to offer guest blogs

  • Start with connections you already have. 

  • Reach out to people you know through networking groups or online communities. 

  • Choose people who can add value to your clients, and you can add value to their clients. They might have similar clients but not offer the services or products you do. 

  • Ideally, they should also be good content creators and put in time and effort to build their communities. 

  • Think out of the box when it comes to who to collaborate with. 

If you own a gym, a natural collaborator might be a nutritionist who specialises in exercise. But if your target audience is mums who go to the gym, you may also think about approaching a daycare chain, a business coach for mums or a family meal delivery company. Think of what else is going on in your clients' lives that you could add value to. 

Become an expert: Get featured

Websites like HARO (Help a Reporter Out) and Source Bottle (great for Aussies and Kiwis) allow you to be featured in online publications and get high-quality backlinks to your website.  

Ever seen those “as seen in” logo features on websites - this is often how people get those. Sign up (for free) and subscribe to the relevant email alerts. And start responding to requests.

The trick to getting picked up is to make the journalist's job as easy as possible by providing them with the information they need in a clear and concise manner. As a little aside (added value!), here are 10 tips on making a great pitch.

  1. Be Timely: Journalists are often on tight deadlines. Respond as quickly as possible to be ahead of the competition.

  2. Follow Instructions: Read the query carefully and follow any specific instructions or requirements the journalist has listed.

  3. Be Concise: Your initial response should be brief but thorough. Provide a clear and direct answer to the journalist's question.

  4. Showcase Expertise: Quickly establish your credentials and why you're a good fit for their story.

  5. Provide Value: Offer unique insights or angles that will add value to the story.

  6. Be Accessible: Make it easy for the journalist to follow up with you by providing your contact information and availability.

  7. Customise Your Response: Avoid generic responses. Tailor your reply to the journalist's specific query.

  8. Proofread: Ensure your response is free of spelling and grammatical errors.

  9. Use Bullet Points: To make your response easier to scan, use bullet points to highlight key information.

  10. Include Data: If applicable, include relevant data or statistics to back up your statements.

Videos: Engaging and Shareable

Sharable content isn’t just blogs. With video content's rising popularity, engaging videos can attract backlinks from platforms like YouTube and Vimeo, as well as bloggers and journalists looking for multimedia to enhance their content.

Building Relationships: Beyond Links

Genuine relationships with other brands can lead to organic backlinking. Being active in forums and communities (like on LinkedIn) - offer value without asking for anything in return, and the backlinks may follow.

Go Harness The Power Of Backlinks

Backlinks are a fundamental part of a successful SEO strategy, but they're not just about boosting search rankings. They're about establishing your website as an authoritative source, driving traffic, and building relationships within your industry. 

Small business owners can lay the groundwork for a strong backlink profile that drives their business forward by focusing on high-quality content and engaging with the broader web community.

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