With so many content management systems available online, you have no excuse not to build a professional website for your company. Creating one has never been easier. Today, more than 3 billion people use the internet on a daily basis. While, some of them may limit their internet use to social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter, most of them still use it in order to find the information they need.
This is where the tricky part comes into play. If you want any of these people to find your business, you have to play it smarter than the majority of your competition. You’re not competing against the billions of websites that are already online. You’re just competing against the websites that operate in your niche. To do this, you must be smart and resourceful.
Search engine optimization (SEO) has come a long way in the past decade. While blog posts and keywords are still an important part of the ranking algorithm, there are at least a dozen more ranking factors that you need to consider. Backlinks are part of these factors.
What Are Backlinks?
In short, probably the most important ranking factor right now. Google thinks highly of backlinks because if high-authority domains link to your website, it means it must be good. Unfortunately, you don’t have as much control over backlinks as you have over other SEO metrics.
As you might have already guessed, a backlink is usually an external link that brings users from other websites to yours. There’s no reason why you wouldn’t want to have as many backlinks as possible, because this means you are tapping into new audiences.
Backlinks are closely linked to organic traffic, as well. Every search engine has its own crawlers. These automated bots are responsible for indexing the pages and ranking them on the search engine results pages (SERPs). Crawlers use backlinks to better understand how your content is related to the content of other websites. This allows crawlers to be more efficient at ranking your page based on user queries.
The quality of your backlinks is directly related to your search ranking. Higher quality backlinks are more desirable because of this reason. Naturally, all backlinks are taken into account when indexing and ranking your website. While having backlinks from high authority websites isn’t necessary, it should be your main goal when building backlinks.
Generating the right backlink is no easy task. In order to make it easier for you, we’ve compiled a list of 22 ways to build backlinks to your website for free.
1. Internal Links
External links aren’t the only backlinks you can create. Internal links also match the description. Every single link on your website will have an impact on your SERP rankings. Internal links may not bring traffic from other websites to yours but they do take your visitors from one page to another.
This is equally important for users and search engine crawlers as well. Firstly, to your users because it means that you are able to offer them more information based on their query. Secondly, to crawlers because it means that you are publishing relevant content on more than just one page of your website.
When it comes to your users, you want to create an immersive and user-friendly experience. If a user can easily navigate your website to find the relevant information, it means that you’re doing a great job. This is exceptionally useful in terms of SEO because it means that your website visitors don’t have to go back and search for a solution to their problem once more.
The most common ways to build an internal backlink is to create content that goes in-depth of something you’ve previously mentioned on another page. For example, a post that contains a lot of technical terms could be linked to one that contains definitions and explanations of those terms. Having the definitions on the same page would make the whole content messy and it would drive your visitors away.
While there’s no consensus when it comes to the number of internal links that a page should have, it’s generally accepted that the number show be below 100. Of course, this number will vary drastically based on the length of your content. As long as your page is not too crowded with hyperlinks, you should be fine.
2. Guest Posting
When it comes to creating content, guest posting is a method that helps both your website and the one you publish the content on. Unlike ghostwriting, you get full credit for your guest post. More importantly, you get at least one backlink to one of the pages on your website. Even if you’re generating traffic for the host website, you’re also generating traffic for yours. An equal trade that benefits both the guest and the host.
Keep in mind that when you’re writing a guest post, your main focus shouldn’t be on generating the backlink. It should be on creating high-quality, relevant content that would make both website stand out. Ultimately, what this does is that it puts your brand in the spotlight. This increases your company’s visibility.
Finding the right host for your guest post can take a long time. If you don’t want to use specialized guest posting services for this, you can find out authoritative website that are looking for guest posts by scanning social media platforms. Type in your niche and “guest post” and you should run into at least a few opportunities.
3. Blog Posts & Forum Comments
Oftentimes we find ourselves scanning the comments section of various blogs, websites, and social media platforms. If a website has a forum, even better. People do this because they can usually find more information about something in these comments. Opinions and reviews make up a big percentage of these comments.
This is where you come into play. Search for platforms that operate in your niche. Find those that are most popular with users and become a part of that community. Whenever someone reaches out to the original author of the content, you have a chance to grow your brand. If you can help answer the questions that are posted in the comments section, you should do so. Inserting a link in your own reply can work wonders, especially since it will continue to be seen for days, months or even years to come.
Users will most often enquire about information that’s either missing or not fully explained in the posted content. Get in the loop, answer their questions, direct them to your website, and they could become faithful customers. Be aware of these opportunities, as they aren’t just a good solution for backlinks. They also allow you to become a part of the community, which is equally important.
