Before we get into SEO, let’s talk about rap beefs. A long, long time ago in the ancient era of 2015, a feud began. Canadian rapper Drake found himself under fire. Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill took to Twitter to accuse Drake of using ghostwriters to pen his rhymes (by the way, not a social media strategy we’d recommend). What ensued was a long honored tradition in hip-hop – diss tracks. It didn’t take long for Drake to retaliate, dropping two songs in one week aimed at Meek, including the aptly named song “Back to Back.” Meek responded and the two went back and forth, trading disses in other songs until the feud fizzled out and long after the general public declared Drake the winner.
So, what about that has to do with SEO? There are some core principles of optimization at work here. While the two rap moguls were squabbling against each other, they were actually helping one another as well. With each reference to Drake in Meek’s raps and vice versa, they were leading listeners to the other rappers next track. All of this became a momentary cultural phenomenon – Drake even got a Grammy nomination for “Back to Back.” All of this is remarkably similar to the concept of backlinking. In SEO, this is where you get a link back to your website from someone else’s website to help improve your search ranking. This isn’t nearly as contentious as it is in the hip-hop realm.
Backlinking was a top trend as SEO a few years ago, dominating strategies by trying to get as many links to your website from others as possible. It’s a tactic that’s built on building your Domain Authority (DA). The more websites pointing toward your website is a great wait to build organic traffic. As SEO has changed over the years, as it is wont to do, backlinking became less prevalent in favor of optimizing pages and other valuable SEO tactics. However, backlinking is far from obsolete. While it no longer needs to be the end all of your SEO strategy, the value of backlinks is still prevalent in your DA score and makes your website look even more legitimate to Google. So, how do you get them? You ask!
Getting Backlinks Without Getting Egg on Your Face
When backlinking first got noticed by Google, they began penalizing sites that were gaming the system and paying for links on websites. That’s still true today, so in order to make it work you have to go legit. Everyone wins this way anyhow. Building relationships with other companies or tangential to your industry only benefits your business. If you’re going to ask someone for a link back to your website, it has to be relevant to what their business is about as well. If you run a Cloud CRM business, there’s no point trying to get a link back from the pizza joint down the street. However, getting a link from another tech company is not a bad idea at all.
Oftentimes some sort of exchange will be required – people aren’t always going to just give you a backlink out of the kindness of their heart. Sometimes this can mean giving them a backlink as well. Be wary though – backlink exchange programs may actually lead to penalties and hosting links to seemingly irrelevant websites can actually hurt your own DA. Instead, you’ll want to focus on putting together your own plan that will target websites relevant to your own. Create a spreadsheet that serves as a wish list for sites you’d love to have backlinks from. Focus on their industry, DA, and activity of the website. Tools and plugins like MozBar can be huge assets in determining the pre-qualifiers. Then it’s a matter of tracking down the contact information and reaching out. But what are you going to say?
Give Them Something They Want
Cold calling and saying, “Hey, I read this blog that talked about Drake and getting backlinks so, uh, could you link to our website to improve our SEO?” isn’t going to work (but thanks for the shout out! Maybe hit us with that backlink?). When you’re reaching out to someone out of the blue trying to get a link, you need to have something worthwhile to offer. Right now content is currency. If you come out with an email or phone call where you’re offering up a free blog post with the only caveat that you’d link a backlink to your company in the copy, that can be incredibly appealing. Many companies want more content, just don’t have the time to do it. A guest post on their blog that’s informative and valuable to their audience is worth the backlink to them. Services like HARO (Help a Reporter Out) can also be great for getting links for authoritative news and industry blogs like Forbes and CNN simply by offering up answers to questions in your industry.
All this to say that getting backlinks isn’t always any easy pursuit. You’re going to spend a lot of time sending emails and not hearing back from a lot of them. It can be exhausting and discouraging, but if done right you can get a major boost to your search ranking. Need some help getting it done? N2Q can help. Our SEO team understands backlinking and can help your company build connections. Reach out to us today and we’ll walk you through more of how a backlink strategy can work for you and give you more of our thoughts on Drake (More Life > Views).
SEO N2Q Consulting