In some ways, search engine optimization (SEO) is a test of agility. Google, the best-known and most popular search engine in the world, is constantly tinkering with its search algorithm, forcing businesses to adapt. Your competitors are constantly experimenting to discover new strategies as well, giving them a chance to overtake you in key areas.
In this article, we’ll cover some of the ways that link building has evolved, and some of the best strategies to get quality backlinks in 2019.
Let’s start with a big-picture perspective on link building, including why it’s important and how it’s developed in recent years.
Backlinks are just hyperlinks on the internet that point to your domain (and the various pages within that domain). They’re important because they’re considered as a marker of trustworthiness in PageRank, the algorithm at the heart of Google Search. Basically, Google wants to rank its most trustworthy results above its less-trustworthy results, assuming relevance is equal. It uses the number and quality of inbound links to determine how trustworthy a site is; in other words, if you get quality backlinks from many different high-authority publishers, your own domain authority will increase. The higher your domain and page-level authority, the higher you’re going to rank in searches.
In an ideal world, links would naturally be distributed according to which content is best—but this rarely happens unprovoked. Link building is a strategy meant to help companies generate inbound links intentionally, earning domain authority as well as direct traffic.
Google hasn’t tinkered with the link-relevant side of its algorithm much in previous years. The last major addition to Penguin (Google’s link-centric algorithm) occurred in October of 2016. Throughout 2018 and 2019 (so far), there have been a few important updates, including carousel changes, mobile layout changes, unconfirmed rollouts resulting in ranking fluctuations, and a core update in March of 2019. None of these updates have had a substantial impact on how links are evaluated in Google Search, but it’s still important to review and audit your link building practices in 2019 to ensure they’re up-to-date—and getting you the best backlinks possible.
It’s not effective to build links indiscriminately. In fact, Google actively cautions webmasters against these activities. Built into Google’s search algorithm (via Penguin) is a system that gauges the relevance, value, and “natural” qualities of each link on the internet. If it seems unnatural, out of place, or intentionally built to boost your authority, it may not pass authority to your domain. In some cases, it may actively hurt your authority score with a Google penalty.
So how can you get quality backlinks?
We’ll go over individual strategies to get the best backlinks for your brand in the next section, but it’s best to start with a high-level overview. Google wants to see links that are contextually relevant, valuable for readers, diverse in nature, and featured on the best-quality publishers available. The best way to achieve these criteria while still controlling your campaign enough to guarantee placement is through active offsite guest posting.
You’ll start by creating linkable assets on your site (i.e., high-quality onsite articles with strong facts, statistics, and/or quotes). Then, you’ll develop offsite articles, fine-tuned for specific publishers that are ideally both relevant to your brand and authoritative overall. These articles will each feature a link back to an article or resources on your home domain. Over time, as you grow your network of publishers and work your way up the ladder of offsite authority, your authority and rankings will grow.
With that core architecture in mind, these are the best link building strategies to help you develop your campaign in 2019:
If you’re interested in getting the best backlinks, you’re probably feeling overwhelmed. In addition to understanding the nuances and complexities of link building and search engine optimization (SEO), to get quality backlinks, you’ll need to go through the effort of producing, editing, publishing, and distributing content.
That’s why it’s in your best interest to work with a link building agency, which can get quality backlinks for your site much more efficiently—and in many cases, for less time and money than you’d spend on your own. If you’re interested in learning more about our link building strategies, or if you’re ready to get quality backlinks for your site, contact us at SEO.co today for a free consultation!