Are you looking for ways to increase the number of backlinks to your website? Backlinks are crucial for increasing your search engine rankings.
Backlinks are one of the most important factors Google considers when ranking your website. You will have a better chance of ranking higher when you get high-quality backlinks to your website.
You’ll learn simple and quick strategies for getting backlinks in this article.
What is a Backlink?
A backlink often referred to as a link is a mention of your website on an external website. For example, website A links to website B. As a result, site A has an external link to site B, and site B has a backlink from site A.
A backlink represents a vote of confidence from one site to another. In essence, backlinks to your website are a signal to Google that others vouch for your content.
When a number of websites link to your site, it shows the search engines that your content has value and is link-worthy. The search engine will then increase the rankings and visibility of your website.
Benefits and Risks of Link Building
When it comes to link building, there are benefits and risks. Here we explain why links matter to Google and what the hallmarks of a high-quality link are. You also discover what constitutes a bad link and find out the consequences you face if you have them.
One of the key factors Google and other search engines use to determine whether your site ranks is the presence of links pointing to it. An abundance of high-quality, trustworthy external links that are relevant to your site are evidence to Google that visitors find your site useful. It is, therefore, in your best interest to earn and attract links to your site.
High-quality links are relevant to your own website. Google expects to see links that are natural; for example, if your site is about hair care products, it would be natural for hairstyling sites to link to yours, but it would not be natural for a tractor company to link to you — see the difference?
In addition to relevance, reputation also matters. The more reputable a site is, the better. For example, a respected news site like CNN will provide a stronger link than the average personal blog. In other words, CNN has a higher PageRank than the blog.
Not all links are created equally — and bad links, in fact, can do more harm than good. While good links increase your PageRank, bad links (links that are reciprocal, incestuous, or come from link farms, web rings, and bad neighborhoods) do quite the opposite.
Google can detect when you have bad links. Google can take away the link’s PageRank as well as the link and domain equity/authority, and won’t pass on any link value to your page. Google won’t count the bad incoming link, and if it suspects that you’re doing something sneaky and devious with it, it even penalizes you for it.
The penalty could be as simple as removing all the link equity of your site, or you could have your rankings reduced on the results page. Google may even remove your page or your entire site from its index. Ouch! We’ve stated this before, but dishonesty (like crime) never pays.
Bad or spammy links are links that exist solely to manipulate ranking and PageRank — and if it appears your site has them, Google will lower your rankings.
It’s best to play on the safe side and never do anything to confuse or deceive the search engines. The easiest way for a search engine to catch you doing something wrong is to look like you are doing something wrong.
How to Get Backlinks
Here are 15 quick and easy ways to get backlinks. Let’s get started.
1. Guest Posting
Guest posting refers to writing an article or blog for a website other than your own. As the name suggests, you’re writing as a guest. Guest posting should be done on sites that are within your industry or niche. If you have a digital marketing agency, for example, guest posting on a PPC or web design blog would make sense. Guest posting for a cooking blog, on the other hand, would not make sense.
You benefit from guest posting, by getting in front of a new audience: You’re providing high-quality content that potential customers will find useful. The next time they need your service, you will come to mind and earn business.
Guest posting, then, is about expanding your audience and creating relationships with new readers. When a new audience sees your article, they may follow the link back to your site and engage with you further.
Guest posting should not be used as a tactic for increasing PageRank. In fact, any link that you include in a guest post should include rel=”nofollow”. In January 2014, Google cracked down on links in guest posts because many people were writing guest posts that offered no value and existed solely as a link to point back to their own site. Because of this, Google has taken a strong stance against guest posting for links.
A single suspicious link in a guest post can lead to a fall in rankings, and in some cases, it can even trigger a Penguin penalty. Your best bet is to include the rel=”nofollow” attribute to any links in a guest post — better safe than sorry.
2. Fostering Relationships
If you invest in your relationships with businesses, organizations, and individuals online, links will naturally follow as a result. Seek to create a network of supportive connections: You support what others do, and they return in kind. When you’ve created some valuable article or resource to share, give your online network a heads up, and they may post links and happily share that content.
As you look for people and websites to foster relationships with, you need to determine which sites are the best candidates.