4. Reviews From Bloggers
Offering a product or service for free may sound like it’s not good for business. It actually is. I’m not saying that you should go and give all of your products for free, I’m saying you should give them for free to a select few. Your best option are bloggers.
Lots of people follow bloggers on a daily basis. The most common factor that influences someone to follow a blogger is that they’re on the same page. Now, having a blogger post content that relates and links to your website is going to bring you a good amount of exposure. Yes, you’re missing out on selling one or two products but you’re gaining much more. Especially if the blogger likes your product and wholeheartedly recommends it to his or her followers.
Here’s what you need to do: reach out to as many bloggers from your niche as possible. Start with a friendly greeting, compliment them on their content, and offer them the opportunity to use one of your products or services in exchange for a review.
Don’t expect every blogger to be interested in your proposal and don’t expect them all to like your product. However, those that will like your product are surely going to bring in a lot of traffic and potential customers. The most important thing to keep in mind here is that you’re not allowed to influence the bloggers in any way. You can’t explicitly ask them for a positive review and a link just because you’re offering them free items. This is against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
5. The Moving Man
Even though this sounds like some mafia-related scheme, it’s actually as harmless and as legal as it gets. Hundreds of companies go out of business on a daily basis. A good amount of these companies have websites, blogs, and content published online. If this content was good enough, chances are that it had other websites linking to it.
When these companies go out of business, their content usually gets taken down. This means a lot of backlinks will lead to blank pages. Nobody likes to click on a link that isn’t working. Through this method, you’re reaching out to the owners of the content that used to link to the defunct pages and you make them an offer to link to your website.
Of course, this only works if you operate in the same niche and if you actually have a relevant piece of content published on your website. The two tools that will be your best friends in this process are Domain Hunter Plus and Ahrefs. Use Domain Hunter Plus to find the links that lead to defunct pages and Ahrefs to download the list of backlinks that post to the entire defunct website.
6. Fixing Broken Links
Quite similar to the moving man, this method has you searching for links that give a 404 error. This is probably one of the most common, most known, and most hated error that you can encounter online. If a backlink results in a 404 error, it is known as a broken link. These are bad news for the SEO of the hosting websites.
A tool like Check My Links should save you a lot of clicking. Simply install the extension on your Chrome browser and get to work. The broken links will be highlighted in red, making it easy to spot them.
Once you have a good chunk of broken links that you think you can cover with your content, reach out to the host websites. Doing this by email allows you to paste in the broken link and your content. Put in as many details about the broken link as you can. This will make it easier for the host to find it and remove it or replace it with a backlink to your content.
7. Link Reclamation
Not all brand mentions come with a backlink to your website. If this happens, you can still ask for a backlink. Most often, this happens due to human error. For example, in a long and inclusive blog post, the author might forget to add links to all the brands he or she mentions. It doesn’t matter if the post is a review or anything else, as long as it mentions your brand.
A tool like BuzzSumo can help you find these mentions. The tool creates an alert every time your brand is mentioned online, regardless if a link is present. Most of the times, the link will already be present, meaning that no further action is required.
When the mention doesn’t include a link, you can simply contact the author and ask them nicely to publish the link as well. Don’t be rude and thank them for the initial mention as well. You don’t want to come off as being rude or pushy. Even though your brand is mentioned in their post, you can’t force them to add a link as well. Rest assured, though, as most link reclamation requests receive a positive response. That’s a new backlink for you.
8. Use Feedback Sites
There are hundreds of feedback sites that do just what their name suggests: they offer feedback. Reaching out to these sites is not just a great opportunity for a new backlink. It will also help you improve your website’s user experience.
The main purpose of these websites is to help websites reach their full potential. Naturally, there are other audit tools that can do this but none of those tools can potentially create a backlink. If you want both these benefits in one sitting, feedback sites are the place to go.
All you need to do is create an account and submit your website for review. Do it on as many feedback sites as you want. The more the merrier. Simply add a short description on what you want to improve and let the feedback site work its magic.
The top feedback sites will automatically add a backlink to your website. This allows their users to easily find your website. For the best results in both user experience feedback and backlinks, you can use the following websites:
9. Reach Out To Interviewers
Online interviewers are becoming an increasingly popular trend. For your company, they’re a great source for backlinks. To reach the status of being an authority in your niche, you have to spend a lot of time and effort. Once you’re at the top, you’ll be the target of hundreds of interview invitations. However, until you’ve earned that status, you will have to find interview opportunities yourself.
