Determine the quality of your existing backlinks. Then, begin building more high-quality ones.
There are multiple guides available to walk you through the process and highlight the tools you should use.
Create awesome and unique industry-relevant content that showcases your leadership and is very visible online. That means joining forums, networking, involving yourself in industry conversations, and posting on your social media pages. When your content is unique and high-quality, you’re going to end up with links.
Your Outbound Links
It’s been industry standard for quite some time to have a few outbound links embedded into the text. Higher quality sites that you link to improves the quality of your content and show your audience that you know what you’re talking about, nudging your SEO in a more positive direction. Aim for domains with a DA score of between 40 and 100. You can always embed a link to a site with a score lower than 40 without harming your authority, but they will be less impactful.
Additional Factors For High-Authority Domains
The URLs and age of a website affect authority, as do traffic flow and repeat visitors. Websites that end with .edu or .gov have higher trust levels and DA. There is often a lengthy bureaucratic process involving a lot of form-filling and waiting for anyone who wants to register a .gov or .edu domain. Every page of content needs to be sincere. Not every business model can or should link to a government or education institution. For those that do fit the niche, it can be a massive domain authority boost. It is always beneficial to get a backlink from them. Check these relevant sites for outdated, broken links. Let them know, and offer your links as a replacement.
Top Tip: Provide a link within your content back to these sites to benefit from their authority.
Good and Bad Domain Authority Scores
If your site has a DA score of 54, you might assume that this is bad compared to 82, but this isn’t necessarily true. Just because a website has a score closer to 100, that isn’t an indicator of a good or lousy DA. Currently, Facebook and Amazon have a Moz DA score of 96. You will struggle a lot to get that, but you don’t have to. That’s because DA is a comparative metric, and, as such, there is not a perfect score for you to hit. Having a good DA score depends entirely on your direct online competitors. These are the businesses that rank on SERPs for the exact keywords that you do and are around the same scale and size as your business. For example, if you run a small tailoring company, you shouldn’t compare your DA score with Hugo Boss or Amazon. If similar size competitors have a DA score of 40-50, aim to get a DA score between 55 and 60. This score difference directly impacts your ability to appear above those competitors on the SERPs. Google doesn’t officially use DA scores to rank websites, but Ahrefs carried out a study that found a significant correlation between SERP rankings and DA scores.
Judging Link Quality
Google doesn’t treat all inbound links as equal. Links to your website or content are trust signals for search engines. The system in place considers the types of links that you use and links back to your site. When established websites with a trustworthy and reliable reputation link back to your content, that link has more weight. There is no competition when comparing an unknown local blogger to sites like Business Insider, the BBC, or Vice that links to you in an editorial.
Google ranks content with multiple inbound links from high-authority domains higher than those who lack these trust signals. As Google trusts your content, they feel happier to make it more visible to their users. That’s not to say that low-authority links have no value; they do unless those links are coming from spammy sites.
The Importance of Link Relevancy
Link relevancy is a tricky element to get right when it comes to inbound links, but it is crucial. Previously, backlinks from any high-authority domains, no matter how unrelated, were considered fruitful for boosting your authority. However, algorithm changes by Google transformed the impact of relevancy. Now, when irrelevant high-authority domains link to your site, they can damage your rankings, reducing your credibility.
Focus on obtaining high-authority domain backlinks from sites and businesses relevant to your theme, sector, and content.
Sustainability plays a huge part in getting relevant links. Opposed to deliberately gaming the Google algorithm, relevant high-authority backlinks are the result of high-quality linkable content. By focusing on relevance, you can create a domino effect that increases your authority and boosts your SEO. Consider a few factors. It’s better to have a backlink from a respected news site with a high domain authority than a small blogger, even if that blogger’s content is much more relevant. Both relevancy and domain authority matter. Include both factors when determining which sites you want to target for backlinks.
‘NoFollow’ and Disavow Backlinks
Whether by accident or design, you may have spammy and low-quality backlinks in place that can be negatively affecting your domain authority. Contact the website and ask to have them removed. In situations where that isn’t possible, or when a website owner refuses to remove those backlinks, you can disavow them. Once you have followed all of the instructions on Google Search Console, the search engine will no longer take those links into account when it comes to assessing and indexing your website. Alternatively, apply the ‘Nofollow’ attribute to tell Google that they shouldn’t pass on any PageRank for untrustworthy backlinks.
Blog Comments and Backlinks
Organically representing yourself and writing relevant content on blog comments can be extremely valuable, but it is a high-risk backlinking strategy. Google may penalize you if you post too many that contain a link to your pages or content. Be sparse with this and aim for high-quality links for the best results, but it can depend on the level of competition. Consider these important factors when building quality blog comment backlinks:
- Avoid having more than 50+ comments with links.
- Avoid using a spammy domain.
- Aim for sites with a DA 30+.
- Look for a website that requires a login to comment as this experiences less spam.
Ideally, target between 15 and 20 sites/communities that you will engage with to build up your reputation positively. For those working on brand development campaigns, this approach works. Use tools such as SEMrush and Moz.com to get excellent quality sources to use.
The benefits of using this strategy include having more SEO power, referral traffic, and building brand recognition.
Earning Links From High-Authority Domains
Link-building agencies will charge a lot of money to design your link-building strategy and implement it. That’s because earning links from high-authority domains is notoriously challenging. Focus on quality rather than quantity. You can’t play the system without the risk of penalty.
