And it stands to reason:
Links to your website are the foundation on which Google was built.
The founders of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, were both Ph.D. students at Stanford University. In January 1996 they were looking for a topic for their dissertation.
They became interested in something that no other search engine was doing at the time: They decided to devise a way of ranking web pages based on how many other pages link to that page. You can think of it as a popularity contest.
But it was actually based on a principle that lies at the heart of academic writing: citation or referencing your sources.
In the academic world, the more citations a paper has, the more authority it carries. It’s basically a form of peer assessment.
Page and Brin came up with the concept of PageRank, an algorithm that ranked a page on the basis of how many other pages linked to it.
That the most valuable pages on the web are the ones that have the most links pointing to them.
They tried to sell their idea to the search engines of the day (Alta Vista, Excite, Lycos, LookSmart etc) but none were interested (they were using an algorithm based solely on relevance of web page content to search query).
Unable to get any traction for their idea within the search engine community, Page and Brin decided to concentrate on creating their own search engine.
Which they did:
In late 1998 they launched the Google search engine out of a garage in Menlo Park, CA, that they rented from Susan Wojcicki (now a Google senior VP):
And the rest is history...
1. What Are High Authority Backlinks?
High authority backlinks are links to your site from websites that score highly for any of the following metrics:
- Alexa Global Rank
- Moz Rank
- Domain Authority
- Trust Flow
- Citation Flow
Pro Tip: sign up for 1 month free trial of Monitor Backlinks to see these metrics for all your backlinks:
2. Nine Ways To Get High Authority Backlinks
As you may have guessed by now, it's not just the number of links pointing to your website that matters, its the quality of those links.
In fact, poor quality backlinks can actually damage your SEO profile and may even lead to a Google penalty against your site.
So the question is: how do you get high authority backlinks to your website?
That's what I'm going to show you in the remainder of this article: 9 of the techniques recommended by top SEO experts for getting high authority backlinks to your website.
2.1 Write Data Driven Content
The best way to get high authority backlinks is to publish outstanding, data driven content that shines within your niche and gets linked to simply because its good.
Here’s a quote from Google’s Mat Cutts that puts this in a nutshell:
The objective is not to ‘make your links appear natural’; the objective is that your links are natural.
In other words, Google would prefer that you do nothing that is aimed at getting another website to link to your website.
But the simple fact is this:
It doesn't matter how good your content is, unless you already get a lot of traffic to your site, your articles and blog posts are going to languish in obscurity..
...unless you reach out to other bloggers.
That said, all the techniques described below are what SEO experts call ‘white hat’.
In other words, they are not techniques designed to game the system or trick Google in to giving you a higher rank than your content deserves.
What you should definitely avoid at all costs is:
- buying links
- participating in any kind of ‘link scheme’
- engaging in any link activity that involves a quid pro quo (“this for that”)
The best link building strategy is to write content that is so good, people want to link to it.
And in fact, none of the techniques below will work unless your content is good.
2.2 Create Infographics
Infographics are another very effective way of building high authority backlinks.
Digital marketing expert Neil Patel calls them the link builder’s Trojan Horse – they get you inside the walls of high authority websites and get you links that you would otherwise never get.
But to get linked to, your Infographic will have to stand out from the crowd.
How do I do that?
Make sure your infographic:
- is based on solid research
- has an eye-catching design
- uses a color scheme that pops
Step 1 – Do Your Research
One way to ensure your infographic stands out is to apply the skyscraper technique: Do a search on Google for keyword + infographic.
The infographics that appear on page #1 of the search results must, by definition, have acquired a lot of high authority backlinks – otherwise they wouldn’t have made it on to Page #1.
Study the top 5 Infographics that came up in the search results. Make a note of the facts and statistics each Infographic contains.
Then go to work and do some extra research. Dig deep and find more information, more up- to-date stats, new research etc.
You’re now in a position to create an infographic that’s better than any of the infographics that are listed on Page #1 of the search results.
Step 2 – Create Your Infographic
Step 3 – Promote Your Infographic
Of course, getting people to link to your Infographic won’t happen on it’s own. Here are some tips to get your Infographic shared and linked to:
=> Make sure your infographic is accompanied by text that discusses the information in the infographic – remember that it’s words that get rankings on Google, not images.