A common practice is to scan the internet for blogs and vlogs that run online interviews. While the interview doesn’t necessarily have to be in your niche, it’s best you try out for those first. Otherwise, you’ll end up participating in interviews that are not relevant enough to your business to convince people to follow the link to your website. Even if you do acquire the backlinks, their impact will be minor.
Once you’ve narrowed down the list, send out emails to each interviewer, letting them know that you would be interested to participate. The best practice is to include an overview of what you can bring to the table. Think of it as guest posting. Only you’re doing it live during an interview.
Your other option would be to find out local interviewers that post their content online. Let them know who you are, what you’re selling, and why you’d be a good guest for their interview. If they’re looking to interview local businesses, you’re in luck. Both these methods are a good source of backlinks.
10. Social Media Platforms
The plethora of available social media platforms are a great source of backlinks. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or something else, if you play your cards right, backlinks will start pouring to your website. People have built entire careers from social media marketing – that’s how important social media is for your marketing strategy.
Here’s how it works: you create a page for your business on your preferred social media platform. This will allow you to interact with users, promote your brand, and share the content you publish. More importantly, you’ll be able to share content published by others as well. By doing so, you’re indirectly reaching out to others, and most will return the favor by sharing your content.
Simply having an online presence on various social media platforms will increase your brand’s awareness. Having people and other companies share your content online brings up hundreds of backlink opportunities.
This social media platform is so important for backlinks that it deserves its own place on this list. If you don’t already have a Google+ account, you should create one immediately. It’s free, it’s fast, it’s easy. Once your page is online, add a link to your website in the “Introduction” section. You can now start interacting with other users on Google+. The more you interact with others, the more exposure you generate for your backlink. In time, that backlink will become more powerful, generating more traffic for your website and weighing more for your SERPs.
Something to keep in mind is that you can’t see the link while you’re logged in to Google+. As long as you’re logged in, the link appears to be a nofollow link. When you log out, it appears as a dofollow link. It may sound like an important barrier but it’s not. While most users will find your account while being logged in, every so often there are users that browse the internet while logged out of their Google+ account. Moreover, your account could appear in a search query, making it essential for crawlers that are indexing your website.
12. Create High-Quality Content
In order to generate high-quality backlinks, you need high-quality content. It doesn’t matter if you’re guest posting, sharing content on social media, or doing anything else. If the quality of your content is lacking, your chances of obtaining a backlink drop considerably.
Furthermore, when you start publishing high-quality content on your website, you’re inviting other people to share it. Nobody wants to share content that’s poorly written. Especially not bloggers or influencers that you want on your side. If your high-quality content is seen by someone in the niche, chances are they’ll link to it or mention your brand without you having to reach out to them first.
It goes without saying that your content should be unique. However, besides this, you want your content to offer your users a valuable experience. Surely, most published websites offer unique content but not enough websites offer their users a valuable experience.
In order to do so, you have to create content that enhances everyone’s experience. The better the content, the higher the chance of it being linked to by authoritative websites. Our suggestion is to put yourself in the shoes of one of your visitors. What are you looking for? What can you create that’s different and better than what everyone else is doing? How do you create it?
When you can answer these questions, you’ll know it’s time to sit down and make it happen. Create content that you would want to read and that answers the possible questions that your reader could have. Publish that content. Promote it.
13. Research The Competition
You always want to know what your competition is up to. They’re doing it. You should be doing it as well. Research their website, their marketing practices, and most importantly, their content. You don’t just want your content to be good. You want it to better than that of your competition.
If your competition has been in the game for some time, chances are they already have good quality content published. As we’ve already discussed, quality content attracts quality backlinks. The easiest way to research your competition is to follow their social media accounts. That’s probably where they promote most of their content.
By following your competition’s moves on social media, you can investigate many aspects of your niche. These include the type of customers you’re trying to attract, what they’re interested in, companies that are involved in the processes, and so on. Knowing this information will allow you to create a much stronger marketing campaign. In turn, this will earn you stronger backlinks.
A great tool for researching your competition and their backlinks is Monitor Backlinks. This shows you exactly what your competition is doing and it allows you to replicate their techniques to earn the backlinks that you’re looking for.
14. The Skyscraper Method
This method basically comes in addition to you researching your competition. It’s a very efficient way of attracting quality backlinks. Best part? It’s absolutely free. We’ve already gone through how and why you’re supposed to research your competitors. We won’t cover that again. However, here’s what you need to do next.
