Link building is a very important, but very time-consuming, part of search engine optimization (SEO). Getting high-quality backlinks isn’t easy, but it’s worth the boost in rank and authority that you can get from them.
A backlink or external link from one site to another is similar to a word-of-mouth referral. It means that another website considers yours to be a valued resource on a specific topic, which helps Google to see that you know what you’re talking about.
But wanting backlinks is a lot easier than actually getting them. It often involves a lot of networking, cold emails, and high-quality content. And just like other SEO work, it can take time to give you a noticeable return on investment.
In this resource, you can find eight ways to get more backlinks, from the tried and true to the creative and underused.
- Offer to exchange organic content with other writers
- Write guest posts
- Write volunteer content
- Partner with other businesses
- Make cool stuff
- Take advantage of your author bios
- Ignore irrelevant link requests
- Ditch en masse cold emails
1) Offer to exchange organic content with other writers
This is one of the most popular and obvious ways to get backlinks. You start by researching other writers or websites in your industry and make a list of the best ones.
Reach out, either through email, their contact form, LinkedIn, or social media, and ask if they would be interested in exchanging content with you.
If they’re into it, hash out details like topics and deadlines, write, and repeat.
Pro Tip: Try to contact websites with good domain authority and that have done content exchanges in the past. You’ll see more success with content producers who are already familiar with the benefits of exchanging organic content.
2) Write guest posts
If the websites you’re interested in don’t want to provide content for you, they may still be open to having you write for them. Instead of having a two-way content exchange, see you if can write a guest post for them.
A lot of larger websites with higher domain authority offer guest posting opportunities on their websites to help fill up large editorial calendars. While you won’t get any content in return, you could end up getting a higher quality link to your website, which comes with a lot of value.
3) Write volunteer content
If you volunteer for an organization that has a website, look for an opportunity to offer them some volunteer content. Charity and non-profit links can be really beneficial in building domain authority, and you’ll be using your skills for good. Just try to find an organization that could benefit from your content.
For example, digital marketers could get in touch with local and national small business organizations and pitch topics that help small business owners. Or nature enthusiasts like me could work with national conservation organizations.
4) Partner with other businesses
Some of the best and biggest link building campaigns are built between two or more businesses whose services complement each other.
Think social media mavens and SEO writers or realtors and movers. While they don’t offer the exact same services, they exist within the same industries.
If you can find another business that would benefit from yours in a real way, you might have a shot at building a content-based partnership.
5) Make cool stuff
If you have graphic design, photography, video, or other skills, offer to partner with content producers who might need them.
Create an infographic, put together a how-to video, or take some really great product photography and ask others if they’d like to supplement their content with yours in exchange for a link.
This gives you a chance to hone any other skills you may have all while helping others and building up links to your website.
6) Take advantage of your author bios
If you’re a freelance or volunteer writer for a well-known website, include a link to your website, blog, or portfolio in your author bio. These links are great for a few different reasons:
- Anyone who enjoyed your writing can easily get in touch
- They make perfect, natural link placements
- They’re subtle
- They show up on all of the posts you write that have a bio
That last one means that if you frequently write for a publisher who includes your bio in each piece, you’ll get a new backlink every time you post.
7) Ignore irrelevant link requests
As your site gets more traffic, you’ll start getting requests from other link builders to link to their content.
Some of these will be legitimate and thoughtful. Most of them will not.
For example, I recently had a request to link to a post about how COVID-19 will affect real estate in US college towns. Where that would fit on my site, I do not know.
When you get irrelevant requests, don’t link to them. It will be jarring for readers and dilute the quality links that you do have. And, too many spammy links is typically considered a form of black hat SEO.
Instead, choose the links on your own website wisely. Link to trusted sources, high-quality producers, and relevant content. And expect others to do the same with your content. Don’t bother to request links from sites that have no relation to your own.
8) Ditch en masse cold emails
Yes, I said it. Although many SEO experts will tell you to create a nice, friendly email template and use it to cold email people en masse to ask for links, I think the practice should be abolished.
While they can be successful at times, more often, they’re a lot of work for little return. And unless you are targeting specific websites that your content is relevant to, you just end up annoying people and getting your email address blocked.
There are so many other link building strategies that you can dedicate your time to that make more sense and generate a better return.
Building up backlinks
There are all kinds of tips and tricks out there for getting good backlinks. Some people swear by cold emails while others focus on relationship building. Which methods you use depend on how aggressive you want to be in pursuing links and what your goals are.
Create an SEO strategy that suits your business, industry, and SEO goals and build out a thoughtful, targeted campaign to see the best results.