The SEO world loves complicated things.
If you’re into SEO, chances are you relish a real challenge.
You might love the details of technical SEO—it gets the gears in your brain turning.
You might spend months planning and scheming to prepare your sneakiest linkbuilding campaign yet.
But sometimes the best backlinks are the simplest.
Yet, they’re easy to overlook.
For example, Google backlinks are some of the easiest ones to get, and not every SEO has thought of exploring this avenue during linkbuilding.
That’s why you need to know how to get Google backlinks.
Just look at Google’s online properties, for example.
How many internet services does Google offer beyond the leading search engine?
I immediately thought of Google Maps, YouTube and Google+.
In fact, there are more than a dozen others.
If you want to get Google backlinks, you need to understand what links are available and then how to get them.
Introducing Google Backlinks
In expert analyses of SEO ranking factors, links from Google properties help to lift rankings. When you stop to think about it, it makes complete sense.
After all, Google invested serious resources in creating or acquiring those websites, so why wouldn’t they consider them in their rankings?
Now, let’s take a closer look at the options available.
6 Google Properties for Your Checklist
Start with the following websites:
- YouTube. With a massive library of content, YouTube is an important search engine in its own right. If you or your clients are particularly skilled with video, building out a YouTube channel might be a smart move. Initially, creating one or two simple videos with backlinks to your website will get you started.
- Google+. Years ago, some hoped that Google’s social network would become a significant competitor to Facebook. That hasn’t happened, but the website continues to have millions of active users. Google+ also has “communities” as their take on forums.
- Google My Business. How do local businesses influence how they appear on a Google Maps search page? The answer is taking the time to craft your free Google business listing. If you’re doing SEO for a local business or company with retail locations, this type of Google backlink is especially important.
- Google News. If you learn the art of newsjacking—aligning your business with a breaking news trend—you may be able to get Google News backlinks. If you already have a PR campaign underway, keep Google News in mind.
- Blogger. Acquired by Google in 2003, links from blog posts here may help with rankings. As with other links, aim for high-quality links that help users.
- Google Sites. Google’s spin on wikis and web page creation, creating a few pages about your niche on these websites may be worth considering. This property has become popular with educators—take a look at Ancient Civilization for Kids and Ed Tech at the University of Ottawa.
As Google continues to expand and launch new products, this list may change. I expect that the Google products listed above are here to stay, and they all have SEO value.
How to Get Google Backlinks: Making It Easy for Google to Love You
Get Started in 24 Hours with the Basic Approach
Getting started with Google backlinks is easy. Use the following steps, and you can create your first Google backlinks by the end of the day.
1) Set your SEO goal
What are you seeking to achieve with SEO? Usually, the goal is to drive quality traffic to a specific page.
Therefore, choose the specific keyword phrase you want to rank for and the particular website URL that you want to get backlinks to. In most cases, this’ll be your homepage or blog.
2) Create a list of desired Google backlinks
Go through the list of Google backlink opportunities outlined above and choose one Google service (e.g. YouTube). Once you complete all four steps, come back and build links to your other services.
3) Use consistent marketing on your Google backlinks
I confess that I’ve made the mistake of inconsistent marketing. In my case, it was using different headshot photos on various services. To avoid this problem in the first place, choose a small list of brand assets to use over and over again.
Specifically, you’ll need the following:
- One or two images related to the company, brand or individual. Make sure these are high-quality, easy-to-read images because you’ll be uploading them again and again.
- A call to action to put in front of website visitors. If you want to offer them a free trial or a content asset like an e-book, make that offer clear.
- A defined SEO objective. Refer back to Step 1 above to make sure your URL and keywords are consistent.
4) Start building the links
In this example, we’ll get started on YouTube. Create a YouTube account for your company or brand. Once your account is active, post a short video. Here are a few ideas to get started:
- Personal introduction: Smile and put yourself on camera. Speak for 1-2 minutes about how your business helps people.
- Speak over slides: If you’ve given a presentation at a conference or some other event, you can create a video around one portion of the presentation, such as a case study.
- Explainer video: If you’re selling a complex service or a technology product, an explainer video is a good choice (e.g. see how Lead Cookie explains its LinkedIn lead generation service).
In the description field of the YouTube video, add your keywords and links back to your main website.
Follow this same approach for the rest of the Google properties you want to get backlinks from. Create and activate an account, post some valuable content and add your keywords and backlink.
Depending on the property, you can usually add backlinks in your profile or About section (seen here when creating your YouTube channel):
… as well as in the posts themselves:
Leap Ahead of Competitors with the Optimized Approach
The basic approach I outlined above is the simple way to get started. The optimized approach takes more time, skill and energy to execute. This is an advantage because few of your competitors will take on the challenge.
To continue with the example above, let’s assume you’ve started with YouTube. Your channel has at least one video, and you’re starting to see some traffic.
