Backlinks. They are an indispensable mechanism to get a lot of traffic to your website, and without them, it will take you way more time to break free from the nominal amount of web traffic that you gain from merely creating and then posting your content.
There are a few ways that you can get other websites to link back to your site. Take a moment to look at these simple strategies to get the ball rolling.
What are Backlinks, and Why are They So Important?
To put it very simply, a backlink is a hyperlink that someone posts on their website which links back to your website. Though you can generate visitors to your site in a variety of ways, backlinks are one of the most potent ways to increase your web traffic.
The best part about it is that once you get a quality backlink, it’s out there basically forever, unless they remove it for some reason or that site is shut down. So then, what is a quality backlink? Here are a couple of things you should keep in mind as you start trying to get them:
The more traffic the host site gets, the more you will get. If you find a bunch of sites that give you a backlink but never see the light of day, then it does you no good.
The object of the game is to find online articles that are already targeting people who might also be your customers, which means that a greater number of those people will be interested in your product, as well. A link to your site that’s just sitting out there inspiring little interest in the visitors to the host site is still an asset, but you will get less value out of it.
You also have to think of a backlink as a referral and a recommendation from the organization or individual who posts it. In a way, a referral is only as good as whomever is referring it. Even if it seems like a good host for you, it’s smart to think twice if the website is really badly designed.
In a nutshell, backlinks do the work of drawing traffic for you once they are in place; there isn’t really any more work to do than that, no more maintenance. When someone clicks on your blog page from a Google listing, that’s good.
When they click on a link to your site from another blog, that’s even better because someone else endorsed your product, which doesn’t happen when a visitor finds your website directly from a Google search.
Gain Backlinks by Guest Posting for Other Blogs
Guest posting, or blog sharing, is the practice of one content team creating an article that will be posted in someone else’s blog. When it’s done right, the transaction can be very advantageous for both sites.
So, the first way to do this is to find someone who wants you to create a piece of content that they will post on their site, in exchange for a backlink to yours. It’s possible that you will get requests for this from marketers, but when you’re in the nascent phase of your content campaign, you’re probably going to have to go out and find outlets where you can be a guest.
Many established blogs will do a “round-up” where they actually seek out those like you who are trying to grow their blogs, but if you just take some time to look for blog sharing opportunities, they’re not really that hard to find.
You can basically just come up with an email template asking if you can create content for sites that you select, and you’ll inevitably find some that are happy to have you. Word to the wise, though–don’t guest post just anywhere. Take note of the following points to look for in candidates:
And finally, there is one stipulation you have to make which is non-negotiable. When the host site posts your article, they have to also put a live backlink in there.
While it’s good just to get your name out there for the added exposure, if they don’t agree to add your link, then it’s not really worth your time, and you should move on to the next candidate who will give you the link. They will usually have no problem with it for obvious reasons.
Gain Backlinks by Allowing Others to Guest Post on Your Site
Having someone else create their own content to post in your blog is a fantastic way to get a backlink because you’re not only getting the link; you’re going to get free content that you didn’t have to take the time to create.
To use this method properly, though, it benefits you to be somewhat careful about the content you select. So, it typically starts with an email from a company or individual who is trying to promote their content in the same way that you would, as we showed in the previous point. They’ll give you a short pitch about why they are a perfect fit for you as a guest blogger, and that’s when your vetting process begins.
The first thing you’ll want to do is ask for a couple of samples of the content they can write for you (which they’ll usually include with their pitch) and check out their website. If that all looks good, then you should have terms to which they’ll have to agree–nothing too extensive, but just to make sure the content will flow nicely with your brand and theme.
Here are a couple examples of the terms you might ask for:
It’s important that you check the samples they provide for quality, as well. Remember that this is going to reflect on your brand and could leave a bad impression with a potential customer who is reading it.
This may seem a little tight, but if you keep a high standard with everyone whom you host as a guest blogger, that will only increase the value of your brand and ultimately, your company.
Suggest Your Site or Articles to Replace Dead, Inferior, & Outdated Links
This strategy basically entails soliciting other blogs by asking them to use your link to replace links to other sites, as part of a blog article on their site. In other words, when the host site has a list of resources within a blog post which include backlinks to other sites, for example, there might be a resource on that list that has the same information as one of your blog articles.
You then suggest to the host site that they use you as a resource instead of the one they currently have on the list. For this to work well, you want to make it as easy as possible for the host to replace that other link with your link, by doing all the work for them.
Quickly explain that your article is a much better resource than what they have, provide them with the exact URL, and ask them to either add it to the list or replace the current one.
Something you can look for are no longer active because those are perfect candidates. Let the host know that the link they have is dead, “Here’s our link,” and boom–you have a new active backlink. Using this strategy is effective and sometimes a better quality backlink because the host site is literally recommending you as a good resource in their own blog.
Request Likes, Shares, & Retweets on Social Media
Obtaining backlinks through social media and really gaining social proof of any kind is always going to be a good way to gain traction because we, collectively, can’t get enough of that special validation that only social media outlets can deliver.
You can increase attention for your business on social in a variety of ways, and the name of the game is, Like, Share, and Retweet. The first way is the cold sell. Simply post content on your own accounts, and straightforwardly ask people to like or share it if they want to.
In the same way, you can also send very brief, polite direct messages to companies or individuals, asking them to share or retweet your content.
Another way to promote the content is to add a request, as a kind of rider, with your guest posts that we’ve been talking about. When you guest post on another site, simply ask if they would also share it on their social media accounts.
Lastly, when you publish a new regular post in your blog, you can include a comment in the post that asks people to share or like it. It doesn’t hurt to ask, and many people will be happy to do it.
Though they do take some time to procure, backlinks are absolutely worth that time and don’t actually require a whole lot of effort. If you utilize these strategies every day, steadily seek out leads, and do it consistently, then it’s possible to generate a ton of backlinks that will continually bring in significantly more traffic to your business’ website. The more traffic you get, the more potential conversions. Consistency is definitely key.
What’s Next? Check out all of the articles in our series, Building Your Blog 101:
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Stephanie is the Marketing Director at Talkroute and has been featured in Forbes, Inc, and Entrepreneur as a leading authority on business and telecommunications.
Stephanie is also the chief editor and contributing author for the Talkroute blog helping more than 100k entrepreneurs to start, run, and grow their businesses.