If you are running a news website, you are probably aiming to become one of the top news sites. But how do you actually achieve something like that?
You might be looking at other sites’ audiences and wondering how you can attract this audience over to your own website.
Operating a news site involves a lot of work.
You have got to stay on top of press releases and news, you have to write and publish high-quality content for your site, and you have got to attract an audience.
It is the third one we are going to focus on today: the most difficult of the three, but the one that can be solved through the most methodical processes.
Think about your own use of a news site.
Would you prefer to get your news from a big, recognizable news outlet like Forbes or the New York Times or to get it from a blog post written by some guy with absolutely no followers that you do not know?
In any situation like this, the guy who writes a blog post and has absolutely no followers is going to lose every single time.
Google thinks the same way you do. Google News and other search engines will prioritize recognizable, reputable news sites in their search engine results pages (SERPs) over unknown news sites.
That means you need to convince Google News that your site is one that news site audiences can trust!
The way to convince Google News that you publish high-quality content is to use backlinks.
This is an important link building technique that you need to take advantage of as part of your link building strategy.
Let’s take a look at how to secure powerful links pointing to your news site.
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Backlinks, also known as “inbound links” or “incoming links,” are hyperlinks that connect a page on one website to a web page on another website via anchor text.
Backlinks are considered “votes” for a given page by Google and other search engines, signifying relevancy, quality, and authority.
Pages having a high number of relevant backlinks typically score well in organic search engine results.
Backlinks to your website are essentially a signal to search engines that others approve of your content.
When many sites link to the same web page or website, search engines understand that to mean that the information on that web page is worth connecting to and, therefore, worth presenting high up on a SERP.
Earning these backlinks can, therefore, improve a site’s ranking position or search visibility.
It is important for any website to build quality backlinks. The top news sites will have a huge number of quality backlinks pointing toward them, and you need to keep up with them in order to match other sites’ audiences.
But why is it so important to secure powerful links?
Backlinks are essentially votes cast by other websites. Every one of these votes informs search engine sites that the information is important, reputable, and beneficial.
The more “votes” your site receives, the higher it will rank in Google and other search sites.
Some backlinks are more valuable by definition than others.
Backlinks from trusted, popular, high-domain authority sites are the best to earn, while links from low-domain authority, conceivably spammy sites, are at the opposite end of the scale.
Although whether or not a link is followed (whether a site owner explicitly advises Google search to pass or not pass link equity) is important, do not dismiss the usefulness of nofollow links totally.
Even getting the name of your news site mentioned on high-quality websites might help your brand.
Think about the quality of the content on the biggest news websites. They are all regularly producing content that gets shared, but they are not all producing top-notch content.
Fox News, for example, focuses on producing artificial stories that stoke up anger in a reactionary audience, which encourages that audience to share it.
And what does sharing a news story online do? It creates a backlink to that story from the third-party sites where it has been shared!
In conclusion, authoritative backlinks are an essential way to boost a website’s domain authority and help a news website to rise up the search rankings, attracting an audience.
It is important to develop a strategy for building backlinks to your news site if you want to appear on the first page of the SERPs.
You can’t just start wildly reaching out to all the high-authority websites out there and hoping that they get back to you.
Let’s work through a sensible way to form a plan to build white hat backlinks in order to attract new editorial fans to your website.
Establish Your Goals
To stay on top, SEO specialists employ a variety of strategies, all of which begin with thorough keyword research and competitive analysis.
To find the most appealing terms to try and rank for, use tools like Google Keyword Planner. Another smart strategy is to use Google Trends to uncover hot search terms in your niche right now.
Consider the volume of traffic that certain keywords might potentially bring to your site and how relevant that traffic is to your business.
Then, examine your competition by looking at the domain authority and backlinks of all the first-page results.
If some or all of them are low-authority sites, you have a decent chance of ranking high for that keyword and capturing a significant chunk of their traffic in the short term.
The longer term is a different matter, but a short-term boost is a great start.
However, if all of the top results are large names and prominent newspapers, you may have to abandon those keywords for the time being.
Set them as long-term goals; you could go back to them after your site has gained authority and can compete for those top places.
Perform Competitor Analysis
You must now produce the greatest content for the related keywords and phrases after identifying your top search prospects.
