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What are backlinks in SEO
You might have heard that backlinks are still one of the most important ranking factors for SEO, but what are they actually? Backlinks, also known as inbound links are incoming links to your website from other web pages on the internet that have linked back to your content either because they found your content useful and of high quality or you manually asked them to link back to your content. Backlinks not only help you rank your content higher on Google, but also on other search engines like Bing, Yandex, and DuckDuckGo. When many people link back to your content, search engines assume that they found your content useful. It is like a vote of confidence.
But you should also remember that not all backlinks have the same value – while some can help you rank your content higher, others can lead to Google penalizing your site for unnatural link building or building backlinks with spammy anchor text. Since valuable backlinks can help rank your content on the first page of the search result, many webmasters go to the extent of spending money and offering free products or services to buy links from these websites with high domain and page authority. Google is strictly against this.
According to Google, any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This includes buying and selling links, link exchanges, large-scale article marketing, guest posting campaigns, using automated software to build backlinks, etc.
How to create backlinks manually
There are many techniques using which you can safely build high-quality backlinks to your website. Some of the well-known techniques are the broken-link building method, building backlinks through infographics, guest posting articles, writing testimonials, content promotion, and using good internal links which pass the juice. What many people don’t realize is that there are even more methods using which you can get that backlink you deserve and the best of them all is the ‘skyscraper technique’.
The Skyscraper Technique
The skyscraper technique usually involves three important steps. First, you find a piece of content that is already performing well in your industry. Just search for your keyword and boom! you come up with a list of articles that are performing well. Concentrate on the top three search results. These web pages will definitely be having a strong backlink profile.
Second, you create a piece of content that is 10x better than that. When I say 10x, I mean it.
Third, you reach out to potential people who will be willing to link back to that post. This usually involves all the parties who have got an honorable mention in your post, and other bloggers you have collaborated with in the past. But it’s not done yet. You must now reach out to those websites that are linking back to your competitor’s article and ask them to consider linking back to yours instead if they found it useful.
So, how can you make sure they find your content really useful and interesting? By putting in enough time and adequate research you can definitely come up with a better article than your competitor. When the webmasters see the effort you have put into it, they will definitely link back to your content.
Someone on Reddit built 100 whitehat backlinks in 28 days using the same skyscraper technique and had a few lessons to share with everyone. He built over 100+ high DR, whitehat links reaching out for just a few articles. And it only took an hour a day to manage the campaign. How cool is that!
Now, here are some tips for you to follow when using the Skyscraper technique to build backlinks to your website –
Outreach like a human
When you are reaching out to potential webmasters, keep the tone of your message low, and don’t brag about why your website is better than your competitor’s. Instead, try to provide more value and explain to them how their readers can benefit from your new well-researched piece of content. And, don’t just ask them to replace the old link with yours blandly. Instead, try to spark a connection and sound friendly. We are not striking the next big arms deal – we’re here just to provide more value to the netizens.
Follow this and there are 90% chances for the webmaster to get back to you since this is where most of the outreach emails fail to impress the webmasters.
Focus on content
Remember the second step of the skyscraper technique which I discussed above? Your content needs to be 10x better than the competitor you are trying to knock off from the top of the search result. Make sure you take your content to the next level.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind for better chances –
- Content is king
- Grammar is equally important
- More up-to-date information
- Better design and formatting
- Lengthy content works the best (3000+ words)
- Images and custom graphics can improve your chances
- Strictly no advertisements, affiliate links, or self-promotion
Research your competition
When people say always research your competition before you set up a skyscraper campaign, they mean it. End of discussion. If you’re into search engine optimization, you must have already realized that displacing high authority sites is not possible even in your dreams.
For example, let’s say you are writing a guide to social media marketing, whose search results are populated with content from industry behemoths like Moz, Neil Patel, Hootsuite, Jeff Bullas, etc, your chances of making your skyscraper campaign a success is very thin unless you have a high authority website. It is not that it cannot be done at all, but it’s quite hard and once they look at you as a competition they will alter their strategy to push you down.
