Variety is the spice of life.

It's also the spice of a great backlink profile.

Variety tells Google that you're acquiring your backlinks in a natural way, where people love your content and decide to share it of their own volition—in a variety of ways on a variety of websites.

But when you're trying to spike your site's SEO performance with incredible backlinks, where do you start?

Forget variety. Start with sites that have a high PageRank (PR).

These sites have extra authority, SEO juice and have already gained recognition for being the best in their niche.

They're not just there to sit and look pretty in your backlink profile.

Not only can their addition directly result in a ranking surge, but you could also experience other benefits such as increased referral traffic, a new audience and, more importantly, a sales boost!

What Is PageRank?

PageRank (PR) is an algorithm, created by Google, that is used to determine the ranking position of any website. Scored on a scale of zero to 10, PR is used to measure the importance and relevance of a single webpage.

Although PR is not the sole ranking factor, it is used heavily to define where a single website will rank for primary keywords in SERPs.

To calculate the PR of any given page, you can use a free online tool such as PRChecker. Once you've entered the URL, you'll be given the Google PR for that page.

The Effect of High PR Websites on SEO

Backlinks given from high PR sites pass more credit through to your own.

Search engines use backlinks as a way to pass reputation through a range of websites. This means backlink profiles containing links from high PR sites could experience the same authoritative stance and reputation of the linking site.

Part of a good backlink profile, these high PR backlinks should be found amongst a range of other link types, including, but not limited to:

  • Blog comments
  • Editorial links
  • Directories
  • Niche website links
  • Image links

You'll want to be aiming for backlinks from sites with the highest PR, because those with a PR of 10 are much more valuable than those with a PR of two.

Now that we've gotten to grips with understanding the SEO benefits of gaining high PR backlinks to your site, you'll need to put together a strategy.

Here are some proven techniques to help you grab those SEO-rich links:

1. Guest Blogging

Guest blogging is the most common technique to gain high PR backlinks to your site.

You can do this by writing an article for an external site, which contains a link back to a page on your own.

Finding high PR sites

You can find sites for guest blogging by searching for the following variations:

  • ["niche" + "write for us"]
  • ["niche" + "contribute"]
  • ["niche" + "submit an article"]

When searching for these terms with my niche of SEO, the following results are displayed:

Alternatively, you could search for ["niche" + blog] and pitch your guest blogging idea to the editor.

Once these results are displayed, use the PRChecker tool to rate them in order of PR. Aim to publish your guest post on a site with a PR of five or above.

This means that you could use the following sites to publish an SEO-related guest post:

Benefits of guest blogging

Due to the huge importance placed on backlinks in a search engine's algorithm, guest blogging is a fantastic method for boosting your site's authority.

Along with enjoying an SEO boost when gaining a high PR backlink from a guest post, you'll also experience exposure to potential customers. This could then lead to an increase in site traffic, sales and/or conversions.

What makes a good guest blogging site?

While this technique is a credible way to gain backlinks and prove authority, always be wary about the site you're publishing on.

Good sites for guest blogging have a high PR, along with a high Domain Authority (DA). Each site should also be targeting a niche industry, relevant to your site.

Bonus points if their audience is engaged, and there's proven data to support that—such as comments or social shares.

The most common form of backlink that you could receive through a guest blog is editorial. These are preferred by Google, and look the most natural.

For example, this guest post from Neil Patel on Search Engine Land has an editorial backlink to his website over the anchor text "please look over this tutorial."

Depending on the site you're guest posting on, you may be able to gain a high PR backlink through an image or infographic.

Author bios are also common, although their SEO value has been debated. There's an example of this in the author section of this article:


2. Surveys

For another clever way of gaining multiple high PR backlinks in one attempt, you could also conduct your own survey about something related to your industry.

This is done by asking questions that are relevant to your industry, to a large group of people. Analyze the stats you receive, then write a press release (with a link to the landing page on your site) to support it. Finally, send the press release to website editors.

If your survey is interesting and relevant enough, they'll cover it!

And because the survey was conducted by your company, you'll have a better success rate of being credited—with a backlink.

Finding high PR sites

The most effective way to find high PR sites for survey publishing is to search for relevant news sites.

