Before talking about how to get backlinks, it would be a great idea to outline what they are. Backlinks are simply hyperlinks that refer to a website from another website.
Because Google and other search engines rely on trust and authority to provide their search results. Google, in the end, want to provide the best search experience for their users. They do this by providing the best results. They provide these results by showing you websites that are trusted.
Trust is given through backlinks. When somebody references your website via a backlink, they are saying to Google that they trust your website. As more people link back to your website, you will gain more trust from Google.
When trusted by Google you have the ability to pass on lots of trust to others. Anytime you reference another website via a hyperlink, you will pass a lot of trust to that website. This is because you have become very authoritative. Therefore Google trusts whichever website you reference because they trust you. You will be able to pass more trust on to other websites as your website becomes trusted.
Let me give you an example. Let’s say I own a company the specialises in making films and television. The best link I could possibly get is from the BBC. This is because of how popular the BBC is and how many backlinks it has. When they backlink to me, that will pass a lot of trust on to my website. It will certainly pass a lot more ‘link juice’ to my website than a backlink from a random blog that nobody reads. Also, if the company backlinking you is in your business niche, then it holds even more weight!
There’s one more thing before we jump into the guide; do-follow and no-follow links. Backlinks can have one of two characteristics, do-follow and no-follow. If a backlink referring to your website is set to ‘do-follow’, then the ‘link juice’ is passed on to your website and it gains trust. However, if a backlink referring to your website was ‘no-follow’ then the ‘link juice’ is not passed on and no trust is gained or lost.
Ideally, you want to gain do-follow backlinks to gain trust. However, no-follow links are still really useful for generating traffic to your website. You can only get do-follow backlinks from other websites as well.
You can’t get do-follow links from social media posts. This is because, if you could, the whole process could easily be spammed and trust would mean nothing. However, the links on social media posts may still be useful to generate traffic to your website. This is especially the case if it’s coming from a popular social media account.
Now we have a good understanding of how backlinks work and what they are. This means we can get stuck into the guide for building them!
There are a few ways to build backlinks and there is no ‘get backlinks quick’ scheme. Although there is blackhat SEO which we will get into later on. But we will just focus on whitehat SEO for now because that’s what Google prefers. With that being said whitehat SEO takes work!
Creating great, free content for people to use or reference is a great way of building backlinks. It’s also the main way. Now there is also a number of ways that you can gain backlinks from content creation.
One way would be to approach blog post owners or news outlets. You would do this by saying to them that you have a content idea and are willing to write an article from them. You then create the content for them if they accept. Then you include a backlink to your own website somewhere in the article.
For example, let’s say I want to get a backlink from a popular blogger that talks about digital marketing regularly. I would approach the blogger with an idea for an article. Then I’d propose writing the article for the blogger so that they can publish it on their platform. If the blogger accepts, I would create an article about how to use Google search console for example. Then leave a link to my website somewhere in the article. Thus generating a good backlink from a popular and trusted website.
Another way to get backlinks from content creation is by creating a great infographic. If you create an infographic and everybody wants to use it then you will get lots of backlinks. This is because infographics are used by embedding a URL into a website. Therefore if the BBC want to use your infographic, they have to embed the URL of the infographic (your URL) into their web page. Thereby creating an extremely powerful backlink.
Content creation can also be utilised to create backlinks by crowd-sourcing material from experts. If you are able to get a lot of experts to create a short snippet of information for you. You can then create a large article with these snippets. You will not only make a great piece of content, but the experts who were a part of the article will likely share it. This is because experts like to be seen as experts and want to be amongst the company of them! This might be hard to do, but it is a great method you can pull it off.
List Posts are among the most popular pieces of content to be backlinked. This is because list posts are small and easy to digest pieces of content. They can be about anything and people seem to eat them up! They’re also very sharable. So get creating that top ten list!
Let’s say you conduct some research and start studying digital marketing. You discover some pretty compelling ideas as a result, then publish it! If you publish original research and data, people who are interested in the subject matter will share it and reference it.
