What do backlinks have to do with a website or a blog. Why should website and blog webmasters be concerned about getting high quality backlinks? Backlinks play a huge role in getting visitors known as traffic to websites and blogs. Backlinks from different directories, blogs, websites, articles all help direct traffic to websites and blogs. This traffic translates into money and that is why high quality backlinks are so important.
In our introduction above, we mentioned that backlinks are the term best associated with external links to your site and pages, but internal links also match the term. All backlinks contribute to the way search engines interact with your website because they help the site crawlers used to develop and update search engine indexes understand how your content relates to content on other websites.
Internal links contribute to developing a great user experience because visitors can easily navigate your site and find relevant articles that add to or match the page they’re already viewing. This is paramount in SEO because it allows you to retain visitors: instead of typing in another search query to find additional, relevant information, you’re providing a means for them to find it on your site.
One of the most common ways this will play to your advantage is if your content contains technical terms relevant to your industry. You want readers to understand your writing, but adding a definition to the first instance of every technical term makes for a messy content structure.
That’s why you’ve got another page going into detail on that term because it’s relevant to your industry and your target market. Turning the first instance of a technical term on your page into anchor text containing an internal backlink to the definitions page, you ensure that your readers have everything they need right at hand.
Be careful not to overload your pages with internal links, though. A good rule of thumb is to keep backlinks per page down to below 100, and you want to include external links to the count (you’ll see why in a bit).
It may sound like you’ll just be helping another site build their resources and generate more views for themselves, but this is very much a case of helping each other out. After all, guest posting is very different from ghostwriting. As a ghostwriter, you get no credit for the content whatsoever. But every guest post is entirely credited to the writer, not the hosting site.
Of course, this does help the host site to generate views, but that’s okay for the guest writer because more often than not it includes a backlink to your site. Guest posting is one of those cases where it’s not only about generating a backlink to improve your search engine index ranking for SERPs, which shouldn’t be your only focus at all. This is a great way of getting your name out there, making your content available to new readers and winning increased online visibility. Guest posting, most especially for authoritative sites in your industry, builds your reputation online in a big, big way.
But it can take a long time to find opportunities to create guest posts if you go about it the wrong way. One sure means of discovering fresh, relevant opportunities is to make use of sites like Twitter. By using the search function, you can quickly find authoritative sites that are looking for guest post contributors on a regular basis. Just type “your niche” + guest post (for example “SEO” + guest post) and scan the results for new opportunities.
3. Help A Reporter Out (HARO)
Help A Reporter Out (HARO) is a fantastic online resource for generating backlinks on authoritative news sites. All you need to do is sign up as a source, which takes less than a minute to do, and you’ll get three emails a day every Monday through Friday (at 05h35, 12h35, and 17h35 ET). These are the source requests, which is a list of articles that reporters need information for.
Each one includes a summary (usually the intended headline for the article), the topic category, and the email address of the journalist (which is where you’ll be sending the information to). It will also include the name of the site where the article will be published, the reporter’s deadline, and a description detailing what kind of information they need.
Of course, you’re not going to be able to contribute to every single query. For one thing, there can be over a hundred per email you receive, and not all of them are going to be relevant to your industry. All you have to do is scan through the list to find ones covering your area, and then send a contribution pitch to the reporter’s masked email!
In your pitch, you’re going to include your answer to the journalist’s query and your contact information—which can include a link to your site.
You’re not guaranteed to get a backlink from every single HARO query you answer because the journalist might not use the information you provide. After all, he/she is going to be receiving many responses, and some may be more relevant than others. But more often than not, you’ll be rewarded with a backlink on a high-ranking site.
4. Blog and Forum Comments
Everybody finds themselves turning to the blogs they follow for information, but sometimes readers want or need something more than what the post has to offer. This is where you step in. Find blogs that cover your industry, whether directly or by posting on some of the products and (or) services that form part of your own, and start following them. There are a lot of reasons for you to do so, and we’ll talk more about them later on in this article, but one of the easiest ways doing so can help you build backlinks is by going through the comment section.
Many bloggers (and we’re including vloggers on sites like YouTube) often invite their readers to ask questions or add their opinions, stories, and ideas in the comment section. Questions are often responded to by the original poster themselves, and most bloggers will try to answer to every comment, but often some of the best answers come from other readers. And this is where you step in.
First off, if you notice there’s information missing or that isn’t covered very well in the post, you can make a suggestive comment providing that information. And by reading through other readers’ questions, you can also find opportunities to provide answers.