You may know of some off the top of your head; if so, great. If you don’t have a go-to list of networking targets and you want to get scientific about relationship building, you have a couple of ways to go about it.
One way is to use tools to identify influencers in your industry. An influencer is someone who has a good following and is respected online in a particular niche. Every industry has influencers, including yours, even if you aren’t already aware of them.
Many tools are available to help you discover who your industry’s influencers are. By the same token, your own industry may have forums, discussion boards, and private groups that tools won’t find and only true insiders will know about. But you can generally get started by looking at some of the most popular social watering holes, like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
The other way to identify a business or person you want to build a relationship with is to research sites that link to the web pages that already rank for your keywords.
To discover what sites link to your competitors, follow these steps:
- Identify your competition: Run a search on Google (or Yahoo or Bing) for your search terms, the keywords you’re trying to rank higher for.
- Go through the results one at a time, opening the pages if you have to, to understand what kind of sites they are.
- Make a list of the web pages (URLs) that rank well on your keyword search results page. These are your competitors.
- After you identify your competitors, find out who links to them by running your competitors’ URLs through the Link Analysis Report that’s available as a free tool on SEOToolSet.
3. Resource Pages
Resource pages are pages that link out to awesome content on a given topic. Because these pages exist for the sole reason of linking out, they make the perfect link-building targets for us.
We can actually use a Google search operator to find pages within our industry and then reach out to them and try and get a link, too.
There’s a three-step process to this.
- Find the relevant resource pages.
- Find the best fit content. This would be the content that fits the resource page that you found.
- Reach out to the website owners and then try and get a link back to your website.
There are four Google search operators you can use to find resource pages:
- niche + inurl:links
- niche + “helpful resources”
- niche + “useful resources”
- niche + “useful links”
It’s very important you include the speech marks when using the Google search operators.
Once you found a potential website you’re happy with and you have a piece of content that is a good fit for that page, the third and final step is to reach out to that website and then try and get a backlink.
Let’s say I’m sending an email to the website. The email subject line would be the top line, subject, “Question about the website,” so I would actually replace the website with the name of their website, so the actual message itself says, “Hi, name. I was Googling around for content about the topic this morning when I came across your excellent resource page.”
After that, I link to the resource page. Then I go on to say, “I just wanted to say that your page helped me a ton. I would’ve never found the … ” then I link to the resource they linked to, “without it. It’s funny, I recently published a guide on the topic last month. It’s a …” then I give a brief description of what I publish my content on. “Here it is in case you’d like to check it out.”
Then I actually link to my page I’m referring to. “Also, my guide might make a nice addition to your page. Either way, thanks for putting together your list of resources, and have a great day. Talk soon, your name.”
I’m literally saying, “Hey, I came across your resource page. It is really, really good. I actually have a piece of content on my website, which would make a great addition to your resource page. Feel free to include it on your resource page, but if not, no worries, and have a great day.”
So as a result, there’s no pressure applied, and nine times out of 10, the website will actually update its resource page to include a link to your website.
4. Broken Link Building
Broken link building is an all-time favorite of many link builders. Why? Instead of straight-up begging for links, with broken link building you can actually add value to someone else’s website.
It’s similar to resource link building and you just have to follow the steps below:
- Find relevant resource pages. The reason we opt to go for a resource page instead of a standard blog post is, as you would have seen in the last section, resource pages typically have the most links on a page, which in theory means it’s way more likely for this page to have a broken link than any other page on that site.
- Find broken links on that page
- Reach out to those websites and let them know about the broken links, and ask them to link to your content instead.
After you’ve found a relevant website, you have a broken link. What we need to do now is simply reach out to the website and make them aware of that, and get them to link to our content instead. So this is the template I typically send out when I find websites with broken links on them.
It says, “Hi [name], are you still updating your site? I was searching for content on the topic when I came across your excellent page linked to the resource page. However, I noticed a few things didn’t seem to be working. List of broken links. I recently published some content on my blog, which covers exactly what the broken links should have, but in more detail. It would make a great replacement.”
Then I link to the broken link. “Either way, I hope this helped you out. Thanks, your name.”
So there’s not that much pressure at all I’m applying in this email. It’s pretty laid-back. However, I’m adding tons of value. I’m letting the owner know that one of the links on the website is broken, and I’m also giving them an alternative to link out to, which is actually better than the original one. So it’s a win-win for me and a win-win for them.
