It's not uncommon for website owners and marketeers to find themselves overwhelmed when considering their backlinking strategy. After all, we all know that Google rankings are dependent upon the number of high-quality sites that link to your site. And hiring an outside SEO consultant or company isn't always an option for some business owners. So, how can you create a backlink profile for your authority site in a way that is scalable and practical? 

Let's dive in!

1. Understanding What Google Wants

Marching to the beat of Google's SEO drum is the best way to approach your backlinking strategy. Google's main mission is simply to get web searchers the information that they want. Sure, their algorithm is super-complex and takes several factors into account when ranking sites, but one thing that will never stop ringing true is that content is king.

The extent to which your content matches the searches of online browsers plays a huge role in how Google ranks your site. Also, a site that offers great content, easy navigation, and an overall structured framework is ideal for quick indexing in Googles eyes.

2. How to Approach and Manage Your Link-building

Link building at its core is about gaining trust and relevance with Google and other search engines and browsers. Notice how authority sites like WebMD and About.com typically rank high for certain keywords? It's because they've produced so much great content that they continually get backlinks from other sites and over time Google grew to regard them as a trusted source for information. Taking an active approach to your backlink building will definitely help you increase rankings faster.

In order to manage and scale your link building start by finding sites relative to your niche. Create an ongoing list of sites with content related to yours. Start with a list 20-30 sites, then continue to add more sites on a daily basis. Check out your competitor's sites, guest blogging and interview opportunities, industry leaders, online forums, and social media platforms to find sites that may be great to link to.

3. Finding the Right Keywords for Your Audience

Finding the right keywords for your niche means understanding the type of content that your audience wants. Google Keyword Planner is a great place to start building your keyword list. Start with a list 10-15 keywords related to your niche. Next, look for different variations and long-tailed keywords to expand your list. For example, if one of your main keywords is "wedding planning" your list may look like this:

  • Wedding planning
  • Wedding planning for couples over 50
  • Wedding planning in Chicago
  • Ceremony planning for vowel renewals

Creating variations should help you to come up with a good 40-50 keywords to work with. Think about your audience when creating your keyword lists. Here are a few questions to consider:

  • What do they like and where do they live?
  • What's their demographic?  
  • Are they mostly women, men or both?
  • What's their age range?
  • Where do they hang out and shop online?

The more you know about your audience and their lifestyles, the better you'll be able to target them with keywords related to their interests.

4. Compelling Related Sites to Link to You

One way to quickly climb the ladder in Google's rankings is to earn backlinks from authority sites. Earning links from a few big brand sites such as Lifehacker, HuffPost, and Entrepreneur.com will hold more weight than a bunch of links from spammy or low-ranking websites. But to earn links from the big dogs you definitely have to work for it and that means creating killer content and providing huge value for your audience. Here are a few ways to do this.

Create Content For the Purpose of "Virality"

  • Use platforms such as Feedly, ContentGems, Twitter/Facebook, and other social hubs to see what's currently trending in your niche. Next, simply create a better version (aka a "2.0") of that content. If it's a "listicle", make your own, longer and better version. If it's a post which discusses a controversial topic, try creating a post from a different standpoint. Also, make sure to use an attention-grabbing headline to peak curiosity.

Write Authority-Like Posts

  • Write posts (see Blogging Power-tips) that are backed up with research and data from other resources (note: authority sites are always good to link out to). Include facts, charts, images, and any other concrete and relevant information that'll drive your points home. Try to make your posts at least 700-2000 so that they're long enough to provide ample detail but so long that they look like college essays. Be sure to post your content on social sharing hubs so that other sites may find it. Websites always want to find helpful content for their users and if you can provide that, then getting them to link to you won't take much effort at all.

Guest Blogging and Commenting

  • One way to gain easy links from authority sites through guest blogging. Create a list of 5-10 high-authority sites within your niche. Visit their homepage and look for any "Write for us" or "Contributor" areas to discover their guest blogging opportunities. There are usually waiting periods and editorial requirements, so be prepared for those-but it's definitely worth it!

Commenting is also a good way to earn backlinks from trusted sites. Whether the site offers "follow" or "no-follow" backlinks for comments isn't that relevant, as your backlink profile should have a healthy mix of both. Also, leave comments that let the author know that you actually read the posts, and aren't just spam commenting for a backlink. Comments such as "Good post!" or "I agree" may not always get approved, depending on the site's moderator. Try leaving 10-20 blog comments a day on sites related to your niche.

Creating a quality, scalable link building campaign doesn't have to be complicated. You'll find that the more links you receive from authority sites, the more your site's authority will increase.

Finding the right keywords and continuously searching for sites related to your niche will provide you with a great starting point for your campaign. Once you have those its simply a matter of creating content that's worth sharing!