Sometimes, you’ll find that the answer another reader is looking for is too long to post as a comment. Use these opportunities to provide a summarized answer, and end with a link to your article.
Another place the public turns to are forums such as Yahoo Answers and Google Groups, as well as industry (or even product) specific options. These offer much the same opportunity as the blog comment section does.
All companies, big and small, love showing off the testimonials they’ve received from their clients. In fact, you’ll notice that most business sites showcase a few select testimonials on their homepage, and a few have whole pages dedicated to customer reviews (which always have a link on the homepage—usually something like “customer success stories”). Here’s an example of what a testimonial page looks like.
So how do you turn this into an easy method for earning quality backlinks for your site? The first step is to sit down and make a list of products and services you’ve used recently. A good rule of thumb is to think of those you’ve used regularly (or started using) over the past six months. This can take some time, and will likely be an ongoing process, but it’s by far the longest part of this method.
Next, you’ll want to see whether or not their sites have a testimonial page. If they do, spend a few moments writing up a short, positive review of your experience using the product or service, and reach out to them. Most sites have a feedback feature or will include an email account for testimonials on their contact page.
And that’s it! You won’t even have to ask for a link because almost every single time they’ll include it automatically—just to prove that you’re a real person. Be sure to mention that they’re allowed to use your testimonial on their homepage, as that’s where your link will get the most exposure.
6. Blogger Reviews
Testimonials on other sites are an excellent way to generate backlinks, but there’s also an equally good option that allows for testimonials on your product or service to be a backlink source to your site.
How so? By offering it to bloggers in your industry free of charge. While this isn’t exactly a free means of building backlinks, the cost is very minimal, and the results should pay for themselves rather quickly.
So what you want to do is search for bloggers who do provide some reviews for products and services in your industry. Narrow the results down to the most official ones before moving onto the next step.
This is where you want to make an offer. Follow this guide:
Start off with a friendly greeting, and mention that you were looking for articles on your topic when you found their post. Compliment them on their content, and then let them know that you provide a product or service that matches the subject. Mention what you usually charge, and then say that you’d like to offer it to them free of charge. All you’d like in return is for them to consider making a mention of your business on their blog or possibly do a review.
If they’re interested, they’ll get back to you. One thing you should be aware of is that this method isn’t guaranteed to work every single time because you can’t force the bloggers to write a positive review—you’re reaching out to them in good faith. You want to be very careful in the way you contact them as well because explicitly asking for a link (or even a review) is a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
7. The Moving Man Method
The Moving Man Method is one of the easiest ways to build high-quality backlinks to your website from authoritative sources. Sometimes, a big name company or service provider goes out of business. This process can happen for any number of reasons, including internal politics or bad management. Sometimes the company name is linked to the founder, and the business shuts down after they retire or pass away.
While they were operational, however, they provided quality content on their site, which generated a lot of backlinks from other websites. Usually, these sites are shut down as well, and the domain name isn’t renewed, but some companies (primarily recognized leading experts) have registered their domain names a couple of years in advance. When the business goes bust, the site remains online, but usually, the content will be removed. This means that the backlinks they’ve built will still work, but will direct users to blank pages.
At other times, the site content remains online but is no longer being updated.
To find examples, you’ll need to find authoritative sites that contain a lot of links to other pages. Using Domain Hunter Plus, you can see which of these links lead to sites that load blank pages. Next, you’ll use a program like Ahrefs to download a list of all the backlinks pointing to that site.
This is where you start generating backlinks to your site. If you’ve got content that caters to the same demand that the defunct site used to, you can reach out to the sites containing backlinks to them and let them know that the link is no longer operating correctly because the other site has been taken down. Offer them a resource on your site as a replacement, and chances are very likely that you’ll be awarded a quality backlink.
8. Broken Links
This technique is very similar to the Moving Man Method, except instead of looking for links that are old or blank pages you’re looking for links that give a 404 error. If you’ve spent any time on the internet at all, the chances are high that you’ve come across a 404 error a couple of times at least. When a site has been taken down entirely, existing backlinks on other sites will result in a 404 error. We call these “broken links”—and they’re bad news for SEO on the site hosting them.
Once again, you’ll want to find resource pages for your industry and check them for broken links. We don’t expect you to click every link in the hopes of finding one—just use a browser extension like Check My Links for Chrome. Broken links will be highlighted in red, making them easy to find at a glance.
