What are backlinks?
A backlink is a link that comes from another website to yours – also called “inbound” links or “incoming” links. These connections visually could be placed in a text, as a button, or in an image; if the source is a different website than yours, it counts as a backlink.
In SEO, quality backlinks are a very significant ranking factor. If done right, it can drive traffic to your website. If done wrong though, you can risk losing your hard work and rankings.
A link is so much more than what it is on the surface. It’s an endorsement, proof that a website trusts you as a source of information.
The biggest challenge you’ll face here is actually getting that kind of recommendation and receiving high-quality backlinks.
But if you want to take your digital marketing performance to the next level, you’d better start working towards earning these backlinks to your website consistently to outdo your competition.
We’ve cultivated the most creative ways to earn backlinks in 2020.
We promise they’re 100% white hat!
Reclaim Lost Links
Keep an eye out on the media for who is actually mentioning your brand. An easy way to do this is to turn a Google alert on.
Sometimes, you’ll notice the publisher spoke about your brand but hasn’t linked back to you.
In that case, take the liberty to reach out to them, asking for a proper link attribution to the original source. It’s a win, win really – giving their audience an easier experience by allowing them to learn more about you by clicking through if they want to.
In some articles, you’ll notice recommendations to additional resources for more information. They’re usually in the Read More section or embedded in the text.
They are super valuable for your SEO practice. Google views these “contextual” links as stronger endorsements than any other link found on a page.
One way to do that is to look for articles to find prospects that are publishing content that is related to your own and have an already established Read More section.
Once you’ve identified a lead, look for contact information (email, social, form).
Pitch your study to the relevant source for inclusion, if you have value to share. Make it personal and be persuasive as to why you believe your study is worth mentioning. As per any outreach campaign, a simple but strong pitch will go a long way.
Today, users browse all their choices before making a purchase decision. One tool they do that is to see what others recommend through websites that do comparison articles.
For example, the Top 10 Social Media Marketing Tools in 2020.
Getting featured on such websites can do wonders in reinforcing your brand and earning high-quality backlinks.
It’s a fairly granted value proposition since they are usually actively seeking out content to curate into their listicle.
In other words, change your perspective on the matter. Instead of focusing only on ranking number one, try to monopolize the high-ranking blogs that exist on the front page of a search query. This is a surefire way to exponentially increase your CTR, website traffic and eventually your revenue. Not only on the tangible acquisition front but also in more invisible but equally as valuable things like brand awareness and social proof.
A resource page links to content that is important for their readers.
It may sound like this:
15 Best Free Online Resources to Learn SEO
It sounds like a link roundup but it’s different in that a resource page links to content that is evergreen. Link roundups usually feature content that is only recently published. In that sense, you’re usually asking to be in a link roundup listicle beforehand.
With a resource page, you’re pitching for the page to update their content to include you.
It usually has a lower success rate, because essentially you are asking for the page to do work in going back and updating their website to feature you.
So, to persuade them, try to slip in a little incentive.
Offer to drive more traffic to their website by sharing their piece on your social media channels.
Or fix a broken link of theirs – Which is a good Segway to our next point
Fix broken links
This is one of the easiest, most effective link building strategies out there.
Sometimes, you’ll find a website has posted a faulty outbound link. This tactic involves stepping in to help fix that by suggesting updating that link to one of your pages.
Essentially, you’re adding a ton of value to someone’s website by notifying them about the dead link and offering them a good replacement to enhance the experience of the readers.
Make sure that the link you’re providing in return is a spot-on replacement of the original.
Scour relevant pages that post a lot of outbound links – resource pages usually are great for this.
To test the broken links, a simple Google extension will do the trick.
Once you’ve found it, send the webmaster a friendly email.
Here’s a script:
I did some research online and found this page on your website: (page link)
I believe you linked to a broken link from your page (broken link)
I suggest you remove it for better user experience.
We recently published an article on the exact same topic: (article link)
I thought it might be a good replacement to swap in place of the broken link J
This tactic is recommended by many to secure links for your website.
When you guest post, you have the chance to add a link back to your site within the article you wrote and your author’s bio.
It is a great way to get traffic going, build brand exposure and relationships with authority websites that have active audiences.
The only thing we would advise is to be selective who you’re reaching out to.
Make sure if the guest post has a decent domain authority. Not all links are created equal: links straight from the body of the content is more powerful than others.
Identify your opportunity and reach out. It could sound something like this:
If you are accepting guest posts, I would love the opportunity to contribute a piece.
I’ve brainstormed a few ideas that I believe would resonate with your audience.
Here are some of my links to recent guest posts:
That last bit is important to prove credibility.
Refresh old content
If you find an article that’s been a while before it has been updated and has many publications referencing it in the form of backlinks, then you’ve found yourself a jackpot.
Simply create a fresh, more updated piece with relevant data and post the content live. Then, reach out to the publications that originally linked to the old content and inform them about your newer, better version.
Most times, you will see backlinks and social media shares as a result of your outreach within about a week.
Visuals are a great asset to earn backlinks. It’s great to experiment with them if you haven’t done so before.
Anything from infographics, templates, charts, graphs, diagrams to simplify complex concepts, to free photo galleries.
It can take time to create eye-catching visuals but it can attract a high number of links if it is interesting.
Websites are always on the lookout for them and you can be at the right place, in the right time.
To find out where your proprietary visual is being used, perform a simple reverse image search and reach out to anyone who is using it to request an attribution link.
We know what you’re thinking – yes, directories. Forget the idea that they are long gone, they are actually a great way to improve your local SEO and let potential customers who already have you in mind to find you, especially if you have a niche business.
Examples include Google My Business, Yelp, Yellow Pages, TripAdvisor.
To be interviewed and have your opinion featured as an expert on a given topic is a great way to generate backlinks.
The other way around works too! When you reach out to the experts, offer to interview them, they are most likely going to accept and share the interview’s link on their personal channels.
Ultimately, a common theme we have explored in each backlink strategy is for the goal in the back of your mind to harness a long-term relationship, instead of focusing only on the backlink itself.
You might collaborate on other projects that help you grow your brand as well.
Like a lot of facets of SEO, backlink building has been used and abused. When it comes to link building strategy, there is no quick fix. It can be easy to feel hopeless after reaching out and waiting to receive positive news.
No matter what, links remain a fundamental stream to boost your ranking in the SERP, drive traffic and get vital conversions.
Create content that adds value to your reader and most importantly, steers clear of Google penalties, the rest will come naturally.
Also Read: Voice Search SEO