If you want to propel your site to the top, backlinks are your best friends. Of course, content is still king, but you won’t get far with on-page SEO alone. The next step after updating your site with an excellent piece of content is to go out there and acquire links to it from other domains. In order to help you with this demanding task, the SEO Metriks team has prepared a guide with 20 ways to build authoritative backlinks to your site.
1. Build Links from Broken Links
If a resource from the same niche as you goes out of business or just moves to a different URL, swift action can earn you a few links. But only if your own site is a worthy replacement.
If you happen to find a site with one or more broken links, and if it makes sense for its owner to link to your content instead (in other words, if it’s relevant content), then you should definitely try and reach out to that person in an email. Very rarely will they just leave the broken link be. More likely, they’ll put the link you’ve provided as a token of gratitude.
2. Reclaim the Link That Is Rightfully Yours
This is nothing difficult. Finding mentions of your brand online is simple enough, checking if they have a link attached to them takes only a single extra step. Once you’ve found something that would look even better with a link to your site, it’s email time! There’s a decent chance of succeeding; after all, you are probably already liked well enough if somebody brings you up in a good light.
This method is good to use when there’s no link and when there’s a broken link.
3. Write Guest Posts for Other Sites’ Blogs
Guest blogging is a very popular method of creating links. It also isn’t going out of trend anytime soon. Maybe it will when there’s no more demand for fresh content, but that’s a huge maybe.
The most important thing to remember is that links from low authority sites will do your own site no good; you want to give preference to the ones with higher authority. Also, context and relevance of links matter as usual.
4. Buy from a Company, Write a Testimonial
You can acquire an easy backlink by leaving a customer testimonial on a company’s site. See, all companies with products or services to sell love showing off their customer testimonials. It’s how they gain trust of their target audience and encourage them to use their brand: there’s no advertisement more honest than feedback from your clients. For that reason, some companies like to give extra credibility to testimonials by adding links to their customers’ sites.
The obvious catch is, not all companies bother enough to do that. And the other catch is, you must buy their product so you could review it.
5. Make a Fantastic Infographic and Share It
I won’t tell you how to design the best infographic, since everyone has a different artistic approach. Let’s just skip to the part where you already have your own infographic and are ready to share it with the world. Once you have that covered, the next thing you should do is make an HTML code snippet for embedding the infographic on a web page – and making the image link to your site. From there, you have two courses of action by which you can proceed to earn your backlinks:
- Offer the infographic to bloggers in your niche (especially to any you may have used as a source).
- Submit it to infographic sharing websites. You’ll most likely have to write an original introduction text for each of them, or even pay them to host the infographic.
6. Create Content That’s Better Than the Best (Skyscraper Technique)
The so-called “skyscraper technique” is about creating content on your site that will blow even the best of your competitors out of the water. This task in itself is as demanding as it sounds, but there’s more: that accounts only for a half of the job.
Let’s break down the process and list the necessary steps.
- Choose the keywords you want to rank for. If the skyscraper technique is your weapon in this fight, then your keywords of choice are the battleground.
- Put those keywords in Google’s search bar and see who’s ranking the highest for them. Now you’ve found your strongest competitors.
- Take a good look at the content on their websites and think about how you can make something even better. Here are some of the possibilities:
- Their content is outdated -> You can create a more up-to-date version (e.g. statistics)
- Their content isn’t in-depth enough -> You can make it more in-depth
- Their content has incorrect information -> You can correct it in your own
If you can see anything that needs improvement, that’s where you need to strike.
- Proceed to create superior content on your own site.
- Find sites that link to your competitors. Plenty of SEO tools have that function: for example, Competitor Backlink Spy by SEO Metriks. Also consider looking for sites that aren’t linking to your competitors yet, but are likely to do so.
- Reach out to those sites’ owners via email. This step is best conveyed via an example. Hello John, I was browsing your site and found your article about SEO strategies. Amazing read, enjoyed it greatly! I couldn’t help but notice you linked to that classic article about Google’s ranking factors. I also love that resource. In fact, it inspired me to create a more thorough and up-to-date version. Here’s a link in case you want to check it out. It might be worth a mention in your article. Either way, keep up the awesome work. Thanks, Dave
As you can see, bluntly asking for a link won’t cut it. Word your message carefully, but don’t go overboard with niceties, either.
