Do I really need to state the obvious?
Yes - links back to your website help individual pages and your entire site rank better in search engines.
While this is common knowledge in the SEO community, coming up with creative link building strategies is another can of worms.
Most people take their time to write great content, then hope it's good enough to get the attention of some influencers on social media or in online forums. The truth is you need to have some rock-solid strategies to earn backlinks that don't include crossing your fingers.
Most of our sales leads here at WP Buffs find us via search engines. We probably get 5-10 daily leads, but that can stretch to 15-25 on a good day.
To make this happen, we've had to build a strong backlink profile to help our site rank in search engine results. Of course, we write valuable content, do thorough keyword research and have other marketing strategies to win new business, but winning backlinks is essential in making sure Google sees our content as authoritative.
According to Google Search Console, here's how many backlinks we have. We've almost hit 60,000 and in just about 10 months. And we've earned every one of them.
Here are the exact strategies we've used to win backlinks, some of which are old-school classics and others creative new link building strategies that have worked for us. We've been around for 10 months and over that time, we've used tactical backlink strategies to bring in over 8000 unique visitors through search. We're talking peanuts in the grand scheme of things, but it's a start and the curve is proving to be exponential.
We've proved that these strategies really work, so if you're stuck when it comes to link building, these tactics are a good start.
Beginner Link Building Strategies
1. Give a Review
An easy way to get a link back to your site is to give a review of a service or product and ask to be featured on their website. You can either make a purchase yourself or ask for a freebie in return for a friendly review.
Be sure to check the other reviews that are posted online to make sure they include do-follow links. You don't want to ask to be the one person who gets a link when nobody else received one.
Here's a link we got back from WP Like A Pro, a DA 10 website. Not the most authoritative site out there, but it's tremendously related to the WordPress work we do so this link sends good vibes to Google.
2. Guest Post on Related Websites
This is a really popular way to get links back to your site. Write a post on somebody else's blog and include a link back to your website in the by-line. Make sure you find blogs that include links back to the author's website.
You can find guest posting opportunities by copying and pasting the following search terms into Google and replacing "keyword" with a keyword specific to your industry.
- keyword “submit a guest post”
- keyword “guest post”
- keyword “guest post by”
- keyword “accepting guest posts”
- keyword “guest post guidelines”
For example, we'd search Google for wordpress "submit a guest post" or wordpress "guest post guidelines".
Something else to look out for are blogs that not only allow guest posts, but that include an author page with a link back to your site. Twice the links for the same amount of work!
By writing on the GoDaddy blog, I earn a link back to my website for every post I write, not to mention an extra link on my profile page. That's a few links from a DA 97 site. Booyah!
3. Add Your Feed to a Content Aggregator
Getting your posts added to a content aggregator doesn't have to be spammy as long as you stay up-to-date with Google search updates. If it's specific to your industry and fairly well-known, it can send link juice to all of your posts as well as real traffic to your website.
The content aggregator World of WP collects posts from all the major blogs in the WordPress space, so having my content there adds to the authority of our website. And the links don't hurt either!
4. Get Your Content Republished
Getting your content republished on other websites in your industry can be an easy way to get links back to your own site. Because you're allowing somebody else to publish your original content, simply ask them to link back to the originally-published article at the top of the post.
You do need to be a bit careful with duplicate content here to avoid any black-hat penalties. To avoid that whole mess, make sure you:
- Have your content republished on other blogs after that content has clearly already been indexed in Google search engines.
- Add an attribution link to the top (and bottom) of the post to ensure Google knows exactly where the original post is when they index this new piece of content.
- Make sure the republished article has the correct rel-canonical tag associated with it to tell Google where the originally published article is.
We've had content on our blog republished elsewhere online in a different language, which helps make the duplicate content issue with Google even more of a remote possibility.
5. Get Listed on a Resources Page
Getting listed on a resource page can be an easy way to earn a backlink. Lots of websites have resource pages where they list helpful places for their readers to visit.
Find blogs online in your industry that have resources pages and reach out politely to see if they'd mind adding you to their list.
Again, you can find resource page opportunities by copying and pasting the following search terms into Google and replacing "keyword" with a keyword specific to your industry.
- Keyword + “resources”
- Keyword + “useful resources”
- Keyword + “helpful resources"
- Keyword + “links”
- Keyword + “useful links”
- Keyword + “helpful links”
Here's a resources page where we asked for a link and got it! As you can see from the outdated logo, it was a while back.
Advanced Link Building Strategies
To be clear, "advanced" here doesn't mean that these backlink strategies are any more difficult to pull off. It means they may not work for a new website that doesn't have any street cred. Sometimes building links takes time because you have to make a name for yourself in your industry and build relationships with people before they'll feel comfortable linking out to you.
But once you've gained people's trust, these strategies will work well for you like they have for us.
6. Be Featured in a Listicle
This definitely starts happening once you start building relationships in your industry. You can find articles that provide readers with a list your website would fit into. When you come across these, you can email the writer or blog owner and ask to be included.
Once you've been around long enough, these listicles will feature you without you even having to ask!
We've been included in a few of these list articles like the one below: Where to Get WordPress Customer Service: Maintenance and Customization. Some resulted in use cold-emailing and asking to be included and others added us off the bat!
If you're cold-emailing to be included in a listicle, make sure you include all the content you want to be added. That makes it an easy copy / paste job for the editor and increases the chances you'll be added.
We've even gotten one of these listicles featured on wordpress.org, the holy grail of links for people in the WordPress space! It's a no-follow link, but it coming from a DA 100 (that's as high as it gets, folks) website so it still holds a lot of weight in Google's eyes.
7. Speak at a Local MeetUp
This one is marked as advanced because you have to know at least a bit about your industry before you start giving talks to other people in your space.
But once you have a little experience under your belt, search for local MeetUp groups that host speakers.
Once you build a relationship with the MeetUp organizers and book your slot, you can usually ask those same organizers to include a link to your website or slides in the MeetUp event.
An opportunity to give yourself some clout in your industry and a backlink from a DA 92 website? Yes please!
8. Set Up An Affiliate Program
If you sell a service or product online through your website, an affiliate program can do more for you than simply send potential buyers your way.
Each time somebody signs up for an affiliate account, shoot them a follow up email with details on how they can easily link to your website using their affiliate link to automate their affiliate marketing.
This will give other websites in your space the push they need to link to your website using their affiliate link. Not only will they send buyer-intent traffic your way but they'll shoot you a little link juice as well!
9. Get Featured in a Case Study
For people in some industries, the opportunity to be featured in a case study can easily lead to bit of publicity and even a link back to their website.
Put together a list of all the software tools you use, plugins you implement and online services provided to you and reach out to see if they'd like to feature your success story.
Sometimes you'll get featured in something published online and they'll include a link back to your site.
We were featured in a ManageWP Case Study that didn't include a link back to our site, which certainly wasn't ideal.
However, we do receive referral traffic from their site and I've been contact by a number of agencies interested in our Partnership Program so I still consider it a win.
Building backlinks is difficult and it takes time - there's no way around that. You need to be patient, build relationships in your industry and make friends before you start earning significant number of quality links back to your site.
But these strategies have worked for a small company that's only been around for 10 months. If you could earn 10,000 links back to your website in the next 10 months, that would be a huge win for you!
So take some of these proven strategies and put them to work for your website. Double down on what works and trash what doesn't and you'll be on your way.