The skyscraper method implies that you take existing content and you build on it. Simply rewriting it won’t do. Yes, you might end up with a quality piece of content but the chance of getting an authoritative website to link to it is pretty slim. What you want to do is take the initial article, edit and curate it so that it feels and flows better and add your own content to it. Remember, you’re using existing content as a foundation, not as a framework.
You want your new article to present the same information in a better way. Not only that but you want to also present new, relevant information. To do so you can update the references, the numbers, the vague information, and so on. Expand on the existing content and create something unique that covers the same subject more in-depth. Once you’re done creating it the content, promote it online.
15. Create Lists
Content that ranks well is not easy to create. However, there are 3 main types of content that is almost guaranteed to rank well. We’ll cover them in the following paragraphs. The first type comes in the form of lists.
Readers love lists. Come to think about it, you’re reading a list right now. And you’ve made it quite far already. It must mean that the information presented in this article is either relevant to your query, it’s easy to read or a combination of both.
Creating a list is an easy thing. We’ve created a list that’s 22 items long. Coming up with the items on your list will be the easy part. Actually writing the content for each paragraph will be the problem. However, even if it’s a common practice to stop a list at 5 or 10 items, this one contains 22 for an important reason: not the number but the content. A longer list allows us to provide our readers with more content. You can do the same with a list that’s relevant to your niche.
You can either create a novel list that you believe would be useful to your readers or you could apply the skyscraper method and build on an already-existing list. Which brings us to the topic at hand: backlinks. Longer links allow for more content, which in turn allows for more possibilities for backlinks.
Due to their form, lists allow for content to be divided in multiple sections, making it easier to create more than just one backlink per article. You could have as many backlinks as you have list items. Even more if the quality of the content is really good.
16. Create Infographics
The second type of content that is guaranteed to rank well are infographics. These are the newest, hottest trend in SEO. Not only this but they’re even easier to read and follow than lists.
Too many people avoid infographics because they believe that creating one will be an expensive investment. However, it doesn’t have to be. By using platforms like UpWork, a professional graphics designer that works for an affordable rate is easy to find. Although a professional-looking infographic might have a more powerful impact, what’s most important is the quality of the content. Once more, content quality reigns over anything else. This means that you can create your own successful infographics, even if you’ve never done it before. As long as the content of the infographic is good, it will be a good option for a backlink.
An infographic presents the information in a visually aesthetic way. The probability of an infographic to be shared on various platforms is higher than that of any other type of content. This is because people love to read concise information that’s presented in an appealing way. Yes, when they want in-depth information about a subject they will turn to lists or other types of content but for sharing on social media platforms and acquiring backlinks, infographics are a great solution.
If you decide to create your own infographics, head over to sites like Piktochart to get started. Once your infographic is finished, remember to share it on as many social platforms as you can. Besides the extremely powerful Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, head over to websites like Visually, DailyInfographic or AmazingInfographics. These websites can be a good source for backlinks and website traffic.
17. Audio Content
This is one of the most overlooked types of content that is great for building backlinks. The best solution is to create audio versions of your written content. Not everyone has the patience to read a very long article. Some people simply want to put in their earphones and listen to it. Not only is this good for business but it also provides a better user experience for a part of your audience.
A good strategy is to publish the audio file directly in the relevant article. Create a recording of you or a professional voice actor and let people know that it’s available to them by posting it at the beginning of the article. This is also exceptionally useful for readers who suffer from various impairments, such as dyslexia. Many such readers have to resort to using tools such as NaturalReader in order to be able to enjoy an article. Make their life easier by posting your content in an audio format as well.
Remember when we covered valuable content? This is just one of the ways to do it. Give your users something new and backlinks will flow. In addition to posting the audio file on your website, you can also upload it to various audio sharing sites. This will bring in even more backlinks.
18. .edu Resources
Backlinks from .edu websites are some of the most powerful links that you can get. Your traffic and SERP rankings are guaranteed to see an impressive boost if you manage to obtain a backlink from an .edu website. Many website owners think that an .edu link is impossible to obtain. That’s far from the truth. All you have to do is create content that is appealing to universities or other education-related websites.
If you’re the head of a very successful company, you could offer a scholarship. Obviously, that would be a serious investment and it might not be the best solution for your company, especially if you’re just starting out.
What you can do is you can build an .edu backlink free of charge. How? Well, most universities have a resource page that’s designed specifically to contain information that would be useful to their students. These resource pages are packed with links to websites that publish relevant content.
