It’s a cruel truth…

But there’s always a better business than yours out there.

They might have been around a lot longer… have more expertise… employ big teams of marketers… enjoy huge advertising budgets… have slicker designed, more technologically advanced sites…

They’re the big shiny Porsche to your Mini Metro.

Yes, it can be a bit frustrating in the early days. You can’t imagine ever getting the kind of traffic and attention these sites get.

Whenever you type search terms related to your business into Google, they’re straddling the top slots of page 1 while you’re languishing many pages away, or not appearing at all.

But remember it won’t always be this way.

All your efforts – everything I’m trying to help you achieve in Digital Upstart – are going to move you slowly and surely up those rankings.

And as for the websites that are bigger and more popular with Google than you… well, they’re one of the keys to your success.

Because you can hitch a ride on these quality sites to accelerate your progress up the search rankings.

It’s all about inbound linking.

Link to great sites and watch your credibility rise

Google considers inbound links to a page as a top factor in its ranking algorithm.

No one can prove this, of course, as Google would never reveal their secrets, but every two years, Moz surveys the world’s search marketers to help people understand how search engines work.

In their Search Engine Ranking Factors report of 2015, they list the current most important factors that Google’s algorithms look for.

Here are the top three:

• #1 Domain level link features. This is known as your link profile for your main website, which includes internal links and whether the links match keywords. But it also includes links from other well-linked-to pages. Otherwise known as backlinks, ‘incoming links’ or ‘inbound links’.

• #2 Page-level link features. These include backlinks, for instance the quality of the incoming links to your website – how relevant and popular they are.

• #3 Page level keyword and content features – – these are the elements you put on the page, from the words and phrases you use, to the types of content including videos, pictures and graphics.

For more info, here’s a chart of their results:

In other words, you can increase your organic traffic is to convince Google you’re an authority by increasing the number of backlinks from other sites that it really likes.

It could be a mention of one your posts in someone else’s blog post, a link in a forum or a comment beneath an article.

Perhaps you’re on a list of recommended resources, a bibliography or review section.

The more people back-linking to your website, the more Google will like you, and the higher up the organic search engines you’ll move.

IMPORTANT: However, please note that a backlink strategy is pointless if your content is not interesting, engaging and human. Google will consider all the factors in combination.

Refer to previous articles on the Digital Upstart website to ensure you’re finding good content and presenting it in the correct way.

This should be your first priority before you worry about backlinks.

Secondly, in their guidelines Google explicitly rules out spam-related techniques like buying links, excessive link trading, building websites just to build links, and using automated programs to build links.

Backlinks need to come from sites that Google sees as having high levels of authority, credibility and usefulness. The older, higher value and more established the website in Google’s eyes, the better it is that they refer to you.

If possible, you want to be linked to by other high quality site. Here’s how to spot one:

Your 6-point checklist for spotting high quality websites

• BACKLINKS: The website itself has a lot of backlinks to it. To find out how many, go to Cognitive SEO, paste in the website’s URL, and click ‘explore links’. It will create a simple report with stats about who’s linking to that site and from where. (Bear in mind, the free version only lets you run a limited number of scans before it asks you to sign up to a trial – but there’s a free trial on that too for 14 days.)

• POPULAR: Lots of post shares, blog comments – look out how many Retweets, Facebook likes and other shares the posts get. Look at posts from 2+ weeks ago. A good guide is to look for 20 or more shares on average.

• SOCIAL: This is not essential but if the site has a forum, community area, comment sections beneath the blog posts and lots of social media links, this is a good sign. The busier these are, the better.

• REGULARLY UPDATED: make sure it publishes new posts consistently and regularly. At least once a week is a good guideline.

• ESTABLISHED: The website has been around more than a year; the longer the better, ideally.

• HIGH ON GOOGLE RANKINGS: Google topics that the website specialises in and see if it appears in the first two pages of Google.

Here are 3 simple tools you can use to find quality authority sites quickly

Use to enter keywords, product titles or hot topics related to your niche. It will pick out top websites who cover these topics.

Use to bring up organic searches for a variety of topics you’ve covered, or are planning to cover. This way you can find like-minded websites, bloggers and companies.

Use to search for how much activity and buzz there is around a topic, and find out who is responsible for the best content. You can then track to their websites via their Twitter biographies.

I hope you found this article useful. Please leave a comment below if you want to join the conversation.