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The Zen Way of Creating High Quality Backlinks and How to Scale It Up

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The Zen Way of Creating High Quality Backlinks and How to Scale It Up

Remember the good old days when creating high quality backlinks used to a fairly simple process?

Back in the day, all you had to do was come up with few blog posts and post them on article submission sites to get a bunch of back links to your site.

That was until Google came up with the Penguin update, and later the PNB (Private Network Blogs) de-indexing update.

That doesn’t work anymore.

Every time SEO specialists came up with ways and means to game the search results, Google would come up with its own way of curbing such practices, and even penalizing such sites.

And here’s the worst part – Google will continue to do this. 

So should you dump creating backlinks altogether?

The simple answer is NO!

While creating high quality backlinks will continue to be a crucial part of your SEO activities, the two most important factors that you should consider are TRUST and POPULARITY.

This is the key to creating high quality backlinks.

According to a recent study presented on Copyblogger, Google allocates as much as 23.87% of its ranking algorithm to domain trust/authority of the host domain, and 22.33% to the popularity of the specific page.

Although, these figures by themselves don’t directly indicate that the sites linking to your site must have high levels of trust and popularity, it does signify the extent to which Google values these two key parameters.

As long as your link building activities are focused around these two factors, your are safe … for now.

You now know that creating high quality backlinks is here to stay, (at least till such a time Google comes up with an update to negate this) and you will spend your resources towards it.

You might as well do it right!

Are you ready to find out how to come with an effective link building approach that’s scalable?

This article uses a four-pronged strategy to significantly improve your ranking, in addition to improving your conversion rates.

With a proper link building technique in place, you will be a high authority on your chosen topic in the eyes of search engines.

In this article, you’ll learn about:

  1. Insights into Google’s Approach Towards Backlinks
  2. Scaling up your link building endeavors
  3. Keyword research and effective targeting
  4. Editorial links and how to earn them

Insights into Google’s Approach Towards Backlinks

Let’s face it.

When it comes to SEO, we all must play by Google’s rules.

So understanding how Google sees the backlinks to a particular domain is very crucial.

One easy way to get to the heart of it is to understand their mission statement.

By creating meaningful high quality backlinks to your site, you are essentially organizing the information you present to your readers.

Now that’s your mission! Simple as that.

Just have a clear understanding of what your customers want and you won’t have to create unnecessary buzz around your product ever again.

Do you see how Google is forcing you to adapt their principle so they can better help their users?

Smart. Isn’t it?

One mantra that Google firmly believes in is out there in the world wide web, there’s always more information.

Now how can you combine these two – their mission and mantra?

Well, just try and answer these two questions:

  1. How can I organize my content in the best possible way?
  2. How useful is the information that I provide on my site useful to the sites that link to mine?

If you look closely at the first question, you will understand that organizing content is all about good site navigation.

What does this mean to you?

Developing a site that’s easy to navigate is at the heart of an effective link building strategy.

One way approaching this is to ask yourself how does the visitors to your site feel once they land up?

Are they overwhelmed by the options they have? Is your site appealing yet simple without confusing your visitor?

Can they easily locate vital components such as your contact information, links to critical pages such as your products/services, member login options, etc. ?

Have a look at these two examples and figure out for yourself the good and the bad.

Here are the two key takeaways:

  1. Having a proper site navigation is the key to organizing the content to make it easier for your visitors and search engines to find information that is relevant and useful.
  2. Building a strong backlinking foundation so other sites will want to have a link to your site.

You know by now why it is important to have a good site navigation in place and how to achieve it.

Now we will explore how to build a strong high quality backlink foundation.

Developing a Strong Link Building Foundation

So you have developed and published a great piece of content that’s useful and relevant for your industry. What next?

Isn’t it obvious that you should start building high quality backlinks from quality sites in the quickest possible time?

Although on the face of it this step seems the obvious thing to do, think about it for a moment.

If you generate high quality backlinks too quickly, albeit quality ones, Google will still think that you are gaming the process.

Instead, one smart way of approaching this situation is to have your content indexed by Google.

