To improve your website’s SEO performance, you have three options: Improve the quality of your content, optimize the website’s text elements (on-page SEO), or increase the number of backlinks that direct to your website (off-page SEO). In this article, I’m going to show you how to do the latter.
As the founder of two full-service digital marketing agencies, I’ve helped countless customers rank their websites on the first search engine results pages (SERP) by improving their off-page SEO. To help you boost your ranking, I’ve put together a brief guide to scoring valuable backlinks in only a week, without triggering Google penalties or resorting to black hat techniques.
1. Fix broken links.
Perhaps the fastest way to score high-value backlinks is to offer to fix broken links that exist on domains within your niche. This method involves contacting webmasters and reporting links on their website that lead to HTTP 404 errors or point to irrelevant or outdated content.
To do this, locate a resource page on a high domain authority website within your niche. Then, use the “Check my Links” plug-in for Chrome to find and automatically highlight links on the website that lead to 404 errors. If your web properties are suitable replacements for any of the broken links, it’s time to swoop in and let the webmaster know.
Find the webmaster’s contact information, and send them a friendly email informing them about the situation. Be sure to show them exactly which links are no longer operational. Then, offer a variety of helpful alternatives that the webmaster can use to replace those broken links. Of course, ensure that some of the resources you suggest are your own content.
Keep in mind that you’re doing the webmaster a favor by contacting them about their broken link. In return, the webmaster may feel obliged to return the favor by providing links to your content. The key is to be genuinely helpful without coming across as desperate or greedy.
Total time invested: two hours.
2. Write guest posts.
Authoring a guest blog post or two is one of the best methods for scoring backlinks from highly respected outlets in your field. To write a guest post, query the webmasters or editors of some of the websites and blogs with the highest domain authority scores within your niche. Politely introduce yourself, and ask them if they would be willing to publish a guest blog post for free on their website in exchange for a dofollow backlink.
However, you should be careful not to veer into black-hat SEO territory when publishing guest posts. Posting low-quality blog articles on content mills or private blog networks (PBNs) is one of the easiest ways to rack up Google penalties, which negatively affect your website’s ranking.
When pitching guest posts, make sure your content is well researched, professionally written and published on a legitimate platform that isn’t recognized as spam or malicious. This way, you can reap the benefits of the backlinks they generate without being penalized.
Time invested per post: five hours.
3. Use social media (and Reddit) to your advantage.
Your social media platforms should already link to your website. However, Reddit is one of social media’s unsung heroes when it comes to scoring backlinks. With an Alexa rank of 19 (at time of writing), Reddit is one of the most widely used and trusted sources for information online. Better yet, it’s a wellspring of niche communities dedicated to common interests.
No matter what niche your website or business finds itself in, chances are there’s a large community of Redditors dedicated to discussing it. With a free account, you can post on dedicated message boards on Reddit (called subreddits) and add links to your website.
The catch, however, is that Reddit is heavily moderated, and most subreddits have rules against self-promotion. So, your goal is to post informational, value-added content on subreddits to establish yourself as a trusted authority within your subject. Make sure every post isn’t purely self-promotional and that it answers questions that your readers might have. This way, your posts won’t get taken down by subreddit moderators and will funnel traffic to your site.
Time invested per post: one hour.
4. Write free testimonials.
One of the easiest ways to rack up backlinks is to write testimonials for products you’re using. To do this, reach out to the owners or PR representatives of companies whose products you enjoy. For instance, if you’re in the digital marketing niche, you could ask to write testimonials in exchange for backlinks to the owners of Ahrefs, SEMrush, Raven Tools, MailChimp, BuzzSumo, Hootsuite and Buffer.
Time invested per testimonial: 30 minutes.
5. Promote your best content.
You can’t expect backlinks to organically arise without a little nudge. To spark discussion around your content, take one of your best blog posts, and share it around to your network, social media following, and friends and family. Kindly ask them to share your content if they find it to be useful.
Second, email or direct message authority figures and bloggers within your niche, and ask them if they would be willing to review your content. Many top bloggers and influencers send email blasts to their followers that include links to content they’ve found useful or insightful — by pitching your content to them, you can ensure that your content is included.
Time invested: 10 minutes per email.
Put it all together.
Above, I’ve listed five steps to increase your website’s backlink count in one week or less. By following this procedure, you can pick up backlinks that send PageRank to your web properties and improve their SEO performance. However, you should remember that content is still king — unless your content provides value and original insights, your chances of scoring links from high-authority domains are little to none.
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