What are backlinks?

04/08/2020 4 minutes read
Written by Claire

When planning your content marketing strategy, you may feel like you’ve considered everything: you’ve got a good social media feed, you regularly update your blog with fresh content, you’ve got great keyword rankings – and web traffic was growing at first, but now it’s plateaued.

You need to take your content marketing to the next level. One great way to do this – backlinking.

A backlink (or inbound link) is where another website links to yours, a bit like the branches of a tree, reaching out to new audiences and drawing them to your site.

Why should I work on backlinking?

Backlinking is one of the most important factors for search engine optimisation. When a quality website shares a backlink to your site, it proves your credibility and acts a recommendation signal to Google. Think of backlinks like ‘word of mouth’ referrals, but better – because each one has the potential to reach hundreds of new leads. With good backlinks, you’ll instantly gain the trust of new readers because you’ll be represented as a reliable resource and an authoritative voice in your field.

Even if your website doesn’t appear on the first page of a search engine, relevant audiences will be referred to your site through other webpages just a few clicks down the line. This can be invaluable as it attracts readers from an already-interested audience and highlights to them (and the search engine) that your page is worth visiting, moving your site higher up the search results.

How to get backlinks

It may seem as though backlinks are slightly out of your control – how do you get another company to refer readers away from their site and onto yours?

The answer lies in generating good quality content that goes above and beyond; content which adds value to other people’s conversations, which they are happy to share.

However, having the time and perseverance to put your expertise into words and generate this kind of content can be difficult – but we’re here to help with that.

While great quality content is important, there are other factors at play that will encourage third parties to promote your website, generating inbound links. For example, building genuine relationships with other industry contacts and commentators who already engage with your target audience can have a big influence on the quantity and quality of your backlinks.

Our top three ways to generate backlinks

1. Discover unlinked brand names, products, services, or images.
This one is fairly simple. If you’re already producing great content, it’s likely that another company has mentioned your name or product in their blogs, or even shared one of your infographics. But, while they’re getting the benefits of using your expertise, you’re missing out on the rewards from a simple backlink.

To find out where you’ve been mentioned and improve your backlinks, type your company’s name into Google and view the results. If you find your name appears in an article but your page isn’t linked, message the author to ask if they can link to your chosen page. The same goes for images – if you’ve created a useful graph or infographic that might have been used elsewhere, use a reverse image search and contact any relevant sites to ask if they can link the image to your webpage. This will not only improve your rankings but can help you to identify and connect with relevant publications in your field. If nurtured, these connections could be used in the future to share newer content to external sites.

2. Reach out to get mentioned.
While finding existing links does happen, unless you’re a market-leading brand like Apple or Facebook, this isn’t a common occurrence. You need to be proactive. Try reaching out to journalists or bloggers who already have an audience similar to yours and ask them to feature your company or allow you to write a guest blog.

To improve your chances of a response, we recommend sending a personalised email to the relevant publication and, if pitching a guest blog, target current subject matters that are already in the media with a twist to suit your industry knowledge and expertise.

3. Curate undeniably great collateral.
Having excellent collateral is a great way to gain organic backlinks. Whether it’s a downloadable guide, template, diagram or other asset, providing customers with a free tool that will help them overcome a problem is bound to entice new readers.

Before you begin creating your download, it’s important to research competing products and identify those that receive the most backlinks. Then, make sure your tool/template is better than your competitors’ – maybe it has a sleeker design or is more user-friendly, contains better insights or is supported by case studies. The next step is to get in touch with the companies that linked to the competitor’s tool and make sure they know all about yours.

Another item that will generate powerful backlinks is a guide. Develop a detailed guide that provides all the information someone would need on your specific subject, going above and beyond where any other free resource has gone. You want to be the leading source of information, referred to in every ‘find out more’ link. This shows you off as the one with expertise and authority, and positions you as the company that’s willing to help.


The world of SEO and webpage rankings is an ever-changing landscape but the need for good, high quality content that helps your audience is a constant.