Indexing is a way of telling Google that this piece of content exists on the world wide web so its crawlers can find it.

Once your content is indexed, you can then proceed towards building high quality backlinks that can significantly contribute towards better rankings.

Now that brings us to the next question.

How to Get Google to Find and Index Your Content?

What if I tell you that you can get Google to find and index your content in six hours?

Yes! You heard it right. Six hours.

The secret? Alexa.

If you are into SEO, you might have probably heard about this site.

Google frequently crawls this site as it is rich in analytical information that’s useful for the search engine.

Simply enter the URL of the content you have created in Alexa and look up for the performance metrics.

Alexa creates a new page within its database using your URL.

So what happens when Google crawls Alexa the next time?

You got it! Your content will be picked and indexed.

Don’t have an Alexa account? No problem.

There’s another great way to have your content indexed quickly.

Can you spot the elephant in the room?

Social signals.

Yes. Sometimes the simplest of the solutions can go unnoticed.

Every time you post some content on social networking sites and people find it useful, they like, share, and comment, Google gets social signals.

If your content can generate considerable amount of interest that results in strong social signals, Google will find your content and index it.

Any link building that happens after this will be natural. No red flags raised.

Although most popular social networking sites can be used, there’s one site that Google cannot and will not miss. Google+.

Simply log in to Google+ account and copy-paste your content’s URL there. Be sure to select the visibility to “Public” for maximum reach.

Your content will do great if it is high-quality and useful. Make sure that every bit of it is informative and provides added value to your readers.

Today’s SEO is all about addressing your readers’ wants. They should have a strong reason to click on the link and get what they want when they end up on the landing page

Scaling Up Your High Quality Backlinks Endeavors

Do you want your link building efforts to be stressful or easy?

No really. You have a choice.

If you want it it to be easy and hassle-free, the trick is to create awesome content.

Cyrus Shepard, in his book How To Rank, talks about his 90-10 rule. It’s simple.

90% of your effort should go towards creating useful and relevant content and the rest 10% towards link building.

Most content creators find link building as a tedious and painful process because they often reverse this rule, opines Shepard.

Always remember, your content should command the high PR and your link building activities should only complement your efforts.

If you position your content properly and get lots of people to link, you can a bunch of high quality backlinks from a single post.

High Quality Backlinks are all about trust and relevancy.

That’s where quality backlinks trump traditional backlinks.

So how does it work?

Let’s say you have run a coffee shop with great coffee brews from all over the world.

If your site has high quality backlinks from directory sites that link to a wide range of businesses, Google doesn’t see any relevancy. It also knows that such sites usually sell backlinks.

On the other hand, if your site has backlinks from relevant sites such as the ones that sell coffee makers, coffee tables and the likes, Google spots the relevancy. If the popularity of these sites is high, all the better.

So how do you find sites that are similar to yours and how to check for their authority and popularity?

One great tool you could use is Similar Site Search.

The interface is similar to that of Google Search. All you have to do is paste the your domain URL into the search box and hit “Search”.

The result will be list of websites, again similar to Google Search results, that are similar to your site.

This step is a tiny tip of the iceberg. You still need to build mutually beneficial relationships with site owners so they can link with your site.

At this stage, you only have links to a bunch of websites that are similar to yours.

You don’t know how trustworthy they are or what their popularity is. All you know is that they are relevant.

So to further shortlist the sites, you should use key metrics to determine which of these sites can fetch you quality backlinks.

Some of the key metrics are:

  • Domain Authority
  • Domain Relevancy
  • Trust Flow
  • Citation Flow
  • Branded Keywords and Anchor Text

Let’s examine each metric in detail.

Domain Authority:

If you are considering a particular site for link acquisition, it’s important that the site has a high domain authority.

Moz bar is a great tool that displays this metric along with the search results. It’s a plug-in that’s installed on your browser.

Domain Relevancy:

Getting backlinks from domains that are relevant yo your industry is highly important.

According to a recent study by Microsite Masters, that every site that they looked at from the list of sites that were affected by Penguin Update had a “money keyword” in the anchor text for about 60% of the incoming links.

