You’ve got a brand new website to support your business, complete with SEO optimised landing pages and strong brand messaging but there’s no traffic coming to it. People won’t just stumble across your website just because it exists – you need to work hard to drive people to your website and backlinking is one highly effective way to get your business seen online. Here at Position Digital, generating links is one of the core strategies we use to help our clients generate more cash from their website. Read on to find out how we go about that, with tips you can use to get valuable SEO backlinks for your site.
What are backlinks?
Before we jump to how to get backlinks, it’s important to understand what backlinks actually are. Broken down into its easiest form, a backlink is when one website links to another website. For example, if you write a blog and you link to another source on the internet that supports what you are saying, that would be classed as a backlink.
Why are backlinks important for SEO?
Backlinks or links are just one of the ways to build your website’s value in the eyes of search engines. And being seen as highly valuable in the eyes of a search engine will push your website up the page on search engine results pages, getting you seen more and driving more traffic to your website. Having many high-quality backlinks pointing to your site boosts your website’s reputation, you’re seen as highly relevant and good quality in the eyes of search engines like Google. So, they’re more inclined to suggest you in their search results. This is why many businesses, particularly startups and growing businesses, invest a lot of time and effort into building backlinks to their website. It’s all about building an online presence through a network of links.
How to get more links to your website
This is the million-pound question. And truth be told, there are lots of ways to go about backlink building, with some strategies being more advanced than others. We’re going to cover the different external link building strategies to use, starting from the very beginning, when your website is either brand new or you’ve never tried link building before, and work our way up to more advanced strategies.
Get your first 25 links easily by targeting low-hanging fruit
A sensible place to start is always with the lowest hanging fruit. Whatever is a quick win for the business that you can put in place with minimal effort makes sense to start doing right away. Here are our suggestions:
Get listed in directories online
This is one of the easiest ways to begin building links back to your website. It’s essentially as easy as reaching out to online directories to list your business, asking them to display your business details including a link to your website. There are tonnes of directories you could be listed on, but prioritising the most relevant and most popular ones for your industry is important. Here are some examples:
- Thomson Local
- Google My Business
There are certain key bits of information you should make sure to include in your business listing, such as:
- Your business’s name
- Your website URL
- Contact information (email/phone)
- Opening hours
Depending on your industry, it may also be worth listing your business in niche industry-specific directories. For example, if you’re a wedding planner, you will want to be listed in the best-quality wedding directories. To find relevant directories, search “[your niche]” + directory or “list of resources” + “[your niche]”. Assess the quality of these directories based on intuition and the other businesses you see listed there.
Here is an example of the Google search results that come up when searching for wedding planner directories.
One thing to watch out for is that in many of these business directories there is the option for customers to leave reviews of your company. If you aren’t offering a product or service that customers find good or valuable, this will come to light with poor reviews.
Rules of thumb to follow for getting listed in business directories:
- Don’t go hog wild. If you list your business in too many directories, you’ll end up getting penalised by search engines.
- Prioritise getting links from high-quality, relevant directories.
- If a directory isn’t getting traffic, it’s not worth getting a link to your website.
Register your business with discount or coupon sites
A practice that many companies use is registering with discount or coupons sites. This can be a good way to build links and drive traffic to your website. You’ll need to offer a discount or a voucher to be able to carry out this backlink strategy, though. As with directories, there are many different sites you could be listed on, but high-quality, relevant sites are where you should focus. Here are some sites you could be listed on:
Rules of thumb to follow for getting listed on discount or coupon sites:
- As with directories, it is better to focus on getting listed in high-quality, popular discount sites than a high volume with lower overall quality.
- Offer appealing discounts to boost the number of people who click through to your website to take advantage of your offer.
- If a discount site isn’t getting traffic, it’s not worth getting a link to your website.
In the above example, this electronics company has listed a discount for a TV on hotukdeals, with a link back to their website.
Reach out to suppliers and your existing business network
Reach out to people you already know and work with in a professional capacity to ask if they can list your company on their website. One option for doing this is to be listed on a partners web page, another way would be to contribute a guest blog article for their blog. For example, if you’re a wedding planner and you work with a wedding photographer regularly, you could ask them if they would be happy to feature your wedding planning services on their partners website.
How to reach out to your business network:
- List out all of the suppliers and business partners you work with.
- Look on their websites and see if they have a blog or a partners page.
- Reach out to those that do with a friendly email and ask if they’d be happy to link to you on either their partners page or in the author’s bio of a guest blog post you write for their blog
- Once they agree to either of the above options, send them the proposed content, including a link to your website.
- Check back every few months to make sure this link is still live on their website.
Get your first 50 links without writing any content
Now you’ve carried out the first easy-to-action backlinking strategies, it’s time to move on to some slightly more advanced steps. To carry out these steps, you may need to purchase access to online SEO tools. We’ll let you know where that is the case and which tool you’ll need to get the job done.
Use Ahrefs to analyse your competitor’s backlinks
Ahrefs is an easy-to-use SEO tool that businesses serious about upping their backlinking game should consider purchasing. There are many wild and wonderful things you can learn about search engine optimisation using Ahrefs, but the key one we’ll focus on right now is analysing competitors. Using Ahrefs, you can get an in-depth look at your competitor’s backlink profile. It’s handy to know if your competitors are getting lots of traffic from backlinks on a particular site you haven’t thought about.
Here is an example of what the competitor backlink analysis function looks like on Ahrefs.
How to use Ahrefs to analyse your competitors backlink profile:
- Search for your competitor’s domain on Ahrefs.
- Go through their list of backlinks to see if there are any links you haven’t considered.
- If there’s anything that looks achievable or easy to get, i.e. a listing in a business directory, then extract the contact details of that website.
