A robust SEO strategy is a combination of multiple efforts. Gone are the days of stuffing a keyword onto a landing page. Instead, SEO in 2021 is about the user experience and the value your website brings to users.
Part of a robust SEO strategy is backlinking. With so many factors impacting search results, backlinks show search engines that other websites find value in your content. As a digital marketing agency offering SEO services, Markentum is sharing insight into the importance of backlinking and how it can positively impact your SEO efforts.
The History of Backlinking
Larry Page, one of Google's founders, invented PageRank, Google’s original ranking system, which would measure the quality of a page based in part on the number of links (backlinks) pointing to it. This metric became a strong signal because, by determining the quality of a page, Google could serve more useful and relevant search results, which helped Google lead the way in search engines.
While PageRank is no longer the only ranking metric Google considers, it’s still a contributing factor, making backlinks a valuable component to an effective SEO strategy.
Why Backlinks Matter
A backlink (also called “inbound links”) is a link from one website to another. These links can take many forms. For example, a directory-style website may link to the businesses they feature, a news outlet may link to a business’s website if they mention them in an article, or an educational piece (like this one!) may link to outside sources to emphasize the information they are providing.
Moz describes it as: “backlinks to your website are a signal to search engines that others vouch for your content. If many sites link to the same webpage or website, search engines can infer that content is worth linking to, and therefore also worth surfacing on a SERP [search engine results page].”
When other sites see you as a trusted source, Google will also see you as trustworthy. This will give your pages a better opportunity at ranking well for specific search queries and increase your referral traffic.
Quality Over Quantity
As with other areas of marketing, backlinks should focus on quality, not quantity. The quality comes from the websites that choose to link to your website. Since websites of prominent businesses and brands tend to get more organic backlinks (people naturally link to them), links from these sites carry more weight. These could include news sites, government sites, or notable organizations like the Alzheimer’s Association.
Generating Backlinks 101
While an impactful part of an SEO strategy, generating backlinks can be challenging and time-consuming, especially for niche industries like senior living. In these situations, companies need to take a proactive approach. While these backlinks can happen naturally, like a news outlet highlighting an event at your community and linking to your website, they may come few and far between.
Regularly publishing new content and developing an outreach strategy are key elements to gaining traction with your link-building efforts.
Create High-Quality Content
At Markentum, we know the value of high-quality content and encourage our partners to post regularly to their blogs. High-quality, educational content motivates other sites to link to it, and a company blog allows your community to cover a broader range of topics, creating new reach-out opportunities. For senior living communities, these topics could include senior health and wellness, retirement planning and finances, caregiver support, and more.
Senior living communities should also leverage their partnerships with experts in the industry. For example, if you have an on-site physician or partnership with a medical office, see if they would be willing to write an article for your blog. Or, offer to interview a physician and discuss questions you may commonly get asked at your community. This expertise brings added value to your content and the opportunity to reach a larger audience. Finally, ask if the featured individual/business would share the article to their social profiles and link to it on their website. If yes - backlink achieved!
Build a Reach-Out Process
While the above scenario is possible, more often than not, you will have to do the leg work to generate backlinks for your website. Once you have a library of high-quality content, you want to have a library of contacts you can reach out to when new content becomes available. Leverage your current relationships with businesses and organizations, connect with individuals at news outlets, and research individuals and organizations with content that complements yours.
A significant component of the reach-out is the value exchange. You never want to ask someone to link to your website without explaining the value or offering something in return. One potential scenario could be finding an organization with a landing page about the importance of at-home safety for older adults. One of their points is on maintaining a clutter-free living space to prevent falls. They touch on the point briefly, but you know you have an article titled “4 Tips for Decluttering Your Home.”
When you reach out to the organization, you want to explain how your blog complements their content on that page and that a link to your article would benefit their readers. Offer to link to their page in your article and provide specifics on where the link would live. The more value you offer them, the higher the chance they will say yes.
“A common goal of outreach is to get a link, but there's much more to it than just this: Outreach can help you build long-term relationships with key influencers in your industry, and these relationships can mean that your business becomes highly regarded and trusted (Moz).” These long-term relationships could lead to referrals, future opportunities, and increased advocates for your brand.
Add Momentum to Your SEO
Markentum understands that an effective SEO strategy is a combination of factors. We work with each partner to establish their goals and implement best practices to help them get found online. Contact us for a free evaluation and discover how we can add momentum to your SEO.