Reach out to the right people
Now that you have come to the third stage of the skyscraper technique, you should know how to start reaching out to the right people. Remember that it is not the number of backlinks that matters, it is the quality of the backlinks that you get. Getting one backlink from a site with a domain authority of 90 is way better than getting 20 backlinks from different sites having domain authorities of 20-30 each.
Asking people to link to your content is not an easy job. Start with people who have already linked back to your content. You can find them using tools like Ahrefs or Moz. Tell them that you found them linking back to one of your favorite pieces and that you have come up with something even better and maybe they should have a look at it. Most of them won’t respond if you don’t mention which link you are referring to and what your new piece is. So, just send it already in the outreach email. This way, most of them would give it a thought since they have already linked to your content because they liked it.
Scale up your campaign
If you need a lot of backlinks, you just need to up your game and scale up your outreach. Reach out to more webmasters by using the contact form on their site or by contacting them via email. It’s better you contact them through direct email rather than filling in the contact form on their site because it may get caught as spam if they’re all using the same anti-spam plugin. Try submitting the same comment on multiple blogs powered by the Akismet plugin and you’ll know what I’m talking about.
Use tools like Hunter, Mailshake, Anymail Finder, or Lemlist to find the email addresses of people behind any website. If you can reach out to at least 100 people, you can be sure about getting 10 links from that. It is not bad at all considering that they were all cold emails asking for a link.
If you’re not able to get anything on the first run, don’t lose heart. Just try to follow up with them for a time or two but no more than that because it will become spamming. We are here to offer value, not spam other’s inboxes. And hey, if someone doesn’t get back to you, don’t take it personally. They might be busy with their lives or they simply aren’t interested in your idea at all.
Some webmasters can take more than a week or two to get back to your email. Can’t blame them ’cause that’s how it works when they’re in control of everything and there’s too much to manage.
Offer an incentive
Why would any webmaster bother about spending the time to add a link to your website? Offer them an incentive, make them an offer they can’t refuse. If you’ve got a large social media following, you can assure them that you’ll add a couple of their posts to your social media buffer and set it on automation. Don’t just make false promises, this will just piss off the webmaster and you will lose your link in no time. The better your incentive is, the higher the chance you’ll get a backlink.
Avoid using outreach templates
I know that you can come up with a million outreach templates just by making a quick search on Google. The problem with all these templates is that they have been overused and have lost their shine and value. Most email providers nowadays have intelligent message filters in place and they’ll downright move your email to the spam box without even giving the webmaster a chance to see what’s in your email.
Instead, focus on writing your own best copy of the email for the outreach campaign. That way, you would sound unique and original.
Boost your deliverability
When you’re doing cold email outreach for link building, you need to be really careful about spam filters as they are designed to pick up certain keywords. Avoid using terms like ‘dear friend, dear email, do it today, for free, get paid, as seen on, etc’ or any other keyword that could hurt your email deliverability. Here’s a list of common keywords which can trigger the spam functionality by Hubspot.
And if you keep hitting the spam folder, the domain you used to send your emails from will get blacklisted. Also, stick with plain text emails and avoid inserting images.
Outsource your work
If you are too busy concentrating on your business, drafting your next blog post, and designing the secret framework of an electric car that is going to replace Elon Musk’s Tesla, you could outsource basic tasks such as finding emails, writing the content, etc.
This will save you a ton of time and lets you focus on the actual outreach campaigns instead.
Remember when I said the quality of the links matter and not the quantity? This deserves a special mention at the end of the article. Do not reach out to spammy websites just because you could get an easy link. This will only hurt your SEO and ruin your skyscraper campaign. No one likes spammy inbound links and that’s the reason why even popular websites disavow spammy backlinks.
Focus on high-quality, whitehat websites that offer genuine value as a backlink, and your content will reach the first page of the search result in no time. Not only does the skyscraper technique help you in ranking your content well but also it helps you in increasing your referral traffic.
Thus I hope that you found this article useful in learning about how to create backlinks to your site for free.