Your next move is the same as with the Moving Man Method. You’re going to send the resource page site owner an email to notify them of the broken link, making sure to tell them exactly what the broken URL is as well as where on their page the link is found. To do so, you may want to include the anchor text they’ve used, as well as the URL for the page containing the broken link.
Once again, you’ll inform them in a friendly manner that your site has relevant content that covers the same topic. Offer them a link to your pages to replace the broken link, and in most cases, you’ll have earned yourself a new backlink.
9. Link Reclamation
Sometimes, your business or brand will get mentioned online without any link to your site. This step is usually due to human error, but the good news for you is that it can be a new source of backlinks.
Link reclamation is simple but very powerful. Usually, you’ll find that someone has mentioned you on their blog because they like one (or many) of your products or services. The post isn’t always a review per se—in some cases, they’ve brought your brand or business up as part of a larger narrative.
All you need to do to find these mentions is use a tool like BuzzSumo, which generates a content alert every time someone writes about you. Most of the time, you’ll find that they’ve already included a link to your site, which is great news, but sometimes the link is missing.
Instead of sitting there wishing they’d added a link, send them an email! Thank them for mentioning your business in their article (bonus tip: it helps to compliment the post as well), and ask if they would consider adding a link to your site. Mention that it can help their readers to find you if they want to.
Don’t insist on having the link added. Put in a friendly request, repeat your thanks, and wish them well before signing off. Almost every time, you’ll get a positive response, and you’ll have earned a new backlink.
Sometimes, link reclamation will get you some of the most powerful backlinks, and if you stick to our guide as to how to go about asking for the link, you’ll probably find they’ll give you a positive mention again in the future—this time with the link already added.
10. Helping Hacked Sites
Thanks to series like Mr. Robot and movies such as Blackhat (2015), more and more people are becoming aware of how often websites get hacked. Recently, the ransomware attacks have caused quite a legitimate panic worldwide.
But thousands of sites get hacked on a daily basis in a far more subtle manner. Some hacks cause your site to start spamming emails that you can’t find in your outbox, or add pages that promote and sell prescription drugs.
When a site has been hacked to add pages quietly, it’s not so great for the site owner—especially because they’re not likely to notice it themselves unless they’re constantly on the look-out for them. But if you can find hacked sites in your industry, you can turn it into an opportunity for a backlink.
To find such sites, all you need to do is use a inurl:keyword + “keyword” search string. Inurl:fitness + “Viagra” is a typical example of how to find hack pages in the fitness industry.
Next, you’ll let the site owner know about the page, providing a link to it so they can see quickly find the hack in the backend of their site builder or content management system and get rid of it. Sometimes, as a token of gratitude, they’ll ask if there’s any way they can repay you. This is where you mention that you’ve recently published an article that they may be interested in, and ask if they would mind adding a link from one of their high ranking pages. It’s as simple as that!
11. Website Feedback Sites
An excellent way to not only generate backlinks but also get input on how to improve your site’s user experience is to submit your website to one of the many, many feedback sites.
These are designed to help site owners make the most out of their site’s potential regarding layout and conversion. Sure, usability evaluation techniques are an excellent way to do so as well, and we certainly recommend that you perform one at least once a year (and most especially when you’ve only recently launched, or you’re planning a redesign). But these don’t often result in backlinks, so when it comes to hitting two birds with one stone—improving your UX as well as your SEO—website feedback sites are the way to go.
All you need to do is create an account on one or more of these sites, and then submit your site for review. Add a little description of how you think or would like to improve it, and that’s it!
The best website feedback sites automatically add a backlink to your site. It seems like an obvious feature, because it allows contributors to find your site easily, but some of these platforms don’t inherently add the link.
So if you’re looking for a great feedback site that will automatically generate a link for you, these are some of the most authoritative ranking ones.
12. Get Interviewed
Online interviews have become a popular trend lately, and they offer an easy way to earn some backlinks. It takes time to become considered an authority in your industry or niche, but when you do you’ll probably find you’ll be getting a lot of interview invitations. Until then, you’ll have to take the first step in finding opportunities to be interviewed.
One way to go about this is to be on the lookout for websites—especially blogs, and even vlogs—that run online interviews. It doesn’t have to be focused on your particular niche, but in that case, you should narrow the list down to those that cover a range of topics. You’ll be wasting your time trying to get an interview on a site that isn’t relevant to your industry at all, and even if (by some miracle) you do land one, the backlink isn’t going to do much for your SERP ranking.
