This is a guest post by Mauricio Prinzlau.
If you are having a blog or a website and already started seeing some visitors you'll most likely get excited by all the great opportunities that arise: suddenly people give you feedback via blog comments acknowledging (finally) the hours you've put into developing your individual articles. But after a while you'll ask yourself if that's it or if there is still more potential to rank higher for some of the more competitive terms you might be targeting with your blog.
How can you achieve that? Of course, with strong backlinks because Google likes strong backlinks from authoritative domains with a PR of 8 and above. Certainly, PR is not as important as it used to be and you should take that with a grain of salt. Yet the PR will give your a general idea how well your back link will improve your ranking.
What does authoritative mean?
When I say authoritative I mean websites that have been in the business at least for a couple of years. So domain age is an important measure to gauge if a website has certain rank. If you're active in your niche you certainly know which sites have this kind of authority. But those website don't have to be in your niche, general interest portals can provide high back link value, too. So your first step is to find out which websites or blogs carry the most authority in your industry. You should have your set of most important keywords ready and Google them accordingly. Then you may want to organize those results in an Excel spreadsheet.
Using the MozBar and SEO Quake
For a quick overview I highly recommend using the MozBar which provides you with a SERP overlay with the page authority (PA) and domain authority (DA). You can use the browser extensions for free. Yet, if you'd like to take it up a notch you and do further analysis in Excel you need to pay for a subscription to their services. If you'd like to know the page rank as well, you might also want to use the free SEO Quake extension. It allows you to sort results based on a couple of factors and export the results as a CSV. If you're using both at the same time it might get a little crowded, though.
Using Scrapebox for advanced scraping
If you really want to dig deep and find some great authoritative domains you may want to have a look at Scrapebox. Yes, I know, many people think of Scrapebox as a spam tool and certainly it is used that way but you can do great white hat things with it as well, especially if you need to comb through a lot of keywords. After scraping a list of URLs you can use the PR checker and mass analyze page rank for your URL list. Export that list into an Excel chart and do further analysis with it.
My Tips for getting great back links
First of, you need to remember it's not a race, it's a marathon. So, you need to be patient while waiting or actively pursuing the perfect link from an authority site in your niche. Back in the day it was very easy to get a do-follow Wikipedia backlink and your ranking would start jumping up. But it got abused by spammers so Wikipedia did the right thing: they unfollowed every link out to other websites. Wikipedia links still can be very useful because they might bring you traffic. Many people who are writing articles for the web start their research with Wikipedia and if your link happens to be in the resource list you might get the link you're after. Of course, your links will only stick if they are relevant and of high quality. But there are other great tips to get links from authority sites:
This is one of the best, yet the most time consuming part of the backlinking process. You need to be aware of what's happening in your industry and follow the people who really matter: who has a large following on Facebook or Twitter? Who's an authority on Google+? Think about how you can help these persons without asking anything in return. It will be the best ROI for your link building efforts.
Produce high quality content
You need to get your best content out there. Great content gets links over time. Create massive content pieces that cover a topic in-depth. Add videos and how to's to it to improve it even more. Of course, those pieces are expensive and cost a lot of time but they will help you become an authority and build trust and credibility.
Linkbaits are a great way to get a good deal of links. One of the easiest ways to create a linkbait is creating a top list of bloggers in your industry. Bloggers like to get noticed so possibly they pay you back with a link to your site. Also, it can help you build a relationship with top influencers.
Those above mentioned linkbaits might help you land an interview with industry experts or top bloggers. If you can do a video or Skype interview and provide a transcript that will be most helpful and provide good SEO value as well. It might not be easy because top bloggers can be very busy but use your list of authoritative sites that you created before to scale your outreach.
Hustling is very important to get "the" link. Ask for links to your best content and if its good enough people will like it and link to it. So make sure your content is extremely useful and scratches a common itch.
If you have some budget you might want to consider sponsorship opportunities. If you can you might want to consider doing this in the educational field. That might lead to juicy .edu back links. Of course, you could just sponsor a prize or something less sophisticated. Use a Google advanced query like: "your keyword" inurl:sponsors
Buying backlinks is a dangerous habit as it infringes Google policy and might result in a permanent de-indexation of your website. Of course, that's devastating so I highly discourage you from buying links for your "money site" or main business. You can experiment with buying links on satellite domains and see their effect. However, buying backlinks can never be a safe strategy as Google is getting better and better identifying and devaluing such backlinks.
You're reading a guest post right now. Of course, this is an effective strategy in getting a link back to your site and build your authority. If you choose to guest post on a blog or website with a loyal following such as bloggersentral you can be sure it will have a positive effect on your brand or blog. It can be time consuming but it is certainly well worth the effort.
Beware: you need a diverse link profile
Google likes a diverse back link profile because this is how websites naturally acquire backlinks: gradually and over a period of time from a variety of sources. So our goal as SEO, web masters and blog writers is to mimic this kind of natural link growth. So you need backlinks from highly authoritative domains and domains with a PR0 or 1 alike.
Just be sure your link profile looks natural that's why you shouldn't only build backlinks that have your keyword as anchor text. Instead mix things up by following a natural pattern. Highly authoritative website will most likely link this way, too. Don't force them to use exact anchor text. Instead be happy to have acquired one of the best links possible for your site.
If you take your time and see your rankings as a marathon you'll have great success and climb the SERPs.