Here are the most innovative ways to ensure that you naturally earn those backlinks from high-authority domains:
Dominating the SERPS is possible when you have the king around. Create excellent, data-driven content to stand out in your sector/niche and earn more links. All the backlink-building strategies in the world won’t help your business grow if you don’t have the foundation of high-quality content. Whether that’s in the form of industry white papers, high-quality infographics, or research study results, the best way to get high-authority domains to link to you is to create high-authority content. Ensure that facts are verifiable and cite your sources.
Learn who your audience is and what they expect. An audience that prefers video content as opposed to written content won’t appreciate your long-form content. Market research should be the first thing you do to avoid wasting time producing the wrong type of content. Even if it is full of detailed information and engages the reader, including a backlink within your content won’t benefit you. Instead, you might benefit from posting a video on your site and attempting to include a backlink with the comments or description text.
Identify The Best Types of High Authority Sites
To earn a link from a high DA site, you need to know where to find them, especially when not all high DA websites are relevant to every business and every sector. However, finding the needle in the haystack isn’t impossible. These are the sites to approach when you’re looking to earn some quality backlinks.
Authors and Bloggers
Whatever your industry or niche, you can be sure that someone is writing books about it, speaking about it at events, or blogging about it. There is content for everyone these days, and your industry is not going to be left out. You may already know who the prominent thought leaders in your sector are. If not, it might take some time to uncover, but searching for it could be worth it. Type an industry keyword into Google can help you find those authors’ and bloggers’ social media profiles and websites. Once you find them and their content, sign up for alerts or email newsletters. Start following and engaging with them on social media, and organically link to your content as appropriate. Don’t force it. SEO is a long game, so don’t rush the process. Building relationships is the key, and they don’t happen overnight.
Reach out to local authorities and high-authority businesses and media outlets to let them know who you are. The Chamber of Commerce, local radio stations, newspapers, and local news sites all tend to be high-value. Also, reach out to charities and trade organizations – running an event with a charity could be great publicity for you and offers you the chance to build up a relationship with the charity. With time, these charities could link back to your site.
Don’t forget (if relevant) to connect with local education sites. These sites are likely to have more localized high authority, and they are straightforward to find using a little local searching. Also, aim to get listed on the local council’s list of local resources (which can also be an excellent source for finding other local high-authority domains).
Those authors and bloggers you reached out to have their content published somewhere. Forms of media focused on specific industries have high domain authority. Connect with those publications and keep informed of when they upload new content. Offer to write guest articles or send them your exceptional authority content.
Outreach involves a lot of relationship building and starts before you email anyone or write your content. First, look over the type of content they publish and take plenty of time to craft yours. You may find guidelines on their website to see what content they accept. Some even state that you must send them an outline beforehand and format it in a certain way.
The next step is to write your pitch to the website. Make it short and sweet while including hooks. You need a solid subject line and clearly show what you are offering – make this bold if you want. Be aware that they might not respond to your email. If they don’t, email again, as they may have missed it. High DA sites likely have lots of other websites emailing every day seeking opportunities.
National and International News Sites
Getting backlinks from a respected news site is always a big deal and could boost any brand. It’s not easy to get sites like the New York Times, the BBC, or CNN to mention your business if you’re a dog groomer or run a restaurant. However, the right content at the right time can be more effective than you might think. There are resources available that can help you get news sites to refer to you and your businesses. For example, HARO (Help a Reporter Out) offers plenty of opportunities for you. The service sends free emails when news writers are looking for contributions from third parties. They might ask for a quote or an opinion, sometimes information that is relevant to your industry. Jump on all pertinent opportunities you can to get your name, business, and link featured on the news site. Also, take advantage of Google News – if you can get noticed by Google, attracting the attention of other news sites is more manageable. Getting into Google News could take time in itself. Businesses need a dedicated news website themselves and to have daily updates with unique content. When ready, head to Google News Publisher Center and verify that you own this website. Send your request, add the site details, update the news section URLs, and click submit for review. Submit anything you like, from short blurbs to press releases to Google News, as long as you meet Google’s content requirements. Technical requirements to bear in mind include having static URLs, plain HTML content, and clean code.
Several other strategies may help you gain backlinks. Set up competitions that allow you to get a shortlist of people. Contact the news sites to alert them of the competition and that a member of their local community is shortlisted. Make sure that your competition remains open, as the news site can link back to your website, allowing more people the chance to enter. Writing press releases is one popular strategy to get attention and opportunities – these are all about getting noticed by other news sites. Don’t confuse a blog with a press release. It needs to cover real news and offer more substantial content. Writing a sales pitch won’t win you news links.
Also, host the results from a survey to provide news sites with a headline featuring a statistic and include information and quotes, or send newsworthy details about an upcoming event.
Once you have identified the high authority and relevant websites that you would like to have backlinks from, your next step is to get your links on those sites. Here are the best ways to make it more likely that your chosen high-authority domains will give you an inbound link.
- Ask: Asking for an inbound link may be an effective method of outreach to earn you links. While you shouldn’t limit yourself to this method alone, it can be much more successful than many people think. Contact your sites and let them know precisely why they should link to your content. You want to highlight the value of your post and its relevance. It might surprise you how often this works. Create authority and preferably data-driven content, cultivate any relationships that you form, and always be polite and professional (a bit of flattery doesn’t hurt).
- Broken Link Building: Some of the best high-authority domains will have a problem with broken and outdated links. That means that you have an opportunity to have your links replace those broken ones. All you have to do is find those broken links, let the website know, and suggest your own more in-depth and relevant content as a replacement link. SEMrush and other backlink checkers allow you to look at specific domains and links. Find the broken links using this method, then reach out to the site with your content and offer it to them. As broken links could affect ranking position, they may take you up on your offer.