=> Install a mouse-over sharing app (places share icons over your image on mouse-over) to make it easy for your visitors to share your Infographic. Here are some best-known:
- WordPress Image Hover Lite
- WWM Social Share On Image Hover
- Easy Social Share Buttons for WordPress
- Monarch Social Sharing Plugin
=> Go to Buzzsumo and type in your keyword.
Then, under the heading ‘Content Type’ (left sidebar) check the ‘Infographic’ box:
Then go to the ‘Backlinks’ part of BuzzSumo and type in the URL of each of the Infographics that came up in your search.
This will tell you who shared those Infographics. Now you just need to contact those people.
But don’t ask them to link to your Infographic (that will backfire). Instead, tell them you value their opinion and ask them for their feedback.
If your Infographic is good, there's a good chance they'll link to it.
After all, you know from your search on BuzzSumo they this person has linked to a similar Infographic. And because of your research in Step 1, your Infographic is orders of magnitude better any other Infographic on the same topic!
Pro Tip: One way to give your infographic built-in shareability is to use the infographic to display the results of a survey of experts in your niche.
Those experts have large followings and most of them will share your infographic.
A few months back I published a survey about email preferences amongst 71 blogging and marketing experts, with an accompanying infographic. It’s been shared 270 times so far. Barely a day goes by that I don’t see it shared in a new tweet.
2.3 Mention Other Bloggers
An often overlooked way of getting high authority backlinks is to simply write blog posts that mention prominent bloggers within your niche.
Step 1 – Link Out to 4 or 5 Bloggers in Each Blog Post
With every new blog post you write, try to mention – and link to – a handful of websites that are relevant to your topic.
Because linking out is going to improve your website’s overall SEO profile, as SEO expert Rand Fishkin points out:
Links From Your Site Encourage Links To Your Site. By definition, the Internet is a network of links between different sites. By linking out to relevant resources on other websites you’re participating in an activity that’s fundamental to the Internet. The people you link to will notice it and there’s a good chance they, in turn, will link to you.
Search Engines Notice Who You Link To. Studies by Moz strongly suggest that search engines are aware that high quality sites typically link to other high quality sites. This means that when you develop a pattern of linking to relevant, high quality sites, your site will be rewarded by the algorithms.
Linking Out Rarely Goes Unnoticed. Most websites have someone tracking their referral traffic – if you link to them, at the very least they will be curious to know who you are. They’ll visit your website and may even link back to you.
Step 2 – Reach Out And Let Them Know
But don’t just hope that they notice – take it a step further and let them know. Send them a quick email along these lines:
I just wanted to let you know that I mentioned you in my latest blog post: [URL]. Thanks for the great article!
If you can’t find their email address, send them a tweet instead.
This is what I usually do, because it’s quicker and because their Twitter ID is much easier to find:
@username Hi [Name], just to let you know that I mentioned you in my latest blog post [shortened URL]. Keep up the good work!
Make it a practice to do this with every new blog post.
At the very least you’ll be developing connections with people in your niche. And you’ll most likely also get some high authority backlinks.
2.4 Look for Link Roundups
‘Link Roundups’ were almost made for getting high authority backlinks to your best content! What are they?
‘Link Roundups’ or ‘Blog Roundups’ are curated summaries of the week’s best blog posts in a particular niche.
Here are some examples from the SEO space:
Step 1 – Find Link Roundups in Google Search
To find Link Roundups, just type in a string search along these lines:
- keyword + “best articles of the week”
- keyword + “best posts of the week”
- keyword + “blog carnival”
- keyword + “carnival”
- keyword + “Friday link roundup”
- keyword + “friday round-up”
- keyword + “friday roundup”
- keyword + “link round-up”
- keyword + “link roundup”
- keyword + “weekend round-up”
- keyword + “weekend roundup”
- keyword + “weekly link roundup”
- keyword + “weekly round-up”
- keyword + “weekly roundup”
Step 2 – Check That They're Still Active
To check that the link roundups are still active, click on ‘Tools’ underneath the Google search bar and then click on ‘Any time’:
Then click on ‘Past month’:
You’ll now get a fresh list of results.
