Did you know that websites talk to each other?
They’re regular Chatty Cathys.
And they throw out recommendations like two old friends discussing the best place for lunch.
The only difference? Website communication comes in the form of backlinks.
The best conversations and recommendations come with high PageRank.
PageRank is an important metric, created and used by Google, that determines where a webpage should rank in the SERPs.
It was once the number one factor used in a search engine’s algorithm, and it still carries a ton of weight in today’s SEO.
PageRank is scored on a scale of 1 to 10. Similar to high Domain Authority and other similar metrics of site quality, a site with a higher PageRank (8, 9) is much more SEO-rich than one with a measly lower PageRank (2, 3).
Sites that manage to hit the top-end of the PageRank feel like they’re welcomed into an exclusive Google club.
This exclusive club comes with a ton of perks, too.
The Benefits of High PageRank
Higher SERP rankings
Sites that have a high PageRank have a better chance of ranking well in the Google SERPs. Why? Because in the eyes of a search engine, a higher PageRank equals more importance.
If you were Google, you’d want to be showing more important (and relevant) search results to your audience, right?
Let’s face it—we’d be much happier searchers if we landed in SERPs that were dominated by well-known and trustworthy brands, as opposed to spammy websites or scams, where we risk a virus infecting our computers from a two-second visit.
Sites with a high PageRank are crawled more frequently.
In an algorithm where fresh content is preferred (and tends to dominate the first page!) you could hit the jackpot by being part of the exclusive Google club.
Fresh content, as the name suggests, is content that’s “fresher” than others. It’s newer, which a search engine could see as more relevant. This ties in with the advice we’re fed constantly: Always create evergreen content?
Change the heading of your article, rewrite certain phrases and add new images.
If you’ve got a high PageRank already, those updates will be recognized and crawled faster than sites with a scoring below your own, even if the original content was published three years ago.
Having a high PageRank gives your site greater credibility—a better online reputation, as far as Google and other websites are concerned.
That’s because, quite literally, PageRank is meant to be a measure of credibility.
Sites gain their high PageRank scoring by working on many different areas of their digital strategy. A large portion of that is off-page SEO, whereby other websites vouch for your reputation with shares, mentions and backlinks.
What does that give you, I hear you ask? One thing… credibility.
In the eyes of Google, URLs that deserve the million-dollar top spot have to be: Relevant, important and trustworthy. What better way to gain a reputation for those three things than to have other people in your niche supporting you?
That’s why social shares, brand mentions and backlinks are the building blocks of PageRank and search results. Each of these three elements allows your site to be seen as more credible, and as an authority in your niche.
It’s a bit like having a site with a grand total of two social shares competing with Amazon, which has millions under its belt. Which would you see as more credible and worthy of the desired top spot?
Backlinks: The Best Way to Improve PageRank
I briefly mentioned that social shares, brand mentions and backlinks are all crucial for your strategy to boost PageRank. But, which of those three are most important and have the biggest impact?
It’s backlinks all the way.
Backlinks act as the digital map that allows users—and search engines—to navigate their way around the internet. There’s just no doubting that backlinks are important.
They tell both the humans and search engine spiders where to head for the best content on any particular subject. Hence why they’re used as a way to measure authority and pass reputation.
The Backlink Analysis: An Instant PageRank Boost
Since backlinks feed right into your PageRank, you can improve your PageRank by analyzing your backlink profile. This will give you the opportunity to clean out bad links that knock your PageRank down, and look at which backlinks are bestowing the most credibility on your site.
The entries in your backlink profile influence your backlink score, a bit like high school cliques. If you hang around with the “cool kids,” you could be seen as one of them, even if you prefer to curl up and read a book rather than head to the big house party.
To kick off the mission of boosting your site’s PR, conduct a backlink profile analysis. This is a document that details every backlink pointing to your site, along with details that could help you decide whether it may be helping—or hindering—your attempt.
The Monitor Backlinks SEO tool is designed specifically for this task. Simply head over to the Backlinks tab to be greeted with every site that has ever linked out to yours in a neat, easy-to-navigate sheet:
Creepy but cool, right?
Since PageRank is influenced by the scoring of your linked-from site, you can evaluate each of these entries to see if they’re hurting your PageRank.
