The most important part of Search Engine Optimisation is backlinks, I’m going to explain in this article “What Are Backlinks” are and how you should utilise them.

In 10 years of being in tech for about 5 of them, I wasted money on PPC … and I mean a lot of money on PPC, it was around 70k per year. Proof for the skeptics…

What is Backlinking - Example of PPC spend

Most of that time (at the start of my previous business) I had no idea really what I was doing SEO wise. I would have no idea which avenue the lead through (check my UTM Tags article).

I started realising later on, after starting to track the results properly (around 5 years into my previous business) that organic SEO was a much better investment than PPC.

For £70k per year I could should off got articles in Forbes, TechCrunch and these would off provided me with much better value. There’s a time a place for PPC like anything but Organic SEO is the gift that keep g giving.

 

Why Organic Back Linking?

It can generate leads for free. Although it’s a lot harder than 3-4 years ago, I’m confident that Google ranks based on backlinks 100x more than content. Good content generates backlinks, so that’s always another way of looking at it.

If you can pay for good backlinks and get ranking quickly if you know what you’re doing. Just remember Google is smarter than you – don’t go mad with backlinks, I found more than 6-10 for a new site (a month) per keyword and Google starts picking taking notice.

I use content now purely to give information out for free and help people – you’ll see there’s no paid courses or up-sells. Each article I write I use ubersuggest and pick the most relevant keywords for my articles – that way my articles I’m even pulling in organic visitors through articles, although this isn’t a huge amount and I don’t think it will ever be, unless the article is linked to.

 

Why backlinks and not PPC?

With PPC you’re constantly bidding against bigger companies with bigger budgets, it’s the same with back-linking but if you start early it does pay off big time. With my last agency we  ranked #1 for almost 25 keywords.

Google AdWords is starting to becoming insanely expensive and people are seeking alternatives. Facebook is one of them but is very difficult to get right – we’ve been working on a number of social adverts and it’s a headache but you do get results if your willing to stick with it and waste some money.

In my view – It won’t be long until Facebook starts dominating the PPC market, they have all the data and are slowly implementing it.

Once you can target, for example, all of your competitor pages, their events and start dynamically changing adverts (i.e. Hi, We noticed you like {{COMPANY NAME}}) that’s it for Google in my opinion – they need to start upping their game.  But they are most likely not allowing you to target to much as  they need to make money. 100% click through rate  isn’t going to make  them a lot of money.

Start moving to Facebook … Instagram is just a completely different debate and topic (for another day).

 

Are you sure Backlinks make that much of a difference?

Yes – if you’re still wondering what are backlinks and how much of a difference they make a really good example is Clutch.co, it doesn’t really make any sense why they would dominate the search results for a number of really good phrases. They are not an agency, they don’t sell services – they are just the middleman.

My previous agency was number 1 for “App Developers”. Clutch are now dominating this phrase yet have no application developers. It’s the type of site Google says they do not really want to rank, but they rank well because they have and an insane number of backlinks. You can use platforms like Influence Monster to find Bloggers.

 

So how do they rank so well? 

All of these services tell you to put a link back to their website.

Think, all of the app developers linking to the app developers page.

 

Google is thinking

This is the best resource for app developers they even get members to write blogs (for free) which gives them even more content.

.

What Are Backlinks, How Did It Used To Work?

Backlinks effectively pass link “juice” to your website, the higher the Domain Authority on the website linking the higher you will rank. It’s as simple as that.

Back in the good old days, I had websites which were top of Google for everything because I purchased domains like magento-developers.com, app-devs.co.uk and it would instantly rank at the top. They put a lot of faith into domain keywords, I think one site, Casino.com went for a billion dollars or something silly – one thing still rings true, .com is much more valuable then any other domain. Period.

Just to show you how bad the lead generation sites I made were (for myself, not for clients). Check it out on wayback machine (if you want a laugh)

https://web.archive.org/web/20120711121850/http://www.thewordpressdevelopers.co.uk:80/

If you did this now you would be instantly removed from Google. But at that time where pulling in so many leads we had no idea how to handle them, so we started selling the leads and replicating the model for lots of industries. We were creaming it – 24/7, it was “the dream”.

Things Have Changed

The two things Google loved back then was daily updated content (each time we had an inquiry, we posted parts of it on the site) and local keywords. i.e. WordPress Developer London, which still today does have relevance in local search today.

We had hundreds of counties and cities in the database and we ranked number one for about 80% of these with zero backlinks. It was easy money, now you’ll be lucky to dominate 2 or 3.

Unfortunately, those days are long gone and now and this is a really good example of not what to do. There’s more tips here.

How Do I Find Quality Backlinks?

This is pretty easy, you want to ensure the site has a good domain authority (DA) and check over the site to ensure it’s not just a load of paid blogs. You can also use tools such as Influence Monster too quickly find bloggers.

The best sites are ones in which people are engaging and have really useful information – avoid sites that have lots of “Top X Tips”. And if it’s got lots of ads, run a mile.

Check the domain authority with a tool like this. The higher the domain authority the better. I generally just search KEYWORD + Guest Posts, or look at well ranking sites and pay for an advertorial.

 

There’s typically three things I look at:

Is the Domain Authority over 15-20+

Is the website just a posted blog site, if so, avoid

Does the site have articles that are relevant

Is it relevant to my backlink (i.e technology)

How well written the other content is

How many links does the site has? If it’s a lot, avoid

 

OK, I’ve Found A Good Backlink, Now What? 

Use ubersuggest to find some good keywords (low competition, high volume) and then write an article on the given subject.

Make sure it includes the keyword in the first sentence and at least 3 times naturally throughout the article. Make sure the article is readable as it then serves a purpose as useful information and not just a backlink.

 

The article checklist:

Ensure the article is relevant and relates to your linked page

When you link back to your website make sure you change up the text regularly but include the keyword – for example: We are the best Plumbers in BrightonCompany Co are Plumbers in Brighton and so forth (be creative). Obviously your landing page should directly have the keyword you are targeting.

Include ONE link to your website, make sure you include 2-3 other links to other websites

Make sure you article is at least 600 words and make it relevant to people – that way, you might actually get some traffic as well as the domain juice.

Once complete use Yoast’s content tool – it’s really good.

 

I hope this has been useful please leave comments below!

 

 


Author: Jason Parker, an SEO Expert

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