If you want to start feeling the love from Google and get your website to start ranking in the search engines you’re going to need some backlinks. So today we’re covering backlinks for beginners.
Why You Need Backlinks
If you want to transform your website into a customer or lead generation machine, I’ll show you all my best tips to get there and remember, link building is all about the ‘long-haul’. There is no long term strategy that is quick and continues to work.
When it comes to getting your site ranked on Google searches the trending advice of the day everyone says “create great content” which is great and you should be creating great content, but just having great content on its own is only going to get you so far.
Getting backlinks from other websites is still a huge ranking factor for Google. It basically signals to Google and all the other search engines, that your site is actually good enough to warrant sharing. And when you start looking at the history of backlinking, there was a lot of really spammy tactics that people used to do with private blog networks (this still goes on).
Google started devaluing all those kind of backlinks and they’ve arrived at a better place where now everything is much more earned and they’re looking at all these different signals that go with backlinks. As a freelance SEO consultant, this is something that I offer as a service, but please keep on reading first because there are some great ideas that you can try here.
So you really want to focus on white hat techniques which are basically by the book and the way Google wants you to do it so that you never end up getting penalized by Google which can really suck and it can take you a long time to kind of get back into their good graces.
Now we should mention before we get started that some of these techniques are going to rely on you having good quality content on your site first because a lot of times it’s much harder to get people to link to your home page or a product page or a service page. They’re much more likely in a lot of cases to link to a great article or a great video.
You’re just going to get many more people to say yes to link to a great article or video on your site rather than a product page. But the good news is that any link you get to any page on your entire website is going to benefit your entire website. Simply use internal links.
So here are five of my favourite ways to get backlinks and tell Google that your business is the one that they should be pushing to the top of your customer’s searches.
Link Building Idea #1 – Guest Blogs
So my first tip may not be surprising but I’m going to get into some really interesting ways of doing this and to really up your chances of making it work for you, and that is a guest posting.
So if you don’t know what this is, basically you are writing blog posts for other people’s blogs and then they are linking back to your site in the author bio or a contextual links and the way this usually works is you find relevant blogs that are in your niche and then you reach out to the blog owners and you pitch them your idea.
Now there are a few problems with this – over the past few years, blog owners have been getting inundated with really spammy blog posts requests. I have a blog on my site. I get these all the time and I pretty much ignore 100 per cent of the requests I get. And that’s mostly because they come from these really unreputable article farms
They really only are looking for a link and they’re really not interested in writing a good quality article.
Which leads to the next problem which is it’s really hard to know sometimes which of the blogs you may find actually take guest posts anymore because a lot of them, including my blog, I don’t take them anymore just because of all those really spammy requests I always get.
So to help you tackle these problems, first, we will look at finding those blogs that actually do still accept guest posts. Here’s what you want to do.
First, find someone in your industry who writes a lot of guest posts. I suggest finding them on Twitter and then just copy URL of the headshot they use in their profile photo and then paste that URL into a Google reverse image search – then the results will all be pages where that photo appears around the web because every time they write a guest post that image is usually going to be showing up in the bio section.
But how do you pitch them your idea in a non-spammy way? Just be a human being about it – don’t try to take shortcuts and write a templated email to everybody. Make sure every time you reach out to a blog owner that it’s personal and you’re actually pitching a couple of ideas of articles and that’s really important
So don’t just say “Hey do you mind if I write an article for you”. Say “hey I’ve got these two or three ideas and here’s what they are. Would you like to see a draft of any of them?”
Hint: Have a look at my list of Search Operators to help you find sources.
Link Building Idea #2 – Link Roundups
Next up we have link roundups. Lots of blogs around the web like to link to good quality content and they’ll usually do that periodically – maybe they’ll have a weekly roundup or a daily roundup or monthly where they basically say “these are the links we liked best this week”.
So you’re going to want to go to Google and type in a search like this:
Type in your keyword phrase or your industry plus link roundup or plus roundup or best stuff or this week this month, etc., and just find those opportunities based on those searches.
Once you find the right websites, you’re just going to reach out in a very similar way as already talked about for guest posting. You’re going to reach out to the blog owner with a really simple email.
