A guide (for beginners) on backlinks and where you stand

24/07/2018

If you know even a little bit about SEO then you would’ve probably heard the words ‘backlink’ or ‘link-building’ tossed around. You may not know what backlinks are but all you know is that they help SEO and to your dismay, you fear that your competitors may be leaving you behind in this arena. Well if you fall under this category then look no further because we’ve created a simple guide for the backlink beginners, why they matter and where your business stands compared to your competitors.

1. What is a ‘backlink’?

So, you want to get your pages to rank higher than your competitors and know just as much about link building as I do about ‘Dad jokes’. Well the first thing you should know is that a backlink is a hyper-link to your website placed somewhere (on any page) on another website.

If you’re running a specific campaign and want to monitor the traffic coming to your website, then you could generate a UTM link using a UTM generator. This new URL can be tracked to understand what kind of traffic you are receiving from this specific link.

2. Why do backlinks matter?

Search engines (take Google for example) will prioritise sites with a good quantity of these hyperlinks linking to them from other pages. Think of it like a ‘shout-out’. The more shout-outs you get from other sites, the more reputed Google will think your website is. And your goal – to get more shout-outs than your competitors because the more backlinks you have – the higher you move up the search result pages. Why do you want this? Greater exposure than your competitors.

This link can be the homepage (e.g. www.indagodigital.com.au) or a deeper link (https://indagodigital.com.au/about-us/). The deeper the backlink is the more credit the search engine will give your website.

As you can see, link building is a major influencer for your website ranking and can therefore mean the very difference in your page either showing up on the first page of an organic search results or as far back as the hundredth.

3. Who are these ‘competitors’ you speak of?

Whatever industry your brand resides in – it’s important to understand that you will be competing with other businesses who offer the same service as you. And while the endgame is beating your competitors’ backlink acquisition numbers, before you can beat them you need to identify them and what their position is.

This is done by generating a simple share of voice report of your industry. What is a share of voice? Just another piece of digital marketing jargon? Not exactly, a share of voice (SoV) is the representation of your brand’s visibility for one or more keywords in comparison to other websites in the same industry. In other words, a SoV report will show you who ranks for how many keywords in which industry.

The share of voice report will display a lot of other sites so may need to cull the non-competing sites. This can be done by removing any non-commercial (Wikipedia), editorial (New York Times), or social communities and review sites (Trip Advisor). The remaining results should be a list of sites offering identical services as your business.

4. So… where do I stand?

A SoV report will allow you to highlight the top nine industry players in terms of online brand visibility. Your goal is to have a higher SoV% than your competitors by ranking for more keywords than them.

The image below highlights how a SoV may seem for the Australian finance industry. For demonstrative purposes of a SoV report, the green and red figures highlight the SERP’s visibility change over the four-month period.

Credit: Indago Digital

Share of voice is a whole chapter in itself and rather than go off-track, have a read of this expert guide in your spare time. With all this information at hand, you should now know where you stand amongst your competitors. If you wish to increase your SoV then here’s a guide on how to spy on your competitor’s backlink strategy to build your own.

This article was written by Jay Bedi, a content writer and distributor from Indago Digital. Jay’s work spans from content marketing to entrepreneurship. He is also keenly interested in the Australian & American film industries.

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