Building backlinks is still the most effective way to increase SEO rankings and traffic. But you have to be cautious with how to build quality backlinks.
We’re now at a point where only “white hat,” or ethical, link building methods still work.
It’s basically impossible to beg, borrow, steal, or buy quality backlinks in a way that will boost rankings. For site owners that used to rely on shady link-building tactics, this is bad news.
But if you’re willing to put in the time it takes to earn valid links, it’s still entirely possible to boost your credibility (and rankings).
I’ll explain seven smart ways to earn legitimate, high-quality backlinks that will help show Google and other search engines that your site is worthy of high rankings.
#1- The Broken-Link Building Method
I love the broken-link building method because it works perfectly to create one-way backlinks. The technique involves contacting a webmaster to report broken links on his/her website. At the same time, you recommend other websites to replace that link.
And here, of course, you mention your own website. Because you are doing the webmaster a favor by reporting the broken links, the chances of a backlink back to your website are high.
So, to use the broken-link method, first find relevant websites in your niche that have resources pages. Find them by using these search queries in Google:
- your keyword + links
- your keywords + resources
- keywords inurl:links
For example, if I have a parenting website, I’ll search for parenting + links.
To easily find broken links on those pages, download and install the Google Chrome plugin called Check my Links. Using this plugin, I quickly discovered all 404 links.
Now, back to that webmaster: When reaching out, be friendly and introduce yourself. Tell this individual that he or she is linking to some resources that are no longer available. Always provide the exact location of the broken links, so they can be easily found.
Give some alternatives to replace those links, including your own website. Try to be helpful, not greedy to get a backlink. Often, this method will work, but there will be cases when the webmaster will refuse to link back to you.
#2- Create Skyscraper Content
Skyscraper content is a link building strategy that involves finding existing popular content online, improving it, and duplicating the backlinks.
Simply search Google for your topic of choice. For example, if you want to write a guide on social media marketing, type “social media marketing” into the search bar. The results that show up on the first page are the most popular and should have the most backlinks.
Choose an article from the first page of search results and write your own post that’s 10X better. You can make your article longer and more in-depth, add quality images that the original article is lacking, or add extra information that wasn’t included.
Your new and improved content should soar high above the existing content on search engines.
Then, use a backlink checker tool like the one from Ahrefs to discover the original article’s backlinks. Once you find all of the sites that are linking to the original post, you can reach out to those sites, introduce your superior article, and encourage them to link to your article instead.
#3- Guest Posting
It may sound like you’ll just be helping another site build their resources and generate more views for themselves, but this is very much a case of helping each other out. After all, guest posting is very different from ghostwriting. As a ghostwriter, you get no credit for the content whatsoever. But every guest post is entirely credited to the writer, not the hosting site.
Of course, this does help the host site to generate views, but that’s okay for the guest writer because more often than not it includes a backlink to your site. Guest posting is one of those cases where it’s not only about generating a backlink to improve your search engine index ranking for SERPs, which shouldn’t be your only focus at all.
This is a great way of getting your name out there, making your content available to new readers and winning increased online visibility. Guest posting, most especially for authoritative sites in your industry, builds your reputation online in a big, big way.
But it can take a long time to find opportunities to create guest posts if you go about it the wrong way. One sure means of discovering fresh, relevant opportunities is to make use of sites like Twitter. By using the search function, you can quickly find authoritative sites that are looking for guest post contributors on a regular basis. Just type “your niche” + guest post (for example “SEO” + guest post) and scan the results for new opportunities.
#4- Get Creative
If you want to speed up your backlink development process, it’s time to get creative with your strategies. Shareable content is a high-value, high-return endeavor, so why not use your creativity to start a new project and generate backlinks?
Linking to your website on various social media platforms is immensely helpful, but make sure that you use them sparingly, rather than linking to your site in every post you make. If you’re an industry expert, why not use all of your knowledge to share the work that you’ve done for other clients?
Case studies and reports on past client work or customer experiences can be freely shared on your social media platforms while demonstrating your expertise and value to potential customers.
In the same way that you let your designers and digital service providers promote the work that they’ve done for your website, you can ask that clients share the case study you developed on their project be shared on their social media accounts. Case studies also come in useful when you’re working to land a guest posting deal with a large-scale website, as it shows that you truly care about your work and are proud to share it with others.
#5- Use Directories (yes, Directories!)
Despite what you may have heard, directories aren’t dead. In fact, they are probably one of the best ways to improve your local SEO and help potential customers find your business.
Of course, I’m not talking about spammy directories that are there just for the sake of links. Those are more likely to harm your SEO performance than anything else.
The directories you need to be on are the ones people actually use — like Google My Business, Yelp, and TripAdvisor. Beyond these famous ones, there are many other general and niche directories that can help your rankings and traffic.
#6- Create Infographics
In today’s visual world infographics are one of the most popular methods to help you bring traffic to your website and gain valuable backlinks. One of the big reasons why infographics are so popular it because of the fact that it helps people to understand a subject in an easy way. Next to that, it makes sharing of the content more likely since everyone loves visual data, right?
Choose the content you want to share via an infographic carefully. The infographics you’re creating should include a unique and interesting story for your audience. Look at current trending topics, or maybe you can convert one of your top-performing posts into a more easily digestible format.
Just because you don’t have the graphic skills yourself, doesn’t mean it should stop you from creating infographics. By looking on platforms like Dribble, or Fiverr you can easily find good quality designers who can create your infographics. Don’t try to go cheap, though; you want some good quality to help increase the viral possibility and earn even more backlinks.
You do not need to be a great writer to write something great. You don’t need an English degree or a spot on the New York Times bestseller list.
You just need to know what people are looking for and give that to them. In this case, you need to explain why your link is beneficial.
I see so many sites that have excellent content, but they’re not getting links, and that’s a shame. If you follow the steps I’ve shared with you, I guarantee you that you’ll get responses (and, yes, backlinks).
Like I said, every site is always looking for high-quality content to link to. The trick is to convince sites that your content is what they’re after.
Of course, some of your requests will still get ignored or declined. That’s inevitable but by using the techniques I’ve talked about, you will get more links.
These are the strategies I’ve personally used, and I know first-hand that they work. So go out there and give it a try!