So it’s important to note that using the right anchor text with regard to the relevancy of the linking domain.

Trust Flow:

A better way of measuring a domain’s perceived quality is to Trust Flow, as analyzed by Majestic. It gives a more accurate measure of the quality of the incoming links to a site.

This is an arbitrarily chosen number ranging from 0 to 100. Higher the number, higher is the trust flow.

As you can see in the example, Bing’s trust flow is 86. That’s a very good number.

To improve your search rankings and have a high PR, it’s imperative that your backlinks must come from sites with high trust flow.

This also has a positive spiral effect and will make further link acquisitions easier.

To check the trust flow of domains that link to your site, enter the root domain of your site in Majestics’s search box and hit search.

You can find the trust flow all the domains that point to your site along with citation flow.

Citation Flow:

This metric, again from Majestic, measures the influence of a website in a link.

A word of caution before we go further.

This metric measures the quantity of the inbound links and not the quality.

Citation Flow must always be used in conjunction with Trust Flow. This way you can measure both the trust and influence of a link.

Here’s the trick.

First focus on sites with high trust flow followed by link acquisition in that group with a perceived high citation flow

Branded Keywords and Anchor Text:

Anchor texts are a another important aspect of scaling up your backlinking activities.

Anchor texts can be used in several ways.

In the context of backlinking, there are three important anchor text types. They are:

  1. Branded anchor texts
  2. Branded hybrid anchor texts using keywords
  3. anchor texts using URLs and keywords

In the example, you can see that 704 sites are linking to Nerd Fitness through branded anchor texts.

You could also use hybrid anchor texts.

Let’s say your company, Traffic Radius, is into offering digital marketing services. Your hybrid anchor text with keywords can be:

1. Traffic Radius SEO services

2. Traffic Radius search engine marketing

3. Traffic Radius social media marketing

For hybrid anchor texts with URLs, your options can be:

https://trafficradius.com.au/ SEO services

https://trafficradius.com.au/ search engine marketing

SEO training at https://trafficradius.com.au/

The key here is to get real traffic and quality external links, you need the right approach to quality content, trust flow, anchor texts, and domain relevancy.

Now, let’s take this a step further.

To get the most of your inbound links, to amplify their potential in the long run, you should consider a 2-tier linking structure.

You can see clearly in the image above that tier 1 sites directly link to your site while tier 2 links link to the tier 1 links.

Think of tier 2 links as boosters to your link building activities. They enhance the effect of tier 1 links.

In practice, tier 1 links take time to have an effect. However, when you add tier 2 links to the mix and strengthen them, you can see increased traffic and overall improvement in your rankings.

Strengthening tier 1 links is fairy straight forward.

Just pass social signals to tier 1 links to scale up their impact.

Tier 2 links are a bit tricky. It requires an elaborate 3-step process.

We will look at each of the three steps in detail.

Step 1:

Make use of Web 2.0 sites.

Create quality content and post on sites such as BloggerWeb Node and Tumblr.

Let’s consider Tumblr to illustrate this step.

Log in to Tumblr and click “Create a New Blog”

Click “Add Text”

Add the title of your post and content and click “Post”

Step 2:

Share your Tumblr post on Google+ and Facebook and ping it on Pingomatic. Pingomatic will then promote your post on leading content aggregators.

You may have to wait for at least six hours for your content to be indexed.

To check if your post is indexed, just paste the Tumblr URL to Google search. If the post appears in the search results, it’s a go!

Step 3:

After your Tumblr post is indexed, use a branded keyword as an anchor text to link to your site.

This link may not add significant value but it still adds some value.

Remember that it will add up in the long run.

You can also create a tier 2 structure to this post.

Since your post is already there and indexed, just build more authoritative links to your Tumblr post via high PR do-follow blog comments and guest blogging.

Points to remember while using tier 2 links to boost your tier 1 links:

  • Do not over optimize the anchor text.
  • Do not use this tactic to merely acquire links.
  • The posts you create on Web 2.0 should actually add value to your readers.
  • Keep anchor texts as generic as possible. Do not use exact keyword and anchor text combination.