5. Skyscraper Technique
The Skyscraper technique is a link-building strategy where you improve existing, popular content and then multiply the backlinks. It works very well because we create content that we know is already popular, and then we reach out to the sites that link to the original content and ask them to link to our site as well. So this works well for two reasons.
One, we create something that we know is already linked to, so the whole process is valid and already verified.
And second, we are targeting the same people who have already shown interest in linking to similar content. So the likelihood of them linking to your new content is pretty high. Essentially, this tactic builds on the natural human tendency to be attracted to the best.
So there are three steps to the skyscraper technique:
- Find relevant content with lots of backlinks.
- Create something that is much better.
- Ask those linking to the original content to link to your better content instead.
Let us say I own a fitness blog that specializes in weight loss, weight loss plans, diet tips, and so on and so forth. Therefore, the whole blog is about how to lose weight and improve your health.
So I’m looking for content that is popular and has many backlinks in my industry.
Search for one of your keywords, but preferably your broadest or shortest keyword, to locate articles that have the most links.
After we’ve found the content we want to beat, the next step is to create something better, take it to the next level, and make it epic. There are four ways you can do that:
- Length. If the post lists 25 tips, beat it by listing more.
- Freshness. Check to see if the article is outdated. If it is, you can update it with newer images, screenshots, and more information.
- Design. Content isn’t just about words. The visual appeal matters too. Make sure the design stands out.
- Depth. Don’t just list out things. Fill in the details and make it actionable.
The bottom line is always thought through whether improving any of these aspects genuinely adds value.
There is a lot of work involved in the beginning stages, such as finding the content, and the backlinks, and then reaching out to the websites.
However, I highly recommend it as the websites you are competing with will not go to this extent to get backlinks. This means, that if you go that extra length, you are going to have one thing in your arsenal that they don’t have, giving you a better chance to rank high up on Google.
6. Reverse Image Search
If you publish visual content like infographics and charts, there are probably a lot of websites that use your images without giving you the copyright.
You can use a reverse Google image search to find all the websites that use your images, and then write to them and ask them to provide a link to your website as a source or credit. As you probably already know from your own website, finding images for your website is not easy.
Many of us go to Google Images or to free sites like Pixabay. However, if you choose the first option and use Google Images, then those images are not royalty-free. So you are using someone else’s images without their permission. Many websites actually do this, unfortunately.
I am going to show you exactly how to find all the websites that are using your images. And just a word of warning, this only works if the image is clearly yours. So it has to be your image. You can not pull the image from another website, put it on your website, and then approach another website and say, “Hey, that’s my image.” It has to be your own image.
As you can see on images.google.com, we have the ability to upload an image. This allows us to search all of Google for any images that are similar to the image we uploaded.
If you find that one of your images is being used by someone else without your permission, you can contact that website, go to the contact page, and just say, “Hey, I noticed you are using one of my images on your website.”
And then I copy the URL as a reference and just ask them to credit me as the source for that image. And if they do not, I ask them to remove the image from the website because it’s my image and I have full ownership of it.
So as you can see, you can find tons of different websites on Google that all use the image. So it’s a really good way to generate a lot of links for your website. Remember, though, that to do this you need to have unique images that are popular, or you need to post a lot of infographics and charts that contain information about your industry.
7. Relevant Blog Commenting
For this strategy to work, you need to find relevant blogs in your industry that have blogs where you can comment. The most important thing here is that you have the ability to comment on them. These links are usually not very meaningful.
However, they will help you diversify your backlink profile and give your website more relevance, which is very important as we have discussed several times.
If you are targeting different industries, such as music, you can easily search for the best music blogs, the best pet blogs, the best health blogs, the best fitness blogs, and so on and so forth.
Scroll down, because usually the comment section is at the end of the articles and as you can see, there are lots of comments in this blog, which means we can add a comment too.
As you can see, you can add a comment. Click on it and you will be given the option to add a comment to this blog. Remember that when you add a comment, you do not want to just say something to get a link to your site. You should at least comment on what the article is about.
I recommend that you actually read the article and write an appropriate response and then include your link. That way you can be sure that your link will be approved.
Some sites accept comments, some do not. The point is to find all the blogs that accept comments and then post a comment. This is a very easy strategy to implement. However, it takes a little time because you need to read the articles carefully to make sure your comments are approved.
8. Social Profile Link Building
This strategy involves visiting your social media accounts and adding a link to your website in your bio.
However, these are the basics and every website should have accounts on social media. Consequently, they should also have links to their social media pointing to their website. So if you have a lot of time on your hands, you can just go to Google and type in a list of the top 100 social media sites.
You can even type in the top 50, top 200, and top 300 social media sites and literally sign up to every single one of them, add a bio, and link to your website.
However, if you do not have that much time and you have a little bit of capital, you can also go to this website called fiverr.com. I do not usually recommend fiverr.com because in my experience the quality of work is very low. However, since it is something as simple as creating a social media account, it should not be a problem to use Fiverr for such a service.
However, the main advantage is that Fiverr can create 300 profiles for you, while you can take care of building more backlinks, for example, through guest posts, comments, or something similar.
If you decide to use Fiverr, make sure that the vendor you hire has really good reviews. You can see that this seller has a total of 160 reviews and 12 orders in the queue. So he is very popular, so he must be doing a good job. So that’s the end of this case. And that’s essentially how you can use social media accounts to build backlinks to your website.
9. Generating Link Magnets
Generating information, applications, tools, or ideas that people talk about is a surefire way to generate links: This is the benefit of a link magnet. Developing an idea for a link magnet takes some dedicated brainstorming and creative thought, as well as a good understanding of your target audience and what they might find useful or even humorous.
For example, research that generates data or insights into the differences between competing services might be highly valued by a technology audience. The creative insight that grabs everyone’s attention and generates discussion is what you’re after.
When you come up with an idea, the actual construction of the link magnet may also require hard work, although some link magnets can be developed with little effort. Articles and videos are two types of content that can perform well as link magnets.
Not only are articles a good way of adding keyword-rich content to your site, but they can also be a good way of attracting links. Other sites frequently link to articles that provide useful advice or information in order to share it with others.
There is a difference between articles that you write to provide information about your products or company and articles that can be deemed link-worthy. The latter tends to be noncommercial, informative, and entertaining, whereas the former tends to be more marketing-oriented, such as a page describing your product or service that is not designed to garner links and draw traffic but merely to give more information to people already interested in your business or product.
The key to writing articles that generate links is to make sure that the article is something that viewers want to read and share with others.
Think of it as an article you would read in a print magazine, not just something written strictly for SEO value. Many different types of content can be used as link magnets:
- Top ten lists: These have nearly become cliché online, but they can still be effective if they are new and fresh.
- How-to guide: Explain how to do something in a clear and easy way. Visuals, like images or videos, can be helpful.
- Articles about hot-button issues: Debate a controversial, industry-related topic.
- Resources: Offer new research, information, tools, charts, or graphs.
- Humorous and offbeat material: Include funny stories and topics.
- Games: They can be developed for fun, and they may or may not be related to your industry.
Using Engagement Objects such as images and other rich media can be an integral part of link building. Some people online are looking for more than just static web pages. You can utilize video, Flash animations, videos, and podcasts to reach this audience. Not only does this help your overall Internet marketing campaign and raise brand awareness, it can also help generate quality links.
Videos can be used as link magnets and link bait and can be a great way of increasing awareness of your website. The key to a good video link magnet is to make your video unique and link-worthy. The video should incorporate branding and advertising strategies, but above all, it should be entertaining.
Videos from YouTube currently rank high in Google video results. Although videos on YouTube can increase exposure for your company, they do not necessarily build link popularity for your website.
However, YouTube can be used to raise awareness for the video link magnets that are hosted on your site. You can do so by posting shortened video clips on YouTube that link back to additional or higher-quality videos posted on your website.
To effectively build link popularity by using a video link magnet, embed the video into a web page on your site. This way, anyone linking to the video is directly linking to your site, which is of course the primary reason for creating a link magnet.
However, showing up on a search results page as a blended result might be a secondary goal as well. You can increase the likelihood of meeting that goal by adding links from your site to the videos you have put on YouTube.
Spreading the word through social media and press releases
If you’ve created a link magnet or posted valuable content to your site, you need to let people know about it. The saying “If you build it, they will come” doesn’t necessarily apply to your link magnets. Get your article, resource, video, or interactive application in front of people.
Of course, you should link to your article on your website, but you also need to spread the word to other websites. Social media is a great way to do that.
One way to spread the word is by using social share buttons on your articles that allow people who view the content to share the page to their social media profile, — whether Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+ — by simply clicking a button on your page.
10. Soliciting paid links for advertising
Obtaining a free link is not always possible. In those situations, you may want to come up with a plan to approach websites’ webmasters about direct advertising on their sites. In that case, you have to determine a price point that is acceptable to you and to the other site as well.
In some instances, a partnership may be developed that benefits both parties. If an agreement for a paid link is secured, in whatever form that link takes — a text link or a link on a banner or display ad — you want to be sure that you include a rel=”nofollow” attribute on the link. When soliciting paid links, remember to do it only for the traffic or the advertising. Obtaining a paid link gives you no direct SEO benefit and soliciting a paid link in order to increase your ranking is definitely not recommended. Google hates that. A lot.
But if you’ve decided to try to solicit some paid links for the advertising traffic, you need to properly evaluate the websites you are looking at in order to make sure that you get a quality link and don’t get ripped off.
First, check out the site and see how much traffic it gets. Also, take a good, hard look and determine whether the site uses spam techniques.
If you think that it’s a good legitimate site, send that site’s webmaster a solicitation letter. Suggest a trial run for your ad; for example, you could pay the site for a month’s worth of advertising, and then you can check to see whether your site’s traffic has increased.
11. Broken Brand Mentions
Broken brand mentions are a fast, simple, and reliable form of link building you can use for almost every SEO project. It goes like this: in some cases when someone mentions your brand they forget to post a link. Track mentions of your brand, and where suitable, reach out and ask for a link back to your site. Use the below tools to track mentions of your brand. If you see a mention of your brand without a link, send a quick email to the author, and they will often be happy to link to your site.
Brand monitoring sites I’ve found useful:
- Google Alerts: Google Alerts is a very powerful brand monitoring tool. Get email alerts whenever your brand name is mentioned, or, when any keyword is mentioned across the web. Both free and powerful, making it worth checking out.
- Mention: Mention is a powerful brand-monitoring tool that will send an email alert when your brand is mentioned online, so you can respond quickly.
12. Testimonial link building
An awesome way to get high-quality, relevant links back to your site is to give out testimonials. Sometimes you can actually earn a link back to your site from somebody else’s homepage, possibly one of the strongest types of links! I will sometimes go as far as purchasing a product just to get a testimonial link.
Give this strategy a try by finding a few sites with testimonials and offering your own. Of course make it easy for the webmaster by including all the information they need, such as a photo, your name, job title, testimonial, and a link back to your site. The key is to look for businesses or services with a testimonials page already, or a testimonials carousel or widget on their homepage. Speed up your search with a couple of Google search queries:
- “keyword” + testimonials
- “keyword” + recommendations
- “keyword” + “client testimonials”
- “keyword” + “what customers say”
What are High-Quality Backlinks?
Here are the three different types of quality links that you want to attract:
- Complementary subject relevance links
- Expert relevance reinforcement links
- Quality testimonial links
Complementary subject relevance
Complementary subject relevance links come from a site that has similar content to yours. The site’s content might not relate exactly to your site’s content, but its subjects and themes are close enough to be complementary.
If you have a classic car customization site and you receive a link from a website devoted to classic car enthusiasts, this is a complimentary link. Your site discusses something that the other site also discusses, and that site has declared your site to be worth reading.
This kind of link is worth more than a link from, say, Harry’s House of Hamsters. It doesn’t matter whether the link from the hamster site has great anchor text (the text that is the outgoing link). The search engine will read the sur- rounding text around the link on the hamster site, the overall content of the page, and the content of the site itself, and the search engine will figure out that this is a site about hamsters, and hamsters don’t really have anything to do with classic cars (unless, of course, instead of horsepower, your car runs on “hamster” power).
When the search engine notes that the site linking to yours doesn’t have a whole lot of relevance to your subject, it will say that the link is not a quality link, and the link is not going to add anything to your overall link equity. It also doesn’t matter whether the page linking to your site has relevance.
If the linking site has a page devoted to mesothelioma (the cancer caused by asbestos) but the rest of the site is about peanut butter, the mesothelioma page just looks crammed in there. It dilutes that site’s theme and might raise a red flag with the search engines.
Expert relevance reinforcement
Experts naturally link to other experts. If you are an expert in your field, you are naturally going to be linking to other experts in your field. It’s like a Nobel Prize-winning physicist name-dropping another Nobel laureate in economics, as opposed to a kid who won his school science fair.
Experts require validation from their peers. When scientists publish a science paper in a journal, they expect other scientists to go out and test the published theory on their own, in order to receive validation from these other scientists.
The same is true for websites. If an expert website discusses you on its own site and then provides a link to you, claiming you as another expert, that just reinforces what you say on your own site.
To put it another way, if the biggest, baddest, classic car customization site on the whole Internet has a link and a section describing you and linking to your site, that means a lot more than your brother’s very small classic car site giving you a link.
Quality testimonial links
- The good: The expert industry site; a big name classic auto trading site that links to your classic car customization site, for instance
- The bad: A site that really has no overall relevance to your subject (such as the hamster site linking to the classic car site)
- The ugly: The spammy, spammy poker site that offers nothing of value and only makes you look bad
But there is one type of link that is considered the best of them all: the testimonial link. A testimonial link is a link that appears in a paragraph in the context of a lot of relevant information and then points to you as another resource of information. The topic of the linking site as a whole needs to be relevant to your site.
Say that a site that sells parts for car restoration has a post describing how to properly customize classic cars. The site then provides a link to your site, as in the following example. Note that the text classic car customization business serves as the anchor for a link back to www.classiccarcustomization.com.
There are many classic car customization businesses out there, but for the best, you have to check out Bob’s Classic Car Customization, which has tons of resources for restoring and customizing every kind of classic Ford, Chevy, and ’50s hot rod on the planet. Check out its gallery of restorations for some cool, classic autos.
A testimonial link is worth a whole lot of link equity and is one of the best kinds of links you can receive when it’s from a related site. Just be sure that it doesn’t come from any sites that practice the worst practices for linking.
Link equity is always important to keep in mind when you’re vetting external links. One good testimonial grade link is worth a lot more than a hundred decent links or a thousand bad links. Link equity through a testimonial link is the highest grade of link equity possible.
Link Building Mistakes To Avoid
As with many things in life, there is a right way and there is a wrong way to go about obtaining links. We’ve put together a handy list of what not to do when trying to get links to your site:
- Do not spam. This means no sending of mass emails like, “Dear Webmaster, can you please link to me? Here is the anchor text I want to use. XOXO. Me.” If you are soliciting links from a website, make sure to customize each and every email you send.
- Avoid incestuous linking. If you build a vast network of websites that only links back to itself, it’s considered incestuous linking. This is a huge no for Google, and there are actual penalties involved: Your site could be removed from the index or be subjected to heavy ranking penalties instead of just having your links disregarded as part of the PageRank.
- Do not buy links for ranking. You can buy links in terms of traffic and for advertising, but buying a link for ranking is a definite no for Google, which disregards the weight of paid links and possibly any and all links on a page that contains paid links. Be safe by asking that any links bought for advertising include a rel=”nofollow” attribute or be placed in a non-spiderable format.
- Do not use run-of-site links. Run-of-site links happen when a site has links to your site on every single one of its pages. These kinds of links are heavily discounted and are usually immediately flagged as paid links at best and spam at worst.
- Do not use link farms. Link farms are spam, and you incur penalties for using them. You could get your site yanked from the index; if this happens, you need to clean it up and grovel to the search engines to get back in.
- Do not solicit links from irrelevant sites. It does not matter if the site is very, very popular: It won’t help you if your content is in no way related to its content.
- Do not set up several different sites all with the purpose of linking to yourself. This is spam. Spamming is bad.
In general, think about how you would want people to try to obtain links from you. Treat others as you want to be treated. Also, always avoid sneaky, underhanded, or devious techniques. You will be caught and will have to do it the right way anyway. It saves you the time and effort of cleaning up your page and the hassle of begging Google to consider resubmitting your site into the index.