When the topic of search engine optimisation (SEO) comes up, many people think about the keywords that websites integrate in order to enhance their ranking with search engines and attract their target audience. While high-quality and relevant keywords are certainly essential to any SEO strategy, there is another major component that organisations need to consider: backlinks. Continue reading to learn more about backlinks, their role and how to get backlinks that can help increase web traffic for your business.
Backlinks are links on other websites that drive traffic back to your company’s website and help it be viewed as an authoritative source. There are many different types of backlinks, including:
Securing articles and interviews, whether they are promotional or more thought leadership in focus, allows you to generate backlinks on a regular basis. For example, perhaps your organisation’s CEO is interviewed by a publication for an online piece centered around sustainability, which links back to your annual company report. Or your product manager contributes a how-to article that discusses how the Internet of Things benefits businesses and ways to integrate the IoT, with a link to your website in the bio at the end of the article.
In addition to links in articles and interviews, you can also leverage public relations to win press coverage tied to your corporate announcements. Whether you are announcing a new product, partnership or milestone, press releases can help you garner placements in local, trade or even Tier 1 media outlets that drive traffic back to your website.
While it’s likely that your website has a blog where you share tips, industry trends and updates, you should also look for opportunities to contribute to blogs other than your own. Do your customers and partners have a strong web presence and a regularly updated blog? Are there respected industry bloggers you can work with to contribute timely content to their sites? Not only will guest blogging bring your messaging to new people, it will build your experts’ profiles and help them be seen as trusted figures.
Your brand’s social media channels are another opportunity to feature backlinks to your website. Many B2B brands find value in managing LinkedIn pages and some even have a presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. In addition to featuring a link to your website in your profile, regularly post content that drives followers to valuable content on your website.
Additionally, enlist your employees to serve as brand advocates. They can share your company page’s posts to their profiles and even create their own original posts that incorporate backlinks. For instance, the “write article” feature on LinkedIn enables people to draft opinion pieces, listicles, tips articles and more, with hyperlinks throughout. Sharing this content with their networks gets your backlinks in front of a larger audience and potential customers.
Perhaps your sustainability director is speaking on a panel hosted by a media partner or your company is sponsoring a reception at an upcoming industry conference. A link to your website will be included, often alongside your logo or a brief bio of the person who is speaking on your brand’s behalf. While these backlinks are not considered as high quality as editorial backlinks, they do play a role in increasing web traffic for your business, especially if you are heavily involved in relevant events.
Consider the following best practices for leveraging backlinks to drive people to your website:
Securing backlinks on relevant and trustworthy websites is key. Thoroughly vet online publications, blogs and news sites to ensure they will be a good fit for your content and follow respectable industry guidelines. Avoid pay-to-play editorial backlinks and focus your energies on websites that reach a reasonable cross section of your target audience. Sites with low-quality or spam-like content will not win favor with Google and other search engines.
You can even check the domain authority (a search engine ranking score) of the websites as a way to further safeguard your reputation and your backlinks. Domain authority is ranked from one to 100 and higher scores are more favorable, as they demonstrate a greater likelihood to rank with search engines.
While it’s important for your employees to serve as advocates for your business, it’s also essential that they know where to draw the line when it comes to engaging with others about your brand. In some cases, it may be appropriate to include a link back to your company’s website in a comment on LinkedIn or YouTube. However, employees and social media managers should avoid going on a commenting spree that could detract from your SEO strategy.
While backlinks are certainly a must-have for brands that are focused on SEO, it’s crucial that the strategy behind content expands beyond the need to create more backlinks. Your content should provide valuable insights and inspiration to readers. Irrelevant content that doesn’t focus on your area of expertise and content developed for the sake of creating content with backlinks does more harm than good.
By this point, you understand that not every backlink is created equal. Additionally, even backlinks on high-authority websites can vary in quality. Backlinks within the body of the text are considered better than those that appear in footers like author bios or even sidebars. If you have the capability to control where your backlinks land within editorial content, aim for the body of the text if at all possible.
Understanding how to create backlinks is key to enhancing SEO for your brand. Backlinks drive organic traffic back to your website, enabling new people to discover your organisation. Meanwhile, a great SEO strategy also considers keywords and high-quality content that will keep these visitors on your pages for longer periods of time and ensure they get the information they need to drive purchasing decisions.
Jess Messenger is an Account Director at Mulberry Marketing Communications, an award-winning full-service B2B communications agency based in Chicago, London and Australia. She enjoys developing PR campaign strategies and writing for B2B audiences across numerous verticals such as retail, foodservice and healthcare.