The Biggest Secret to Getting Backlinks

The specifics of Google’s algorithm are changing all the time. One day, the experts will say that you should do one thing. The next day, they’ll tell you that Google is “punishing” you for doing exactly that thing. This is simply the name of the game. If you live by the Google, as John so famously said, you can only expect to die by the Google. Even so, search traffic cannot and should not be ignored and dismissed.

And despite all the changes over the years with search engine optimization (SEO) best practices, there is at least one factor that has remained relatively constant: backlinks. Well, that’s not completely true. It used to be that you’d want as many backlinks as possible for as many websites as possible, regardless of their reputation or legitimacy. Google is smarter than that now, so they don’t want to see paid links and being connected to shadier sites can work against your best interest.

You want quality, legitimate backlinks for quality, legitimate websites. The challenge then, as it has always been, is figuring out how to get those backlinks. Well, as it turns out, the biggest secret to getting those links is not really a secret at all. You’ve known the answer all along.

All Hail the King

There’s an old saying that you’ve surely heard a million times before and you’re probably going to hear it at least a million more times. Content is king. It was true back then and it’s just as true now. While the nature of the content has most assuredly changed over time, you still need to be mindful of the content that people want to see. Good content, however we choose to define “good” by today’s standards, is still good content.

Based on a talk put on at SMX East, the single best way for you to get links to your site is to create content that people want to link to.

That’s right. The biggest secret to getting backlinks to your website was never really a secret at all. It’s something you already knew. With everyone else constantly looking for shortcuts, hacks, and ways to game the system, the truth of the matter is that you’ll just have to put in the work (and hopefully have a little luck on your side).

But What Does That Mean?

Sapient Razorfish senior SEO manager Alli Brenner says that you need to write content that is geared toward your target audience. While we may naturally gravitate to characteristics like age and geographic location, “demographics don’t tell the whole story.” Instead, you need to understand visitor intent. What do they want? What questions do they want answered.

In terms of more practical guidance for how to create link-attracting content, consider including images, videos, charts, graphs, infographics, and comparisons. Be sure that the valuable information is near the top of the page and you offer short, specific URLs. Make sure those share icons are really easy to find and use too.

Overit CMO Lisa Barone echoes some of these sentiments. Evergreen content, video content, and data-based content are great at attracting links too. You need to provide value and spark emotion. Tell stories, use a good content hook, and write like a human.

And finally, Aira co-founder Paddy Moogan says that reusable content is great for low-budget campaigns. If you’ve collected the data for a blog post, you can reuse that data for an infographic, a video, and social content. Then, you can reuse the same template next year with updated statistics.

What are you doing to create great content that people will actually attract backlinks?