And I should say anytime you’re going to reach out to a blog owner do a little bit of homework first and make sure you’re sending the email to the right person and you actually use their name because as someone who gets these kinds of pitches for my own blog, I can tell you how big of a turnoff it is when it’s written “to whom it may concern”.
So do a little bit of homework and make sure you’re writing to the right person.
Link Building Idea #3 – Podcast Links
Number three on the list are links from podcasts.
These are becoming more popular than ever before, and the really cool thing about them is there really is a podcast for everything even so-called ‘boring niches’.
If you find yourself in one of those and they all need content on a weekly basis or however often they produce and most of these podcasts are actually interview based and they’re looking for experts who can come on and talk at length about a certain subject.
So how does this translate into a link for you? So basically if you were to go on a podcast they’re going to usually link back to your website in the show notes from their website and the cool thing about this is they’ll usually link to just about any page you want them to including a home page or a service or a product page.
So if you have an area of expertise, all you really need to do is go to iTunes and just do a simple keyword search for podcasts in your niche. And when you find them they always have a link to their websites. They almost always have a contact pag so get in touch with them and just pitch yourself and pitch your idea.
Now I recommend a few things here. I definitely recommend listening to at least one episode so that you have something a little more personal to bring up or to complement or to comment on. That’s really going to make your email pitch stand out much more.
And along those same lines, I definitely recommend subscribing to their podcast giving it a five-star rating and then letting them know that in the email and then let them know that you think you would make a great guest to talk.
So the trick is to make it specifi and what I would recommend is look at the list of episodes they have to see what they’ve already covered and what blind spots you could go and fill in with a topic that you really know something about.
And I should say you probably don’t want to go after the biggest podcasts out there to start. They probably have a lot more competition for guests so go after smaller ones to start and then once you have a few interviews then you can start bringing that to the table for the bigger fish to get better and bigger links as you go forward.
And along these same lines you can be a go-to source for media outlets because it’s one thing to get links from smaller websites but it’s quite another to get them from the big boys – New York Times, Forbes, Huffington Post, and it sounds hard to get those, right? Well, it’s not always as hard as you think.
Link Building Idea #4 – Help a Reporter
What if I told you that there’s a website out there whose only job is to connect experts with journalists and bloggers that are looking for sources? Well, that website exists and it’s called helpareporter.com (also kown as H.A.R.O). Just sign up as a source, fill out a simple profile that indicates your areas of expertise and you’ll start getting emails about articles that are looking for sources.
Just start responding to the ones that you think you can add value to and see who responds. Now, this isn’t a slam dunk you may have to actually start responding to a few of these before you get any response back, but as long as you respond in a professional and polite way you’ll probably start getting some really reputable backlinks just for providing a written response to a specific question.
Link Building Idea #5 – Custom Multimedia Guest Posts
And that brings us to my favourite method of getting backlinks and this is my favourite because rather than creating a bunch of articles or a bunch of different kinds of content or going on a bunch of podcasts you basically create one really good piece of content and then you spread that around the web.
And I’m talking about mini multi-media guest posts. So here’s what you do.
You basically have to create one really great piece of content. It can be a video, an infographic or even a podcast. Then you pitch different blogs in your niche with that content.
So in that email, you’re going to link directly to that piece of content but then you’re also going to offer to write a unique mini post to accompany it. You know this is a great scalable way to get a lot of backlinks from one piece of content then basically rewrite the same mini article different ways so that it ends up being unique to each individual blog that posts it.
And if you want to create an infographic but you’re not a designer that’s fine. All you need to do is really find a good article or piece of content to base it on and then you can usually hire a designer for around one hundred two hundred fifty dollars who will actually take that content and bring it to life for you.
I’d recommend just going to the Envato Studio website and just typing in infographics in the search bar and you’ll find lots of really talented designers to do this for you. And if you really want to up the positive responses, I would actually recommend spending a little bit more and hiring a designer to create an animated infographic. These just look cooler and the novelty of it is going to result in more people interested in posting it.
And the good news here is you can probably make it a little less involved and shorter if it’s animated.
Link Building Tip…
One little bonus tip here – If all of this sounds good but maybe you don’t quite have the time to be building on these backlinks yourself, it might actually make more sense for you just to outsource your link building efforts. It can save you a lot of time and probably increase success rates.Beginners Guide to Linkbuilding