7. Interview a Thought Leader or Get Interviewed
Understandably, being involved in an interview requires you to have a certain level of expertise in your field. There are two ways this could go.
- You are the interviewee. If you are already an authority in your niche, it makes things easier. If you aren’t, but you still consider yourself capable enough, you’ll have to look for sites that interview people from your niche and volunteer for participation.
- You are the interviewer. People love hearing opinions of thought leaders. Interview one and ask them to link to the interview’s page on your site (or the reverse, putting the interview on their site and linking to yours). It will be enough to acquire a backlink and lots of incoming traffic, now imagine what will happen if you interview several. Do you have a list of big names you want to talk to?
8. Trade Your Product for Blogger Reviews
Plenty of bloggers make a living by writing reviews on various products and services. It’s safe to call it a symbiotic relationship between them and the brands reviewed by them. If you sell your own product and you aren’t overly stingy, it’s a good idea to trade what you produce for a review with a link.
But there’s a catch: asking for reviews and links in return for things is a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. That’s why you’ll have to word your email very carefully. You want to offer the blogger your product (or service, or subscription) for free and let them figure out the rest. No direct statements.
9. Do Favors and Jobs, Ask for Links in Return
Freelance work can also earn backlinks in addition to money. Actually, money doesn’t even have to be a part of the equation. But then it wouldn’t be called ‘freelance work’; it’s just doing a favor instead, which serves the purpose of creating links just as well.
All you need to do is put whatever skills you have to good use when someone needs your assistance. Once the job is done and your client is happy, it’s fair to ask for credit. Even something as simple as “banner designed by Joe from joethedesigner.com” is a victory. Build links while building your relationships.
10. Come to HARO and Answer a Reporter’s Questions
When you get published in a journalist’s article, it’s a true sign that you are no longer a novice in your niche. It won’t make you an expert overnight, but it will bring you a step closer to becoming one. Unless you already are. In which case you still shouldn’t refuse an opportunity to get published. Can you really turn down a link to your site in an article?
HARO (which stands for Help a Reporter Out) is a website for journalists who are looking for sources and experts who want their expertise published. By signing up as a source and replying to a journalist’s request, you can obtain a new backlink and some good publicity for your name. But only if your email answers all questions in the request and is professionally written. And don’t forget to put your name, author bio and a link to your site in the end.
11. Launch a Scholarship Campaign
You can help a university and its students (well, one of the students) by creating a scholarship. Doing so will result in an inbound link on a .edu domain. How many webmasters can brag about having one? You could be the first among your friends.
Of course, before contacting a university about your scholarship campaign, you have to create one first, which is a Herculean task. Among the nuances you’d need to consider for such a campaign are:
- The task for the contest
- Criteria for participation
- Conditions for determining the winner
- The reward and sending it to the winner
- Time for evaluating students’ submissions
This is all in addition to making a campaign page on your website. It’s one of the more effort-consuming link building strategies, but there’s a reason backlinks from .edu resources are worth more than others.
12. Promote Your Site by Holding a Contest
A good way to breathe new life into your site is to hold a contest. Your brand gets a boost to publicity, and your target audience is entertained with hectic competing. Whoever wins, nobody loses! That is assuming you know your audience’s needs and can plan out a smart marketing campaign, of course.
Fortunately, not all contests require a monetary prize. There are just as many innocent friendly contests on the Internet where the reward is little more than a pretty banner and bragging rights, the latter often being worth more. It’s true, however, that you can raise the stakes and add more heat to the competition by offering a physical reward. It depends on the environment.
13. Put Viral Content on Your Site
Among the types of content that receive lots of links, so-called viral content stands out the most. It’s easy enough to see why: for the majority of people, the Internet is primarily a source of entertainment, and sharing information online is much simpler and faster than it is in the real world. Take advantage of this fact by creating your own viral content!