Once you’ve found a relevant site, send them a friendly email and let them know that you’d like to participate in their project. Always be sure to include an overview of the type of knowledge you can offer as a contribution. It’s a little like guest posting and providing resources via HARO, but as a blend of the two—you’re providing a source of information that someone else will translate into content for their site.
Another option is to reach out to online publications that are located in your vicinity, and let them know you’ve recently started up. Ask if they’re interested in doing an article on local businesses, and offer to be one of the interviewees. Whichever method you use, you’re guaranteed to earn a few backlinks over time.
If you haven’t already created a Google+ profile account, we recommend you do so, because it’s an easy way to build a backlink to your site. All you need to do is sign up for free, add a link to your site in the Introduction section, and start interacting with other Google+ users. The more time you spend communicating and sharing, the more exposure your backlink will generate for your site, so like all SEO practices, it’s going to be an ongoing, long term process. Over time, you’ll be getting more and more referrals via your Google+ profile, making it an increasingly powerful backlink.
One important thing to take note of is that you have to be logged out of Google+ to be able to see the link as a link, otherwise known as a dofollow link. It’s a little weird, but the link shows as nofollow when you’re logged in, meaning the backlink exists and is present on your profile, but doesn’t show as a link and can’t be clicked on to redirect users.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do add it though. There is bound to be users who won’t be logged in when they come across your profile—if it pops up on a SERP, for example—so they’ll see the link and hopefully follow it. Besides which, having that backlink available will help search engines (Google most obviously, but Bing and Yahoo will also pick it up) to index your site and improve your SERP ranking.
14. Social Media
This is something of an extension to the above section on Google+, which we felt deserved its spotlight. Other social media platforms can be just as important as a platform to generate backlinks for your site and to promote your content. In fact, it’s so viable and popular an option that people have made a career out of being Social Media Marketing Managers.
You don’t have to hire one when starting out of course because you should be able to run your social media platforms by yourself without any difficulty, but in the long-term, you’ll probably turn to one too.
How it works is this: you create a Facebook page for your business, where you can interact with users, promote your company, and share your content. You’ll also find yourself sharing content from other sites, of course, and they’ll usually return the favor. Your followers can get regular updates on new content, products, and promotions, and they’ll be able to share your posts with their friends to—creating a ripple effect of backlink opportunities.
The same can be said for Twitter, which we already mentioned as a great platform for finding opportunities to guest post on other sites. Another popular trend (more for product oriented businesses, although service providers should also consider finding ways to utilize the platform) is Instagram, which will allow you to promote your brand and share advertising campaigns such as competitions with a wide range of followers.
15. Create Quality Content
To generate backlinks on social media, through guest posting, and pretty much most of the methods we’ve mentioned, you need to have quality content on your site. You certainly won’t be able to use the broken link method with any success if your site doesn’t provide quality content!
And genuinely, having quality content makes it more likely for other sites, and especially bloggers, to make reference to your site without your having to approach them first. Others in your industry will also be following other websites, such as yours, so to earn a backlink from them you need to make sure you’re worthy of one.
Needless to say, you want your content to be unique, but you also want to provide a truly unique experience (known as having unique value). Most pages online are unique, and many of them contain valuable information, but few can offer truly unique value. To do so, you need to provide content that enhances your user’s’ experience in a way that no other website page does.
This is imperative in generating social media shares and other backlinks. Your content is one of the few ways you can directly control your likelihood of earning backlinks.
What we suggest is to, before creating a page, imagine yourself as someone visiting your website. Picture the type of page that gives you something that doesn’t only meet your demands (which is the backbone of good content), but is also different to most of what you find online already.
Once you have that picture in your head, you need to sit down and create it, publish it, and then promote it.
16. Spy on Your Competitors
To help you create good content that will earn your site backlinks, you want to spy on your competitors. Why? Because the chances are that they’ve got great content that is already ranking well and has generated a lot of backlinks.
The easiest way to do so is to follow their pages on social media because that’s where they’ll be sharing their most fruitful and relevant content. Having access to this content will come into play in a big way in our next section, the Skyscraper Method, but it’s important in other ways too. Knowing what your competitors are doing on their social media platforms will give you an idea of the type of people and companies that follow them, people that you can reach out and market to as well. Not only that, but you’ll also be able to stay in touch with the marketing methods they’re using to earn backlinks, information that you can adopt and adapt to your brand.
So what you want to do is not only follow them on social media but sign up to any newsletters they send out. Google Alerts is another great way to receive notifications as to when they’re posting new content on their site.
