Few things give a website owner as much anxiety as the word ”backlinks,” with its implications of sketchy dealings, Google penalties, and spammy links. If you want people to know about your website, however, you’re going to have to work at getting more of them – they’re the path that people follow to reach your website.
Link building is simply the process of getting links from other websites to your own. Although getting backlinks does have a bit of a bad reputation for the reasons mentioned above, like anything else online, if you create and build links with good intentions, you’ll be fine. Here are 14 safe and effective ways to get more links to your website.
Content still reigns supreme when it comes to sustainable, accessible link building. It comes in many forms, which is partially what makes it such a successful method of generating backlinks.
Almost everything you produce – blogs, marketing collateral, podcasts, videos – can generate more links. That said, don’t make the mistake of thinking “build it and they will come.” Content doesn’t promote itself, and it won’t magically generate backlinks either.
1. Content marketing. Your everyday content marketing campaign will quietly build links in the background. Create truly informative content, share like crazy, and do serious outreach, and the links will start to appear.
2. Round-up posts. More specifically, you can reach out in a focused manner with round-up posts. Pick the right targets or influencers, create the post, then find their email address and reach out to tell them about it. If your content is good and on-target, they’ll link right back to you.
3. Interviews, infographics, quizzes, and case studies. All of these are variations on the “create content” theme, but some will be more appropriate for one business over another. Investigate which makes the most sense for your brand, then promote it as much as you can.
4. Testimonials and reviews. These aren’t exactly considered pieces of content, but they do involve you writing online. Many brands attempt to increase the authenticity of their reviews by linking them back to a real business – if that business is yours, all the better.
5. Directories and databases. Less glamorous, but a sure part of slow, steady link building. Add your website to all relevant business directories and databases.
6. Press releases. If yours is the type of business that can benefit from press releases, try them out. Press releases typically have websites linked on them, and, if they are sufficiently interesting, spread far and wide – by someone else.
Another great way to build links is by actively cultivating relationships with other people online. If you get along and it’s mutually beneficial, most people will be happy to link to your website in exchange for quality information. The most important thing to remember is to always look for relevancy in your outreach. Only contact people and businesses that actually have a legit reason to be linked to yours.
Many of these people can be reached by email, so if you’re doing outreach on a larger scale, consider using a tool or at least a template to cut down on manual effort.
7. Nurture relationships with linkers. Using a tool like Ahrefs, find the people or websites that consistently link to yours. They already think your website is a good bet, so maintain the relationship to get the most from it.
8. Be a podcast guest. Much like interviewers, podcast hosts are always looking for guests. If you think your website is relevant and you don’t mind being interviewed, reach out to podcasters to see if they’d like to talk to you. They’ll link to your website in the show notes.
9. Help out with broken links. Again, using a tool, find websites hosting links to relevant but broken pages and email them, offering to replace the broken link with one that works (from your website, obviously).
10. Help A Reporter Out (HARO). HARO is kind of legendary among internet marketers, but you’d be surprised at how many people don’t actually use it. Keep an eye on new requests and if you see one you can contribute to, reach out.
11. Other people's round-up posts. Instead of creating your own round-up post, reach out to be a part of someone else’s, and offer something interesting that you’ve created to be included in the article.
12. Sponsor something. Sponsoring anything, from an event to a non-profit organization, is a simple, feel-good way to get in front of a new audience. Your website and links will be sprinkled liberally around the event.
13. Skyscraping. Skyscraping is an ambitious content production strategy made famous by Brian Dean of Backlinko. It’s effective but labor-intensive – but if you’re keen on content, it might be a good option.
14. Hire a publicist. Sure, hiring a professional is a big step, but depending on your business and plans, it might be worth it. A publicist (or even a virtual assistant) will be able to perform many of the tasks we’ve mentioned above, leaving you free to concentrate on other things.
The key to effective and safe link building
If you look online, you’ll find hundreds of articles on how to build links. Some tips are totally white hat (kosher in the eyes of Google), some are a little gray (in Google’s gray area), and others are undoubtedly black hat (forbidden by Google). But don’t worry – it’s hard to get in trouble unless you’re actively looking to cut corners.
Instead, stay safe by prioritizing quality and relevancy in everything you do, and maintain transparency in your relationships with other websites. To ensure effectiveness, you need to build links consistently. Remember – link building is a slow-burn process that could take months or years to really show results.
Hang in there, stick to it, and sooner or later, you’ll see the seeds you planted grow into an ever-increasing number of backlinks.
Do you have any tips to add to this list? Feel free to share them in the comments below!
Written by Sujan Patel
Sujan is the co-founder or Right Inbox and has over 14 years of marketing experience. He has led the digital marketing strategy for companies like Salesforce, Mint, Intuit and many other Fortune 500 caliber companies.