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Hey Golf Industry: Be Careful with Backlinks

The other day, a client forwarded the SEO report for its website generated by its digital marketing agency. It contained a section about backlinks and recommended a few websites they’d contact to secure them. As you might expect, given Southbound 4’s golf focus, this client is in the golf industry. More specifically, it’s a private golf club with a customer base of high-net-worth individuals. And they wanted to know two things: one, what’s a backlink, and two, what’s up with these recommended websites?

Simplified, backlinks like this are links from one website to another. Google, Bing and other search engines view backlinks as popularity votes. The more quality backlinks a website has, the better its organic search engine rankings should be. Generally, search engines determine quality by assessing a website’s subject matter authority and trustworthiness.

As far as the websites the agency recommended backlinking from, two were sketchy at best and the third had nothing to do with golf, country clubs or real estate. To be honest, I’m not even sure what it was. And old link farm, maybe? In other words, these weren’t quality backlinking opportunities. Not even close.

And it’s not that the agency didn’t know what it was doing; it has a very good reputation. In many cases, however, SEO firms simply run a backlink report using SEMRUSH, BACKLINKO, MOZ, Ahrefs or another SEO / SEM tool. But backlinking strategies need to be much more refined and certainly more curated when it comes to niche verticals golf and the numerous categories within it (private clubs, luxury resorts, equipment, etc.)

Here are a few places to “hunt” for quality golf industry backlinks that should keep your website in the good graces of the Google gods.

1. Golf Media

Backlinks from Golf Channel, GOLF Magazine (, Golf Digest and Golfweek / USA Today and LINKS Magazine are invaluable. These sites handle millions of visitors monthly, produce high-quality content and subsequently have high “domain authority” scores that will help improve your website’s SEO. Avid golfer sites like Plugged In Golf, Golf Guide, Golficity, The Fried Egg, Golf Tips, Links Nation, and several others are rock solid performers. Drilling down, regional golf magazines like Midwest Golfing Magazine, ACES Golf, California Golf News & Travel, and Avid Golfer (Colorado and DFW) also have websites with continually updated content.

2. Golf Consumer Services

Golfers, as much or more than other human beings, want to be steered in the right direction. They want to know what courses to play, where they should book their next golf trip, where they should retire, what equipment to buy, and on and on. Golf consumer services like Golf Life Navigators, Private Communities Register, My Golf Spy and Golf EQ get hundreds of thousands of visitors monthly and are constantly creating new articles and blog content that can potentially link to your website if you reach out to build a relationship.

3. Reputable Golf Consultants

Using the private golf club example, a handful of consultants in the space have sterling reputations, long-running websites and (whether by design or not) powerful SEO. To name a few (and there are more if you Google around): Club Benchmarking, Creative Golf Marketing, the McMahon Group, GGA Partners, Strategic Club Solutions, ETHOS Club & Leisure and more. Golf Inc. Magazine’s website is an excellent resource for learning more about these firms. Many of them produce client-exclusive content, but they need additional sources from time to time.

4. Non-Endemic Websites

A friend of mine likes to joke that non-endemic is a fancy term for “doesn’t play golf.” There’s a lot of truth to that. After all, only eight percent of the population does. But overall, golf’s a $100 billion industry with tentacles into myriad other verticals. Take home buying, for example. At Southbound 4, we just collaborated with uber real estate website REDFIN on blogs featuring two of our clients (and yep, you guessed it, two backlinks). REDFIN reaches millions of people EVERY DAY. It was a backlink grand slam. Don’t be afraid to venture outside the fairway when it makes sense.

I hope that helps demystify backlinks, to an extent, and set you on a path for securing high-quality referring traffic and bolstering your website’s domain authority.

Reach me at if you have any questions or would like more information about our content marketing services.

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