You know it and I know it: Google and other search engines like backlinks. They love them in fact. When you’ve got backlinks, other websites linking to your pages, it’s like screaming at the search engines: Rank me! People love my content. It’s popular and useful. Especially when the backlinks are high quality backlinks coming from authoritative websites.
If you’re a big-name site, like The New York Times or Amazon.com, you’re getting lots of traffic. But if you’re a brand new blog or a small business, getting started with link building can seem overwhelming.
The good news is that no matter how new or small your business or website is, it is absolutely possible to get quality backlinks to your content and start ranking in the top search results on Google. Within only a couple of months, you can start to see results.
Here are 7 tips to get you started.
7 Ways to Get Backlinks
1 | Set Up a Blog
If your business already has a blog, or your business is a blog, then you are definitely ahead of the game and you can skip ahead to the next tip. If you don’t have one yet, don’t worry. You can set one up for free in under 30 minutes using WordPress or other blogging platforms.
When you have a blog, you can write content that is related to your business to drive traffic to your site. Write content that’s related to your offerings and that solves a potential customer’s need.
If you run a pest control business, you could write a post about safe ways to get rid of mice in the mouse and share free advice. And let readers know if they’re dealing with a major infestation, they can contact you. If you’re a clothing boutique, you can write content about different brands that you carry like saving money with Rylee and Cru promo codes or the history of Levi’s.
2 | Use Tools like Ahrefs or Moz to Research Things to Write About
Of course, you want to write about your business and things related to your business. But your blog is a handshake. A first point of contact. You don’t want to try and make a hard sell here. For some posts, that may make sense eventually. But when thinking about your blog, you want to write articles that will help lots of people and that are related to your company’s products or services.
For example, you’ll find that some searches like “Black Friday” have a ton of search volume. However, that term is extremely hard to rank on. You would need links from over 800 websites in order to rank in Google Search results – yikes!
However SEO keyword research tools will help you dig a little deeper. “Black Friday” might be hard to rank for, but there are other related search queries that still get a lot of searches and have very little competition. Instead of writing broadly about Black Friday trends, you could talk about a few retailers in particular and pick ones where there is potential for a lot of traffic.
3 | Read Out to Other Bloggers in Your Same Industry or Niche
Let’s say you’re a window company and you want to write about window installation. Maybe you want to reach out to sites that write about making your homes more eco-friendly and climate resilient. Or to home decorators and interior designers. Email them and ask them if you can be featured in their blog. Let them know about unique products or services you have, or any upcoming events.
You can also ask if you can submit a guest post for their blog, or ask them to write a guest post for you. You could even suggest a guest post swap.
If another blogger writes content for your blog, they’re going to share it with their followers which is great for exposure. And if you can write content for their site, you’ve got the opportunity to place high quality, external backlinks to a blog post (or two) on your website.
Guest posting and outright asking for links are great ways to get backlinks. These tactics definitely work, but can take some time. I’ve found that for every 100 bloggers you email, you might get 5-15 people interested in doing a guest post or backlink swap of some sort. I like to come up with a list of people I want to reach out to, and once I get up to 50 to 100 contacts, I’ll start emailing.
You can use tools like Hunter.io to bulk email campaigns – where you’re sending personalized messages to 100+ recipients at a time. Or you can send individual 1-on-1 messages from your personal email account. Since a lot of the messaging to all bloggers will be the same, you should be able to copy and paste your email and then tweak or customize it to each blogger. Set aside several hours to put on your AirPods and crank out some messages.
4 | Update or Reclaim Broken Links
This is an easy win.
When you search for your business or your blog on Google, Bing, or another search engine, there may be a lot of results that crop up. Some of the links to your website are going to be broken.
Reclaiming broken links is called broken link building.
Broken links just don’t work. Maybe the website is linking to a landing page about paid online surveys that you’ve taken down, or they’ve just got the wrong URL string. Reach out to the website and let them know, and give them the correct external links to use instead.
For larger organizations, reach out to the webmaster. For smaller companies or blogs, reach out to the blog site owner, or the email address for Help or Support. You could also try leaving a note in the comment section.
5 | Offer Relevant Content of Value
If you want to get people to link to you, write “compelling content”. That’s a buzzword I see over and over again. But what exactly makes content compelling – that can be hard to pin down. It has to be something that is seen as unique and valuable for the website you want to link to your website.
Here are some ideas for content other blogs and websites love to link to:
- Infographics. They can be simple designs. You can hire infographic designers for $10 to $25 on Fiverr. If you’re a financial planner, for example, you could create an infographic about understanding 529 plans. Since people find this a more complex topic, an infographic that can easily break down the topic and visually explain it would add a lot of value.
- Photographs. Ask in the caption or footnote to please give attribution to a specific page you’re targeting on your website. Everyday, candid photos are always useful – not just professional ones. And bloggers especially need pictures of retail stores, sales signage, home damage (i.e. busted pipe), or car damage.
- Studies. Share studies with information they’ll want to link to, like the side effects of social media or how people are managing their mental health during the Covid pandemic.
- Coupons, promo codes, and deals. People love having a deal to share with their readers. On this Kohl’s coupons page, for example, there are loads of promo codes and savings offers.
- Contests or giveaways.
6 | Make Good Use of Resource Pages
If your website doesn’t have a “Resources” page, set one up now. A resource page is exactly what it sounds like; a page that lists resources your readers will find helpful.
An Early Childhood Education website, for example, might have links to daycares in the area, Poison Control, nanny services, local hospitals and pediatricians, and school districts. Think about resources that would be helpful to your site visitors.
Select the sites you think are a good fit, but you can be strategic. Reach out (via email) to other companies and bloggers and ask if they would like to be featured and ask them for a 2-sentence blurb about their organization. You can also ask them which page they would like you to link to. It’s the start of a relationship. Down the road, you can ask for guest posts.
Similarly, you can reach out to other websites and ask them to be featured on their resource pages. If it’s a pet grooming business and you’re a veterinarian, you can reach out and ask to be mentioned. Tell them the value you’d be adding to their customers, like maybe you do the first well pet visit for free. You can also let them know you’d be happy to send them referrals.
7 | Review Their Products and Services
This might make the most sense for bloggers. If you’re a site that writes about parenting, you could review children’s books, dollhouses, matching pajamas, or lunch boxes.
Share the article with the featured companies. Let them know you’re linking to their website. It’s the start of a relationship. At least some of the companies will share the feature with their followers – on their newsletter or through social media.
Smaller companies are more likely to take notice – it’s hard to capture the attention of retail giants like Target or Amazon. Review companies that are small to medium size – ones that get a decent amount of traffic but not a ton of coverage in authoritative news sites and other review blogs.