Keyword Research and Targeting

The importance of keyword research and right targeting cannot be overstated.

This becomes all the more important while building links that scale.

Two points worth noting here are:

  • Selecting a large number of keywords that are spread over a wide range of ad groups.
  • Highly focused keywords, especially long-tail keywords, perform way better than popular seed keywords.

The bottom line is giving your readers relevant content that they find useful and informative. This way, they can keep linking to it.

If you want to really get into the minds of your potential customers, you simply cannot ignore keyword research.

Let’s consider an example.

If you look at “expert web designers in Melbourne”…

Two things come into the picture straight away.

Those searching for this long-tail keyword are looking for a professional who can render world-class web designs. Not a greenhorn.

The fact that they are specific with the location means that they want to personally interact with the designer although this particular service can be delivered from any corner of the world.

Let’s assume for a moment that you are in that niche and check how you can arrive at keyword ideas that can drive high traffic.

Once you have logged in to Google Keyword Planner, click “Search for new keyword and ad group ideas”.

Type in “expert web designers” and scroll down and click “Get Ideas”

Now click on “Keywords ideas”. You will get a list of keywords that you can target.

In the example above, you will find keywords that can be targeted within your content.

At times, you will also come across other combinations such as web design freelancers, web designer salaries, etc. These are keywords searched by freelancers who are not your target audience.

You must never target keywords that are not related your core services, products or message for link building.

Always remember that relevancy of the linking domain is of utmost importance when it comes to scalable link building.

Targeting Consumer Demographics

Understanding your consumer demographics has been an important factor right from the days of traditional marketing. Digital marketing is no exception.

It’s easy for you to understand your consumers’ needs, and understand what they really want when you know how a particular demographic group behaves.

With this data, you will be able to create powerful content that your target audience will consume and share resulting in an effective link building process.

Quantcast is a powerful tool to get vital statistics and other related to your target audience.

To know about the demographics of your site, go to Quantcast and sign up. Enter your root URL in the search bar and search for the data.

You will get a goldmine of data pertaining to your consumer group which can then be used to create useful and informative content.

The image above shows the demography of Metacafe. You can clearly see that the top two categories are males aged 35-44 and 25-34.

According to Pingdom, these two groups constitute the bulk of social media activities.

So what does it mean?

Well, having such a demographic group as your target audience means that the content you create is highly likely to be shared.

This can only happen if you put in the right efforts and take the time to create awesome content that your audience finds useful.

Another way of increasing your external link ratio is share your own content. SO be bold and don’t shy away from sharing your content.

Automate for Social Signals

Creating social signals for link building can be a tedious process.

Come on. It’s not your personal account where you use 2-3 social platforms and share a few times a week.

If you are using social signals to scale your high quality backlinks, you will have to constantly create social signals by sharing your content as frequently as possible.

To manually undertake this would be close to impossible especially if you want to leverage close to 20 social media sites.

This is where automation comes into picture.

Hubspot and Buffer are among the most popular automation tools that you can use.

You can easily queue your campaign and promote your content at the touch of a button. You can set the time and date that you want to post.

There are many other customization options that you can explore.  

Other Link Building Tools That Are Worth Considering

Here are other link building tools that you are sure to find helpful.

  • Quick Sprout: Wondering why your site is not getting enough traffic? This tool can help you analyze.
  • Open Link Profiler: A power tool for diagnosing links that also doubles as industry detail checker.
  • Open Site Explorer: Want to find out the number of backlinks to your site and related details such as their domain authority? This tool is ideal for you.
  • nTopic: This is a great tool to come up with a complete content strategy. From helping you find the right keywords to finding the right audience, this tool can help you immensely with your link building activities.

Step 4

Editorial Links – Stop Building and Start Earning Your Links

To earn editorial links from high authority sites is everyone’s dream.

These links can substantially contribute to your link building strategy.

However, for high authority sites to provide you with editorial links, your content should be immensely valuable to them.