Here are but a few examples of what you can make (all of which needs to have a link to your website):
- Pictures of cute animals
- Humorous content
- Shocking content
- Breaking news
- Curious facts
Another valid, though less powerful, way to use viral content is to share what somebody else made on your own site. You’ll get fewer backlinks like this, and the longer it takes you to repost this content, the less effective it will be.
14. Speak at Events and Meetups
When you speak before a crowd during a big event, well that’s how you know you are recognized as a specialist. If you don’t suffer from stage fright, it will feel so good that you will barely register all the new links that come pointing to your site afterwards.
In any case, whenever there’s an event or a meetup, it’s par for the course to mention the speakers on the host’s website. This is one of the easiest ways of link building… even if it’s preceded by an unclear amount of hard work. For extra links and traffic, you can tell any bloggers you know about the event and ask them to attend if possible. Just don’t embarrass yourself in front of them while giving them the material to write about.
15. Offer Your Content for a Link Round-Up
There are blogs that gather up links to recently published posts and articles and put them in dedicated posts on a weekly or monthly basis. Sometimes even daily, if they have enough content to do so. It doesn’t have to be their own content; some blogs include links to articles from other sites if they are relevant to other links in the group. This is called a link round-up, and the opportunity it presents should be obvious.
Although it’s up to the blogger to decide whether or not they link to your content, the process itself is fairly simple. All you need to do is have an interesting, freshly made article on your site and find a site in your niche that does link round-ups. Then you just email the blogger about your article and their next round-up. Or a different option: you make a link round-up yourself and ask the people involved to link to it on their own site.
16. Make News, not War
Arguably, this is the hardest possible link building method because of how little control you have over it. Few people know in advance when or how they’ll become the talk of the town, and whether they’ll be shown in a good light. When you suddenly become popular, even if temporarily, there’s little you can do other than watch things unfold around you. Nevertheless, it’s the truth that people like to gossip and discuss interesting topics in general. And when they do it online, links fly around like wild birds in the spring. Who knows, all those birds could be yours someday!
17. Publish Research Material
All that glitters is not gold, but shining knowledge does have the power to attract backlinks.
People can’t resist reading an interesting collection of data. That’s where your interests meet with theirs. Expose your intelligence for all to see! Write materials related to your niche such as case studies, surveys and research reports. Then publish them on your site and let the Internet know about your work.
Showcase your knowledge and prove you are worthy of being called an expert.
18. Leave Comments on Blogs and Forums
Websites with user-generated content are a great and easy source of natural backlinks – if you build them carefully.
You can find dozens of forums and blogs even for the most niche topic. A simple Google search will reveal plenty of such websites in less than a minute. A more advanced method involves finding high-authority resources guaranteed to boost your site’s rankings. For that, use SEO Metriks’s Competitor Backlink Spy to find blogs and forums linking to your competitors.
Sign up where it suits your needs and start socializing. You’ll help your cause a great deal if you become a regular, valuable contributor first. Be careful not to come off as a spammer or a shameless self-promoter: mention your website only where it’s appropriate so the links would be SEO-friendly.
19. Ask the People You Know
The power of friendship is such a cliche in stories, you’d never expect it to be of use in SEO.
Surprise! It absolutely can be of use. Good SEO isn’t done in a vacuum; you can get to know a lot of people as you build your online presence. If you spared some time to make friends earlier, they can help you with link building.
Using your network to create new links is a perfectly valid white-hat tactic. All that matters to Google is the quality of the links. If any of your friends and acquaintances have their own websites, try asking them to give you a mention if it benefits both parties.
And finally, the number 20…
Of course, don’t forget that your competitors are a gold-mine of backlinks, too. The sources they use can be yours for the taking if you turn to SEO Metrik’s Competitor Backlink Spy! Use it to research how well your website is doing compared to your competitors. There you will find the number of total backlinks, the diversity of linking domains and nofollow links that pass no link juice to the linked pages.
Sign in to SEO Metriks and exploit your competitors’ strategy!
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