If you think you know what you’re talking about like I do, then you should make some guides! Just like my beginner’s guide to SEO and Google Search Consoles, old and new! Did you see what I did there? That’s called internal linking. It’s a bit different to normal backlinking but I will get to it later. Creating guides are a great way of generating traffic and backlinks. Especially if they are good. You can make a guide about pretty much anything as well because there’s no such thing as a silly question. Think about how many times you’ve typed a strange question into Google!
Simply create great content! If you make great content and it gets a little attention, people will be more inclined to reference and share it. This is why promotion goes hand-in-hand with content creation.
Promoting your website and your content is really important. It’s great if you are able to make great content and products. However, they won’t be of any use if no one knows what they are or where to find them. Promoting will allow people to find your content and reference it if they think it’s good. That reference is a link. That link is authority! This is why successfully promoting your website and content is an important part of link building.
Also pretty much the same as promotion. Try and share your website with friends, family and work colleagues. Ask them to backlink your website. These people are likely to give you a backlink without having to create any content for them.
This has to be one of the easiest and quickest ways to gain backlinks. You simply search for where your content, brand or product has been mentioned on other websites. You’re looking for where your brand name has been used but hasn’t been hyperlinked. If you find a website where this happens, you should contact the owner of the page. Ask if your mention could be hyperlinked. If the owner accepts, you gain a backlink!
You can manually search through page after page for your content to be mentioned. However, that takes way too long. Alternatively, you can use software to find mentions. Buzzsumo will help you with this. You simply type the keyword, domain or topic you want to find into the search bar and it will give you a list of results that involve that keyword. This will narrow the searches down from the entire internet. There are a few other tools that you can use for this as well such as Free Link Checker.
Black Hat SEO is the dark side of SEO. Do not stray from the path of the light. The Jedi of Google will hunt you down if you do…
Blackhat SEO is a method of gaining backlinks on Google without having to do any work. Or at most very little work. How? There are many ways to do blackhat SEO. But, it just means gaining backlinks to websites in unnatural and unethical ways. When I say unethical, I don’t mean anyone is getting hurt. It’s not that dark. But unethical by computer standards… I think.
One way of doing blackhat SEO, for example, is by buying expired ownership of domains. This can be horrible for the company whose domain it was. It’s also bad news for the website linking out to that domain. If a company’s ownership of a domain expires, it goes back up for sale and anyone can buy it. Someone can find this expiry via blackhat software, purchase the domain and change the website completely. The person who purchases the domain gains all the link power that the domain has. This is because of all the links that the website had earned ethically over its lifetime. It’s also bad for the websites linking to the domain because now they are backlinking to a dodgy website!
Internal links are the links on the pages of your domain that reference other pages on your domain. Internal linking is really useful to Google to navigate your website easily. Therefore they appreciate it when you do it. A site that is easier to navigate, is preferred by Google. Thereby it will show up higher in the search results.
Internal links also pass on small amounts of link juice. On top of that, they allow actual people to view more of your content easily as they navigate through your website. If they like one piece of content, you link to another piece that they’ll click on next. This keeps traffic on your site. Internal links won’t hold as much power as backlinks from an external source. However, they are still really useful and really easy to set up.
To have a great link building strategy, content creation and promotion is your best friend. Internal links are also really easy to set up and important. Whatever you do, don’t stray down the path of the dark side. It is a dark and lonesome road that will probably end up with you being torn apart by Google. Stick to the rules and build a legitimate website with legitimate links. It may take work, but you won’t be attacked by Google. You will be recognised as a professional person. With this guide, it won’t be hard anyway! Happy link building.
Nick Brown is the founder & CEO of accelerate agency, a SaaS SEO agency. Nick has launched several successful online businesses, writes for Forbes, published a book and has grown accelerate from a UK agency to a company that now operates across US, APAC and EMEA and employs 160 people. He was also once charged at by a mountain gorilla