One of our favorite tools for discovering when and how your competitors are building links is Monitor Backlinks. This will give your direct insight on the techniques you can replicate to earn your backlinks in the same industry: specific sites that you should offer to do guests posts for, bloggers you can ask for reviews, and nearly every other method we’ve mentioned.
17. The Skyscraper Method
The Skyscraper Method is a super efficient means of generating content that is not only of high quality but if done correctly will also help you create uniquely valuable pages that are sure to earn you backlinks from authoritative sites. And the best part is, you won’t have to spend any money on finding resources or developing the content either!
We’ve already explained the first step of this three-step process: spying on your competitors to know what content ranks well and generates the most backlinks. In our previous section, we mentioned some tools for finding out where and how these backlinks are being built so we won’t repeat ourselves here. What we are going to do is tell you what else you can do with this content.
This is step two of the Skyscraper Method: using the foundation of existing content to create your own. What you don’t want to do is simply rewrite it, because then you won’t be likely to earn additional backlinks or implement step three (which we’ll be getting to in a moment). Remember that the content you’ve now curated is meant to serve as a foundation, not a framework.
On this basis, you want to present the same information in a new, better way, and most importantly add to it. Find new sources, updated and vague information, find new ways of informing your readers of something that your competitors are talking about. You’re looking to expand on the existing content, so if (for example) your competitors have a high-ranking article on the top ten products, offer your readers an alternative that ranks the top fifteen.
Finally, you want to promote your improved version of the content. Once again, this was partially covered in our previous section: following up on the opportunities you found that your competitors used to generate links.
There are three major ways that you can use to create content that will rank well and generate backlinks in terms of how you present the information, and the first of these is to create content in the form of lists.
It sounds a little odd at first, but people love long lists of information. For example, there are a lot of articles online that only give you the top ten ways to build backlinks, and those include some options that are going to cost you (like offering scholarships and donating to charities). Even some of the most authoritative SEO sites stopped at less than twenty.
By implementing the first two steps of the Skyscraper Method and combining it with this one, we’ve been able to provide an article that lists 25 techniques. And the reasons for doing so is simple: when you create a longer list, you’re able to be more thorough and cover more alternatives. The same is true no matter what your topic!
Creating a longer list as a means of using the Skyscraper Method also means you can create longer content. Many of the top names in SEO say that longer content is perfect for backlinks because you have the space to be detailed.
The list format is an excellent way to do so because it automatically structures and divides your content into easy-to-read sections, which act as stepping stones for readers to follow.
Infographics are the hot new trend in SEO, and they’re a great addition to your content in general. In fact, considering how many SEO experts promote the use of infographics, it’s surprising how few people are implementing them in their online strategies!
This is probably because most people think it’s going to be expensive to make one, but it doesn’t have to be. By using sites like UpWork (previously Elance-oDesk), you can easily find a graphic designer with infographics experience for seriously affordable rates. And while it’s always better to find someone who’s done infographics before, it doesn’t have to be a requirement—in our experience; the textual content is more important than the design is.
Infographics present information in a visually aesthetic way that is sure to generate shares online. All you need to do is have the idea in mind, write short, concise blocks of information (there’s the list method coming into play again!), and hire a designer to bring it to life. If you prefer, you can even do it yourself with tools like Piktochart (which is why we’ve been able to include infographics on our list of free methods to build backlinks).
Last (but certainly not least), you should also offer your infographic as a guest post to established bloggers in your industry. When marketed correctly, a single infographic has the potential to generate over 100 backlinks!
Another largely ignored solution for building backlinks is to create audio files. While just about anything will do, it’s obviously going to be better if you’re doing audios that are relevant to your industry.
One idea that’s great is to record yourself (or someone else) reading your posts out loud and embed the file on the relevant page. This is because a lot of people absorb information better when they’re able to hear it, both instead of and even while reading it too.
Another reason this can increase your page views is that, for users with dyslexia, long posts can be rather daunting, especially when they involve technical terms. Many of them use text-to-speech assistive programs such as NaturalReader, but some of these software options require users to upload the text in a document.
Longer text ranks higher, but you don’t want to lose potential visitors to your site because they have to copy your content into a Microsoft Word document and then upload the file to their assistive program to get through the whole article. While not providing an audio option isn’t exactly discrimination, it would be nice to start a trend in making audio versions of your content available for those that need them. As you can probably guess, this is also an excellent way to offer content with quality value.
Vocaroo is a great online tool that you can use to do voice recordings via your browser, and you can download the file in a mp3 format to embed in your site. To help you build backlinks, you can also upload the files to audio sharing sites.