You can see from the date tags below that these are all active roundups:
Pro Tip: Put a tilde in front of your keyword – this tells Google to look for that keyword and synonyms of that keyword:
~keyword + “weekly roundup”.
Ready Made Lists of Link Roundups
If you want to skip the research altogether, Tim Soulo and Ana Hoffman have both compiled lists of blogs that do regular roundups.
Here they are:
Pro Tip: If you’re chasing a backlink from a specific website, use the ‘site’ search operator followed by the domain name of the site you want to target.
For example: site:www.problogger.com “weekly”
Step 3 – Reach Out and Ask For a Link
In your outreach email you can be quite upfront...
after all, they publish weekly roundups on that subject and you’ve just written an amazing article on that very topic.
I noticed that you publish a weekly roundup on [topic]. I've just written an article that you might like to consider for inclusion in your next roundup:
The title is... [short article pitch together with URL]. I think your readers would find it very useful.
Either way, thanks for your time and keep up the good work!
Use this technique every time you publish a new blog post.
But only use this link building strategy on your very best content – posts that are very well researched and written.
After all, link roundups are designed to showcase the best content from that week so you’ll need to put your best foot forward.
2.5 Broken Link Building
Broken link building is an ingenious but simple technique for acquiring high authority backlinks.
Here are the 4 key steps:
- Find a page that no longer exists,
- Find other pages that have links to that page
- Create content that is similar to the page that no longer exists
- Contact the people who have broken links (i.e. links to the page that no longer
exists) and suggest to them that they link to your page instead.
If ever there was a completely white hat link building technique (and one that Google would surely smile upon) it is broken link building.
Because you’re building links back to your website at the same time as providing a public service:
- to the Internet in general (cleaning up the Internet of its broken links)
- to the website owner in particular (fixing up their broken links for them)
Step 1 – Find Pages That No Longer Exist
What you’re looking for in this step is a resource page (i.e. a page that links out to a lot of other pages) on a particular topic.
Because of ‘link rot’, chances are you’ll find broken links on that page.
Here are some search operators that will help find the kind of web pages I’m talking about:
keyword + intitle:links keyword + intitle:resources keyword + inurl:links keyword + inurl:resources
Add the intitle: and inurl: operators to the following strings:
- keyword + “useful links”
- keyword + “useful resources”
- keyword + “useful sites”
- keyword + “useful websites”
- keyword + “recommended links”
- keyword + “recommended resources”
- keyword + “recommended sites”
- keyword + “recommended websites”
- keyword + “suggested links”
- keyword + “suggested resources”
Next, install the Check My Links Chrome Extension. When installed you’ll see this icon in the Chrome browser menu:
Next, use your keyword with one of the above search operators.
In this instance I used:
blogging inurl:”useful links”
As you scan the search results you’ll be able to spot the difference between pages that offer links to articles and pages that contain links to paid services.
You want to avoid pages with links to paid services because if they contain a broken link, you’re not going to be able to offer an alternative.
What you’re looking is pages that contain links to articles or blog posts.
Now click on one of the search results:
Next, open the ‘Check My Links’ Chrome Extension. You’ll see the broken links marked in red:
If you click on that link:
It takes you to a 404 page:
Here’s where the fun begins!
Step 2 – What Was There Before?
Now go to WayBack Machine and type in the URL of the missing page:
You can see from Wayback Machine’s summary, this the missing page was last active in 2016:
The blue dots indicate the date a snapshot was taken of the missing page. Click on one of the blue dots:
Wayback Machine now shows you exactly what was on that page on February 15 2016:
You can now take that article, do some additional research to improve it, and write a similar blog post with a similar title.
Step 3 – Compile a List of URLs that Link to The Missing Page
You’ll get a list of all the websites that are currently linking to that page.
You’ll need to sift through the list of websites and eliminate those that have a Domain Authority of less than 30.
Then visit each website and use the Hunter Chrome Extension to get an email address.
Step 4 – Reach Out and Offer Your Replacement Post
Now reach out to the owner of the website with an email like this:
Subject: Broken Link on [name of their website]
I was searching for content on [Topic] when I came across your very useful list of resources: [URL].
