6 Tips for Building Free Backlinks to Your Website
Search engine optimization has evolved over the years to become an extremely complex digital marketing process that requires marketing experts to manage both the technical and aesthetic elements of client websites. While in recent years, changes to search engine algorithms have come to place increasing importance on quality web content, there are still technical elements such as keywords, metadata, formatting, and other elements that are important. One area that has always been important in some capacity is backlinks—incoming links to your website from another site.
The importance of backlinking has increased significantly of late. In the past, it was one of the top factors for the SEO ranking of a website, and as such was a target for abuse by the industry, as many businesses resorted to paying other sites to link back to the purchaser’s website. In order to address the skewed results this caused in search engine results, Google changed the SEO playing field in 2012 with the launch of the Penguin update. This update reduced the importance of the number of links back to your website in the ranking algorithm. Since Penguin, the importance of creating a good backlink has been incorporated into the domain authority of a website, a value defined by the marketing brand, Moz. As the impact of backlinking has shifted, the tactics for building a robust catalog of backlinks have changed as well, and they have become important tools for generating organic traffic through inbound links. Follow along as we offer up six tips for obtaining free backlinks to your website.
Free Backlinks: Establishing Connections With a Purpose
Actively link building in order to enhance the quality of a website’s SEO and improve its domain authority has added benefits for the site owner. High-quality links will result in your page performing better in search engine results pages (SERP) while increasing your brand awareness and recognition. This increased awareness over time can improve and increase your brand authority in the eyes of the search engines and as a result, generate more referral traffic and increase the discoverability of the SEO elements of your website designed to filter visitors into your marketing inbound funnels. Backlinks don’t just happen on their own, and low-quality links over time can erode your domain authority. This is why it’s crucial that you create a strategy for inviting free backlinks.
A Mention is Just an Uncoded Backlink
As your brand evolves and becomes more of a player in your industry niche, it will be natural that your brand will be discussed and mentioned in reviews, industry-focused articles, and other types of online content. You can keep track of when and how your brand is mentioned online through the use of Google Alerts. Using this tool’s alerts, you can reach out to the content creators that mention your brand and request that they include the web encoding that will transform your brand name on the screen into a new link back to your website or a link of your choice to help with your own inbound marketing strategy. This is extremely effective in the sense that since they are already writing about your brand, they will be more willing to do what they can to support your marketing efforts.
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Getting Involved Locally Can Lead To Free Backlinks
A driving influence on search engine results in recent years has been the growing use of “near me” and other forms of localization in search inquiries. Getting involved with local news outlets, listing your business in local directories, talking to podcasters, speaking at local events, and contributing to local online content outlets focused on the local community allows you to generate mentions of your brand, at which point you can utilize the strategies outlined previously for transitioning mentions into dofollow backlinks—that is, links that aren’t artificially coded as nofollow in order not to lead back to your website.
Create Great Content to Target High Authority Backlink Sources
Content marketing can be a powerful tool that helps your website meet a number of SEO requirements for improving your rankings. It’s also an extremely useful tool in building backlinks to your own site, as long as you remember that other businesses are trying to accomplish the same task of creating backlinks. Content is powerful because it is used by Google to determine your brand’s authority on topics relevant to your industry.
In order to strengthen the content on your website and establish your own brand’s authority as a trusted source of industry-relevant information, it’s important to post content that is relevant and trending and support it with unique data, infographics, authoritative references, and quotes that link to other authoritative content around the web. This is where you can leverage content to generate backlinks. Identify topics that are relevant to both your own brand and to businesses you’ve targeted to supply your website with backlinks, and then create extremely high-quality content about those topics. You can then reach out and invite those businesses to link to your content with the proposition that you’re trying to help improve the value of their own website to their target audience.
This can be an especially powerful strategy if over time you establish a co-marketing relationship with several businesses from related but non-competitive industry niches. As each brand creates content and includes great links to the other co-marketing partners, the group will build synergy over time and help to build business for all involved by strengthening SEO ranking.
Guest Blogging, Guest Posting, and Volunteer Contributions to Other Sites
A more aggressive approach that involves more effort on your part, you can approach authoritative sites you’ve targeted for backlinking and offer to provide content in exchange for a link back to your website. This can come in the form of a guest blog on a topic relevant to both businesses, a guest post on a social media platform, or video or audio content in the form of a podcast or video blog. Providing guest content helps the other website by providing it with authoritative content that supports its marketing initiatives. Simultaneously, including a backlink as part of the content contribution gives that platform’s audience a direct connection back to your brand that they are more likely to follow since you’ve been positioned by their brand of choice as an authoritative voice they can also trust.
HARO and Other Opportunities to Be Quoted
Bloggers and other content creators are constantly looking to strengthen the SERP performance of their material by including appropriate authoritative voices of professionals who work in the industries they write about. There are several outreach tools and strategies content creators use to track down these quotes organically, with the intent of sourcing unique commentary that will help set their material apart from competitors. Using these tools to provide these writers with the material they need can greatly expand your opportunities for backlinks.
One tool that is well respected throughout every industry is the web-based application, Help a Reporter Out, more often referred to as HARO. HARO allows writers or outlets to post a targeted query that is then sent out to the HARO community for appropriate feedback. If you’re a member of the community, you’ll get a list of various queries on a regular basis for which you can selectively provide feedback. A less formalized process for keeping your finger on the industry’s pulse is to search Twitter for #JournoRequest followed by the keywords related to your expertise. Finally, using tools like Databox or Harrow Response will give you access to content round-ups and other posts that aggregate responses from specific groups of professionals.
Bonus Strategy: Taking Advantage of the Broken Links of Others
Maintaining an aggressive broken link-building strategy can be an extremely lucrative endeavor for your marketing team. This involves searching out broken or inactive links across relevant industry websites and reaching out to the website owners to offer the opportunity of strengthening their websites by pruning dead links and offering up new backlinks leading to your own content as a replacement. This approach allows the webmaster to maintain the value of the content they’ve already invested in while providing you with a link to well-established sources that you’ve now helped to improve the value of by reconnecting it back to a live content source.
Build Backlinks and Take Control of Ranking Factors Impacting Your SEO and Domain Authority
Backlinking is an extremely complex and extensive undertaking for any digital marketing team, and we’ve only barely scratched the surface in this discussion. The tips above in conjunction with free tools like Google Analytics will help your marketing team plan and execute a rudimentary but essential backlinking strategy that will over time build and maintain your domain authority. If you want to plan out a more advanced and complex approach to backlink building that takes advantage of automated link checking and backlink generators, consider finding a marketing services provider that can do the heavy lifting for you while you manage and maintain your brand. Either path can only help you to improve your site’s domain authority and will have a significant impact on your search engine performance, ultimately providing your site with a higher ranking that will drive more traffic to your site and help to build your client base.