It is a well known fact that getting high quality backlinks for your site is one of the hardest elements of search engine optimisation (SEO). But, if done well it can set you apart from your competitors. However, the main challenge remains – how to get high quality backlinks.
So, what is a backlink?
Well a backlink is quite simply a link from another site back to yours. They are important for SEO as they signal to search engines that your site is trustworthy and contains good noteworthy content. However, with Google’s penguin update you need to make sure that links coming to your site are high quality. Links should be from good quality relevant web pages and not spammy link farming sites…
When it comes to getting backlinks it is difficult to know where to start. The number one rule to start with is to understand that you should not buy links! This is against Google’s webmaster guidelines. If you are paying for placed advertising there are ways to make it transparent. For example, by using “rel-nofollow” or re-directing links to a page that is blocked from search engines using robots.txt. Here is an extract from Google’s Search Console Help on Link schemes:
Although buying hundreds of links for a couple of pounds may sound good it, it might be a lot of work that you will need to undo later. Your website is risking to get a penalty from Penguin – which is now part of Google’s main algorithm since 2016. Buying links will most likely damage your site’s rankings once you are found out!
To help you out I have listed 6 techniques which I use to gain great high quality backlinks for free!
This method is very simple and may surprise you with how many link opportunities are already waiting for you. Link recovery is basically Googling your company’s name and seeing where you are mentioned.
When you find a site that has mentioned you simply drop them an email asking for a link back to your site on that page and most of the time the site owner will happily oblige. Once you have found all the historic mentions you can then simply set up brand name monitoring:
Google Alerts informs you every time your brand is mentioned online and you can continue to gain further links.
Twitter monitoring for your brand name can also help you to identify and be notified of social media mentions. Getting links through social networks can help you to develop social engagement as well as links! Whilst all social media links are set to “rel=nofollow”, it demonstrates a healthy web presence and helps in a rounded link profile building.
Again, this method is simple and benefits both parties. As a business you most probably have suppliers who you buy a lot of things from or use someone’s service. So, you simply check out their site to see if they have a review/testimonials section, which most sites have as let’s face it, we all want to show off happy customers.
If they do, send them an email with a nice review of their company and then nine times out of ten they will add it to their site with a link back to yours. Everyone is happy as they have another satisfied customer to show off and you have another great link to your site.
The main reason you are probably working on your SEO is to rank higher than your competitors and they are probably doing the same and working hard to rank higher than yourself. So why not take advantage of their hard work, gaining backlinks by doing a simple backlink analysis on them using a tool such as Ahrefs, Moz or Majestic SEO.
All these tools allow you to input a domain name and then they give you a list of all the sites that are linking back to that domain. So, if you put your biggest competitor in and see where they are getting links from, it allows you to then approach the same sites for links as you know they are interested in your type of business and are happy to give away links.
However, when using this technique be careful as your competitor may have been using black hat techniques to get links. So, make sure you check out the quality of sites before approaching them.
As recommended by Google Search Console help:
“The best way to get other sites to create high-quality, relevant links to yours is to create unique, relevant content that can naturally gain popularity in the Internet community. Creating good content pays off: Links are usually editorial votes given by choice, and the more useful content you have, the greater the chances someone else will find that content valuable to their readers and link to it.”
So, how do you create high quality, unique and relevant content that can naturally gain popularity?
If your site has a blog this is a great technique to get links to your site. If you don’t have a blog add one to your site ASAP. Blogs are a great way of adding fresh content to your site which Google loves as well as a great way to attract links and engagement on social networks.
How this works is simple; you research what your buyer personas are looking for that is relevant to your organisation, identify a topic that you want to blog about and then search the web to see what is already out there.
Tools such as buzzsumo and socialmention offer some inspiration of what is considered to be relevant and is currently popular in relation to your topic. You then research the topic further and create your own blog post and make sure it is much better than what is already available. You then research who was linking to the other less quality blogs you found (using step 3) and ask them to link to yours instead as it has much more value.
This method is similar to the point 2 above, it is great for getting backlinks and also getting your content to be shared by industry thought leaders. For this method, you simply “name drop” industry leaders from your speciality in your content with maybe a link back to their site or a quote from them where relevant.
This can't be real. Guy writes "top list" as ego bait, and in outreach, calls it "his latest egobait post". I guess at least he's honest.
— Jon Cooper (@PointBlankSEO) August 10, 2015
Then, when you share it on social media make sure you tag them in it. They will most likely share your content and link back to it to show off to their audience how well thought of they are. This helps their ego (hence the name of this method) and also improves the reach of your content.
Your email inbox will get spammed using this method but the potential for high quality back links is well worth it. HARO stands for Help A Reporter Out and is a site that does just that.
Reporters submit their stories to HARO in order to find sources and real life stories from businesses like yours. This method is explained in detail in this video:
A similar way works on social media for example on Twitter – follow the hashtags
#journorequest #prrequest and #bloggerrequest. This way you can identify new opportunites for potentially reaching out to journalists and bloggers.
These are my ideas on how to get high quality backlinks. All of these methods used together will allow you to start building a great back link profile which will in turn help you in your search engine rankings. But don’t forget your basic on page SEO techniques such as meta description and title tags which are essential for achieving good rankings!
What do you think about these techniques? Do you have better recommendations? Please share your thoughts below! Speak to me on Twitter