Trying to rank for any keyword without a decent profile of backlinks to your site?
That's like trying to run for president without any supporters or reputation.
Backlinks help Google find your pages, boost authority and drive traffic—among providing other crucial SEO benefits.
Needless to say, one of the most important tasks for any SEO is to discover backlinks and new backlink opportunities.
I Have a Good Link Profile, Why Discover New Backlinks?
A popular argument is that your backlink profile is already solid and complete, so why the need to continue to discover backlink opportunities?
Backlinks Remain Critical to Ranking
Links have been touted as one of the most important elements of search engine rankings for quite some time, and it doesn't look like that's changing anytime soon.
With every new and all-powerful "ranking factors" post, links remain somewhere at the top of the list.
Your Competition Isn't Slowing Down
Unless you work in an obscure niche industry, your competitors are only going to continue upping their digital marketing and SEO budgets.
As marketing becomes increasingly digital, you can bet on SEO and link building to become more and more top of mind for the companies you compete with.
Sites Are Looking for Quality Content
The internet is becoming saturated with content. Internet users with questions don't struggle to find information because they're overloaded with information.
With this overload of information, the need for quality, accurate and credible content is growing.
Websites, companies and individuals are searching for great content to link to. It's your job to discover these backlink opportunities.
Discover Backlinks: 5 Trusted Tactics to Uncover New Opportunities
1. Leverage Current Success
Before developing a plan to discover backlink opportunities, it's important to know where you currently stand and what's worked for you in the past.
What does your current backlink profile look like? What types of sites have been most apt to link to your content in the past?
Luckily, SEOptimer has an incredible tool to help you do this:
Step 1: Sign Up for SEOptimer
If you don't already have an SEOptimer account, don't you worry—we offer a free trial! Just navigate here and enter some quick information to get full access to the tool for 30 days, cost-free.
Once you've done that, you're good to go. It's that easy!
Step 2: Add a Domain to the Backlink Research tool
Next, you'll add a domain and find those links.
Step 3: Discover Backlinks to Your Site
If you aren't taken there directly, click on the link icon in your toolbar. There are all of your site's links.
As you'll see, there are plenty of filter options that we'll dig into to help you figure out what's working.
Step 4: Find Your Best Links
To find your best links, there are a few criteria we're looking for:
- Followed Links: The first column shows you the link's status. You might see NF, meaning search engines won't "follow" it to your page, and attribute less weight. Or you'll see an F, meaning it's a followed link.
You'll notice these are sortable options in your link dashboard. Simply click on the word to sort that column. Sort through your links and find out which ones are the most valuable to your site.
Step 5: Find Out Who's Linking to You
As you're looking through your best links, take note of what types of sites you're seeing. This will clue you into what kind of sites, industries and markets find your content compelling.
And as you continue to discover backlink opportunities, these kinds of sites are the place to start.
Step 6: Identify Your Content Earning the Most Backlinks
Once you know who's linking to your site, identify your content earning the most links.
You'll see a column titled "Anchor & Link To." In this column are pages on your site that are being linked to. Take note of your top 10 pages earning links. This will help you as you generate content in the future.
Take note of all these insights and use them to guide your backlink strategy. It wouldn't be a bad idea to do an analysis like this monthly or quarterly.
2. Steal (or Borrow) Competitors' Links
Get a feel for your current backlinks: check!
The next place to discover backlinks: your competitors.
You're in luck again, because SEOptimer can help you accomplish just that in a handful of steps. Simply add your competitor's domain to the Backlink Research tool by following the same steps as outlined above.
There are two important next steps to take now that you have this data.
First, as you did with your own backlinks profile, take note of the types of sites that link to your competitor. Also identify the types of content that your competitor earns links on.
Second, find the top three or four sites that link to your competitor. Bonus points for do-follow links. Dig in a bit and find the actual article or page that this link points to, and ask yourself a few questions:
- What's the topic of this page?
- Is this a topic I'm an expert on?
- Can I create a better piece of content?
If the answer is yes to those last two questions, then get to work. But if you're going to have any real success taking your competitors' links, this new piece of content has to be significantly better.
Once the work is done, it's time to reach out and earn that link. No time to delve into this in this post, but here are some excellent tips on link outreach.
3. Stay on Top of What's Trending
This next approach to discover backlink opportunities is a lot of fun.
Trends come and go so quickly these days, there's great opportunity in having your ear to the ground for what's trending in your industry and market. This will open the door to the possibility of being the first to cover a topic well.
When a hot new idea emerges, people are desperate for great content on it, and are often willing to link and share.
For example, if you work in coffee, and there's beginning to be some stirrings around a new pour over technique, you have a big time opportunity to be the first to write a really comprehensive article on this new technique.
Or, let's say you work in coffee and someone invents a new drink. You're a little behind, but after some brief research, you realize no one has covered this topic very well yet. The search engine results page for this new drink is weak.
That's another great opportunity to be the first to cover the topic really well and dominate the SERP.
So how do you keep your ear to the ground on these kinds of topics? Two great tools exist:
1. BuzzSumo Trending: Use the filters within this tool to find out what's trending in your industry or market.
2. Google Trends: Google allows you to see what kind of search volume different topics are generating. It's great for verifying a hunch or a topic you discovered with BuzzSumo.
So get to work discovering these backlink opportunities!
4. Take Advantage of "Resources" and "Roundup" Posts
Some of the easiest backlinks to earn are on posts that "roundup" other resources on a subject, or that list resources at the end of an article.
These are easy links to earn because these pages are already linking to numerous external sources. It's typically not much to ask for one additional link to be added—as long as it's great content that will help that site's users.
So, how to find these types of posts? There are many Google Search Commands that can help you in this. Start with these:
- inurl:resources [your topic]
- inurl:"additional resources" [your topic]
- intitle:roundup [your topic]
Type these into Google and find some worthy candidates!
Once you discover these opportunities, it's up to you to figure out how to earn that page's link. It'll often involve some sort of content creation. If you already have some content worthy of the link, it'll just require some outreach.
5. Utilize HARO
HARO is an awesome tool for SEOs. Writers and journalists submit their topic ideas, and ask members of HARO to submit pitches or answer questions to help them write their articles.
AKA a dream for someone looking to discover backlink opportunities.
It's easy to sign up as a "source," and once you do so, the link opportunities start pouring in. You'll get three emails a day full of queries waiting to be answered!
How does this help you discover backlinks?
First, the queries journalists put in HARO can give you an idea of what kinds of topics are on the rise. As we discussed above, this can clue you in to what's trending or what's about to be trending, opening the door for cutting-edge content that earns links.
Second, there's low-hanging fruit right in front of you, being delivered to your inbox three times a day. If someone asks a question in your realm of expertise, a simple response can often earn you an easy backlink when they publish your quote.
And there you have it—you're five steps closer to building more links!
The work to discover backlinks can be daunting, but it's necessary and it's worth it.
Don't slow down!