Link-building is an essential component of off-page SEO. Search engines treat backlinks as a vote of confidence or a signal of valuable content.
Backlinks are a critical ranking factor: Not only can high-quality backlinks help improve your visibility on the SERP, they can also draw referral traffic to your site.
However, link-building can be a confusing and time-consuming process for SEO newbies, as it requires research and manual outreach.
In this article, we’ll go through 4 quick wins to boost your backlink profile by optimizing existing backlinks and finding new backlink opportunities.
Backlink Quick Win 1: Check existing backlinks
The simplest way to check existing backlinks is through the Links section on your Google Search Console (GSC). Basic information, such as a list of internal/external links, top linking sites, and top linking text, can be found in GSC.
If you want to go more in-depth with your backlink profile, there are many SEO tools, such as Ahrefs, SEO SpyGlass, and Dragon Metrics, that allow you to:
- Monitor your site backlink profile
- Obtain analysis based on linking domain
- Discover new links and lost links
- Find link gaps between you and your competitors’ sites
Once you’ve checked your existing backlinks, you can understand what types of sites link to yours and why. You can then optimize your content for these categories and build greater authority.
Backlink Quick Win 2: Replace broken links
You may have heard of the “broken links strategy” to gain new links. It means looking into websites that you would like to link up with and checking if they have any broken links (404 errors) on their site. You can then recommend your content as a replacement.
You can also apply this strategy to your own broken links.
With SEO tools, like Dragon Metrics, you can filter out target URLs of your site that are no longer available (404 errors) and check the list of backlinks that are pointing to these pages. You can then offer your link to update their content, and they might be grateful for the gesture!
Backlink Quick Win 3: Optimize anchor text
Anchor text is a word or a group of words that are clickable in a hyperlink, which directs users from one site to another. It is an important ranking factor in SEO, which also tells both users and search engines what the link is about.
If your pages are frequently linked to with anchor text that is related to the page purpose, then your pages will be rated as relevant to those keywords. Good anchor text should be relevant to both the surrounding on-page text of the linking website and the target URL and content of your webpage; it gives users an idea on what to expect when they click the link.
However, often anchor text is generic, like “visit website” or “click here.”
You can check the anchor text in your backlink profile in Dragon Metrics. Then, you can reach out to that website owner and suggest a relevant replacement for generic anchor.
A best practice to avoid keyword stuffing is to keep the anchor text in a natural tone synonymous with the surrounding text. You may want to provide the revised anchor text with full sentences to the webmaster. This makes it easier to implement, thus increasing the chance of your suggestion being accepted.
Backlink Quick Win 4: Optimize target URLs
Similar to broken link replacement, it is also a quick win to flag and request updates for any altered target URLs on your site to improve backlink quality. This is especially important if your site has been revamped or has had changes in the domain.
Although you should have done all 301 redirects from the old URLs, it is best practice in SEO to update the target URL directly to the new one. This eliminates the redirect chain. It is the same logic for suggesting an evergreen product page to replace a seasonal promotion page when a seasonal sales event is over.
If you have time to go in-depth, you may also want to conduct a backlink audit to see if there is any content for which you can suggest a more relevant landing page. You can also obtain a list of referring pages, anchor text, and backlinks to do a side-by-side analysis via SEO tools, like Ahrefs (as shown below).
For example, if there is an article that is introducing your product, but pointing to your homepage, you may want to suggest the specific product page to be the landing page instead. This provides more detail to users and increases the relevancy of the link to your content.
While many people focus on outreach for new backlinks, you can also improve the quality of your backlink profile by optimizing your existing backlinks via the quick wins above.