If you’re operating in a niche that can provide relevant, in-depth information about a subject, look for the reference pages of universities that teach in the same or in a related niche. Once you’ve narrowed down the list, reach out to the webmasters via email. Introduce yourself, your business, and present the opportunity to link to your content.
Even though the chances of obtaining a backlink from an .edu domain are low (somewhere in the 5-10% area), it’s a free opportunity that shouldn’t be overlooked. Even a single .edu backlink could weigh enough to boost your website considerably.
19. Use Blog Aggregators
Websites such as AllTop act as an aggregator of links from various blogs and websites. These are great for building backlinks for free. Actually, simply having your website published on such an aggregator is a good enough reason, as these websites are usually highly authoritative. Lots of people follow aggregator sites, meaning you’ll be getting a lot of traffic as well.
To earn a backlink from an aggregator site you have to:
- Create a free account
- Submit your website as a suggestion
- Verify that the site you’ve submitted is yours
- Wait for their approval
Besides AllTop, you can also submit your website on BizSugar, BlogEngage, BloKube, and InBound. There’s no limit to the number of blog aggregators that you can or should reach for. The same backlink earning process applies to the majority of blog aggregators.
20. Use Scoop.It
Quite possibly the simplest solution for individuals who are looking to publish curated content online, Scoop.It offers a lot of functionalities for you to try out. In many ways, Scoop.It is similar to a blog aggregator.
Every user can create a personalized online magazine that’s composed of content from across the internet. Once your magazine is created, you can share it with your friends, colleagues, and business partners. The software offers fast and reliable results every time thanks to its quick search algorithms. Adding your name in the list of websites that get “scooped” will work wonders on your SEO campaign.
On Scoop.It you can publish and promote your high-quality content. Moreover, you can match it with other relevant content that you find on the internet. By doing so, you’re creating backlinks to various websites that might return the favor. Moreover, the entire content can be shared on social media platforms.
21. Get Featured In “Best Of” Articles
Hundreds of online publications have their own “best of” lists. Readers follow these lists because they’re an easy way of getting information about various websites, companies, products or services. Like we’ve previously mentioned, lists are a great type of content for backlinks.
Unless you’re a high authority domain, creating such a list by yourself, in which you link to others, will be almost impossible. What you want is to be featured in such a list, not create one. Find a “best of” article that is related to your niche and reach out to its author. If your product or service is good enough, your chances of making it on the list grow exponentially.
Once you’re featured on a few of these lists, it’s time to move on to making your own list. Compare the information found in lists that have already been published and compile your own list. You will be using this list in your marketing strategy. Reach out to the brands that are featured on your own list and you should land at least a couple of new backlinks.
22. Pitch Your Business
The methods that we’ve covered should be more than enough to get you started and earn some good quality backlinks for your website. However, applying some of them is going to take more than just a few clicks. Some of them require you to pitch your business.
In order to be able to pitch your business successfully, you must first understand what makes a good pitch:
First of all, you must understand that backlinks are made possible only through collaboration and mutual respect. You receive something in exchange for something that you offer. Your content must bring a benefit to the website that’s linking back to it. You should be able to offer more than just a replacement for broken or blank backlinks.
In this game, everyone wants the same thing: brand awareness. This can be achieved through any of the methods we’ve covered in this article. However, it can only be achieved if the quality of the content is exceptional. Don’t publish low-quality content and you’ll be on your way to success.
Ultimately, if you want to get backlinks for your website, you must be ready to offer them as well. A good pitch shows your future partner that you’re ready to invest in this relationship at least as much as they are. Show them that you’ve already created a backlink to their website if necessary.
Second of all, remember that most webmasters that you will reach out to probably receive hundreds of emails every day. Don’t let that get in your way but try to create an email that encompasses all of the information you want to transmit without being too long. Make sure you include all the relevant information. Leave out the small talk. Write an attractive subject, because that’s the first thing your email recipient will see. Almost 70% of all emails marked as spam are marked so because of their subject lines.
An attractive subject will catch the eye of the recipient. Once he opens the email, make sure he finds out an appealing body of text that is detailed and concise. Don’t be pushy in your emails. Keep a friendly tone and be firm about your request.
Make use of the tools that are available to you. PitchBox is one of the tools that can help you if you’re struggling. Neil Patel wrote some very compelling advice in his article about building backlinks. You can draw inspiration from those as well.
Ultimately, when you’re building backlinks, remember to keep a friendly tone, offer high-quality content, and be ready to return the favor. These 22 methods will help you get started. It’s up to you to keep going.