I love discussing how to earn brownie points with Google. We need to learn what Google loves in order for Google to give us the time of day. In case you haven’t heard, I have a Periscope channel, and I’ve been scoping on this important topic of what Google loves. On my periscopes, I often joke around that Google is like a high-maintenance girlfriend and that we want to establish a long-term relationship with and gain its trust. We don’t want a one-night stand with a quick high placement on rankings, which will be temporary, where we can be easily dropped at the curb at the first opportunity if Google sees our site as distrustful. One factor that is still important in the world of search result ranking: backlinking.
Backlinks help Google determine what our website is about and how trustworthy our site is. Getting other websites and blogs to link to us is like getting votes of confidence, and those votes add up. Let’s take a look at how we can start to get backlinks for our small websites and blogs. Read on.
What is a backlink? A backlink, also known as an incoming link or an inward link, is when another website owner links to you by adding your business name or a related word to their own content, clicking on that chain-looking icon (a chain link, get it?), and adding our url. You know how this works because you do this while blogging, too. The goal is to get others to do it in their own blogs linking to us.
In the past, Google loved links to sites, any sites, independent of where those links were coming from. Many experts and big companies took huge advantage of that and paid to have their links added to other pages. Once Google made their big update, these companies got into major trouble, as those links were no longer valid and actually started working against them. Why? Because the first thing you want in obtaining backlinks to your site is relevancy. The more relevant the originating site is to your topic where it links to you, the better. That means websites with a higher authority in Google’s eyes, and with the higher rankings that go along with it, are the ideal place to obtain a backlink from. So, do your homework before working on your backlink strategy.
- Review sites and online directories are easy locations you can get a backlink from that Google views as trustworthy. Therefore, it’s sensible to get listed on Google Business. Did you know that if you’re a blogger and not a local service provider, you can still submit your business to Google? You do so by submitting as a brand. And did you also know that if you’re a service provider, but work from home, you can sign up to conceal your physical address, yet show a zip code for the areas you service? So there are no excuses for why you’re not signed up to Google Business yet.
Next, you should sign up on Yelp. I dislike their paid services and their review portion, but I’ve gotten inquiries through their free service, and they also have good Google JU JU. Perhaps your industry has specific directories or review sites that you should be listed in. If you’re are a wedding photographer, this would be WeddingWire and The Knot. Then you should go to moz.com/local and look for more places to list your online business. It’s a process that can take time, as you will need to create an account and set up your listing, so start with few more popular ones.
- Press Releases. I’ve blogged and periscoped about how companies do press releases and PR more to get links than to get the actual press. Since many media websites have huge authority with Google, gaining a backlink from there is like mining a gold nugget. If you’re new to getting press for your business, check out this press related blog post and check out this periscope video I did on the topic.
- Check backlinking opportunities by looking up where your competition is getting links from. Since backlinking can be an important ranking factor, one way to move up your Google rankings with your desired keywords is to see who is currently ranking well for those same keywords. Once you find them, then you can look up who’s linking to them and see if you can get a link from that website, too. Perhaps it’s a review site, an online directory site, or a site you can submit your work or a guest article to. You can view links that your competition’s getting by using sites like SEMrush, BuzzSumo, Backlinko.com or Open Site Explorer. You can even use Pinterest to check on your competition to see what pins are being repinned from their blogs most often, so you can create similar (or even better) content for pinning.
- Create great content. Truly, the best way to get great backlinks is to create excellent blog articles so people will want to link to you without you even asking. This is a hard task to do if you’re a small blogger or if your blog is focused more for your current clients. I recommend you rethink your 2016 blogging strategy and start being more of a resource to your target audience. When you give advice, offer resources and provide great content. Folks will share your work on social media, repin, and even link to you. If you need help optimizing your blog and and learning how to do content posts/pages then check out my WordPress SEO Class which starts in just 2 weeks.
- Create an awesome infographic. SEO experts know how a great infographic can fly around the web gaining new links to its originator, so create an infographic in your niche, then blog it and share away. Ask for folks to share that infographic. You can submit it to infographic directly to blogs who you would think would benefit from sharing the infographic with their audience or submit to places that accept infographics. For a full list, check out this awesome blog post by Modern Marketing Partners.
- Have a great page title! This is a strategy I learned in this awesome SPI episode where Brian from Backlinko.com shares other great ideas for backlinking strategies that work. One thing Brian recommends is writing a catchy title for a better click-through rate. When a user does a search, Google looks at which search results are getting more clicks than others. If one particular result (let’s say, for example, the 8th result) is getting more clicks than the 5th result, then that result will be moved up as Google takes into consideration that a specific result is getting more clicks than others. So, write a great blog post title to go along with your good SEO plugin. The plugin usually uses the blog post title as a default for the page title. Remember, the page title is what appears above the URL and and is what appears in blue in Google results. Write a great page title that will make users want to click.
- Guest post with caution. This used to be a great backlinking strategy, but now Google has frowned upon guest posting for the purpose of obtaining a backlink from a site. Being featured online and getting a link somewhere else can still get you a backlink, yes, but it’s better on relevant blogs. Guest posting can be a good option if you sell products and get influencers to review your product. You can consider establishing a relationship with a fellow blogger that has a high authority on Google, and then you both offer each other value. Another mini-guest-post idea is to offer product testimonials. You offer the owner a review of their products or services, and they can link to you on their testimonials page.
- Get Social. I love this backlink blog post by Search Engine Land with their tip about sharing your blog posts on the social media platforms that you use, as well as submitting your blog posts to places like Reddit, StumbleUpon and GrowthHackers.
- Comment on blogs and forums. This seems to be a bit of a grey area, but it should be more of a natural practice then a specific backlink strategy. What I mean is that Google is smart enough to know you’re only on a comment rampage to gain links back to your site, and also, many sites also add a no-follow link, preventing you from getting a backlink anyway. I recommend you being naturally active on niche blogs and forums, and be authentic and valuable in there. The more of a resource you are in these places, the more likely you will connect with people in a natural way, giving you new eyeballs for your target clients, plus traffic and links to your websites and blogs.
- Ask Fuse. Yup that is me. You can be featured on my blog with a link back to your site by filling out the Ask Fuse form on my sidebar here. I may just pick your question to answer in a blog post and link to you.
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