- Reach out to the site owner and ask them to be listed.
- If you’re struggling to find relevant contact details, hunter.io and ContactOut are great tools to help with this.
Search for listicles you can be featured in
A listicle is an article that uses a list format. For example, 8 Best Restaurants in Soho. One way you can boost your online presence is to search for listicles online that your business could feature in. So, say you were a restaurant owner in Soho and you saw the above article showcasing the best restaurants in Soho, you could get in touch with the site owner and ask to be added to the list.
How to search for relevant listicles and get added to them:
- Search for “best [your product or service]” in Google. If you have a brick and mortar business or you target a specific location, you can add “in [location]” to this search.
- Find relevant listicle articles it would make sense for your business to feature in.
- Get in touch with the content producer or site owner and ask to be featured in the article.
- Once they’ve agreed to this, share relevant information about your business, including a link to your website.
- Repeat steps 1-4 regularly to make sure you’re being featured in any new listicles opportunities.
Here is an example of the Google search results that come up when searching for wedding photographer listicles.
Compile ego bait articles
Ego bait blog articles can be thought of as the reverse of listicles. While with listicles you’re asking to be added to a list, with ego baits you’re compiling a listicle and asking others if they want to feature on it. It’s called ego bait because the strategy is to massage the ego of businesses by telling them you’re compiling an article listing “the best [niche] businesses” and do they want to feature? Most people jump at the opportunity. In return for featuring them in your article, you can ask for something in return. For example, could you contribute a guest post to their blog that contains a link back to your website or could they include you on a partner or resources page?
How to compile an ego bait article:
- Brainstorm a list of products or services that are relevant to your business or industry but are not in direct competition with your business. So, to return to an earlier example, you’re a wedding planner and a wedding photographer would fit this brief.
- The list of products and services you come up with are those that you can compile ego bait articles about. So, for example, ‘The Ultimate List of Wedding Photographers in London.’
- Search for relevant businesses that you could approach to ask if they want to feature in your listicle article, and contact them.
- If they agree, ask them if you could feature on their website in some capacity in return, such as by contributing a guest post article or by featuring on a resources page.
- Firm up the details of the agreement, i.e. a 700-word guest blog post entitled, ‘A checklist for planning your perfect wedding.’
- Ask them to send through details of their business that they want to be included in the listicle.
- Provide them with the relevant content to feature on their website.
Get your first 100 links requires effort and content creation
While the steps up until this point you’ve been able to carry out without writing a single word, getting your first 100 links does require more effort on your part. This is where your content marketing strategy starts to go up a notch. So, read to find out how you can turn your content into cash.
Create link-worthy skyscraper content
Getting consistent links back to your website requires link-worthy content. This should be high-quality content that meets your audience’s needs, answers their questions and informs them. This skyscraper SEO link building strategy will only work if your content is the best of its kind. The technique is to create a first-class piece of content that stands head and shoulders above the rest – like a skyscraper – in order to steal links from less-deserving websites. It’s basically a way to swoop in and get links by offering something bigger and better than what’s already out there.
The skyscraper technique in more detail:
- Use an SEO tool such as Semrush to conduct keyword research so you can find a topic you can write about that is likely to get a lot of people linking to it. You’ll need a topic that has high traffic potential and high outreach/backlink potential.
- Research similar articles that are covering this topic and see how you could improve upon them. For example, offering more depth to the topic or offering a 2023 update where other articles focus on 2022.
- Write the article, making sure it incorporates relevant keywords, headlines and a structure optimized for SEO.
- Reach out to the websites that are linking to your competitor’s articles and ask if they will link to your better article instead.
Hunt for link insertion opportunities
This strategy involves using search operators to find relevant places you could add an external link. For example, if you’re a coffee distributor and you have written a piece of content about coffee brewing techniques, you can search for that phrase to see if there are any relevant places where your article could be linked to.
How to search for link insertion opportunities:
- Search “intext:”your content name” in Google For example, “intext:”coffee brewing techniques”.
- See which results come back and look if there are any relevant opportunities for a website to link to your article/site.
- Reach out to those websites to see if they will add a link to your website.
- Often they will ask for something in return, such as a link on your website or to contribute a guest post.
Here is an example of the Google search results that come up when searching for coffee brewing techniques link insertion opportunities.
Write guest posts for businesses that you share an audience with
Contributing guest posts basically means writing a blog article from your business that will feature on another website’s blog. It’s a common practice used when two businesses share a similar audience but are not direct competitors. At the bottom of the guest post will be an author bio where you can include information about your business and include a link pointing back to your website. While guest posting is a common practice, it does take time and effort to secure guest posting opportunities and produce good-quality content.
How to secure guest post opportunities
- Find a relevant website that accepts guest posts using search operators such as intext:“write for us” + “topic” or inurl:”write-for-us” + “topic”.
- Look at the results that come back. Assess them for quality by checking the website’s domain rating using Ahrefs. Shortlist the websites that fit with your audience and aren’t direct competitors.
- Reach out to the site owners to ask if you could write a guest post for their blog, pitching 2-3 possible topic ideas you could write about that work for your and their audience.
- Once they’ve agreed, write the content and send it to them to be uploaded to their website.
- Make sure a link to your website is published.
Here is an example of the Google search results that come up when searching for guest post opportunities related to the wedding industry.
We offer advanced link-building strategies guaranteed to win you more business
An alternative to generating your first backlinks yourself is to work with a professional SEO agency. Here at Position Digital, we have access to the best SEO tools at our fingertips and know how to get the best insight out of them. We’ve used all the link building strategies in the book (and a few more secret ones we like to keep up our sleeves). So, if you’re looking to guarantee more business, get in touch to work with us. We’d love to hear from you.