Examine all of the first-page results for your target queries to understand what sort of content you need to develop to match the purpose and quality of the search term.
Make no attempt to invent a whole new system. It is usually preferable to improve on what your rivals are doing with their content rather than trying to create something entirely new.
In reality, their pages are ranking so well precisely because they answer search intent well.
If you want to outpace competitor backlinks, you are going to need to ensure that your content can compete.
Is the top result a product page, an article, an infographic, a video, or another form of page?
Your page should be formatted and styled similarly to the current ranking pages.
Because you are in the news category, the majority of your ranking pages will most likely include coverage of breaking news items.
However, pay attention to the format used here. Does it look like the most effective coverage incorporates video? If this is the case, you will most likely need to embed video on your page.
If the majority of the results are text articles, consider how they are arranged. Is it a guide, a list, a case study, an interview, or a product description?
Whatever framework looks to be the most popular is the one you should think about using for your own material.
But remember, the content itself is the most important thing. A site’s audience is not only obtained because of the format its articles appear in!
If you are serious about your news portal, you should be aware that rankings in regular non-news Google SERPs and rankings in Google News are decided differently.
Standard Google SERPs prioritize “evergreen” material that performs well over time and remains relevant for lengthy periods of time.
Breaking news, on the other hand, is only relevant to readers for a limited period, making content freshness a crucial ranking criterion in news-related search results.
News articles attract massive amounts of traffic, but then they are quickly forgotten.
If you find a topic that is getting little or no attention from other sites, you have a good chance of ranking high in the associated Google top stories and gaining a lot of traffic.
Of course, that is easier said than done!
You can’t make this your only link building strategy, though. Here are some methods you might want to try in order to attract quality backlinks to your news website.
Publish Great Content On A Regular Basis
Someone is unlikely to link to your site if your content is shallow or subpar. Poor quality content can sink your link building strategy before you have even started.
Invest time and money into developing interesting, high-quality material and publishing it on a regular basis.
You will begin to gain high-quality links from other sites when their authors or editors like and trust your material. And if those sites are high authority sites, that is even better!
This is the single most important thing you can do in order to obtain quality links to your news website. Organic links are an essential part of any link building strategy.
Make sure you publish interesting news stories on a daily basis and write them carefully and in an engaging manner.
Poorly written news appeals to nobody, and you need to make sure that you post high-quality content – not just content!
Broken Link Building
Broken link building is a strategy that makes use of broken web pages.
It entails examining competitor backlinks, locating a dead page, and requesting that linkers switch the links to a functional page on your site.
They will do this since they do not want to direct users to a defunct resource. All you have to do here is check competitors’ backlinks, create relevant content, and do a bit of outreach.
Because everyone moves, deletes, and reorganizes information over time, many of your rivals will have at least some dead pages.
If they fail to redirect outdated URLs, their backlinks will refer to broken pages. Examining competitor backlinks can enable you to find these broken links and take advantage of them.
That means you need to check competitors’ backlinks.
If there are competitor backlinks that are broken, you can reach out to the linking site and suggest that they might want those links to point to a functional page such as your own.
Of course, to do that, you will need to have a suitable page on your site to recommend.
Resource pages are a good option here, as they tend to have a longer lifespan than news pages, so they more frequently end up with broken links attached.
Guest articles are a tried and true strategy for gaining backlinks.
A guest post or guest blog is simply a term for a process in which you create a piece on another person’s blog or website that includes a link to your own.
Guest articles are simple to publish, typically inexpensive and simple to put up, and generate relevant backlinks to your site.
This is a good way to produce additional backlinks without needing huge efforts.
They are not always successful at generating organic traffic, but they are a fantastic approach to creating backlinks and improving your link profile.
And as guest posting should be a free service, it is a very accessible tool you can combine with regularly producing content for your own website in order to build links.
Most digital marketers incorporate a little bit of guest post writing for third-party sites into a wider strategy, as it does not require huge efforts to produce a large number of useful backlinks and potentially converts the host site’s audience into new editorial fans for your own work.
Claim Unlinked Mentions
If someone mentions your website in a post on their own site but does not include a link back to your website in the post, that is an unlinked mention.
