You’ve created content that people are searching for, that answers their questions, and that search engines can understand, but those qualities alone don’t mean it’ll rank. To outrank the rest of the sites with those qualities, you have to establish authority. That can be accomplished by earning links from authoritative websites, building your brand, and nurturing an audience who will help amplify your content.

Google has confirmed that links and quality content are two of the three most important ranking factors for SEO. Trustworthy sites tend to link to other trustworthy sites, and spammy sites tend to link to other spammy sites.

But what is a link, exactly? How do you go about earning them from other websites? Let’s start with the basics.

What are links?

Inbound links, also known as backlinks or external links, are HTML hyperlinks that point from one website to another. They’re the currency of the Internet, as they act a lot like real-life reputation.

Since the late 1990s, search engines have treated links as votes for popularity and importance on the web.

Internal links, or links that connect internal pages of the same domain, work very similarly for your website. A high amount of internal links pointing to a particular page on your site will provide a signal to Google that the page is important, so long as it’s done naturally and not in a spammy way.

The engines themselves have refined the way they view links, now using algorithms to evaluate sites and pages based on the links they find. But what’s in those algorithms? How do the engines evaluate all those links? It all starts with the concept of E-A-T.

You are what you E-A-T

Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines put a great deal of importance on the concept of E-A-T — an acronym for expert, authoritative, and trustworthy. Sites that don’t display these characteristics tend to be seen as lower-quality in the eyes of the engines, while those that do are subsequently rewarded. E-A-T is becoming more and more important as search evolves and increases the importance of solving for user intent.

Creating a site that’s considered expert, authoritative, and trustworthy should be your guiding light as you practice SEO. Not only will it simply result in a better site, but it’s future-proof. After all, providing great value to searchers is what Google itself is trying to do.

E-A-T and links to your site

The more popular and important a site is, the more weight the links from that site carry. A site like Wikipedia, for example, has thousands of diverse sites linking to it. This indicates it provides lots of expertise, has cultivated authority, and is trusted among those other sites.

To earn trust and authority with search engines, you’ll need links from websites that display the qualities of E-A-T. These don’t have to be Wikipedia-level sites, but they should provide searchers with credible, trustworthy content.

Link-building is a tedious process which requires you to find and target relevant publishers, vet them, and then reach out to them through well‐crafted emails. And it doesn’t end there. You need to follow-up until your link gets live.

There are tools that can help you simplify the process and scale your link-building initiatives. Let’s look at a few of them and discuss how they can help you improve your link profile.

What Is Link Building?

Link building is the practice of building one-way hyperlinks (also known as “backlinks”) to a website with the goal of improving search engine visibility. Common link building strategies include content marketing, building useful tools, email outreach, broken link building and public relations.

what is link building

SEO Tools for Link-Building

Link-building is a tedious process which requires you to find and target relevant publishers, vet them, and then reach out to them through well‐crafted emails. And it doesn’t end there. You need to follow-up until your link gets live.

There are tools that can help you simplify the process and scale your link-building initiatives. Let’s look at a few of them and discuss how they can help you improve your link profile.

Tool #1: Link Intersect by Ahrefs

Link Intersect by Ahrefs allows you to discover websites that are linking to your competitors but not to you. This will help you identify your missing link opportunities. You can reach out to these sites with guest posting or infographic outreach requests.

ahrefs link intrest

If your website has a high domain authority (DA), you can also propose a link exchange collaboration.

Discover your missing link opportunities

Just think about it: if a site is linking to every one of your competitors, what are the odds that they will link to you, too (once they find out you exist, of course)?

With the help of Ahrefs’ Link Intersect tool, you can easily find the sites that link to your competitors but don’t link to you (yet).

link intrest ahrefs

Uncover linking patterns

Often your competitors will have “fans” who link to almost every new product or piece of content they release. You can easily discover who frequently links to your competitors by using this method.

Tool #2: Guest Post Tracker

Guest Post Tracker provides a list of blogs that allow you to contribute to their sites in the form of guest posts. You can use this platform to identify guest posting opportunities and leverage them to improve your link profile.

This platform gives details about how much each publisher charges for guest posting and helps you track all of your guest posts in one place.

guest post tracker

Guest Post Tracker is blogger outreach software built to help you manage your guest post submissions as you do your SEO. The software was created to work with link maps, a new link building strategy that focuses on building the power of one link to make it pass more SEO value

How Does Submitting Guest Posts Help My Website?

Submitting a guest post can benefit your website in two ways. First, if you choose the right blog to guest post on, and the content you provide is valuable, then the guest post will drive highly targeted traffic to your website.

Tool #3: SEMrush Link Building Tool

The SEMrush Link Building Tool is the perfect way to launch and manage an outreach campaign.

The Link Building tool has been designed to help you find and acquire the highest quality backlinks in your niche. Discover hundreds of backlink opportunities in the Prospects tab. Use customizable email templates for your outreach strategies. Once you’ve earned a backlink, start tracking its status.

But let’s take a look at what the tool is capable of and how to set it up to help with your workflow.

Head to the tool and either ‘add new project’ if you’ve not set one up before or hit ‘set up’ if you’ve got projects loaded.

For this, we’ll assume you’ve already got a project in place and are just setting up the link building tool for the first time.

Hit the ‘set up’ button next to your project, and you’ll be given the option to add your target keywords.

semrush-link-building

Once you’ve added these, click onto the ‘competitors’ tab to add your site’s main competitors.

semrush add competitors

Hit ‘start link building,’ and the tool will find a whole host of link building opportunities for you to explore.

In most cases, the ‘All Prospects’ tab is the best place to start, as this will show the highest number of opportunities.

semrush

Under each prospect presented to you, you’ll be able to dig deeper into the quality of the opportunity by opening up the ‘ratings’ dropdown, and you’ll also see the domain’s Authority Score.

Tick any prospects that you want to pursue (left-hand column) and hit the ‘To in Progress’ button. Here, you’ll be able to choose how to categorize your outreach strategy.

semrush

These will then be moved to the ‘In Progress’ tab, where you’ll be able to send your outreach email and track the progress of your efforts and get reminders for any opportunities that you need to follow up on.

The link building tool is the perfect way to quickly find fresh backlink opportunities while also helping you send and keep track of your efforts’ success.

domain proccesing

Link building tools aren’t there to do your job for you; rather, they help you make your workflow more efficient. Combine the right tools with an ability to write persuading outreach emails, and you’ll put yourself in the perfect position to build links that help you to compete on even the most competitive SERPs.

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