However, I did notice a broken link: [URL of broken link]
As it happens, I recently published an article on that very topic, titled [title of your post]: [URL of your post]
Please feel free to check it out – it could make a good replacement for the broken link on your page [insert broken link, again].
Anyway, I hope this helps.
You can expect a much better response from this technique than simply asking for a backlink.
Because in pointing out the broken link you’ve rendered a service to the website owner – you’ve let them know about a problem on their site that needs to be fixed.
But, you’ve also provided them with the solution!
Website owners are busy people – why would they hunt around for a replacement link when they have yours in front of them?
It’s more than likely they’ll take you up on the offer and add your link.
2.6 Resource Page Link Building
If there’s one link building strategy that generates more high authority backlinks than any other, it’s resource page link building.
Resource pages are easy to find and page owners want to link out to you. After all, what good is a resource page without any links?
A resource page is simply a page on a website that lists helpful links and resources for a particular topic.
Here’s an example from my own website:
Step 1 – Find Resource Pages
To find resource pages, do a search using these search strings:
- keyword + “resources”
- keyword + “useful resources”
- keyword + “helpful resources”
- keyword + “links”
- keyword + “useful links”
- keyword + “helpful links”
To get more specific, use these search operators:
- Keyword + inurl:links
- Keyword + intitle:links
- Keyword + inurl:resources
- Keyword + intitle:resources
Educational websites generally have a very high domain authority. A link from a University or College Resource Page will give a huge boost to your link profile.
To find educational Resource Pages, uses these search strings:
- site:.edu + keyword + “resources”
- site:.edu + keyword + “links”
I've also found that these search strings turn up good results:
- Keyword +inurl:articles
- Keyword + intitle:”curated list”
Step 2 – Narrow Down the Results
Narrow down the results by eliminating sites with a domain authority of less than 30.
In some cases, resource pages will actually have a link (“Suggest a New Resource”) where you can submit a relevant article.
Pro Tip: To find resource pages that are actively seeking new submissions do your string search on ‘Keyword’ + ‘Suggest a new resource’
Step 3 – Reach Out and Offer Your Article
If there’s no link inviting new submissions, install the Hunter Chrome Extension and get the email address.
Then reach out with an email along these lines:
I was doing some research on [topic] and came across your resource page at: [URL]
Congratulations – there are some great tools there!
As you clearly know a bit about this topic, I thought you’d be interested in checking out my article: [title of your blog post].
I think it would benefit your readers and make a fantastic addition to your resource page.
Here’s the link if you’d like to check it out: [URL]
Either way, keep up the good work at [name of their website]
2.7 HARO (Help A Reporter Out)
As with educational sites, news sites usually have very high domain authority. Here are some examples, with the DA in brackets:
- https://www.washingtonpost.com/ (98)
- http://abcnews.go.com/ (98)
- http://www.cnn.com/ (98)
- https://www.usatoday.com/ (96)
- http://www.foxnews.com/ (96)
Journalists are forever looking for facts and statistics. And when they use them they have to cite their sources.
So if you can write articles that contain well-researched statistics, there’s a good chance you’ll get linked to from a high domain authority.
Here’s how to do it:
Step 1 – Create an Account and a Profile
Sign up for a free account at HARO (Help A Reporter Out).
Next, create a profile that showcases your accomplishments and your expertise, and if possible, some social proof (e.g. unique visitors per day, number of subscribers, followers etc).
You’ll get three emails a day from HARO requesting information from experts on a whole range of different topics.
Step 2 – Respond to Enquiries
The 3 emails that HARO sends out each day are sent at 5:35am, 12:35pm, and 5:35pm (EST) Monday through Friday.
The journalists who submit these queries are working to very tight timeframes – often their article has to go live within a few hours. This means they'll grab the first response that answers their query.
Let's say there's a query in the 12:35 pm email that's right up your alley, but you don't see the email until 1:00 pm, it will already be too late.
So you need to respond to the HARO queries literally within minutes.
Pro Tip: Here’s a tip about using HARO that I got from blogging guru Brandon Gaille. To make sure you're never late responding to a query, set up an alarm on your smartphone for 5:35am, 12:35pm, and 5:35pm (EST), Monday through Friday.
