7 Simple Ways to Score Links
By now, you probably know that backlinks are an important factor in how search engines rank sites. They certainly aren’t as easy or powerful as they were ten years ago, as link quality had become more important than link quantity. You can’t throw your link up on a bunch of low-quality directories and expect to rank anymore; you need a diverse link profile with varying domains, anchor texts, and locations. The links need to be from a site that is reputable, relevant to your industry, and/or without a ton of other backlinks.
This emphasis on quality in recent years has kept many people from being able to climb the rankings without hiring a marketing company, but here are a few ways to get some solid links going for your business. Before we jump into these, it is CRUCIAL that you recognize that these techniques must be utilized in moderation. Going overboard with any of these methods won’t be beneficial, and no one of these is a “fix-all” for your optimization efforts. A good backlink profile is diverse, not composed entirely of one type of link!
Contribute to Other Blogs
Yes, we have to start by mentioning guest posting. This is one of the older link building techniques out there. You find a site that is related to your industry that accepts guest posts, and you get a piece published on their page. These opportunities are often found on sites that may be categorized as blogs, news sites, or publications of some kind. Perhaps there are some blogs in your niche which you already follow or enjoy reading. These are great places to reach out to and ask about guest posting opportunities.
You can do a search on Google for guest posting opportunities using search strings. By looking for pages titled Write for Us, you can create a list of web pages that accept guest posts. To do so, use the search string intitle:”write for us”, which will find you pages on the Internet about guest posting. Just add your keyword, a term related to your industry, or what type of page you’re looking for. For example, if you’re an addiction treatment center, you may search in Google intitle:”write for us” addiction or intitle:”write for us” drug addiction treatment. Your results will give you a list of potential guest posting opportunities!
As with all of these tips, there are dangers. Don’t write a bunch of posts for spammy sites, article directories, or pages unrelated to your business. You want to be writing for sites that are real, useful, and relevant.
Join Relevant and Reputable Directories
There are a ton of directories out there that will list your business for free or a small fee. However, directory listings are one of those old-school SEO techniques that became overused and thus a little dangerous. If you’re going to get some backlinks in directories, make sure you’re getting them from reputable directories that search engines respect! Of course, it may be impossible for you to tell how much a search engine likes or dislikes a directory, but you know intuitively when a site is reputable or not.
You can start with some of the biggest and most reputable places that list business information. Although you probably will get a ton of different opinions if you ask different SEO experts, here are our favorite high-quality link sources for businesses. This is of course an incomplete list, but a great place to start.
- Google My Business
- Bing Places
- Yellow Pages
- Apple Maps
- Best of the Web Local
Now these are just general directories that are reputable. You’ll also want to find reputable directories in your niche. Like finding guest posts, you can use search strings to help find directories. In general, directories that pop up high in Google search results are going to be reputable directories, as the spammy ones don’t show up high! You can use the search strings intitle:”directory” and intitle:”submit a listing” to find directories. Just add your key term again, so your search would be intitle:”directory” addiction treatment.
Build Appropriate Social Profiles
Notice the word “appropriate” here. Don’t go overboard and build social profiles on useless sites that are small, inactive, or even spammy. There are many social sites out there that will allow you to add a backlink to your profile. There’s much debate about the value of nofollow links (links that search engines don’t actually follow), but even if they don’t provide SEO value (we believe they actually do) they have the potential of driving traffic and increasing brand awareness!
Here are a few places you can make sure you have your link posted:
- Facebook Personal Profile
- Facebook Business Page
Again, this is not an exhaustive list by any means, just a great place to start. You don’t want too many of these links by any means, so start here with adding your links!
Use Your Network
You know people, don’t you? Perhaps some of said people have websites, jobs, or friends with websites or jobs. Get some relevant links from people you already know! You will find that some people are familiar with the difficulty of building quality links and are eager to help, some will have no idea what you’re talking about, and some will be hesitant. As with any linkbuilding technique, it just takes time, persistence, and patience. You will get shut down, and that’s just part of the process.
You can try asking business connections, people who work with similar (but not necessarily competing) companies, friends, and customers. You can find the right way to ask each person. We find that some people need an explanation of why you’re asking, so it can be good to give a brief outline of what you’re trying to achieve by asking for a link.
If you’ve been digging around SEO blogs and online marketing sites, you’ve likely heard some iteration of the cliché saying “content is king.” Although I’ve heard it way too many times, I must say that there is validity to it and it’s worth mentioning. As with link building in general, quality beats quantity these days. It’s our experience that one well-written post every two weeks is much better than one poorly-written post a day. Write content that is valuable to your readers, researched, and edited.
An increasingly popular way to do this is by utilizing multimedia content. Create infographics, like the one we created to the right for CLIENTS NAME. You can also include YouTube videos directly in your post. By adding relevant images, blockquotes, or videos, you can make your post more appealing to the reader.
You can find out what’s valuable to your readers by asking! Post something on social media and ask if anyone has any questions about something related to your industry. This will give you an idea of what people are interested in. You can also do some keyword research. If there are terms people are typing into Google a lot, it’s probably a topic that is interesting to people!
Once you write the piece share it all over the place! And not just once. As we mention in our 9 Tips for Posting to Social Media post, reshare old posts of yours that do well. You can also ask people directly to share. If it’s an infographic or a well-researched piece of content, you can perhaps find some other sites that may want to include it on their resources page!
Ask for Contributions
Many people are hesitant to do this, as we may not want to give space on our sites to competitors or other websites. That’s reasonable, and you don’t want your site to be full of outbound links. However, when you accept guest contributions, you have a great opportunity to reach a new audience and gain backlinks. If you contact the right people, you’ll find that others are eager to take the opportunity to get their voice out there. It’s quite the mutually-beneficial situation.
Make a page on your site, like the one to the right on RU Thinking (the second listing on our example of searching for guest posts). Then, post about it! Contact people directly and ask them to write for you. Make it clear that you offer new viewership, you’ll share the post on social media, and it’s good for their SEO and branding. When you take guest contributions, you will reach a whole new group of people, the author’s followers and friends. If the author has a blog, they are likely to link to their post on your domain, as they want it to be known that they are respected enough to be asked to write for other pages!
Find Links from Your Competition
You can also do this yourself with free tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, Majestic SEO, Moz’s Open Site Explorer, or SEO spyglass. These sites allow you to make a few searches for free every day. You just type in your competitor’s website and it will find backlinks to their site. Once you have a list, go through the pages and see if there’s a possibility of getting your website a link as well!
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