…And 5 of the best SEO tools to manage them
Ranking, traffic, visitors, heatmaps… in a world dominated by search engine optimization, these words are as ordinary as any others.
Yet every online marketer knows that websites need backlinks to get a better ranking. Can you do it all on your own or should you choose the path of paid advertising?
We say there are some methods of getting backlinks that don’t hurt your overall search engine ranking. They’re (almost) free and anyone can use them.
1. Here, there, commenting everywhere!
We might be exaggerating, but engaging with other people in your field is, after all, as good as it gets. For one, you can learn a lot from your industry’s experts. Secondly, it never hurts to express an honest opinion about something that you know you ‘own’. Thirdly, it’s the greatest way to make friends and prove to other people that you know what you’re doing.
For IT guys, there’s Reddit. For marketers like us, there’s Growth Hackers or Inbound.org. For anyone in the world, there’s Quora. The only trick about these ones is that published links actually get old. You either hire a social media marketer and solve the whole shazzam of posting and commenting from your part, or you waste 1 to 2 hours per day to manage your accounts.
2. Fixing broken links. Of other people.
There are two main ways of dealing with broken links. Let’s say you’re in the business of selling Persian carpets. No other example actually went through my head, while I was writing this. Do you know there’s a Wikipedia webpage that thoroughly and accurately describes everything related to a Persian carpet? As any other Wikipedia page, it was developed after consulting tons of resources. And all of these references are written down in the bottom of the page.
But what if some of them don’t work anymore? And what if you’re lucky enough to have written about the same topic? In this case, it’s almost a civil duty to replace the broken link with your own.
Get a Wikipedia profile and start editing today. These tactics generated our clients thousands of monthly visits. It might sound weird, but many people actually check out those references. If you’re looking to boost your overall traffic, don’t hesitate to use this simple method.
What if someone who bought one of your Persian carpets is a blogger? Maybe the client went home and wrote about how well your rug goes with the rest of the room. Perhaps they even took a shot of it, wrote an article about it and failed to provide a backlink.
Then, the classic example goes something like this:
Had a great day today. I went over at AlabamaPersianRugs.com and got an amazing discount for the model that had just come in. See how well it goes with the rest of the living room?
Notice how AlabamaPersianRugs.com isn’t hyperlinked? What if it was? Tip – before writing to the blogger and asking if they’re willing to include a link, consider these rules:
- is the website old enough and well-ranked enough to be valuable?
- is the blog post old enough? (this could mean anything from 3 months to as old as it gets)
- are they likely to ask for money in exchange for the link?
Let’s take them one by one. To check the value of a website, use a simple tool like moz.com or alexa.com. The age of the post can be tested with a simple Google search. Lastly, if they intend on writing an advertorial and getting some extra bucks for it, this isn’t the deal for you. Google strongly disagrees with paying bloggers for promotion, and frankly, you should feel the same way. It’s always nicer to find out that people have good things to say about your business even before they’ve considered being paid for it.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you’re not entitled to offering them something, like a sample, or even a coupon for a future purchase. Be careful when you’re writing the email though, because you don’t want to force people or appeal to them in an improper way. If they want to, they’ll fix the link. If they don’t, just move on. And getting a free gift might just make them want to write about your services.
3. Curated content
If you’ve been blogging for a while and have a reasonably well-off website, you can start using curated content. Basically, you’ll write an article with a list of the posts (written by others) that most impressed you in a given amount of time. You could create a weekly or a monthly ‘column’, where you gather the best pieces of writing addressing a certain topic.
But don’t just leave those resources over there to be miserable and lonely. Tag the authors on Twitter to let them know they’ve been featured in your blog post. Better yet, write them an email to express your admiration. Odds are that they’ll respond, if they’re not too busy. Chances are they’ll even include a link towards the article somewhere in a blog post.
Furthermore, curated content is a great way of coming up with a new post, particularly if you’re going through a writer’s block.
4. Guest blogging goes both ways
I love guest blogging, and you should too! For one, it’s a great way of networking and of making friends. Secondly, it’s a safe way of making sure you never run out of fresh articles. Thirdly, it can be performed both properly and safely, so that your website doesn’t get penalized by any mystic Google algorithm.
Matt Cutts is the head of spam search at Google. According to him, backlinking will over time become less important. Cutts claims that backlinks still have a few years ahead of them before they lose their say in establishing the value of a website. Or the SEO rank, for that matter. For a great list of link types that can get you penalized, check out this Monitor Backlinks post.
Guest posting is one of the tactics that Google hates the most. It’s still a bit difficult for Google to realize if a post is low-quality and if another one’s top-notch. Most articles feature at least one link (without the ‘rel=nofollow’ attribute). That’s why the search engine will often use social signals as means of figuring out if content’s good or bad. And so, if the guest post is well-written and receives a decent amount of social media activity, it’ll be out of danger.
We’ve published guest posts before, as you’ve probably already noticed. How do we do it? First off, we’re nice about it. We never ask for too much. If you want to write a 700-words post, that’s fine with us. If you want to write a 1500-words one, yet again, fine with us. We reserve the right to edit content that’s not aligned with our values and we always give credit where credit is due. We provide one backlink towards the business the author’s associated with, and another one towards the author’s personal blog.
We never pay for guest posts, and I mean never. It’s not the money that’s stopping us, but we’re certain it’s not a healthy practice.
So how can you get bloggers to write a post for you? Start by owning an amazing website. Then look for them on Twitter, using a simple search. People who’ve been tweeting about guests posts have probably either written them or featured them. It’s really not that complicated to build a network of guest bloggers.
What’s in it for the guest bloggers?
Since you have to be nice about this (you are getting free work, after all!), always offer something in return. Our advice is to try to avoid physical gifts or any sort of money compensation.
Yet there’s a super-simple thing you can do… And that thing is to write another guest post for their blog. This way, they get a link, you get a link, and everybody’s fine with everything.
Needless to say, you have to write about something that they care about. Sometimes, you even need to write about topics that you’re not an expert in. But trust us on this – a few hours of research and you’re all good to go, particularly if you’ve written before and you actually enjoy doing it.
5. Other websites
Getting a link featured on other websites isn’t as difficult as you might think. Our advice to you is to stop dreaming about getting featured on extraordinarily well-known websites, such as Forbes. Forbes contributors get paid the big bucks to write a post about one business or the other. It might be against the rules, but they do it and they’re known for it.
We’ve put together a short list of websites you can use to generate a backlink.
If your website looks great and comes with a creative design, try to feature it in Awwwards. Anyone can submit their website on Awwwards. Based on the votes provided by users, your site might even get featured on the Awwwards homepage.
If you’re really lucky, you can become a Business2Community contributor. These guys have strict guidelines and ask for a lot of things on your part, but the return on investment is exceptional. The website has an outstanding reputation and will undoubtedly offer you some healthy links.
Lastly, looking into publishing on exploreb2b is another great SEO strategy.
Basic rules of any backlinking process
Always be civil about asking for something. People don’t owe you anything in the world. They can choose to not link to your website.
Never try to pay for anything. Work hard and use some guest posting when necessary, but mostly put your efforts into getting backlinks for having created awesome content.
Focus on building relationships with your followers and with the authors of guest posts. Nice guys get paid back sooner or later, but pushy ones are avoided at all cost.
Use some backlink checkers to make sure everything’s in order
Exchanging guest posts is great and all, but you always have to be on the lookout for ‘rel=nofollow’ links. To protect their own website, sometimes people will accidentally apply the attribute on your link. Try to speak with the person in charge of the website and make sure there’s no automatic plugin behind the issue.
To make sure you keep track of inactive links, use some of the best SEO tools:
To sum up, we’ll say that SEO strategies for getting backlinks aren’t impossible. It’s tough and you’ll need to invest some time and effort. If time isn’t among the things you have, get a marketing person and start raising your site visibility today. After all, getting backlinks needs to be an innate part of your digital content marketing strategy.
Image sources: Pixabay