First, consider disavowing any links that don’t have a PageRank of 5 or above, using a tool like PRChecker.
Banishing these bad, low-scoring links means that your site won’t be seen as an associate. Similar to guilt by association, you don’t want to tarnish your reputation by hanging out with—or linking with!—sites that aren’t relevant or important.
It’s not just disavowing these low-scoring links that could boost your scoring, though.
In fact, you could also:
- Fix broken links pointing to your site
- Regain links you may have lost
- Spy on competitor’s links
- Gain more backlinks from relevant, high-PageRank sites
Each of these four methods can be carried out using the Monitor Backlinks tool, and using them simultaneously has been proven to boost the ranking power—and PageRank—of a website.
Today, we’re gonna talk about the final one: Gaining more backlinks from relevant, high-PageRank sites.
The way to do this? Putting the right content out there.
PageRank and Backlinks: 7 Genius Types of Content to Boost Both SEO Metrics
1. On-site Content
Simply put, on-site content is the section of text that tells a user what you offer. Here’s an example of this on the page hosting the Monitor Backlinks Free Backlink Checker:
This isn’t here to just sit and look pretty on the page. (If that was a checkbox, though, it definitely would be ticked.)
This tells users what to expect when they land on the page. A crucial element to improve user experience on your site, on-site content decreases bounce rates, improves engagement and makes users happy.
It ticks the checkbox of meeting the golden rule of SEO: If your audience is happy, Google is happy too.
However, on-site content takes SEO to another level. While it’s beneficial for users, it’s magnetic for search engine spiders that crawl your page to determine the value of the content.
Think of it like the food that these Google spiders eat. They digest every word on the page and then report if it’s good, nutritious and valuable.
What happens then?
The spiders send out a good reputation of your site, sending more people to visit by boosting you up in the SERPs.
How does on-site content attract backlinks?
On-site content that has been optimized for SEO has a better chance of ranking high in Google SERPs for the keywords you’re targeting. Due to that, you’ll be more visible to other searchers and are naturally in a better position to gain backlinks.
It’s a bit like, “if you don’t ask, you don’t get.” Except that, in this case, “ask” is replaced with “rank.”
However, when we discuss backlinks, it’s not just those which point from other sites that are valuable. In fact, your PageRank could see a huge boost when you internally link to pages hosted elsewhere on your own!
In this instance, when your PageRank improves, the quality of these internal links do at the same rate.
So, if you begin internally linking to pages with great on-site content when your PageRank is at 3, they’ll automatically increase in value when the overall PageRank of your site hits 5 or higher.
How to optimize on-site content for SEO and backlinks
In order to make sure that your on-site content ranks high in the SERPs, begin by performing keyword research.
For this example, I’m going with an e-commerce site that sells women’s trainers.
Head over to Google’s Keyword Planner and enter the keywords that you think are important for your page. For me, this is “women’s trainers” and “female trainers”:
Press the “Get ideas” button and you’ll be greeted with a huge list of similar search terms, along with the number of average monthly searches for each:
We can see that my original idea, “women’s trainers,” has between 10,000 and 100,000 monthly searches every month.
I know, it’s crazy.
But here’s where things get interesting.
Based on previous searchers’ habits and the pages visited by someone typing this phrase into Google, the list of suggested keywords helps me to find other variations that could boost my on-site content.
I probably wouldn’t have thought of these without spending hours manually trawling through SERPs and competitors’ pages.
Pick 3 to 5 keywords displayed in this list that have high search volumes.
Select a primary keyword to focus heavily on, and vary your use of the remaining options to cater to Google’s Latent Semantic Indexing algorithm.
Use your keyword choice
Now that you’ve got your keywords, it’s time to start writing! But where do you start, how many words do you need and how often should your keywords be mentioned?
Every webpage should be using heading tags.
They give Google spiders an overview of the most important sections of your page, and should include the keywords you selected throughout the research stage.
Using my women’s trainers example, my heading tag structures might look a bit like this:
<h1> Women’s Trainers </h1>
<h2> Shop ladies trainers online </h2>
<h3> Trainers available in a range of colors </h3>
Now, when we discuss this point, I want you to be aware of one danger that could be caused by “optimizing” your on-site content for keywords: keyword stuffing.
