Google and other search engines use links from other websites to yours as votes in favor of your content. It's basically one of the ways that google is able to measure E-A-T of your content and that is an important factor in determining where your content should show up in the rankings. But you don't need to do link building to get backlinks.
For example, let’s look at this site, cookforfolks.com, it has over 400 backlinks links from other websites that link to the content on this site. The time and effort spent to get those backlinks was zero. Those backlinks were created naturally and organically. When you look at the backlink profile for this over half of them do follow links which means they are getting the link juice from the websites they come from and the best links are pointing to articles where they had unique thoughts and original research. When a piece of content is hard to replicate, people cite it and they link to it, these are natural organic backlinks which is the intent of what Google is looking for.
When you think of link building there are really only three methods that all strategies and tactics fall into.
Creating backlinks yourself
The first method is creating those backlinks yourself that are going to other places on the web where you can actually add links to your site. Which is done through social
media sites, forum posts, commenting on other people's blog posts, basically anywhere that literally anyone on the internet could post something. Well Google figured out a long time ago that literally anyone can post anything in those places. So links of that type are given zero weight in the Google search algorithm. In fact when
Google sees a lot of links from those types of sources; they will even penalize websites that they believe are trying to manipulate their algorithm.
Paying for links
The second way to get these links on your site is to buy them. You can literally pay people who have networks of websites or who reach out to others who have websites who will then for a price put links on their site over to your content. This
goes completely against Google's guidelines. And to get a link from the type of site that would actually add credibility to yours may be very expensive. The other pay for link option is to pay sites to allow you to write a guest post on their site that links back to your article. So not only are you paying to write this guest post that can cost you hundreds of dollars but you're also having to take the time to write a post that doesn't even get to go on your own website.
The third method is to get those links by doing industry outreach, we'll come back to that one in later in this blog.
First let’s understand what Google says about backlinks in their documentation about how search works. Google talks a little bit about quality of content that's where backlinking comes up. Google tries to understand the meaning of a search query, that's key. Second they're trying to find web pages across the internet that have content relevant to that search, that's actually the most important factor by far in search rankings not backlinks. Next is the quality of the content here they tell you where those links come into play. According to Google, they look for sites that many users seem to value for similar queries. For example if other prominent websites linked to a page, what is known as page rank that is proven to be a good sign that the information is well trusted. A good sign, not a definitive sign, aggregated feedback from Google’s search quality evaluation process is used to further refine how Google’s systems discern the quality of information. Google over the last several years has been improving their algorithm through the use of manual quality raters that are looking at specific pieces of content to see how authoritative they really are, based on numerous different signals. And they're using that information to update the algorithm to be able to algorithmically automatically determine the authoritativeness or the E-A-T of pieces of content on your website.
Backlinks are only one of the many signals involved in determining the quality of your content. Google also talks about spam algorithms. Let's understand what Google has to say about link schemes. Any links intended to manipulate page rank that is link building or a site's ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google's webmaster guidelines this includes any behavior that manipulates links to your sites or outgoing links from your site. This might include things like buying or selling links. So that just completely eliminated method number two, excessive link exchanges. Google also mentions, the best way to get other sites to create high quality relevant links to yours is to create unique relevant content that can naturally gain popularity in the internet community. Creating good content pays off.
When you do any activity with the sole intent of getting a link to your website, your objective and your behavior is different than when you do things with the purpose of building relationships with other content creators, with establishing authority within an industry. One of the best ways to conduct industry outreach is to get interviewed on a podcast. Podcasters are often looking for people to interview, you don't need to go on the biggest ones in your industry. Start with small podcasts and get yourself interviewed by simply reaching out to the podcast host linking them to your website. Inform them about the content you create and that you would love to talk about it on their podcast.
One great way to find podcasters is through a service known as Pod Match, you can sign up for free, it matches podcasters with people who want to be interviewed by podcasters. It is very rare that you do not get a link when you give an interview through a podcast, a blog or even a YouTube video. That sort of a link makes a lot of sense because the people who are consuming that content may want to follow up and learn more about the person interviewed. But the link is only a piece.
It's not the end game, the real benefit is because the person interviewing you is viewing you at some level of authority within your industry. That causes not only the algorithm but people also to treat you a little bit more that way. People who listen to that podcast, watch that YouTube video, or read that article that has that interview with you in it are going to be more likely to come search out your content when they see your content within a search. They're going to be a little bit more likely to click on it because it's a familiar name. Getting your name out there doing regular ordinary marketing organically ends up building authority not just algorithmically but among people because of brand recognition.
Among the audience of people who listen to that podcast episode, there are going to be some who are also bloggers, podcasters and YouTubers within their industry. Now they have somebody that they know they can reach out to who's another authority within the space someone they can interview, they're going to be substantially more likely to just mention you in a podcast or on a video or within their blog and link over to your site. This is organic backlink creation, we're not building them we're letting them be created and spread on their own because we create high value quality content.
Google is more interested in providing people with the most relevant search result than they are in providing people with the search result with the most backlinks. So write articles with original value and unique content that are highly relevant to those search queries that most bloggers completely ignore. And there are still tons of those by the way. So without any backlinks at all on a brand new website you can still rank on the first page of Google. You should optimize your search snippet to write content that is more likely to be chosen by Google as the rich snippet, which allows content on brand new websites to quickly skip the line and get to the very top of the Google search results.
With so much high performing content on those lower competition search queries you can naturally gain that authority which Google can measure just as easily as they do backlinks. And with that trust gained and that authority established can rank for much more competitive search terms. With substantially more content on your website than others, because of the time they have wasted chasing down links, when others in your industry come to your website they're going to see larger amounts of content and better content. That they will be more likely to link naturally and you have enough content that a podcaster in your industry is going to be far more likely to want to interview you.
Industry outreach is extremely hard when nobody has any reason to view you or your content as authoritative. But when you put high quality content first it actually doesn't take that long before others in your industry start to view you as an authority on the topic. It's actually way easier and far less time consuming.