Backlinks have been a fundamental part of search engine optimization for a long time. Yet there isn't a clear consensus among SEO specialists as to how to obtain these links. While a lot of emphasis is being placed on fast websites and quality content, links are still critically important to rising in the search engine rankings.
Rethink the Link
A fast website and quality content are necessary, but it is the backlinks that provide the muscle to move you from the second page (or lower) to the first page in the search results. However, the quality of the link is equally important. Careful work has to be put into obtaining these links nowadays and you must resist the old methods to obtain a large number of links quickly. The old methods might provide you a quick boost in the results, but it will not be long lasting and could harm your rankings.
A lot of focus used to be put in leaving a link in comments on other blogs, link directories, or even site-wide footer links. These types of links are actually damaging to your placement. There is a much better way to obtain those backlinks.
Digital Public Relations (DPR)
Content will be key in acquiring those much-needed backlinks and the more creative you become with your content, the more backlinks you may acquire. Content is no longer confined to just an article or a blog post, but include video, images, white papers, slideshows, graphs and many other forms of media. Publishing this content on other media sites and sharing this content over social media platforms is how you need to get quality backlinks that can drive extra traffic to your site and raise your position in the SERPs.
Increasing Your Outreach
The term outreach has been a popular topic of discussion in SEO forums, blogs and articles. Outreach really refers to your content's ability to be shared over social media to garner those backlinks. To increase your outreach requires relationship building with your followers and with influencers within your area. The stronger your relationship with others, the greater your outreach will grow.
There are people, such as corporations, celebrities and influencers, that have such a following that they can generate all the backlinks needed just by publishing new content. For the rest of us, it's going to take a lot of work, consistency, and a plan.
A certain amount of time needs to be dedicated daily, weekly, and monthly towards SEO and DPR. The rewards of your efforts are going to correlate directly to the amount of effort you put into it. In any industry, there are going to be certain people that have their fingers so tightly on the pulse of what is happening that everyone turns to them for answers. These people are your influencers. Time needs to be spent identifying the influencers in your industry and developing relationships with these people.
You can probably identify some of these people through the search results for various terms in your industry and noting who comes up consistently, but it can be difficult to comb through all that data. There is software that helps you identify influencers easily. Little Bird and BuzzStream are two popular examples of such software. Others include Traackr, TapInfluence and Zoomph. These tools can not only help you identify influencers in your industry, but tell you what are the trending topics that people are talking about.
SEO has changed greatly over the past few years and perhaps how we obtain our backlinks may have changed the most. It's no longer about just generating backlinks, but it's about creating and nurturing the relationships that will lead to backlinks.