Known amongst SEOs as one of the spammiest SEO techniques that you could use to boost your PR, it happens when you shove any ol’ keyword in, wherever you can—or when you use the same exact keywords dozens (even hundreds) of times in one piece of content.
Always aim to optimize your on-site content for a human searcher. Although your main aim is likely to be SEO power, ensuring that it reads well and sounds natural will get you in Google’s good books.
It’s user experience that seems to be deciding the SERPs, after all.
Image alt text
Although Google isn’t great at understanding images, they’d ace an English class.
That’s because search engine spiders are programmed to read text, not images.
Because of this programming, you’ll need to ensure that images hosted on your page also have content wrapped within them. This comes in the form of alt text and can be edited when the images are uploaded to your CMS.
2. Actionable Blog Content
A quick search of any marketing blog will always tell you this: You need to be publishing text-rich content on a blog.
While you likely already know that’s correct, I want to explain why. After all, a strategy is much more effective when you understand why the actions you’re making are going to work!
Treat it as your online opportunity to prove your knowledge and expertise, and share industry secrets that set you apart from competitors.
Having a business blog gives you a voice—and that juicy text is great visitor engagement, shares, backlinks and for those search engine spiders crawling your content. All these things can boost your PageRank.
How does blog content attract backlinks?
We’ve already discussed the fact that long-form content ranks better on Google, and it’s well-loved by social fanatics. The real question still remains: How does blog content attract backlinks and boost my PageRank?
The simple answer is that blog content is there for people to read, use and link to.
In fact, when I was writing this article, I looked for sites which offered extra knowledge on long-form content to refer in the first sentence of this section.
I want to give you, the reader, all of the information you need. I can do that by linking to URLs which discuss other elements in greater detail.
I did that by searching “long-form content” on Google, reading the first few articles and selecting the one which had the most value.
Other site owners, blog managers and content writers do this. All. The. Time.
Once you’ve got your articles shared socially and they begin to rank on the first few pages, that’s where your opportunity to be linked to comes into play.
How to create a blog that attracts backlinks
Start by thinking about the answers your ideal customers are searching for. Using my women’s trainers example, this might be, “Which shoes are best for running outdoors?”
You can find this by using a tool such as Answer The Public, or Google’s suggestions:
These phrases are known as long-tail keywords, and are the building blocks to an awesome blog.
When your ideal customers are searching for something relevant to what you have to offer, these long-tail keywords give you a better chance of being shown in the SERPs for that specific query.
What happens next?
The blog content you write could be in with a chance of ranking, bringing new customers with the potential to convert.
Aim for long-form content
Now, when I express the need for blog content on your site, I don’t recommend that you rush to Fiverr and pay $5 for a badly-written, 500-word long piece of content. That type of behavior isn’t great. If you’re paying rubbish, expect rubbish results!
Instead, invest in your blogging strategy.
A professional copywriter will have the ability to write long-form content that offers actionable, valuable advice to your audience. You want to be publishing the type of content that makes your reader say, “Wow, this company knows what they’re doing!”
The best way to do that? Lengthening your blog posts. Although it may sound obvious, taking the time to lengthen your content has been proven to get results.
Just take a look at this research by serpIQ:
After analyzing search results, they found that articles knocking up the top spots were at least 2,450 words long.
So, don’t even worry about going over the top with your blog content. As long as what you’re sharing is valuable and fluff-free, feel free to go mad with your knowledge!
Use “Click to Tweet” plugins
People online won’t know that your blog exists if it’s not being spoken about. Neither will a search engine.
Granted, search engines have spiders that crawl sites to find your content, but that’s gonna take much longer if there’s no reference to it elsewhere online. Enter: social shares.
Social shares act as online recommendations for websites. If someone’s enjoying what you’re sharing, they’ll want to share that with their family and friends. It’s part of being a good person, right?
With every bit of content published on your blog, you should aim for the maximum number of social shares possible.
That way, the word is getting out and you’re in with the chance of being exposed to their network, furthering your brand awareness.
The simplest way to do this is by using Click to Tweet plugins on your site.
All you need to do is install the plugin and click the Twitter icon when writing an article on WordPress.
When the article is published, the pre-filled tweet will be displayed in a box. When a user clicks, it’ll take them to a page where they just need to press ‘Tweet.”