Although the process of creating high quality backlinks can be stressful, with a right strategy in place, it should be achievable.

By now you might have heard this a hundred times. It’s still worthy of a repeat. If you create highly valuable content, your readers will share, cite, tweet, recommend, and link to your content.

The best part? They will do it all on their own. Just create great content.

Brian Dean is considered to be among the top bloggers in the field of SEO. His success, however, came after years of struggle.

But when he finally cracked the code, he received hundreds of links and over 50,000 unique visitors to his first infographic.

His skyscraper technique has more or less become the industry standard. It is simple and includes the following steps:

  • Find a successful blog in your niche
  • Make it up-to-date
  • Fill in the gaps and make it more thorough

To know more about his strategy, check out his post.

Creating Viral Content

The first step to creating content that has the potential to go viral is understand other viral content and go one up on it.

Open Site Explorer is a great tool to achieve this.

To start with, visit the site and type in your competitor’s blog URL to find out which of their posts got the most shares and comments.

For this, we will consider Copyblogger as an example.

Once you hit the search button and go to the Top Pages tab, you will get a screen with the results like the image below.

These are the blogs that you can use as a reference point. Select any one from this list. Let’s say we selected the third URL from this example.

The topic and the title of that blog is: “How to Build an Audience that Builds Your Digital Business”?

When you go to the blog page, you will find that it has gathered lots of shares and likes in the social media. You should seek out such links for effective link acquisition.

Now that you have zeroed in on your target blog, the next step is to carefully examine the title and come up with a better one.

Look out for vagueness, or any such opportunities for improvement and make it more specific and crisp.

Try to address your readers’ pain points by offering solutions.

There are many ways to improve the headline. After improving a few blogs, you will surely master this.

The next step is to improve the content.

Here are some of the proven ways to improve the content:

  • Always make sure that your post has data points.
  • Make your post significantly longer by adding more details and making it thorough.
  • Use generous amounts of quality images, screen grabs, and charts to support your content instead of links.
  • Don’t be subjective by including your opinions. Be objective and use research findings, case studies, and experiments to validate the information.
  • Provide external links to valuable blog posts that are relevant to your specific topic.
  • Involve your readers by asking questions that trigger their emotions.
  • Quote or reference industry influencers, thought leaders and popular bloggers from your industry.
  • Always end your post with a call-to-action with a list of actionable items.

Send “Thank You” Emails

Here’s a simple trick that will work if you can grab a busy person’s attention.

Whenever you mention a popular blogger, site owner, or an author on your post, send them a ‘thank you’ email. Thank them for the reference that you used.

Here’s a great example:

Earn Authority Links Through Guest Blogging

This is another great strategy to building high quality backlinks.

So long as your content is great and relevant to the general theme of the blog, other bloggers will be interested to have your blog posted on their site.

So how does this work?

First of all, you get noticed! Your audience base widens as you add the readers of other blogs to your base.

Guest blogging certainly helps your inbound traffic and can significantly contribute towards your scaling up your high quality backlinks.

Check out these 140+ sites that accept guest blogging.

Also, be sure to read this guest posting guide to come up with a post that’s sure to be accepted.

Blog Comments Can Earn Trusted Links

Although links from comments do not add much SEO value, they are natural and relevant.

Google highly values these two factors and that should be reason enough for you to try.

Here are some tips to effectively use blog comments:

  • Look for blogs with dofollow CommentLuv plugins
  • Make sure you have subscribed to at least 5 blogs
  • As soon as you get a post alert, scan through the post and focus on sections that can lead you to comment
  • Come up with a valuable post and refrain from praising the post too much

Here are two great examples of good comments to earn trusted links:

So What Does This All Add Up To?

Even though there’s a lot skepticism about link building and what Google will do next with their updates, there’s still a strong case for the value add that this process can bring to the table.

As long as you focus on creating great content that’s useful for your readers, and your linking building activities are strongly based on content creation, you are good.

Just remember three magic words: Relevancy. Popularity. Trust.

So are you going to leverage scalable link building and incorporate it into your SEO practice? Feel free to comment.

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