For example, if we mention Search Engine Journal here and do not include a link to their site, that would be an unlinked mention. These are a great way to get backlinks if you happen to find any.
The best way to find unlinked mentions is to keep a Google alert active for your brand name or related search queries.
Check any new mentions and see if they include any links to your site. If they do not have links, get in touch with the webmaster of the site and ask for a link to be included.
Be careful with this, however. If you want to earn quality links, you need to check those unlinked mentions to ensure that they are in high-quality content on other websites.
Adding backlinks from spammy sites packed with poor-quality content will only hurt your place in the SERPs!
Leverage Social Media Backlinks
Many digital marketers believe that because social media backlinks are no-follow, they are meaningless.
But in reality, social signals influence your site’s authority more than you might expect, so you should not be too quick to dismiss the power of social media for link building.
Because social signals have an effect on your authority, these links can actually help you rank higher.
Of course, they are not as strong as a link from a high-authority site. However, the fact that people are talking about you and your company on social media still indicates to Google that you are popular, and leveraging social media can make a difference.
Make sure to link back to your domain from any social media pages or postings in order to fully leverage social media links.
They might not be the most powerful links, but because social signals influence how Google sees your authority, social media links are still worth leveraging.
Social media backlinks are also particularly good for helping your content to spread organically, bringing it to the eyes of new readers across the social media site in question.
Press releases are an important way for news sites to earn quality links.
A press release is likely to be picked up on by another news website, which tends to be a very authoritative type of backlink.
Creating informative press releases is an important part of any business’s higher-end operations, and it may seem like a lot of work, but the high authority links a good press release can attract are very helpful.
Press releases are a common tool in public relations efforts.
They are also a great strategy to get backlinks because press releases provide you visibility and allow other websites to connect to your page.
SEO magic is created by implementing a public relations (PR) plan that complements your backlink strategy.
Proactive PR is when you actively seek the public’s attention by publishing press releases.
Releases are frequently picked up by news sources and published on their platforms.
They may use your content in its entirety or cite it in an original piece. In any case, your backlink will be published by an authoritative site.
A high authority backlink from a high authority site can make a big difference to your SEO rankings, and a press release is a great way to get that link featured on a valuable site.
Visual content is a great way to get backlinks organically. People like to share infographics and other exciting and engaging visual content, so creating these is a good way to encourage people to organically link to your news site.
If your infographics are good enough to be picked up by a major reputable site, you could earn some high-quality backlinks from the dissemination of this image.
The good news is that infographics and visual content are easy to incorporate into news pieces on your website.
Illustrating news articles helps to engage users, and if those images get shared, you will earn quality backlinks as a result.
Bringing It All Together
None of the options we have listed here is a one-stop solution to all your problems.
You need to combine all of these link building methods into a broader link building and growth strategy as part of your wider SEO efforts.
Each of these options will help support your efforts in a different way, and bringing them all together can have powerful results.
However, you cannot expect results to be instant. It can take a long time for you to see the fruits of your SEO strategy, and link building is one of the slower forms of SEO.
You have to think about this in the longer term and view the growth and success of your website as a long-term project.
In conclusion, authoritative backlinks are essential for any SEO effort, regardless of your industry. News websites are no exception here!
Authoritative backlinks are difficult to obtain, but if you consistently create quality content, you will see the desired effects.
As with anyone starting from scratch, you will see slow results at first.
However, you will gradually gain new regular website visitors who will link to your articles and visit your site for industry news.
And the impact of those backlinks will gradually propel you up the rankings, broadening your audience.
The content game is frequently referred to as “flywheel marketing” since it begins slowly and requires significant work to show returns.
However, you will notice that it becomes simpler and easier to attain your goals with time.
Maintain consistency create quality content, and you will eventually earn quality links.
It will take time and constant effort, particularly for sites in the news niche, but putting the work in and creating informative and engaging content will pay off in the long run.
Scott Calland is a highly regarded content specialist with an English Degree. He has a passion for creating compelling content as a UK journalist that engages, informs, and entertains readers. With over 10 years of experience in creating news publications as a reporter, Scott has developed a keen eye for detail and a deep understanding of how to craft content that resonates with audiences. Working closely with data analysts Scott’s research on topics is unrivalled for latest news updates.
Scott is also an investor in Searcharoo.