Your survey is news; nobody else has that data. Use that to your advantage!

For example, let's say that a shoe manufacturer decided to conduct a survey about how many children can tie their laces. Because this is a B2C content marketing piece, it could be published on general consumer news sites.

You can find these sites by simply searching ["news" + "country"]:

Based on this, you could then send your survey press release to the following sites to gain high PR backlinks:

Benefits of survey pieces

The most notable benefit of distributing a survey piece is that you're increasing the awareness around your brand.

Plus, because the data is attributed to your business, it gives you the opportunity to gain authority and prove your expertise in the industry.

Search engines value both of these qualities.

Backlinks with exact-match anchor text are the most common form of link given from high PR sites through survey data.

Here's an example of LetBritain's survey data being covered, with a backlink, in the Independent (PR 8).


3. Opinion-led Articles

Similar to the guest blogging technique, offering opinion-led articles is another valuable method to gain high PR backlinks.

This can be done by reaching out to high PR sites, offering them a unique, opinion-led article from your founder, director or manager.

Articles of this type are typically more in-depth, topical and current than standard guest posts.

Finding high PR sites

You can find sites that accept opinion-led pieces by searching:

  • ["niche expert" + "shares"]
  • ["niche expert" + "explains"]
  • ["niche specialist" + "shares"]

For example, a company that offers social media services might search for ["social media expert" + "shares"]:

We can see that each of these sites has previously featured an industry expert. Click through to each of these and assess their PR to determine your target sites.

For this social media brand, they may want to target:

Benefits of opinion-led articles

Because opinion-led articles show that your brand has a voice, they can be used to increase awareness.

The technique can also be used to build your personal and company brand, which has the potential to lead to an increased chance of being asked for an interview or feature in the future.

Signs of a good piece

Opinion-rich articles are most successful when they offer something different.

Whether that's a unique opinion on a relevant subject, or a more in-depth look as to why certain opinions are "popular," ensure that your article is different from the rest.

Branded links with exact-match anchor text are the most common form of backlink from these high PR sites. However, the anchor text can vary between your brand or personal name.

For example, this guest post features the opinion and personal story of professional blogger Ramit Sethi.

It got published on ProBlogger (PR 5), with a backlink to his book publishing site:


4. Round-up Posts

Big publications often create round-up posts to combine the best blogs, articles or features on a specific subject. This list provides additional value to their readers, and being featured in one of these round-up posts is our final technique to gain high PR backlinks.

The inclusion of your site in a round-up post often takes time.

It can be done naturally through publishing valuable and actionable content on your company blog. Sharing these on social media can help the author of a round-up post be exposed to your content.

Alternatively, you can outreach to site editors. Mention that you have a resource which could be of value to their audience, and you never know—they may feature you in their next round-up!

Finding high PR sites

You can find high PR sites to target for your round-up inclusion by finding sites that have written this style of content before.

Search for:

  • ["niche" + "round-up"]
  • ["niche" + "the best articles"]
If I was using SEO as my niche, I might want to target the editors of these sites, explaining that one of my blog posts could be a great addition to their next round-up:

Benefits of being featured

High PR sites such as those listed above are likely to already have an engaged audience. This audience should have a strong interest in your niche, which means you could experience a surge of site traffic to your featured article.

Once you get these people on your site, you could then get them to become social followers, blog readers or even customers, if they like what they see!

Signs of a good round-up site

Along with PR, the site you're looking to feature on should have a loyal audience. This can be assessed by looking at the engagement on their social media channels and blog posts themselves.

The vast majority of round-up articles link to blog posts. For this reason, backlinks to articles hosted on your blog are the most common form of high PR backlink when using this technique.

Here's an example of a round-up post by Social Media Examiner, sharing the best social media blogs for 2017.

Each of the 10 blogs featured has a backlink to their site. Considering that the PR of the site is scored as six out of 10, it proves that running a consistent blog will pay off in the long term!

Now that you're well-armed with information to boost your link-building campaigns, it's time to put it into action.

Decide on a technique to begin with, and do your research.

This part is important, because it allows you to keep track of all the backlinks you acquire as well as the most important metrics for each link.

If you're willing to put the effort in, you'll see a rockin' site in no time!