Using these Click to Tweet generators encourages social shares. Why? Because it takes away the main issue that prevents online users from sharing something: thinking of something to go alongside it.
By offering a simple sentence and a way for readers to press a few buttons to share, it’s much easier to get your article out there.
A relatively new form of content, infographics are a visual display of data. They’re less text-heavy, brighter in color and tend to be branded.
Think of them as blog posts in an art form, which are liked or shared three times more than any other content type.
That statistic alone should be enough to make you wish you had them!
How do infographics attract backlinks?
These graphics are an awesome form of content to host on your site and boost PageRank.
That’s because they’re optimized for image-first search engines, like Pinterest and Google Image search.
But, do you remember that I mentioned how Google spiders would ace an English exam, but fail miserably in art class? Although these infographics are a form of art, it doesn’t mean they can’t be interpreted by Google.
Many blog owners want to have infographics to support their articles. They might head to Pinterest to find visual data. If they enjoy your infographic and it’s relevant to their story, you’re in with a great chance of having it featured on their site.
Don’t forget to make your infographics easy to share on social media by using the Image Sharer App from SumoMe. When someone holds the mouse over the infographic, they’ll be given social media sharing icons.
Conduct a Google Image Search to find any sites that are using your infographic within a blog post. If they haven’t already given a backlink to the original source already, reach out to the editor and let them know you’d appreciate credit.
This helps to improve your PageRank because the linked-from site may have a better scoring than your own.
How to create infographics
The topic of your infographic should be relevant to your industry.
Look at the high PageRank sites that you’d like to publish the graphic on. What subjects do they cover? Can you create a visual representation of any common topics they discuss?
Once you’ve got your subject matter, grab a piece of sketch paper and jot down what you should cover. If possible, include survey results, quotes and backed-up knowledge to add a bit of extra jazz.
Now that the base of your infographic has been made, let’s move on to the fun part: Designing it!
If you’ve gotten to this point in your life without ever using Photoshop, don’t worry. I’ve managed to make it so far. It’s not essential to use Photoshop to create infographics.
There are tons of free photo editing sites that you could use. My favorite is Canva, where you have tons of pre-made templates for you to edit within a matter of minutes.
Spend 30 minutes editing each section, adding your own text and using your brand colors.
Then, export the infographic and upload it to your site.
Add an embed code beneath the article, and pair it with a bit of blog content to help Google further understand the topic. Then, spread the word—and get your blog readers to do it, too!
4. Data and Surveys
Throughout various snippets of this article, I briefly mentioned that digital writers look online to find sources, including infographics and other blog posts, to back up their claims.
I, personally, do this all the time. It shows that what I’m writing is factually correct (and gives you a way to double-check that I’m not just bluffing my way through this piece).
Other content writers do the same.
We want to make sure that whoever is coming to our blog leaves armed with information that they couldn’t find elsewhere. You can do that by creating surveys, conducting research or finding new data.
After all, that’s how we get people to pick us as their source.
How do surveys attract backlinks?
Writers, whether they’re writing for their own blog, for someone else’s website or for an e-book, want to make sure that their audience is happy with the information they’re reading.
Because of this, they’re likely to reference other resources that make them more credible. They’ll give a backlink in return for the source’s data, as well as to benefit their readers.
Conducting your own survey gives you data that can’t be found elsewhere. It makes you unique, and you own the findings. It’s difficult for others to replicate or compete with.
And, by hosting the original survey results on your website, it can be found by anyone looking for data on your specific topic.
High PageRank sites such as Forbes, Inc and Moz are always looking for sources, people and data to quote.
By making your findings easily accessible and well written, you could land yourself a backlink from one of these SEO powerhouses and see notable improvement in your own PageRank!
How to find strong survey data
You might believe that surveys are only done by businesses with huge enough budgets to plow into their massive email marketing campaigns, giving awesome rewards for people who take their 12-hour survey.
Surveys don’t have to be this corporate (read: boring).
Shocking, I know.
You can create a fun survey by asking the general public what they think about a common topic in your industry.
If you sell pet insurance, you could create a piece on the disaster of dog poo being left in local parks. You might ask people:
- How many times, per day, do you see this in your local park?
- Do you pick up after your dog?
- Have you ever been affected by the issue?
