Acquiring backlinks, which are hyperlinked text or images from other websites pointing back to one of your website pages, is still a crucial part of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Links to your website are essentially a ‘thumbs up’ vote telling the search engines that people think your site is reputable and worth visiting.
The more ‘votes’ you have the better – and not just any vote – the more authoritative and quality the vote you get pointing to your website, the better!
After the Penguin update from Google, search engines are on the lookout more than ever for spammy link building and irrelevant links pointing to your site.
No longer can you hire a sleazy SEO company that will ‘build’ you 1000’s of links from irrelevant sites from Russia, China or India to give you a short term boost in the search engines. Be wary of being sold this tactic.
These ideas and strategies are long term, and if you manage to implement all of them, your website will become the powerhouse marketing engine your business needs!
30 Innovative Ways to Get Backlinks and Therefore More Traffic to Your Website
Ok, lets get started:
- Start guest blogging – This is perhaps the most effective of the tips in this article. Start by publishing quality content onto other popular websites whose audience is relevant to your business or industry.
- Promote contests – Begin promoting contests where participants are encouraged to post their entry onto their own website (e.g. design or writing contests) and provide a link back to your site. Also, incorporate a rating/voting system so that the entrants can send their family, friends, and supporters back to your website!
- Utilize social media – Broadcast your content and contest on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest and be sure to link back to your contest web page.
- Advertise on the radio, TV, or in local papers – Usually, these channels have a complimentary website allowing you to place a banner image, or at the very minimum, a text link back to your website. Some examples are: The Coffee News, The Sherwood Park Independent, Metro Edmonton, Shine FM
- Write a magazine article – Most printed magazines also have a website component where they replicate the article and provide links back to the author’s website. A good example is the Alberta Construction Magazine.
- Accept guest written articles – Just as you can guest blog for another website, you can also accept guest writers onto your website and ask them to promote their article via their website, emails, and social media that link back to your website. Make it easy for them by giving them the embed code they need to just copy and paste to their website or social media!
- Start socializing online – Start leaving relevant and educational comments on online articles or blog posts. Although this is not a surefire way to get link juice from Google, leaving a useful and engaging comment on an online magazine article, newspaper article, or blog post along with your name and website link can amount to significant traffic from that venue. An associate who left a comment on an article on Alberta Venture Magazine’s website saw that the comment sent a significant amount of referral traffic back to his site!
- Build citations – A citation is a mention from another website which includes your Name, Address and Phone number, also referred to as NAP. This is not necessarily a valuable link (in terms of SEO), although you are often able to provide one, it is still a critical aspect to Local SEO for small businesses. Learn more about citation building from this excellent resource by a Whitespark.
- Join online industry directories – For example, if you provide products and services to the Oil and Gas Industry, there are many directories you will want to get a link from, such as Rigzone.
- Join a networking group – Many networking associations like BNI or the Chamber of Commerce have business directories on their websites where they will list your company and provide a link back! Examples are: Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, BNI Alberta North.
- Sponsor a not-for-profit – They generally have a website that thanks sponsors, and on top of providing a backlink, they usually include a paragraph describing what you have donated to them. You can see examples here: Embrace Children’s Charity, Breastfriends Dragon Boat.
- Create great shareable content – An obvious one for sure, but not enough business owners do it! I suggested that my photography client, Ellen V Photography, add a page on her site listing some of the great venues around town where she enjoys and recommends taking photos. This one web page has received quite a few unsolicited backlinks from other bloggers. Ellen’s evergreen article can be referenced for years to come and is an example of great shareable content!
- Join forums, Q&A sites, and LinkedIn discussion groups – Become a member of online groups where your target market hangs out and start contributing to the conversations. Do this by answering questions and providing value to the discussion. Most of these sources have a spot to leave a signature where you can include your website. Be sure to use a URL that points to a relevant web page!
- Add a business directory to your site – Then you can ask the associates listed there to link back to your page from their website or email signature!
- Add a job board – Provide a widget or shareable code so that those posting the job can add the posting to their website. (Please note: this tip may not be practical for every business industry.)
- Create and share infographics – This is a hot and trendy, highly visual way of sharing valuable information. Collect some pertinent business statistics that are related to your industry and have your graphic designer create a visual representation of the data! Check out some examples on my pinterest board.
- Have a separate web page for each client project – Document each client project or case study, including a Before and After write-up for each of your clients. You can then ask your customers to link to that page from their website!
- Provide testimonials to vendors and suppliers that you admire – Give the testimonials in .html format so they can easily copy and paste it onto their website, including a link back to your website!
- Build calculators and other cool tools/widgets – Tools like a mortgage rate widget, mortgage calculator, price of gold or silver, a top 10 list for your industry – basically anything of value will work! Just make these tools shareable widgets by providing easy to implement code elements for other webmaster. Other examples include: ROI calculators, energy efficient calculators, weight loss tools, and productivity calculators!
- Create PDF guides – Come up with an education guide, related to your industry, that will help your target market learn or answer questions they may have. These guides do not have to be directly tailored to your service offerings, but could speak to the market you are after. An example may be a wedding photographer writing a guide about good proposals for men. You can even co-write this guide with strategic alliances and then both of you can promote the guide as well as present it to other webmasters who may be willing to share it with their relevant audience.
- Win awards – There are many business awards given away each year and the groups presenting the awards will have a website where you and your business will be featured, including a link back to your website.
- Get interviewed – Whether it is for an online profile, a podcast, or a local magazine, you are providing content to the publisher and they will reward you with a link back to your site!
- Join local shopping directory sites / shopping centre websites – There are hundreds, if not thousands of ‘spammy’, low quality business directory sites out there so I am not talking about those. However, there are quality, local sites talking about businesses in their area, which are great for back links and exposure. If your business resides there, make sure they have your correct web link and business profile! Some examples are: Shop Currents of Windemere Edmonton or 124 Street Shoppes in Downtown Edmonton.
- Ask for a product review – If you sell products, like a book or a foodie item, or even if you own a restaurant, ask bloggers or magazines if they would be open to reviewing your product. Send it to them for free, and if they favour it, they will write up a post on their website with a link back to your website. An example would be to host a VIP party and invite all of the food bloggers and others in the media to come out to your restaurant. Wine and dine them and ask for feedback. Follow up by saying you can be available for an interview or to provide quotes if they need it!
- Ask for beta testers – If you are a software company, ask your target market to use and review your application in beta mode and provide feedback. They may share their results on social media or onto their own website!
- Post onto classified ads sites – Kijiji or Craigslist, HomeStars or Angie’s List are great sites that people often go to and search for products or services. Make sure you have an ad there and a link back to your website.
- Ask your customers for it – Just like you would ask your customers for a referral, simply ask them to place a link to your website from their website if they are happy with your service! If you have a referral program, you will want to give them a link tagged with an ID with which to track visitors from their sites.
- Ask a competitor / strategic alliance to link to you – This one sounds a little crazy, but here’s the logic: you probably respect some of your competitors who offer different services than you. If you get them as a strategic alliance, you can both offer clients a wider array of service. Here is an example, many people look for boudoir photographers every month, if your photography firm provides this service, approach your respected competitors (who do not provide this service) and ask for a link, and thus referral, from their site.
- Link to other blogs – This is the Giver’s Gain philosophy. By linking to other complimentary sites and articles, you could get the attention of the owner and compel them to add a link back to your website!
- Publish press releases – Underused, but a fantastic way to get your event or other newsworthy business out to the media and to the many websites that syndicate press releases!
What about you – do you have any strategies for getting quality backlinks to you website?
Then please leave a comment below!
Here are some incredible posts with more great backlinking strategies and ideas: