We’ve talked writing content; now let’s talk getting quality backlinks.
Cause they can be amaze-balls for your SEO.
Link building, gaining backlinks, whatever you want to call it, are incoming links to your website.
Why do they even matter?
Because they basically tell Google that your site is worth linking to. So getting credible, well-ranked sites to link to your site shows Google that your site is credible and worthy or being well-ranked too.
Think of Google as a superficial high school girl. If the cool sites tell Google that you’re cool, Google will think you’re cool too.
But it’s more than that. Quality backlinks help raise your ranking, but they can also help your site get indexed faster and can bring direct traffic from those other sites.
But there’s a catch.
Building quality links and getting indexed by the cool kids isn’t going to be an overnight thing.
It takes time. And like any other good marketing tactic, the more you do it and work at it, the better your results will be.
But first, here are some common backlinking terms you may come across:
- Link juice. Basically this means the SEO power passed to another site through linking.
- Anchor text. The text you use to link. Keywords as anchor texts are great for SEO.
- Internal links. Links within your own website.
- Low-quality links. These are links from sites Google looks down on, such as spam sites or (gasp!) porn sites. Just say no.
- No-follow link. This is when a no-follow tag is added to the link code. It tells Google that you don’t want to pass link juice to that site.
- Do-follow links. Unless you use (or request another blogger use) a no-follow tag, all backlinks are do-follow and pass link juice between themselves.
Link building is a serious game. There are people buying links, trading links. But you want to build them in ways that help you boost your site and build relationships. So here are 10 ways to build quality backlinks without being sleazy or selling your soul to the cool crowd.
#1 Create an expert roundup post. Pose one question to multiple experts in your niche and compile the answers into one epic post. Right now, you’re doing the linking. But the experts you feature may mention your roundup post in one of their posts, or reach out to you when they compile one of their own. It’s all about relationship building.
#2 Guest post. Guest posting gets you on other authority blogs, with a nice link back to your site in your bio. But if you’re out of sites to pitch, here’s a tip: Look for a guest post done by a blog similar to yours, on a site that you’d be targeting as well. Most people tend to use the same or very similar bios for each guest post they write. Grab a piece of their bio and plug it into Google to find other places that bio has been used, giving you ideas for sites you can pitch. Bam! Like magic I tell ya.
#3 Comment on other niche blogs. There was a time where blog commenting was huge. HUGE! While it’s starting to die down (largely due to spam comments and commenting bots-damn spammers ruin it fro everyone) it is still a great way to get backlinks. Just make sure you don’t look like a spam bot. Write a quality comment and have your image attached to your comment.
#4 Name drop. When you write a post, use other blogs and bloggers as your examples. mention their names, link to their sites. Now, you may be doing this already. But here’s one step you might be missing: let them know. Email them, tweet them, tag them on Facebook. The message doesn’t have to be long, in fact, it shouldn’t be long! Nothing like a super long wordy email to get that super busy blogger to IGNORE you. Instead, write something short and sweet like:
Hey, I just featured you and your awesome blog on my latest post here _____ (link to your post)
That’s it. They may share it, they may link back to it in their own pots (Yay!), they may ignore you. Just keep swimming.
#5 Master Twitter. Twitter is so fast paced, but it is a great place to interact. Share the posts of your favorite bloggers, respond to their tweets. Basically kiss their Twitter ass. It’s a good way to build those connections that can lead to other bloggers linking to your posts or collaborating with you on things like guest posts.
#6 Go further on Twitter. Then go a step further. Not in a they might need a restraining order kind of step further. But start checking your own mentions to see who has shared YOUR content. You know they like your stuff, so reach out to them. Thank them for sharing and casually let them know you’d be thrilled if they linked to your post in one of theirs. You can help them out by doing the research and finding an applicable post of theirs.
#7 Take advantage of photos gone viral. If you have an image that’s been shared (and attributed to you), you can definitely take advantage of it. Do a Google Image search to see where the image has been used and reach out to the bloggers. They’re already crediting you, but go ahead and ask if they could put your website link in the meta field of the image. By doing this, whenever someone clicks on the image, they get taken back to your website.
#8 Create an expert infographic. This is very similar to the expert roundup post, except the answers and compiled into an infographic. Use the data you collect to create graphs and statistics. Add quotes, images of bloggers and their website like you would with a regular roundup post. Then (this part is key!) embed your website URL in the infographic’s embed code so when your contributors share it, it automatically links back to your site.
#9 Get mentioned in press releases. Getting some press can not only build you some quality backlinks, it can boost your authority. Sign up for HARO (Help a Reporter Out) to get notified anything someone in your industry is seeking help with a news report or article. Answer questions, share your story, and get quoted for it! You can also stalk Twitter for PR opportunities. Search for journalist hashtags like #PRRequest, #journorequest or #BloggerRequest to find opportunities. You can use IFTTT (If This Than That) to give yourself an alert anytime someone uses one of these hashtags.
#10 Fix broken links. On other websites. If you find a broken link on a niche site, reach out to the blogger to let them know. And of course, suggest one of your own related links to replace it with. See how great that works? You can also go searching for broken links on specific sites in your niche by plugging the URL into a broken link checker. Then email the blogger with the offending link and a replacement from your own blog. In most cases, they’re grateful someone pointed out the error, and if your link does fit and is a high-quality post, they’ll use the link you provide. Want an additional tip? You know that link that no longer works? Plug that baby into Moz’s Open Site Explorer to find other sites that are linking to it. Then reach out to those sites as well to replace their links with yours.
Getting backlinks to your site is a good way to boost your SEO factor with Google. But you want good backlinks, not sleazy, crappy ones. By building relationships and reaching out to niche bloggers in ways that aren’t super spammy, you can start building links back to your website that will help boost your street cred. Okay, not really, but it will boost your credibility with Google. And in the online world, that matters even more.