Ask these same questions to at least 2,000 people to yield enough data. Then, sieve through your results and see which data is the most shocking, concerning or surprising.
Once you’ve got the main statistic for your story, pick-out other, less-shocking (but still interesting) statistics.
Write up a press release with a backlink to the original survey data on your website, and send it to editors of relevant, high PageRank publications.
If they enjoy the survey data and are happy to share it with their audience, they may cut and paste the entire press release.
Great job… you just got a backlink!
Did you know that companies using video see 41% more traffic than those that don’t? Even if your conversion rate is 2%, that could be a hefty volume of people, conversions and sales that you might be missing out on.
One of the main reasons behind this is the fact that video is more personal.
The chances are, you’d feel much more in-sync with me if you could actually see the person behind the screen.
Perhaps not right now, though, as I’m sat with a dressing gown and hair that’s been towel-wrapped for three hours.
This personal aspect builds trust in your audience. You get a better feel for the person and/or company, which puts you in better stance when looking for off-page SEO factors like backlinks and social shares.
Wouldn’t you be more inclined to link to a site that you knew was trustworthy, rather than one you didn’t?
How does video content attract backlinks?
Since including video on a site has been shown to increase its rankings, most site owners want to get in on the action… even if the video isn’t their own.
An increasing number of blog and content writers are looking for video content to add to their articles.
Why? It adds relevance, more knowledge and proof that what they’re saying isn’t a bunch of gobbledygook… a little bit like the survey sources we discussed earlier.
If you’re creating SEO-optimized video that can be found on both YouTube and Google, you’re on to a winner.
There’s a high chance that this could be accelerated in the SERPs due to the variety of content being used. In turn, more people will become exposed. A few will opt to use your video on their site, and give you credit (in the form of backlinks).
How to create a shareable video
Begin by thinking of a topic that’s covered heavily in your industry. For our Monitor Backlinks team, this might be “how to get backlinks.” This acts as the topic of your video.
Then, grab your webcam, write a brief video script and discuss the topic when you hit record.
Think of it as public speaking and ensure that your video is:
- Easy to understand
- To the point
If you don’t have time to think of a completely new idea, don’t freak out. You can repurpose old content and publish it in video form, then embed the video into the old piece. Another way to ace fresh content!
Once your video editing is complete and you’ve created a project that you’re proud of, it’s time to unveil it to the world!
Begin by uploading your file to a video hosting site such as YouTube. This is the best option in terms of SEO as YouTube is part of the Google network, giving it more priority.
Plus, YouTube works in a similar way to Google: showing relevant results for a search term, in video-form.
Once your video goes live, create a landing page on your website and embed the video within. Write out the content—or even better, a transcript!—of your video to publish alongside it and help text-focused Google spiders to understand the topic.
This will help you to rank, and for the video to be found on both Google and YouTube platforms.
Earlier, I mentioned that your blog content should be jam-packed with value that your audience can’t find elsewhere.
If you’re not confident with publishing articles that require a solid chunk of reading time, consider packaging your words up into a neat e-book.
E-books, as the name suggests, are similar to articles… but in book form. They’re a great form of content to have. They let you do a deep-dive into one topic, rather than scattering information across numerous articles.
The best thing about that? You’re proving that you’re really knowledgeable about the subject. Then, those reading your e-book think you’re trustworthy, leading to a potential purchase in the future.
Plus, having gated e-books that are hidden as content upgrades, like Hubspot’s e-book to learn SEO from experts, could help boost the subscriber opt-in to your mailing list:
Yay for more loyal customers that you can market to in the future!
How do e-books attract backlinks?
Many website owners worry that e-books don’t have any impact on SEO. They assume that, because the content isn’t hosted in plain view on the site, it “won’t have any ranking effect.”
E-books, when used correctly, can give you a SERP surge. That’s because, if what you’re offering in the book is great and share-worthy, people will do just that: Share.
We know that social shares are a key Google ranking factor, and they’re taken into consideration when site owners attempt to increase their PageRank.
Once people notice how much knowledge is jam-packed in there, they’d be more than happy to share it with their friends.
You could also consider changing how people receive the e-book download to gain backlinks.
Let people know that the only way to gain access is to share it with their friends, or ask them to include a link back to it from their site once they’ve read the book as part of your delivery.
