Once you've fully optimized the on-page elements of your site, it's time to shift the focus to building inbound links. Here are nine things you can do to build more inbound links.
1. Create Remarkable Content
Creating content should be your highest priority, above any of the suggestions below. Create interesting and valuable content that other people will want to link to. Here are some tips for creating content that people will be more likely to link to:
- Use numbers (examples: “5 easy ways to” or “7 best strategies for”)
- Start with “How to”
- Use relevant keywords people are searching for
- Include benefit to reader (examples: “get more visitors” or “reduce costs”)
- Be controversial (example: “Is PR dead?”)
- Be specific - don’t fill your blog title with puns or try to be too clever
- Be unique
2. Ask for Links from People You Know
One of the best ways to get links when you're first starting out is to ask people you know to link to your site from their site using a target keyword as the anchor text (the text being used as the link to your site). Here are some people you can ask:
- Customers you've built relationships with
3. Guest Blog on Similar Niche Industry Blogs
Build a list of other niche blogs in your field. Start commenting on their blogs with insightful comments, and then reach out to them and ask if you can write one guest post for them. If they accept, write NEW content for their blog (don't just copy and paste something already existing on your blog). Remember to include a couple links within your post linking back to your site, and using anchor text with your relevant keywords.
You don't need to do more than one guest blog post per blog, especially if you don't have the time to. 20 links across 20 different domains is BETTER than 20 links across only 2 different domains. So if you spend time on 20 guest blog posts, spread them out across 20 different blogs!
4. Write a Blog Post about a Fellow Industry Blogger
Create a blog post reviewing a blog post on another niche blog in your industry, and link back to them. They may post a reply to you in return, and include a link back to your post in which you reviewed them.
5. Interview an Industry Expert with a Website
Interview an industry expert who has a website or blog, and then create a blog post about the industry. When the post is up, send the link to the person you interviewed, thanking them for the interview. They'll be likely to promote the post on their own site in order to promote themselves!
6. Avoid Black-Hat Link Building Strategies
It's also important to know what kinds of link-building strategies to avoid, so that you don't waste your valuable time and effort doing something that can make Google sandbox your site (remove it from their search engine). Here are the strategies to avoid:
- Link buying
- Link farming
- Article submissions (e.g. Ezine Articles, Info Barrel, etc.)
- Too many 1:1 link exchanges
7. Create a Badge for Other Websites
The badge strategy is simple in concept: you provide an image for others to place on their site. Maybe it's an "editor's pick" award that someone wants to place on their blog/site to show the quality of their content. The benefit for you from a link building standpoint is that this image has a built in link (with proper alt-text) to a page on your site. Other suggestions include:
- Building an application that gives out a grade. People will then start placing their grade on their website or blog.
- Offering an online certification that can be placed on the recipient's site
- Providing a badge to promote a content you are hosting
8. Create a Contest
Holding a contest with a useful prizes can also generate links to your site without utilizing a badge. The prize can be a free service or a credit towards a purchase, or perhaps some form of recognition. The important thing here is to find a prize your target audience will like. Then develop the contest and spread the word and encourage people to link to it.
Once established you should consider making the contest a regular occurrence with a regular winner. This will encourage continual link building. Alternatively, you can hold the contest only once a year, hype it up and build a lot of links in one swoop. Then, once the contest is over, you can 301 redirect the contest pages to wherever page you like.
9. Become a Product Reviewer
Search for opportunities to become a product reviewer. For example, sites like Amazon allow users to leave comments on most products and others, like CNET review products themselves. You might be able to find an on-line review service in your industry, so apply to become a reviewer. In the byline of your review, you might be able to leave a link. You might also be able to have a link in your profile. This will help establish you as an expert and build links back to your main site.
Originally published Dec 21, 2011 1:52:00 PM, updated January 11 2014