Backlinks are arguably the most important factor in getting your website on the front page of a Google search.
A backlink, for those of you who are not fluent in internet marketing speak, is when another website puts a hyperlink to your website, either in a blog article, a product page, or somewhere else that viewers can see it.
Backlinks are what Google’s algorithm was originally founded on, and how the search giant became so huge.
The history of it goes like this:
When the Internet began to be populated by hundreds of thousands of web pages, people needed a good way to search through all those pages to find the information they wanted.
Instead of believing a website’s information based on its name and content alone, Google made the assumption that if many websites linked to one particular website often, that particular website was probably a good source of information on that topic.
It’s obviously a much more complicated process than that today, but at its core backlinks are the strongest indication of peer review that spans time, generations, and information.
Here’s how to get some easy new links when you’re just starting out.
Building Backlinks from the Ground Up
The history of Google’s algorithm probably leaves you with one big question: How do I get backlinks?
One answer is to be an authority in your niche or industry, go full-steam into the internet as such, and be so over-the-top revolutionary with your product or information that people can’t help but link to your website all day, every day.
If you’re that person or business, stop reading and finish your miracle work.
For the rest of us, building backlinks on a new website is one of the hardest things to do.
You are likely entering a crowded niche with at least a dozen blogs that have years of content on you, not to mention your small budget, smaller staff, and the million other things you have to do to run a website.
I get it. I’ve been in that position. It’s not easy, despite what the title to this article says.
Don’t worry, I didn’t click-bait you into this thing. The reality is that building solid backlinks will be difficult no matter what, but there are terrible ways to go about it, and great ways to go about it.
The great ways allow for easy backlink strategies that, while they take effort and time, will yield solid results more frequently, meaning your site will climb the ranks of Google like a mountain goat ascending Everest. Or something.
Here are a handful of models for building backlinks effectively.
Yes, I said it.
Guest posting is still a legitimate method of building backlinks, if done properly.
You’ll need to first find a number of relevant blogs in your niche that take guest posts, reach out to them with an appropriate email, and get the go-ahead to write for them.
Once you go through this admittedly time-consuming process you’ll be in the clear for at least one solid backlink, but have the potential for a couple per article.
You’ll get a backlink in your author byline, and more in the article itself if you can link back to your website with a relevant article.
Don’t overdo the number of backlinks you include in your guest post articles, as that will probably piss off the editor you’re working with, but at least one backlink is industry standard.
Warning: If you are using guest posting specifically for backlinks, don’t make it spammy, and make sure the blogs you email allow “follow” backlinks on their website.
This method is one most people don’t think to do, and can be really easy.
When you go to a website for a company that sells a product, you often see an area for testimonials. Small blurbs by individuals that use the product and like it — this builds reputation for the company.
If you take a closer look at those testimonials you’ll see there’s usually a name attached to the quote, and after the name is the company that person works for. That company name is often hyperlinked, which means it’s a backlink.
If you’re a relatively new blogger in an industry niche but believe yourself to be an expert in something, offer a testimonial for a product. It can be software, a physical product, a method, a book — anything that warrants testimony from an expert or enthusiastic user.
If you’re not at expert and generally new in the field, aim for products that are not super high-end, or are in need of testimonials. Don’t lie, obviously, and don’t use your name to endorse something you don’t actually like or use, but it’s perfectly fine to try a product with the intention of turning it into a backlink.
This method will require you to reach out to that company (as will many of these steps), so learn how to write an excellent outreach email that is both friendly, professional, and clear.
Send Free Products with Hope of Review
This is sort of the reverse of the last step, and only works if you’re offering a specific product, whether it’s physical or digital.
Do you ever wonder how so many sites get products to review? It’s because the companies that make those products send them out to blogs specifically for that purpose.
If you’ve authored a new text on dieting, send out the eBook to popular (and not so popular) blogs on weight loss in an email and see if they want to review it. If you’ve created a new kind of computer mouse, send it to tech gear blogs with a hope of review.
Again, this will require you to research the appropriate blogs in your niche (you should have a running list), reach out to them with an email, and then actually send the product.
There are some strict ‘don’ts’ with this method:
- Don’t email people until the product is ready to be shipped.
- Don’t ask for a review. Explain that you are proud of your work and product, you think it’s relevant to their blog, and you’d like them to have one. The review is subtly implied, but stating it overtly is frowned upon.
- Don’t ask for a backlink. Just like you can’t ask for a review, absolutely don’t ask for a backlink in the review. A good blog (you’re only submitting this to blogs you want reviews from) will include a backlink if they choose to review your product. If they perform the review and it’s somewhat favorable but doesn’t include a backlink, feel free to email them in a follow-up and ask if they can add one.
