3 Tips to Creating a Healthy Backlink Portfolio in Your SEO Strategy

Jen Saunders
Reading Time:5minutes

Link building has evolved rapidly leaving most internal marketers and even digital marketing agencies using antiquated methods that offer little value. But first, does a website really need backlinks to rank? Yes. In one of the few instances where Google has been direct without any room for misinterpretation, the search engine has said that inbound links are the number one ranking factor. Links point to great content and pass power from one page to another. The best SEO agencies for business growth know how to circulate that power through an entire site and rank buyer-focused content that converts to sales, so having the right team running and maintaining the strategy is critical.

Links also pass trust factors, and healthy backlinks give websites a more natural look, which Google highly favors. Google is also able to assess relevance from a referring domain to a website, which increases domain authority and rankings. I can go on and on with the benefits.

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Are All Links the Same?

You Have likely heard the expression, “less is more”. And when it comes to links, there is a lot of truth here. Before Google Penguin changes the way we use links for SEO, any novice could automate content to hundreds of directories and content hubs with links, and for a while this tactic worked.

When it comes to creating high-quality backlinks for Google’s contemporary landscape and the years to come, people who actually have a marketing background with an emphasis on logic and content need to be in the driver’s seat. Some of the criteria they use includes:

  • Linking from referring domains whose own content plays strategic significance into the target site’s content
  • Referring domains with high authority and trust
  • Allows links with the “follow” attribute (for the most part)
  • Referring domain that has a healthy backlink portfolio themselves
  • Anchor texts that are goal-focused and read naturally

In this list I mentioned that links should have the follow attribute, for the most part. You will hear some people say that all links should have this. But such an opinion is a testimony to a lack of SEO knowledge.

Google isn’t stupid. It is well aware of paid link schemes where companies pay contributors from media sites with high domain authorities like The Huffington Post ot Forbes. And Google has cracked down on this to the point that savvy SEO agencies abandoned this practice back in 2017. While links with the follow attribute are valuable, a backlink portfolio stocked full of only this type will look unnatural and give Google the impression that you paid for all of them. It’s just a matter of time until you are discovered.

Instead, shoot for a ratio where 15-20 percent of your links are “nofollow” BUT make sure the content on these domains is directly related to your industry and the site’s blogs address topics that buyers care about. So long as engagement signals are being generated from referring domains that get decent traffic, the link attribute won’t play such a factor to your ranking.

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1. Your Approach to Backlinks for SEO

Today’s approach to building backlinks for SEO must consist of a framework of building relationships and asking for the link. A great place to start searching for potential relationships is through social media platforms. LinkedIn is especially good for B2B, and Facebook also has company pages and industry pages dedicated to various products and services where great content is shared.

Make the first move and start engaging people in these groups; comment on their content and share it. Add contextual value to the conversation while focusing on your niche within a context they are already using. Once people know who you are and trust has been established, ask for a backlink to their sites. So long as you have been sharing valuable content, nobody will turn down a free article that will add value for their customers, in exchange for a non-promotional link.

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2. Your Guest Posts

We mentioned that after you build trust with communities, to ask for the link. This typically comes by offering the referring domain a great guest post where the link is embedded. When writing guest posts for other domains, just make sure to follow these rules:

  • The guest post is relevant to their other blogs
  • The guest post addresses a topic their customers care about
  • The guest post uses a context relevant to their buyer’s needs
  • The article is well-written, interesting, and professional
  • Avoid anything (tone, topic, viewpoints) that may bring a bad reputation

One great strategic angle is to write that first blog in a way that creates a door for additional contributions. For example, write a guest post that could easily exist as the first part to a series of articles. Once your first post goes live, wait for a week and ask the editor if you can contribute part two to that piece. When you ask, explain why you feel their readers would find value in a second article that continues on the same subject with new points to consider.

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3. Start Your Own Blog

Not many sites will take yours seriously if you are trying to submit guest posts with a backlink, and you don’t even have a blog yourself. You need a blog BUT you also want to write them on a regular basis, with unique topics and specific contexts. Make sure your blog is well structured by using content clusters. This is when you have a number of topics that all interlink to other internal relevant blogs posts, and each links to a pillar page (the homepage or primary product page). This method increases rankings, improves domain authority, and offers a better user experience. Just be sure to learn how topic clusters and pillar pages work with keywords to produce a blog with tons of SEO value. 

Collecting Backlinks can be Overwhelming and You May Need Some Help

Hey, you are not alone. Most companies partner with growth-driven SEO agencies to get the job done right, in a timely manner, and on budget. If you want to learn how WEBITMD uses a modern approach to SEO unlike any other agency, download our FREE guide below and don’t hesitate in reaching out with any questions!
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About
Jen Saunders is the Director of SEO for WEBITMD bringing more than 15 years of search marketing experience. She spent 13 years in Europe earning her PhD while looking at lots of old neat stuff. Jen enjoys simple things, like trees, sunrises, and the delicate lull of a 16th century harpsichord. Jen enjoys meditating and studies Buddhism. She is a certified master scuba diver, dolls make her nervous, and she enjoys craft beer. Jen has two cats, Chairman Thaddeus Whiskers and Lord Joffrey Gaius Pitty-Paws. They are her heirs.