1) Engage in the comments
There’s an art to engaging with your critics online. Some businesses fail entirely at it by attacking negative reviewers. Instead of attacking your reviewers or asking them to take down their reviews, engage them.
Scenario: A disappointed customer writes a YouTube comment saying they’re dissatisfied with your late delivery.
Engagement Suggestion: Apologize for the problem and ask the customer to contact your company by email or phone for the next steps. If you solve the problem, that person may write a follow-up comment praising your recovery.
Resource: Read Hug Your Haters by Jay Baer for additional inspiration and advice on how to implement this strategy.
2) Start a regular publishing schedule
When you first got started, a single YouTube video was enough to start your channel. But if you’re serious about driving traffic from YouTube (or any other Google service), you’ll need to publish more content.
Specifically, I recommend choosing a frequency (weekly or monthly) and a format (e.g. question and answer) and start posting on the regular.
Get Ideas: If you’re new to the content creation routine or are out of ideas, read 5 Types of Content That Draws Backlinks Like Flies for more inspiration.
3) Experiment with different calls to action and links
Earlier, I recommended consistent branding in your efforts to get Google backlinks. Once you start to attract significant traffic—say, 1,000 unique visitors or more per month via Google backlinks—you can experiment with different calls to action and backlinks on Google sites.
Here are a few examples to spark your thinking:
- Link to a demo or trial page. This link type is close to asking for a sale right away. If a prospect is experiencing a sharp problem, they may just sign up immediately for a demo.
- Link to an opt-in. If you have a goal to grow your email list, ask visitors to sign up for your list.
- Link to a blog post. What if you have a blog post related to the topic covered in the YouTube video? It makes sense to link back to it.
How to Check Your Google Backlinks
You can use Monitor Backlinks to evaluate your Google link building efforts.
This tool tracks your backlink profile in real time and updates you whenever there are any changes, including new and lost links, so that you’re never in the dark about where you stand with your Google backlinks.
1) Detect if your Google backlinks stay or if they’re lost
As part of your ongoing monitoring, open up Monitor Backlinks and click on the History tab to see links gained and lost.
Google backlinks tend to be durable. Once you’ve got one, it’s unusual to lose it. However, Google may shut down an account if they receive complaints about your content or see suspicious activity.
To check, simply filter for “Youtube” or whichever Google backlink you’re tracking.
2) Check the quality of your backlink profile
Not all backlinks are created equal, and that includes your newly created Google backlinks. Let’s take a closer look at the link quality metrics shown in Monitor Backlinks.
I recommend you look closely at the following metrics which are shown directly in the Backlinks report.
- Spam Score. Using 17 scoring factors, this quality metric is helpful to detect low-quality links. The best links will have a score of 0 on this metric.
- Domain Authority (DA). On a scale of 0-100, how authoritative is the website? For context, entrepreneur.com has a DA of 91. The best links will be in the 80 or higher range.
- Trust Flow. Trust Flow (scale of 0-100) tells you if other quality websites link to the domain. A low Trust Flow score (10 and under) means the website is new or isn’t trusted very much on the web.
- Citation Flow. Citation Flow predicts how influential a URL might be based on how many sites link to it. To continue from the Domain Authority example, entrepreneur.com has a Citation Flow score of 73.
- Status. The best links will have an “F” icon here, indicating that they’re do-follow links.
You can see that backlinks from YouTube have a Spam Score of 0, Domain Authority of 100, and decent Trust and Citation Flow metrics. These are obviously great Google backlinks to have.
On the other hand, you can see that a backlink from a Google-owned site is still quite strong, but lacking a little in the Trust and Citation Flow department.
These are still good backlinks to have, but a smart strategy would focus on acquiring backlinks from YouTube and stronger Google properties first.
How do you then use all of this data?
Everyone has a different approach. At the very least, keep a close eye on the Spam Score metric. If all of your Google links have a high Spam Score—anything over 8 out of 17—then your link building efforts are scraping the bottom of the barrel.
3) See your Google backlinks in context
You’re probably working on multiple SEO efforts. Getting Google backlinks may be just one of a dozen techniques you’re using.
How do Google backlinks stack up next to your other link building efforts? You can use Monitor Backlinks to stay on top of the whole picture.
Now You Know How to Get Google Backlinks…
It’s not so hard, is it?
Start with the basic approach outlined here to build your Google backlinks, and keep a close eye on them with Monitor Backlinks.
You’ll soon reap the rewards of your efforts with a stronger, more diverse backlink profile.
Bruce Harpham provides SaaS marketing services to B2B SaaS companies so they can get high quality leads. He is also the author of “Project Managers At Work.” His work has appeared on CIO.com, InfoWorld and Profit Guide. Read his B2B SaaS marketing case studies from ClickFunnels, Close.io and other companies.