Although this may seem like a gray-hat version of gaining backlinks through e-books, it’s certainly a good way to ensure that you’re getting the rewards (i.e., backlinks!) for your effort.
How to create an awesome e-book
Begin by creating an awesome e-book that covers a topic in your industry.
If it’s a popular, oversaturated topic, only proceed if you’re adding a new angle to the piece.
Nobody will share content that’s been explained ten thousand times on ten thousand websites.
E-books can vary in length. There’s no “rule” here, other than to add as much value as you can. Remember that people have more time to invest in an e-book, so go crazy with your facts—and allow as many sentences to be quotable as possible!
Once the e-book has been polished up and edited to catch any errors, create a landing page for your e-book. This should be designed with a conversion—in this case, that’s a download!—in mind, and use optimized on-site content to help the page knock up a good spot in Google.
Then, share your e-book with as many people as possible. Including your parents, since they’re true fans of your work, right?
Offer industry leaders and social influencers pre-launch access to the e-book, and encourage them to write a review of your work.
Also known as influencer marketing, having reputable names within the industry support and share your e-book helps the word get-out-there.
Then, when your e-book is ready to launch, you’ll already have a list of people waiting to feast their eyes on it—plus a few high PageRank backlinks in the meantime!
Now, if you’ve made it to this point of the article, congratulations! I know it’s a long one, but I hope you’ve taken away one important thing: Content doesn’t always have to be in traditional word-form.
That’s right—”content” can come in many different forms. The final one I want to discuss today is the latest phenomenon that seems to be taking over the online world: Podcasts.
An impressive 67 million Americans listen to podcasts on a monthly basis.
I know, it’s a crazy stat. Which is why you should be creating them if you’re looking to boost SEO, gain backlinks and boost PageRank!
How do podcasts attract backlinks?
When we talk about rankings, we always assume that the only search engine is Google.
If you’re really thinking, you might name YouTube as another. Maybe because I mentioned that earlier (great attention span!).
However, you might not have realized that you have a search engine built specifically for audio-based content like podcasts: The iTunes store.
Here are my results for “SEO podcast”:
People who are looking for podcasts on a topic in your niche might head here, too.
But how exactly does this knowledge help you to gain backlinks?
The answer: You’re exposed to a new audience. Those new people, if your podcast is good enough, become fans. Fans become social sharers. If they have their own blogs, they then turn into backlinks.
Backlinks from high PageRank sites can also come from your podcasts if they’re included in a round-up article.
Many blogs use this style of article to provide additional value to their existing audience, and as a way to thank other content creators for their work.
Here’s an example of these podcast round-ups in use, from Search Engine Journal with a PageRank of 6:
If your podcast is featured in here, a backlink from a site with a PageRank of 6 is undoubtedly going to help your own PageRank score!
How to create a podcast
The best podcasts discuss a broad topic that still relates to your industry. Think of it as similar to a blog. Your overarching topic is your blog niche.
If you’re a pet insurance provider, your topic may be “owning a pet.”
If you’re a B2B marketing software provider, your topic may be “online marketing tips for businesses.”
If you’re a women’s lifestyle magazine, your topic may be “living an authentic life.”
Get the gist?
Once you’ve got the overarching topic for your podcast, break it down into sections. Your overarching topic is your podcast name, and your “sections” are your episodes.
Open your podcast with a catchy, 10-second introduction. Treat this as a mini elevator pitch and discuss:
- What you discuss in the podcast
- Who it’s for
These are two simple things that set the tone from the outset—and prevent people skipping half-way through your episode to figure out what you’re talking about!
Then, discuss a topic that relates to your overarching topic. Go in depth and remember to include as many quotable sentences as you can.
Wrap up the episode and upload to iTunes.
Share the latest episode on your blog, with a bit of written content to supplement it and help it rank on Google.
Going forward, try to stick to a consistent schedule with your podcasts. Weekly and fortnightly are popular, but if you’re willing to invest time into creating this form of content to boost PageRank, go daily!
We know that content is king, and we couldn’t really get far without it.
Especially when the search engine we’re optimizing for has skills comparable to the world’s greatest language learners.
Create as many content forms as you can. Use variety and split-test along the way.
You’ll soon see a ton of new entries in your backlink profile, and a surge in PageRank if you do it correctly!