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I’m sure you have read many blogs about why you should practice link building for SEO purposes, and some about why you shouldn’t. The simple fact is that building links, having a backlink strategy, etc. is just smart – and necessary.
This doesn’t mean you go out and spam people to get links, or that you want a link from just any website. Links matter, but the right links matter more! The wrong link can definitely impact you negatively. (These are links Google frowns upon and that usually come from a spammy website.) In Google Search Console you can identify who is linking to the website, and to which page. You will definitely want to do everything you can to remove spammy links. You might even need to disavow a few backlinks. If you are not familiar with which links are good or bad, and which ones to disavow, definitely consult an expert.
Backlink Building Strategies that Work
Today I want to talk with you about 10 backlink techniques you may want to consider adding to your arsenal. Some you probably know and do, and a few you might not have considered – at least not recently!
1. Identifying Competitor Backlinks
A major part of SEO is knowing what your competitors are doing. Think about how many links you could have if every time a competitor gains a new backlink, you could drop and an email to the site administrator and possibly get the same link. This is indeed possible, and it starts with identifying competitor backlinks. These types of links could be highly relevant and powerful. There are so many tools out there to help look at your link profile and competitor link profiles that I couldn’t pick just one. Test these out – several have free trials:
2. Get Listed on Quality Directories
Do I really need to tell you about leveraging directories? I know my stuff when it comes to local SEO and the best directories, because at my company, Advice Local, this is one of our specialties.
There are numerous directories available and many of them are free to get listed on. When it comes to building citations you need to focus on quality, not quantity. Look for the best general directories plus niche-specific ones to build authority and relevance. Evaluate each carefully for quality.
3. Guest Post on Quality Sites
While some may think guest posting is a thing of the past, it is still one of the best ways to build relevant backlinks and drive site traffic to your content pieces. For ideas on where you should guest post look to sites that curate niche content from the popular sites, such as Alltop. Avoid guest posting on sites that are happy to take content from anyone, and that do not offer contibutor guidelines for you to review.
I guest blog today on sites like Rocks Digital, Social Media Today, Search Engine Journal, Local Search Association, Search Engine People and many others to build up my brand and authority in the space – and if I’m lucky, get a backlink or two to Advice Local. (By the way, if you want to guest blog for Rocks Digital, get started here!)
Participating in forums is a great way to add to the overall link profile. Most niches won’t have an abundance of popular forums, so focus on the limited number that are credible. When posting in forums it is important to add value when commenting; don’t just drop links for the sake of sharing a link. Only post links that are relevant to the discussion and that add value. It’s not about selling a product or service, but about adding to the conversation.
5. Resource Pages
Niche sites sometimes feature a link or resource page to share websites and content that readers could benefit from. Since these types of pages can be prone to spam, make sure the site owner uses discernment with what they feature. If you provide good quality, you shouldn’t have a problem being added to the list. Remember to focus on adding value when you pitch to be included.
6. Giveaways and Product Reviews
Giveaways are a different option because they can quickly gain popularity, resulting in links from all kinds of sites. If you sell a product, you can simply offer it as a prize. Blogs will need to be more creative, but anything related to the niche can work. For best results, ask entrants to repost on social media before they can enter the giveaway.
One way for brands to build up their link profile is to give away products to mom bloggers and other influencers. Most of the time they will write a review about the product and publish on their blog and/or share on social media. (If you implement this method, make sure that you and the influencer follow all the proper guidelines to avoid a ding from Google for paid links.)
7. Charities & Sponsorships
This method lets you gain a powerful backlink, while also performing a positive service. Many charities will link to your site if you can give a donation or drum up support from your followers. Sponsoring events, whether with money or goods, can also result in backlinks from authority sites when they write about your support or sponsorship, and share about the business on social media.
8. Bring Back Blog Commenting
While blog comments have a negative reputation due to automated spam tools, it is possible to leverage this strategy in a safe way. Focus in on relevant niche sites that don’t allow spam, post comments that contribute to the conversation, ask questions, and build a reputation as a valuable commenter. When you add value, you can often build relationships with the site owner, potentially leading to guest posting opportunities and other types of joint ventures.
9. Press Release Submissions
Publishing press releases is a great way to build a brand, announce a new product, and gain a quality link on authoritative sites. It’s important to craft an interesting story so that the PR service can get your content into the inboxes of the niche site owners and general news platforms. News sites are always looking for interesting stories to share and people to interview.
In addition, many of the online press release services syndicate across a number of relevant platforms, so you could potentially build additional links and spread the news even more.
10. Social Media Optimization and Utilization
No, I didn’t forget about social media as a way to get a backlink! The best part is it’s a signal that search engines pay attention to, and it leads to wider content syndication. This is exactly why it is important to have a well optimized social media profile on the popular sites. Don’t just create the profile or page, but optimize it for search.
Along with posting links to content, make sure you contribute to conversations and repost to other relevant sites. Create images, videos, and have fun with it. Forging relationships on social media can lead to content being featured across a variety of sites you may not have targeted, like Reddit.
SEO Will Evolve and So Will Link Building
SEO is continuously evolving and along with it, the process and techniques to build quality backlinks. If you want to focus on avoiding site penalties and achieve longevity you must build quality links, and that takes time and effort to create. Be wary of using automated tools or vendors that build links in bulk and promise quick turnarounds.
Avoid short-term thinking and take the safer route to the top of the search engines.
Have you tried out any of the backlink methods listed above? Do you have a favorite? Let’s discuss.
Bernadette Coleman is a SEO, Local Search, Engaging Content Enthusiast & CEO of Advice Interactive Group, an Inc500 Digital Agency.
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