Getting backlinks to your website is an important part of any decent SEO strategy. Spreading your link juice all over the web is a good way to consistently drive traffic to your blog or site over time — but if you don’t want to purchase backlinks (and you shouldn’t, because buying backlinks is a blackhat technique that can earn you a manual penalty), what can you do?
The answer, of course, is to do it yourself — it’s not as difficult or time consuming as you may think. Here are 10 tips on how to get backlinks to your site that anyone can try:
1.) Comment on “DoFollow” blogs.
By default, WordPress blogs have the HTML “NoFollow” attribute on links that point away. Blogs do this to prevent “link bleed” and prevent spammers from inundating their blog with irrelevant comments. DoFollow blogs, on the other hand, don’t have this limitation — and you can use this to your advantage to get backlinks. To get you started, here’s a list of more than 50 DoFollow blogs.
2.) Update your social bookmark profiles.
Make sure your profiles on Facebook, Digg, Google, etc. have links back to your site.
3.) Become an expert (or ask lots of questions).
Question and answer sites, like Quora, are great for dropping links to your website or blog. Also, if you sign up for services like HARO you can get much more than backlinks — you can get millions of dollars’ worth of media coverage. Check out our HARO experiment and results blog post to see how we got 6 major media outlets to cover TCF in just 30 days. The result? 11 high-quality backlinks, because some of the coverage was syndicated.
4.) Interlink your blog posts.
Make sure that every post links back to another that you’ve written. Over time, you’ll have a network of tons of backlinks built up — all on your own site.
5.) Share the love.
One of the easiest ways to get backlinks is to link to other blogs yourself. Many times, people will return the favor. Host weekly linksharing parties on your blog — you may be surprised at the number of people that show up.
6.) Write linkbait posts.
Write useful blogs packed with helpful information, and then submit them like crazy. With linkbait articles, it’s good to use the Field of Dreams approach: if you build your site up with really good content, they will come (and link to you).
7.) Kick your web content writing up a notch.
First, make sure you’ve done your SEO keyword research. Web content writing is different than other types of writing, so make sure your blogs are reader friendly and utilize bullet points, numbered lists, bold subtitles, etc. to break up big blocks of grey paragraphs. Read and re-read your content for errors — you’re less likely to be taken seriously (and get backlinks) if your copy looks like it was written by a third grader.
If you need to brush up on your content writing skills, we’re here to help! Read our Web Content Writing 101 post to learn some best practices, then move on to Part Two: (Even More!) Web Content Writing Tips.
8.) Take advantage of e-commerce opportunities.
Does your company sell products on eBay or Amazon? If so, make sure each product page links back to your website or blog.
9.) Write guest posts on other blogs.
Sure, it’ll take time and you’re giving somebody else’s website content. However, you’re also exposing yourself to a new audience of people – and you can always send them to your site with a backlink for more info on the subject.
You can find a list of 100 blogs that accept guest bloggers in our Digital Content Writing Toolkit, as well as our free on-demand webinar: How to Become a Thought Leader Through Guest Blogging.
10.) Run sweepstake promotions.
Give away a physical prize, but make the requirement for entry posting a link back to your site, following you on Twitter or becoming a fan of your Facebook page. You’ll get backlinks, friends and followers all at once!
11.) Use our favorite link building tool: HARO (Help A Reporter Out).
HARO is a service used by journalists when they need to quote an expert to flesh out an article. Likewise, if you’re an expert in a field, you can answer HARO pitches, which might just land you a quote in a publication. HARO is a great way to get backlinks on a reliable basis. How reliable? Over the course of one month, we were able to get quoted 6 times by using HARO. If you notice you’re not getting a ton of responses to your pitches, you can improve your chances of earning those placements by reading these 18 HARO tips from PR pros.
12.) Use Google operators to find link building and guest blogging opportunities.
If you’re struggling to think of media outlets to pitch your content to, it’s time to take your Google game up a few notches. Himanshu Sharma, founder of Optimize Smart, put together this awesome list of 10,000 search engine queries for link building campaigns. You can use it to discover industry resources, review blogs, guest post opportunities, link reclamation opportunities and more — all while learning powerful Boolean operators.
13.) Learn and use the Skyscraper Technique.
Codified by link building guru Brian Dean, the Skyscraper Technique is one of the most effective workflows for earning backlinks. In just three steps, you can identify what questions your content should answer to rise to the top of the SERPs and pitch authoritative media outlets who have demonstrated an interest in linking to content like yours. Using the Skyscraper Technique is the most targeted and efficient ways to build backlinks, and if you do it well, it delivers insane results.
1. Find an article with tons of backlinks that ranks well for the keyword you’re targeting.
2. Write a more thorough or up-to-date version of that article.
Read the article you want to beat in the SERPs, and figure out why it’s doing so well. What questions does it answer? How did the writer optimize for relevant keywords? What tone does the copy use?
Then, identify ways you can improve upon it. What questions does the article not answer? What sections can you expand upon? How can you update the content so it’s even more relevant now?
Then comes the hardest part: write and publish a piece of content that’s better than the original.
3. Pitch your article to the outlets that linked to the original.
Using Ahrefs or Buzzsumo, you can learn which outlets link to the article you just outdid. These are the perfect people to pitch, as they are clearly already interested in the topic you’re writing about and have linked to similar content in the past! Reach out to those websites and politely mention that you’ve written an article on the same topic, but with some updates and additional helpful information. Ask if they’d be willing to link to your blog post in either their current or future content, and thank them for taking the time to read your email.
14.) Learn more link building strategies with online SEO training.
Earning backlinks is one of the most important cornerstones in any SEO strategy, but to get the most organic traffic possible, you need to master the search engine dark arts backwards and forwards. And we can get you there in about eight hours.
The Content Factory offers comprehensive online SEO training you can complete at your desk, at home, on the road or anywhere with internet access. You’ll not only learn more ways to get backlinks, but how to research keywords, structure your web content, perform a competitive analysis and create an editorial calendar.
You can see what it’s like with our free webinar on fixing common SEO mistakes. If you like what you see, enroll in the full course and get access to all of the best practices guides we use internally at TCF!
So, that’s how to get backlinks. There are more advanced link building strategies you can try, but this is a good go-to guide for SEO beginners to get started with. Have any other tips? Share them with the class in the comments section!