There’s no question that building great inbound links to your site is hard work. While many site owners resort to spamming blog comment sections to get their backlinks, that’s neither necessary, nor effective for your SEO efforts. But it's probably just a last ditch effort since, although there's much talk about generating inbound links, the nitty gritty ways to actually do that are rarely discussed.
But link building doesn’t need to be as tough as most people make it. Think of it like social media -- if you’re a source of great content and you get it in front of the right people, they’re going to share it. With that in mind, I'll get you started with 32 ideas to get you building legitimate inbound links.
Get Your Blog On
1) Maintain a steady blog. Consistently creating great blog content that people naturally want to link to is one of the most tried and true ways to organically generate inbound links.
2) Set up an RSS feed for your blog. This makes it easier for others to syndicate your content and then provide attribution links back to your website.
3) Link to other blogs on your blog. A blog is meant to be a social tool. The more you link to others, the greater likelihood one of those bloggers will return the favor.
4) Write guest blog posts. Shop them around to blogs they'd be a good fit for. If one accepts, they should be willing to give you an inbound link in the post (much like this very article!).
5) Create resource lists. Resource lists are both great link bait, and helpful content for your readers. If you create a comprehensive resource list, it will be easy for other bloggers to link to it in their own posts instead of rehashing and curating all that content themselves.
6) Do some newsjacking. If you are the first blogger to comment on a news event, you'll rise to the top of the SERPs due to the freshness component of Google's algorithm, and others will link to your content in their own accounts of the story.
Create Content Beyond Your Blog
7) Create case studies about your most impressive clients. If you make your clients look good in case studies about their business, you can bet they'll be linking to your site!
8) Administer a survey. And promise to share the data with others! If you do the data collection and crunching and give some high authority sites access to the findings afterwards, you can bet they'll do some promotion and inbound linking for you to make sure you have a great sample size!
9) Write a book review. If you provide a comprehensive review about another author's content, there's a good chance they (and others!) will link to it.
10) Conduct a free webinar, and post an archived copy online. If it’s informative, your attendees will absolutely share it.
11) Create free tools. HubSpot, for example, created Marketing Grader to which many agencies, partners, and others in our industry link.
12) Create templates. What templates would make people's jobs easier? A designer, for example, might create a library of downloadable business card templates to which others could link over and over! Bookmarkable content is often the kind of content that gets tons of inbound links.
Whip Out Those Design Skills
13) Create an infographic. People absolutely love to share infographics. Share your design with those that you cite as data sources, and make the embed code for your infographic easily accessible.
14) Create other forms of visual content. Remember that cartoons, content visualizations, charts and graphs, and the like are extremely popular as people become more and more visual. Plus, they take a little time and money to make, so if you've done the legwork, others will probably skip the fuss of creating their own visual content and link to yours instead!
15) Create a presentation. Slice one of your infographics into pieces, or repurpose one from your last speaking gig. You can put these up on your blog, in your website's resource center, or even on a SlideShare account for more links.
16) Create a meme. Even your Microsoft Paint skills can build links. Memes are known, above all else, for spreading and evolving -- use your social media accounts to make it spread even further!
17) Speaking of memes, do something funny! Funny things spread like wildfire. Think about the funny inside jokes in your industry, and capitalize on it with some humorous content that is linkable!
Use Your PR Skills
18) Write a press release about interesting company news. Post it up on your website, and push out your releases to one of the big newswires to get more coverage.
19) Send out a joint press release when your news involves another company. This can help reach thousands of other related sites that, in a press release about just your company, may not have linked to your site.
20) Do some outreach when you have big news or a great piece of content. Reach out to a handful of journalists that you can see really valuing your story. Create a dedicated page about the story for them to link to as a resource.
21) Get interviewed. Services like Vocus’ helpareporter.com, also known as HARO, work wonders for finding big linking opportunities. Be sure to ask journalists to include a mention of your company in any quotes they use so there's a more natural opportunity for an inbound link.
22) Write an "op-ed" article. Target online versions of big newspaper and magazine publications for an extremely valuable inbound link.
Build Partnerships and Relationships
23) Partner with companies in complementary industries. It’s common practice for corporate channel partners to link to each other's great content, because they have a vested interest in one another's success.
24) Ask for reviews. You can ask users of your product and industry experts or analysts to review new features you're rolling out, for example. Not only will you receive an inbound link, but you'll also get great feedback and strengthen your relationship with those you asked to write reviews.
25) Make friends with other webmasters in real life. Strengthening your relationship with other webmasters will open the door for relevant inbound link requests when future opportunities arise, and make it more likely those requests don't fall on deaf ears.
26) Search for and monitor mentions of your brand. Contact webmasters about turning those mentions into inbound links, but only when it's warranted -- like when they're citing data of yours, for example.
Leverage Social Tools
27) Incorporate "Tweet This" links into your data driven content. Part of getting inbound links is getting your content out to the masses. Including "Tweet This" links for tweetable nuggets in your content will get people sharing your content socially more often, which means greater visibility in search engines, news feeds, Twitter streams, etc. -- and thus more opportunity for your data to be referenced in other people's content.
28) Install social sharing widgets. Just like "Tweet This" links get your content out there, so do social sharing buttons and widgets. Put them on your marketing content like case studies, whitepapers/ebooks, and blog posts!
Do Some Volunteer Work
29) Sponsor or speak at an event. Events usually give their speakers and sponsors great website publicity. You can also negotiate inbound links into your terms to be sure your time and resources yield a beneficial inbound link.
30) Volunteer to be the subject of a case study. We're always looking for customers who are willing to be the subject of a case study. Volunteer your time for one of your major vendors, and get a backlink from the case study once it's published.
31) Help another webmaster fix an error on their site. Remember when I said you should get to know other webmasters? This is another time those connections will come in handy. When you find broken links on others' sites, let them know, and provide them with a piece of your own content that would be a suitable replacement for that broken link.
32) Give away free trials and sneak peeks of your product. When people get to see your product beforehand, they will want the world to know they're part of the VIP crowd, and might write a review with a link back to your site about it.
What are some other white hat methods you've used to generate more inbound links?
Image credit: ivanpw