Anyone who’s had anything to do with SEO has doubtless heard how important it is to build backlinks to boost your domain authority. But even if you get how important it is, how do you go about it? Read on for ten foolproof strategies for how to build links – and keep them.
Is it really important to build links?
The short answer is yes – link building really can help your SEO. The reason? All search engines like Google trust websites with greater domain authority. One way of appearing trusted and authoritative is for lots of people to be referring to your content. Think about it in real-world terms, too. You might not trust your mom when it comes to investment advice, but you’d trust a stockbroker, wouldn’t you? Particularly if loads of your friends say that particular stockbroker gave them great tips. In SEO, you’re looking for the same effect. Just Google is the client, and you’re the stockbroker. And those friends…are people you might not even know.
How to do link building: the search engine-friendly way
One thing it’s important to know is that Google (and any search engine, really) dislikes forced link building. Don’t think you can get away with scattering links to your homepage in forum comments all over the web. You can’t, and in fact, you’ll likely get penalized. Instead, try some of these link-building strategies.
1. Start guest blogging
The guest post is one of the oldest tricks in the link-building book. Write a post on a subject you know about for a higher-authority domain, then simply link back to your own site in a bio or at the end of your post.
2. Reach out for links
This requires some effort, but it’s worth it. Contact websites or brands that may be interested in your content, products, or services. Inform them it exists and ask them to consider linking to it. Having a shareable asset like an infographic can help immensely here.
3. Swoop in on broken links
Another important tactic that involves contacting people. Use an SEO tool to find broken links on other websites (or you may notice them organically). Then contact the owner of that website to suggest your content as an alternative. It’s a win–win: they remove an error, and you get your backlinks.
4. Reclaim links…
Plenty of links go missing because content gets rewritten, or your name is mentioned and the author forgets to link. Again, you can find opportunities like this with SEO reporting tools. Follow them up with the website owner and they may just add a link to your content.
5. …and image links
Custom images and infographics get stolen all the time on the internet. But don’t despair – this can be a good thing (at least in terms of how to do link building). Conduct a quick Google image search using the URL of your custom image to find any sites using it. If you haven’t given permission, you can contact them to say it’s a copyright infringement and request they link to it correctly.
6. Use resource pages
Resource directories are a great way to boost your backlinks, especially if you’re a local business. If the domain authority looks good, why not do some more outreach? Keep it personalized and natural – just make them aware of your content. Chances are, they may want to add it to their directory.
7. Syndicate your content
Be careful here, as this can stray into duplicate content territory. However, if you have content you’re happy sharing (especially assets like infographics or videos) you can syndicate it to sharing sites to reach a broader base of internet users. Better yet, do some repurposing to make the content unique each time.
8. Use social sharing
Both social media platforms and forum sites like Reddit and Quora can be great for gaining backlinks. These aren’t as good quality as editorial backlinks from high-authority domains, especially as you are likely to be posting them yourself. But giving answers or creating social content containing links to your site can help boost your profile. Just don’t make it spammy.
9. Comment on blogs (carefully)
Another one to be careful with, to avoid a search engine penalty. Thoughtful comments on blogs that include a relevant link can help improve your traffic stats or get other blog users backlinking your content.
10. Don’t forget those internal links
Link building is mainly about external links, but internal links are valuable too. Don’t forget to create as many as possible within your website, and between your social profiles. A solid internal link structure ups your domain authority instantly and gives you a more professional appearance that others may naturally want to link to.
There are no two ways about it: link building can be challenging. You’re reliant on other people, and it can be time-consuming. The important thing is not to give up, and always to keep producing quality content. The more you have to offer, the more your expertise rises. And being an authority in your field is THE failsafe method for how to do link building successfully over the long term.