For Google’s ranking algorithm, links are one of the top two criteria.
That’s right, the quality of your website and content is only part of the equation for maximizing online visibility.
To truly climb to the top of the search ranks and reach your target audience, you need backlinks.
I discuss in another article why guest blogging is a strong strategy to driving organic traffic. Generating powerful backlinks is one of the top reasons to guest blog.
How can you leverage guest blogs for backlinking? Read on to find out.
Backlinks (also known as “inbound links”, “incoming links” or “one-way links”) are links from one website to a page on another website.
Google and other major search engines consider backlinks “votes” for a specific page. Pages with a high number of quality backlinks tend to have high organic search engine rankings.
For example, here is a link from the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors backlinking to my book, The Dance of the Business Mind, on Amazon.
Another great example is direct links to my website, like from HERMag.co to my other website, Acolyst.
Search engines determine SEO on a variety of ranking factors, and backlinks are one of these factors.
Backlinks are like votes from other websites. Each of these votes tells search engines this content is valuable, credible, and useful content.
Essentially, the more of these “votes” you have, the higher your site will rank in Google and other search engines.
To rank page results, Google uses its PageRank algorithm. Backlinks are one of the key ranking signals for this algorithm. In fact, Google confirmed backlinks and content are their top search engine ranking factors on their Search Engine Results Pages (SERP).
Backlinks are not inherently good. You need backlinks from influential sites. These influential websites are trusted and respected. While backlinks for high-quality websites will improve your SEO, backlinks from low-domain visibility websites may hurt your results.
To ensure beneficial backlinking, aim for backlinks from high authority sites. For example, Inc. Magazine linked to my author site
One of the easiest ways to leverage backlinking on a guest blog is to include the relevant link in your content or author bio. When you are interviewed for an article that the other site writes, you have less leverage to add a backlink. An example that shows this is this CRN Magazine interview about my contract with The White House.
On the other hand, as a guest blogger, you have more opportunities to link back to your website. For one, you may link relevant parts of the article when it makes sense. You can also link back to your site in your author bio or in a tasteful way within the body of your article.
My blog on Thrive Global titled, Get Dancing, is an example of how I included backlinks within the concluding section of the article instead of the author bio.
While it’s great to establish a guest blogging relationship, you want backlinks from a variety of sources. It is best to get links from various website sources rather than multiple links from the same website source. The best way to get backlinks from various sources is to guest blog for multiple websites.
Simply having backlinks is only part of the equation. The most effective backlinks, the ones that get traffic to your site, are valuable, linkable assets. Linkable assets are the most likely to acquire backlinks to your website.
Focus on what valuable linkable asset you can provide to the market audience. What unique piece of content can you offer that people would want to link back to a page on your site or mention you on their blog and link you? For me, they are my books and my company’s best practice methodology and framework.
Base your linkable assets on the set of keywords you want to be recognized and ranked for. For example, my keyword on many of my blogs was Business Mind. However, that is not the only set of keywords I use. I will use other related sets of keywords like Business Mind Leadership and Intelligence of the Business Mind.
I then created catchphrases that later became titles of my book, like, The Four Intelligences of the Business Mind and The Dance of the Business Mind. Based on this strategy, I created compelling, valuable assets with titles aligned with my target keywords.
This is the kind of material that works well for backlinks in guest blogs, but it does more than that. Valuable, linkable assets entice others to naturally include backlinks in their content.
Create a quality author bio with a captivating description that connects the reader and creative links. Use different author bios for different guest posts to ensure your bio is optimized for the audience and content.
Leverage keywords in your bio as well. Come up with alternative keywords to use throughout various bios. This is an SEO best practice, as search engines do not list duplicate content.
Include backlinks in your author bio, but do not stuff it with links. Only include a maximum of 2-3 links in each bio.
If you include three links, include one to your blog, one to something you are promoting, and one to your social profile. Anything more is unnatural and makes it clear that you only want the backlinks.
Written content is not the only way to leverage backlinks. Visual assets like infographics and videos are excellent for link building. Creating unique visual content is an effective way to earn backlinks. People like to include images in their blog posts. You can also use your unique images in your guest blog and link them back to your relevant asset.
Finding new places to pitch a guest blog isn’t easy. Take advantage of the low-hanging fruit and respectfully ask for backlinks from those who have mentioned you, but not yet linked to you.
Below is a great example of how to do this tastefully. Tony Robbins’ team member contacted me to link content I had added about Tony back to his website.
Manually searching for mentions of your name or brand can be incredibly time-consuming. Fortunately, there are helpful software tools, like Google Alerts, to streamline the process. These tools send you free alerts and notify you when someone mentions you or your brand within their content.
If you find you are mentioned and not linked to, you can send a friendly email like the example above. Many times, if they liked your content enough to talk about it, the person will be happy to add the link and may have simply forgotten to do so.
Guest blogs are one of the most helpful strategies for generating valuable backlinks and driving organic traffic. However, creating and implementing a winning guest-blogging strategy can be time-consuming and overwhelming. That’s where we come in. Engage 2 Engage is here to help you take advantage of guest blogging for its various advantages, including backlinks. Learn more about how our programs can help you today!