Traditional Sources of Backlinks that Still Work
While having your readers build backlinks for you is the ultimate goal, it’s not something that you can rely on. This is especially true when your site is new and finding its audience. No one can share your content if your page is hidden deep in Google’s search results!
Although the rules of SEO have changed somewhat in the last few years, many old backlinking strategies can and will still work if you are careful about applying them:
- Article marketing. Instead of posting spun articles on dozens of free sites, though, focus on posting one high-quality, informative article on a popular, well-respected website in your niche. Place your link in your author biography or, where relevant, reference your own blog posts by their title rather than using keywords as anchor text.
- Guest posting. This is similar to article marketing, but it uses blogs rather than article sites. Essentially, you will create a blog post for another blogger to publish. That post will contain a link back to your website, whether within the blog’s text or as part of your biography. For best results, find a popular, well-traveled blog in your niche. Aside from providing a valuable backlink, guest posting can help get your work in front of a fresh audience, and you may gain blog subscribers this way.
- Forum posts. Use forums within your niche to build up your personal authority on a subject rather than spamming your link. People will come to see you as a helpful, knowledgeable person and will seek out your website for more information. Keep a link in your forum profile or signature space.
- eBook publishing. Self-publishing an ebook is a relatively new but very valuable method for building your audience and generating links back to your site. The book doesn’t need to be very long, especially if you’re offering it for free. Take the time to create valuable content worthy of sharing, and then post the book to a site like Scribd that will allow you to upload PDF files. You can also self-publish an ebook to Amazon or Smashwords. This allows you to link to your site from the book itself as well as your author profile.
- Video sites. Youtube, Vimeo and other sites that allow users to create and post their own videos can be valuable in gaining visitors and building links. Keep the video short, entertaining and useful. The more value the video gives to viewers, the more likely they’ll be to share it. Add your backlink to the video’s description and your profile page.
- Question sites. Places like Yahoo Answers and Quora serve a dual purpose. One, they function like forums in establishing you as an expert in your field. Two, they give you insight into what questions are being asked about a given topic, giving you inspiration for rich content for your site. Make accounts with links to your site in the profile, and use these accounts to answer questions related to your niche.
- Resource pages. Link directories are not as valuable as they once were, but they can still be effective backlinking tools if the directory rests on an authoritative website. Look for a site with a high page rank and lots of stellar content, and see if there’s a “resources” page or similar link list that would match your site. For example, if your site sold aquarium supplies, you might look for fish enthusiast sites that list resources for people building their own tank setups.
Your goal is to use these backlinks to show that your own site is informative and authoritative. You want to establish your authority in your niche and build trust with readers. Make this your primary objective as you seek out backlinking opportunities. The page rank boost of having your link scattered across the Internet is a secondary benefit that will come naturally as you build your brand.
If the idea of posting valuable, original articles on high-authority websites seems daunting, don’t worry: You won’t need more than a few of these articles to really reap the rewards. Today’s SEO values quality over quantity, so a careful strategy will be much more effective than a shotgun approach.