Here’s an example of a HARO query I received:
If you were able to successfully answer that query you would get a link from Ontraport which has a Domain Authority of 64:
Not bad for a few minutes work!
2.8 Moving Man Method
This is a technique pioneered by SEO expert Brian Dean of Backlinko.
It’s a variation on broken link building, with this key distinction: you’re not looking for broken links but pages that are blank.
Watch this video where Brian explains the Moving Man Method:
If you find written directions easier to follow, here’s my text version. In this technique you’re looking for websites that have:
shut down changed names moved URLs
The pages you’re targeting in the Moving Man Method are pages that will not show up in a broken link checker either because:
the pages are still there, but the content that was on those pages has gone, or the pages are being redirected to a new URL
Step 1 – Find ‘Moving Man’ Targets
Use any of these search strings to find websites or pages that no longer contain their original content:
- keyword + “shut down”
- keyword + “out of business”
- keyword + rebranded
- keyword + “rebrands as”
- keyword + “service no longer available”
- keyword + “this resource no longer updated”
- keyword + “service not available”
- keyword + “this website is no longer updated”
- keyword + “this page is no longer updated”
- keyword + “website closed”
Here’s an example of a ‘moving man’ (courtesy of Brian Dean):
SEOMoz, the marketing analytics website, rebranded in May 2013 as Moz. But there are still thousands of links pointing to the SEOMoz website.
Technically these are not broken links and they don’t show up as broken in a broken link checker because they are being redirected to the Moz website.
Here’s a link still pointing to SEOMoz 4 years after Moz changed its name and URL:
As you can see, ‘Check My Links’ shows it as a valid link.
This technique is similar to broken link building but here’s what’s different:
The Moving Man Method will uncover hundreds of additional link building opportunities foryou wouldn’t discover using the broken link technique.
Step 2 – Compile a List of Linking URLs
As with the broken link building technique, just type the URL of the missing resource into a backlinks checker.
Then compile a list of URLs linking to the missing resource.
And then eliminate those sites with a DA of less than 30.
Step 3 – Reach Out and Offer Your Own Link as a Replacement
Again, this is very similar to the broken link building technique.
Inform the website owner that they have a link pointing to a resource that’s no longer there. They’ll be grateful to you for that alone.
And then mention that you have a post that's very similar in content to the missing resource. Ask if they would like to replace the old link with yours.
Since you’ve identified a problem and provided a solution, it’s more than likely they’ll accept your offer and replace the old link with your link.
This is one of the easiest ways to get high authority backlinks. Businesses are constantly looking for testimonials.
And because they want to show that the testimonial is genuine, they’ll almost always link back to you, sometimes with a DoFollow link.
But there’s a catch: they want real testimonials from genuine customers. So make a list of all the plugins you use on your site.
You could also make a list of all the SaaS (Software as a Service) products you use. Here are some popular ones:
Influencer Outreach tools
Social Media Management tools
Online Content Research tools
Use MOZBar to check the domain authority of each site. Eliminate the sites with a DA of less than 30.
Then check to see if they publish testimonials. Use a search string such as: “company name” + testimonials or “company name” + “what our customers say”.
Then contact the website and offer your testimonial.
When writing your testimonial keep in mind these two key elements of a powerful testimonial. Include one or the other, and chances are your testimonial will be accepted:
- Qualitative and personal – “this software solved months of frustration in an instant!”
- Quantitative and objective – “your plugin resulted in a 300% increase in my organic traffic in just 60 days – awesome!”
These techniques are all you need to build a formidable backlink profile:
- Write Data Driven Content
- Create Awesome Infographics
- Write Blog Posts That Mention Other Bloggers
- Get Included in Link Roundups
- Find Broken Links and Replace Them With Yours
- Get Linked To On Resource Pages
- Use HARO to Get Cited on News Sites
- Use The Moving Man Method
- Give Testimonials That Link From High DA Sites
Apply yourself to these techniques and within a few months you'll have enough high authority backlinks to get Page #1 rankings on Google!
Make sure to grab your copy of my High Authority Backlinks checklist (below):
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