- Don’t expect it to be favorable. Many sites that offer reviews do so without any bias. If you’re concerned about a bad review, make a better product. Only submit something you’re proud of. That said, even bad reviews typically include backlinks, so if you don’t care so much and just want to get backlinks, go for it.
Submit Your Site to Blog Aggregators
Not a lot of people know this outside of the internet marketing world, but there are sites whose sole intent is to aggregate blogs and make them easily searchable for users.
One of the best and most well-known is AllTop.
If you go to AllTop.com you’ll see what looks like a stream of news, almost like a media outlet.
It’s not a media outlet, but a carefully curated selection of blog posts that fit a certain niche.
You will have to create an account with AllTop, but after you do you can submit your site to the aggregator, including a backlink. The site will then verify that you’re the owner of said site via an HTML code embedded on your website, then it will accept you in its database.
AllTop is great because it’s free. There is one big downside: you need amazing content to get officially listed there. That shouldn’t stop you though, because your content rocks, right?
There are a ton of other aggregators, some free, some paid. For a good comprehensive list check out this list by Wiyre.
You have to be careful with aggregators because some cost money and offer very little results, while others are seen as spammy hosts for a bunch of crappy backlinks.
Do your research before submitting your site to an aggregator, and make sure they guarantee a dofollow link to your blog.
This won’t be the best backlink in the world, but if you get on a site like AllTop it will go a long way, and increase your exposure in terms of community as well.
Submit Your Site to Website Feedback Sites
This is another nifty trick that online marketers know about, and few people outside of that realm would never think to use.
If you’re strictly looking for backlinks that take a small amount of time you should consider submitting your website to one of these feedback sites.
A feedback site is a collection of websites posted by individuals who want their website critiqued. The community of critiques is often developers or UI experts, but can also be normal people who like giving free advice online.
By putting your website on a feedback site you are, by nature, creating a backlink for yourself.
You’ll also be opening up your site to some serious critique, so keep that in mind. But if the website you submit it to is good, you’ll get both a backlink and valid input from people who know what they’re talking about.
Criticue is the easiest one to use, and it’s free, but you’ll have to review websites if you want to get your website reviewed.
In the world of backlinks there is always a give and take, as I hope you’re beginning to learn.
Chime in for an Interview
If you haven’t realized it yet, we are in the age of interviews. People love articles with interviews, and because there’s so much information flying around it’s important to cite individuals who have legitimate experience.
If you’re an expert in your niche (which you should be to start a site in that niche), consider using your expert knowledge by signing up for reporter interviews.
There are a number of services out there that serve as a medium between reporters who need quotes and experts who can provide them.
On these sites you can typically enter your expert niche and email address to receive questions from reporters within a given topic. You then have to check back with those services a couple times a day and type out a response to an interviewer’s question.
When they eventually write the article you may see your quote in there with a nice backlink to your website, just like you would in Huffington Post.
It’s important to note that while this may be the age of information, it’s also the age of misinformation. Quacks who call themselves “experts” seem to crawl out of holes all over the place, so make sure when you submit any sort of quote for a journalist it’s either factual or stated as your opinion.
Put Your Link on a Forum
The last suggestion I have for “easy” ways to get backlinks is to simply put your link on a forum. The correct subreddit will do, but so will forums that are geared toward your specific niche.
By posting your article in a forum you imply that it is helpful to that forum’s readers, so only post content you think people will enjoy.
When you post the link, include a small summary of the article below so people don’t have to click it if they don’t want to. That’s a good way to piss off forum users.
If your content is excellent, the forum post will get lots of comments, many people will visit your website, and there’s a chance some of those people will end up backlinking you on their own blog.
Most of that is conjecture, though.
Putting a link in a forum automatically creates a backlink for your site.
While forums don’t rank as high as normal websites in Google, there are plenty of niche topics whose page one Google results are in forums.
The reality is that amazing backlinks will take time and effort. Decent backlinks are possible fairly quickly with the above-mentioned tools.
What I haven’t talked about here is the world of scouring your competition for dead links and outdated articles. That is a more involved process, but can lead to a massive influx of backlinks if done properly.
One version of this is called The Skyscraper Technique, another is the Moving Man Method, dubbed so by Backlinko. (In case you missed it, that’s a backlink, included because Backlinko wrote a great post. That’s how it works!)
If you’re keen on generating even more backlinks, and don’t mind taking the time to do it, consider doing everything above and then digging in further.
To get, you’ve got to give, or at least spend some solid time sorting through the pile of online content that currently exists. Good luck, and get your links out there!
Did I leave any techniques out? Share them with us in the comments below!