How to Generate Backlinks for Your Website
Backlinks come in all shapes and sizes, so it can seem overwhelming to think about the best way to work on creating the backlink portfolio for your platform.
How do you find the right types of sites for backlinks that are valuable for your website?
Fortunately, there are many distinct sources you can tap to find relevant, helpful links for your site.
Think of directory sites as the phonebook of the internet.
Directory sites allow businesses to create profiles with their business information and users can search these directories to find lists of businesses that suit their needs.
Most directories allow naked anchors or action-based anchors in their listings, so getting traffic from someone viewing your business’s profile is more transparent and often more accessible than with other types of anchor text. However, many directories employ no-follow links, especially those that you pay to get placed.
When looking at directories to create listings in, more is not always better. It’s best to find directories that are relevant to your industry and your business goals.
For example, if you’re an international software service, creating a profile in a local business directory isn’t likely to help further your business goals. A directory of software providers, however, might.
Save your time, effort, and money for the directories that are the most valuable to your business.
2. Guest Posting
Writing posts on a different website , especially one with an excellent reputation, does more than getting your name out there to a wider audience. Guest posts are a strong, favorite way to create backlinks on your website.
Guest posting depends significantly on the guidelines of the website you’re posting on, so be sure to check the rules before submitting a guest post carefully.
Some sites allow guest posts to do-follow links but the anchor text type is restricted. In other words, you can be limited to whether you can specifically connect with a brand mention to your website, or backlinks pointing to a page on your website can be restricted.
Website profiles, such as those on social media platforms, can provide backlinks to your site.
As with directory listing sites, you may be able to include naked anchor text when adding your website’s link. These links can be no-follow or do-follow.
If you’ve ever been reading an article online and see a link to another website right in the middle of the content, then you’ve seen an editorial backlink.
Since other website owners write content for their websites, usually news articles or blog posts, they can connect to any papers, studies, or other tools used to compile their content. When your website offers valuable original research or tools, it will draw backlinks to your website and future traffic.
The only downside to editorial backlinks is that you don’t have much control over the type of anchor text used, as the website owner determines how your link best fits into the content. Branded, naked, or contextual links are used mostly for editorial backlinks.
Donating a scholarship to an incoming college student, speaking guest at an organization 's meeting, or sponsoring a local sports team, can get you mentioned in a news article, press release, or local event calendar, earning you an acknowledgement link.
Most of these backlinks tend to be branded, naked or contextual and you will have little control over the type of anchor text used in those backlinks.
Some websites create pages of resources – links to helpful articles, informational pages, or useful tools – as a resource for their readers. If you create a page or resource that other sites find it worthwhile to include in these pages, it can earn you a backlink.
Resources backlinks are extremely valuable from a traffic standpoint. Most of the anchor text on these pages are branded or contextual.
7. Blog Commenting
If you find a relevant blog post on another website, leaving a comment can provide a backlink to your website.
Use this method sparingly, as it has become a source of spammy, low-quality links for many websites. If you plan to comment on blogs for backlinking purposes, do so only if you have something helpful and relevant to contribute to the conversation.
Many blog comment links are exact anchor, branded, contextual, or naked links. Note that many website owners make these links no-follow or might remove them after your comment, so they are not always reliable.
8. Guest Post Biographies
If you guest post on a website, they generally include an author biography at the end with information about you and your business. The author biography section is an opportunity to include a link to your website when you mention your business.
This backlink is likely to be branded, when linked from your business name, but also can be naked. Again, many website owners make these no-follow, so it’s worth asking ahead of time.
A Note About Internal Linking
Searching for and exploiting opportunities for external backlinks sometimes takes priority over building on your website a strong internal linking system. However, internal links help search engines understand better how all of your website’s pages relate to each other, and which are most important.
Linking internally to other pages on your site often helps users find what they’re searching for – so it’s assumed that user experience ( UX) is an integral component of SEO.
