Backlinks, also known as inbound links or incoming links, are links from other websites to your website. Getting more backlinks to your site is an off-page SEO strategy that will help you rise in the search engine rankings, as opposed to on-page SEO — things like editing your title tag, meta description, etc. so that Google knows what keywords to index your blog posts for.
When you optimize your on-page SEO elements, it helps Google understand what your blog post is all about. Google then indexes your post in its search engine with the keywords used on that post.
Even though Google may now know what your blog post is all about, it’s not going to automatically put you on page one. It’s not going to do that until your site has some authority, so you could still be far back in the rankings.
When you get backlinks from other websites, it helps Google understand that your content is remarkable. Google wants to be as helpful as possible to its users, so only wants remarkable content on page one. So the more links you have coming into your site from authoritative sources, the more Google will promote you in the rankings.
Link-building is an essential aspect of your blog’s internet marketing strategy. Some of the best link-building strategies are inherent to your blog content — the best way to get inbound links is to create stellar content that people want to link to. But there are some additional tactics that will help.
1. Create linkable content
Creating content should be your highest priority, above any of the suggestions below. Create interesting and valuable content that other people will want to link to. Here are some tips for creating content that people will be more likely to link to:
- Use numbers (examples: “5 easy ways to” or “7 best strategies for”)
- Start your post title with “How to”
- Use relevant keywords people are searching for
- Include benefit to reader (examples: “get more visitors” or “reduce costs”)
- Be controversial (example: “Is the iPad useless?”)
- Be specific – don’t fill your blog title with puns or try to be too clever
- Be unique
2. Ask for links from people you know
One of the best ways to get back links when you’re first starting out is to ask people you know to link to your site from their site using a target keyword as the anchor text (the text being used as the link to your site). Here are some people you can ask:
- Friends and family
- Mentors (or mentees) you’ve found through Twitter
- Customers you’ve built relationships with
3. Guest blog on similar niche industry blogs
Guest blogging is a great way to build backlinks. In each of your guest blog posts, you can usually add anywhere from 1-3 links to your own site, whether in the content itself or in your author bio. As long as you effectively target relevant, authoritative blogs, your backlinks from these posts will get your site a lot of credit. Guest blogging is also a great way to establish yourself as an industry thought-leader and get traffic back to your blog from readers following your links.
4. Write a blog post about a fellow niche blogger
Create a blog post reviewing a blog post on another niche blog in your industry, and link back to them. They may post a reply to you in return, and include a link back to your post in which you reviewed them.
5. Interview an industry expert with a website
Interview an industry expert who has a website or blog, and then create a blog post about the industry. When the post is up, send the link to the person you interviewed, thanking them for the interview. They’ll be likely to promote the post on their own site in order to promote themselves.
6. Create a badge for other websites
The badge strategy is simple in concept: you provide an image for others to place on their site. Maybe it’s an “editor’s pick” award that someone wants to place on their blog/site to show the quality of their content. The benefit for you from a link building standpoint is that this image has a built in link (with proper ALT-text) to a page on your site. Other suggestions include:
- Building an application that gives out a grade. People will then start placing their grade on their website or blog.
- Offering an online certification that can be placed on the recipient’s site
- Providing a badge to promote a contest you are hosting
7. Create a contest
Holding a contest with a useful prizes can also generate links to your site without using a badge. The prize can be a free service or a credit towards a purchase, or perhaps some form of recognition. The important thing here is to find a prize your target audience will like. Then develop the contest and spread the word and encourage people to link to it.
Once established you should consider making the contest a regular occurrence with a regular winner. This will encourage continual link building. Alternatively, you can hold the contest only once a year, hype it up and build a lot of links in one swoop.
8. Become a product reviewer
Search for opportunities to become a product reviewer. For example, sites like Amazon allow users to leave comments on most products and others, like CNET, review products themselves. You might be able to find an on-line review service in your industry, so apply to become a reviewer. In the byline of your review, you might be able to leave a link. You might also be able to have a link in your profile. This will help establish you as an expert and build links back to your blog.
9. Add links to your social media profiles
Take advantage of any SEO opportunities you have on your social media profiles to link back to your website. For example, you can link back to your website on your Facebook page info section, your Twitter profile biography, and your LinkedIn profile about section.
Can you add a #10 tip to the list? Add your favorite backlink strategy to the comments below!