In the good old days (or bad old days, depending on how you see things), Google allowed users to sell and trade links in order to boost search engine optimization (SEO). Nowadays, marketers have to do better than just dropping coin to generate precious links on prominent, well-trafficked websites linking back to their own. This in some ways levels the playing field for smaller players without the big promotional budgets, and forces the material, not the money, to earn the nods from big fish.
So why are backlinks so important? Well, for one thing, you’re SEO soars with backlinks from highly trafficked sites. You want your backlink to appear within the actual site content, not in a sidebar or a sponsored link. You also want less competition within the third-party site. Basically, the more useful your information is, the more likely you are to get backlinks. While the old method of simply buying or trading links has been terminated, here are five ways you can get your content linked from sites with high page rankings, few links, and relevance to what you are all about.
Don’t Be a Web Wallflower
Get active on online forums and blogs, by commenting on content, sharing, recommending, and liking posts from sites that you want to earn backlinks from. Find out who your target sites are and get involved in the discussions. You can link back to your own site by popping in your URL, but the more you contextualize why your site is worth visiting in relation to the topic at hand, the more authentic you’ll appear.
Find, and Carve Out, Your Niche
A backlink from a site that shares your niche is better than one that is irrelevant. Do your research to find the target sites you want to honestly acquire backlinks from. Industry leaders, those with great on and offline reputations, and any competitor or peer that appears higher in the search engine rankings than you should be on your hit list of sites to target. Then aim your backlink strategy directly at those whom you determine to be the most valuable to you in order to make the most of your time online.
Taggin’ It Plug-In Style
Paying attention to meta data means you are controlling just how your content appears when shared through social networks. You can install plugins on WordPress sites that allow you to tag your posts and images with your site URL, titles, and descriptions when shared on Facebook and Twitter. When users click through your image or share it, they will be directed back to your website. Getting lots of links back from those big social media sites is SEO gold.
Give Your Content Away. That’s Right—Guest Blog for Success
Providing content for other websites may seem counter-intuitive when what you really want is to drive traffic your way, but think about it. Are you going to capture more eyeballs with an article in a small town newspaper, or with a letter to the editor in the New York Times? Guest blogging for a larger outfit whose SEO makes you green with envy is a great way to ensure backlinks come your way, and builds not only your rapport with that site but your own reputation as a go-to expert in your field. Digg, StumbleUpon, and Squidoo are all great places to post articles, even if you’ve already used them elsewhere, because the search engines track links to these big sites with large communities, in a big way.
Be Everywhere: Social the Hell Out of Your Media
Even if you are only creating a profile, you can generate backlinks from major sites just with business listings and brief profiles. Your listings on Google Places, Foursquare, LinkedIn, and Google Profiles allow you to pepper target keywords into highly visible searchable databases.
All of this takes time and labor, but you can cut and paste keywords and phrases that you have researched as to their effectiveness. Take these steps and Google will have a far wider spectrum of sites to draw backlinks from. There’s a whack of decent backlinking tools out there, but those of us who have been around long enough to see changes in the way Google handles linking will recognize that a backlink, honestly earned, is worth dozens that may be tossed out as spam or slapped with no-follows as the sands shift beneath the SEO landscape. A free consultation with SEO Beaver can put on the path to earning top-quality backlinks. If this is you’re your business needs, fill out the form on this page, today.