Look for ways to build all kinds of backlinks on your website – nude, advertised, accurate anchor, contextual, picture, variant match, and action-based – for better SEO outcomes.
The History of Backlinks
While there’s a great deal of advice and how-tos about backlink building now, that wasn’t always the case.
When SEO first developed, backlinks were pretty much whatever people made of them. The more links you could get to your website, the better.
Now that the SEO industry has grown and developed significantly (and search engines have gotten smarter) building a backlink profile requires strategy and careful attention to the types of websites you’re approaching.
The Past – The Wild, Wild West
At the beginning of the SEO industry, the goal with backlinking was to build them as quickly and as plentifully as possible. It didn’t matter if the links were low-quality or if they were on websites that didn’t have any relevance to your niche.
Backlink building often meant a variety of tactics, including:
- Spammy blog comments created using software, often the same thing over and over again without considering the content.
- Linking from irrelevant sites to gain a backlink
- Using social bookmarking sites (such as del.icio.us) to drive links to your content.
- Private blog networks (PBNs) are sets of websites created solely to serve as properties to link content.
- Link schemes or farms are designed to create as many links to and from groups of websites, regardless of the quality of link or topic relevance.
- Article spinning consists of taking an already-written article and running it through software that rearranges the words and sentences to create a “new” (but not quality) article for submission. The tactic used often is submitting these articles to Web 2.0 sites that allow for user-submitted content.
- Mass article submission, where you write one article and submit it to as many sites as possible, hoping several accept.
- Website hacking and link insertion are where people hacked into others’ websites and inserted their links.
These older methods led to websites with scores and scores of links, which helped them game the search engines and increase their rankings.
Search engines like Google, however, began to notice those tactics, which valued quantity over quality. As search engines and the SEO industry grew, the use of these old methods to create links became less important and even penalized.
Instead, search engines began to prize the quality of a link, including its relevance to both the page it came from and the page it pointed to, as well as the overall quality of both sites involved in the exchange.
The Present – Modern Link Building
Now, search engine algorithms have evolved to emphasize the quality of the content and information on a website, as well as the sites linked to from that site.
Search engines want to provide helpful, relevant information to searchers. They ensure this by boosting the rankings of the sites that help users get what they need and decreasing the rankings of those sites that aren’t as valuable.
The “Popularity Contest” – Why Relevancy Matters
Google has become something like the social atmosphere of a high school:
There are well-known popular kids, and then the sub-groups of teens who fall into different categories (drama kids, academic stars, jocks, etc.).
The “popular kids” of websites are the big-name, heavy-hitting sites, such as Huffington Post, Forbes, Entrepreneur, Facebook, CNN, and the like.
Everyone knows their names and where to find them, and they carry the most weight in the search engine rankings.
Under them come all those sub-groups. These categories are like specific industries, such as software providers, manufacturers, home remodelers, or mechanics.
Each website vies for the top spot within their sub-group despite their popularity throughout the whole “school” of the internet. Becoming popular within your niche is accomplished, in part, by making connections with the other people you “know” in your .own sub-group and, occasionally, with the “popular” people.
If you’re a manufacturing website, getting a link from a yoga studio website isn’t going to do much good for your credibility. However, a link from another manufacturing site or a big news site will.
In other words, building high-quality links from websites relevant to your content and purpose gives you little boosts and votes of confidence with the search engines, helping to improve your own site’s rankings.
The Future – Where Backlinks Are Heading
Backlinks are an essential part of a robust SEO strategy, and that doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon.
Instead, search engines continue to grow and evolve to understand user intent in searches better, helping them provide better-quality results to searchers.
By building high-quality, relevant links, you show Google how important and authoritative your website is, meaning it should prioritize your site’s position over the position of another, less relevant site.
Google will continue to move the needle towards quality of the links in the future, but with even greater emphasis on website authority and influence. We also urge our customers to consider going towards a more holistic marketing strategy, like inbound marketing.
What Are Backlinks? Do They Still Matter for SEO?