Backlink SEO in 2016 – Lessons From Moz

Backlink SEO in 2016

Backlink SEO

Summary of Rand Fishkin’s lesson on targeted link-building. The SEO Expert at Moz explains the value of backlink SEO in 2016 and the best methods of acquiring links.

Rand Fishkin from Moz explores the practice of targeted link building and whether it’s still of benefit to SEOs in 2016.

Backlink SEO the Old Way

A few years ago, websites that wanted to rank well for a particular key phrase had a relatively easy task in making this happen. All that it required was to point a bunch of links to your page from any source and you would see your website receive a boost in rankings.

Search engines such as Google cottoned on to this ‘black hat’ technique. And then used updates, such as the infamous Penguin roll-out, to make many of these link building strategies a thing of the past.

How Much Value Does Targeted Link-Building Provide In 2016?

Targeted link-building is still very much relevant in SEO campaigns today. Particularly when it comes to rank-boosting, ‘links still move the needle’. So backlink SEO is an incredibly valuable factor that should be pursued by webmasters.

SEOs. Moz’s Rand Fishkin explains that link-building is a worthwhile practice if your page is ranked in the top 10-20 of search results, and if your page is a good converter in terms of leads or sales. If both these factors are in place, then targeted link-building could provide a significant boost to rankings.

Another scenario where link-building could work for you is if your page doesn’t rank well in the organic listings, but is performing and converting well from good visibility in the paid listings.

Which Backlink SEO Methods Are Suitable In 2016?

When drawing up a methodology for your backlink SEO strategies this year, you need to think about creating a ‘scalable, repeatable process’ to build links to your site.

There are three types of tactics that still work to obtain great backlinks. If you don’t have the time to dedicate to these strategies, then an SEO agency can do them for you.

  • 1:1 Outreach – contacting webmasters in a relevant niche via email, direct messages, phone or tweets
  • Broadcast – sending out a targeted communication to a mass audience by methods such as social sharing, bulk emails or a newsletter
  • Paid Amplification – taking out social ads, native ads or similar

How to Build a Great Link Acquisition Process

Successful link-builders usually follow a particular process to acquire links.

The first step is ‘opportunity discovery’.

Fishkin talks about reaching out to relevant communities who might be interested in the content that you have to share. You might find a niche-specific audience in forums, Internet chatrooms or in blog comments, for instance.

It is also vital that you fully research your competitors and work out who is linking to them so that you can also capitalise on their interest. Bloggers and social media experts in your field may also be worth pursuing.

When you contact these audiences, it’s important that you have something valuable to share with them. Visual content such as infographics will interest followers, whilst intersection sources will provide ‘overlapping interest’ that is important between niches.

Once you have your backlink SEO ideas in place, it’s essential to keep track of your link-building efforts by creating an acquisition spreadsheet. This will contain URL names, contact information, the opportunity type, the approach you will take to connect with them and your link metrics data.


As you can see from Rand Fishkin’s lesson on backlink SEO summarized above, link-building is still a very viable SEO strategy.

But if you’re involved in backlink SEO for the long game, give yourself time to analyse your progress and where you might be going wrong.

Learn from your mistakes and adjust your methods until you find a path that works for the promotion of your site.

About the Author

Danny Hall is a co-director at FSE Online, a leading Essex SEO agency. Danny specialises in technical SEO supported by quality content and stylish design.

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