Everyone wants more high quality, top-tier backlinks, but not everyone has the capabilities to make it happen. Classical link building strategies such as rebuilding large but out-dated popular resources as well as modern strategies like creating amazing content and pitching journalists and bloggers are very effective, but are beyond the resources for some.
If that sounds like you, this post can help! We know budgets can be tight, and some businesses have been burned by SEO before, so let us share with you some (fairly) simple tactics to earn legitimate backlinks to your site, all on your own with minimal resources required.
Work With Your Vendors for Quality Backlinks
Let’s start with the lowest of hangin’ fruit 🙂 With this strategy, you will work with your own vendors to gain backlinks. If you already have some sort of business relationship with a person or a company, it is much easier to ask for a link, especially when you are the one giving them money.
Some companies have a page on their site dedicated to testimonials. If a vendor you work with has a page like this, you could simply write a testimonial for them and provide it to them. If they do choose to post your testimonial to their site, you can then ask them to create a hyperlink of your company’s name to your company’s homepage. For example:
2. Case Studies
Some companies post case studies on their site detailing different successes. If that is the case with one of your partners or vendors, you could propose working jointly with them on a case study that they could post on their site. This benefits them as it highlights their capabilities and if they also include a link to your website, it benefits you as well. For example:
3. Guest Blog Posts
If your vendors or partners have blogs on their website, this can be a great opportunity to obtain a link from them. If they accept your proposal to write a high-quality guest blog post for them, then you can craft something really good, and it is natural to include a link (or multiple links, as long as it is natural) in the post.
4. Client or Partners Pages
Many business websites have a page on their website which lists their Partners or Clients. It is great if you are included on these lists, and even better if that listing includes a link. Here is an example of a company that links to all of their partners:
Partners and vendors can be a great source of links because you already have a working relationship with them. One of the hardest parts about building links is establishing a reason for ‘why’ someone should link to you. In the case of your vendors and partners, this has already been established (you pay them for a service or partner with them), and thus the process is streamlined.
Analyze the Competition
There are a few different ways to analyze your competitor’s backlink profiles to look for potential opportunities for your website. My go-tos are Moz and Ahrefs. We also use Screaming Frog, BuzzSumo and Google Analytics. Sometimes certain tools miss things, so using at least two is best when trying to gather the majority of broken links.
Why do we look at competitor’s backlinks?
Because you are able to gauge your competition’s success in terms of content and it also gives you ideas of where they may be missing an opportunity or how you can follow in their footsteps.
5. Look for Branded Anchor Text that links to the Competitors Homepage
Looking at a competitor’s backlinks can be daunting, especially if they have thousands. However, if you just stick to searching for branded anchor links to the homepage, you can narrow your search. These types of links usually include things like guest posts where you can reach out to the journalist or company and offer your opinions and insight as well.
You might also find directories that are related to your industry. However, be cautious when signing up for directories and make sure the domain authority is relatively high and ideally it is very relevant to your industry.
For instance, we just began working with a large dry cleaning company recently, and we recommended they sign up for a couple of different legitimate directory sites like the first image below. However, we would never recommend a site like in the second image below.
The Difference Between Good Directory Sites and Spammy Ones
When determining if a directory site is spammy or not, it is good to ask yourself the following questions. Does the directory reject URLS and curate a quality list? This matters, because if the site accepts every URL, then it will be viewed by Google as more of a “free-for-all links” type site. Spammy sites are well known to Google and sometimes one of the most obvious ways to know if a site is spammy is if the site contains words like ‘submit link; or ‘add your URL’ – making it apparent that it was created for the purpose of creating links.
Also, look at the quality of URL’s in the directory; are the other businesses listed high-quality companies? And lastly, is there is a fee, and what is the purpose of the fee? Typically a legit fee is used to vet companies, or to add value to the business requesting a link, like technical advice, marketing help, networking opportunities, a detailed profile, etc.
Example of a legitimate directory site:
6. Research Your Competition’s Content and Then Make it Better
Finding your competitor’s best performing content can give you an insight into what people are looking for from companies like your own.
You can use Ahrefs, or a different tool I’ve enjoyed using recently is BuzzSumo. You can use this to see what your competitor’s most popular content is and create your own content, but better. Then you can see which mediums are the best to promote it on. For example, if your competition is getting more shares from Facebook than Pinterest, you know there is likely an active audience for your content on Facebook.
7. Competitor Broken Backlink Reclamation
Another alternative is to check for any broken links that you competitor has. You can do this in Ahrefs fairly quickly. Once you have the broken link, you can then contact the site and let them know, and additionally offer your services and/or additional information to better the page.
8. Find Recurring Links to Your Competitors
Look for informational and content oriented sites like Quora, Medium, Inbound.org and even Reddit that regularly link to your competitors. When you uncover these, you can determine how to add these to your own content promotion strategy. While researching, if you see certain journalists that link to your competition’s content, you can formulate how to reach out and offer your own insights and possibly new story angles for them to cover as well.
9. Create a Google Alert for Your Competitors
It’s dead simple to create a Google Alert. Just go to google.com/alerts and you will see, at the top of the page, a search bar where you can create your own alert. Type in the competitor’s name and then probably their homepage URL as well, and then choose how often you would like to be alerted.
Google Alerts are great because you will be immediately alerted of something that your competitor has done to receive a mention (and possibly a backlink). Armed with this information, you can use it to determine how you might get similar coverage and links.
Find Opportunities Unique to You
10. Reach out to your Alma Mater
If you are an entrepreneur with some notable success, it may be a great time to reach out to your college and business school (if applicable) alma maters to see if they’d consider doing a feature on you and your growing business. Features on these blogs would result in .edu links, which would be a big link building win.
11. Chamber of Commerce in Your Area(s)
Membership in the Chamber of Commerce is not only a great way to build local contacts, but also an effective means to secure a strong backlink. Joining the Chamber of Commerce in cities where your company operates would result in a backlink for each city.
12. Job Listings, if You Are Hiring
Hiring? Create a job listing! Not only will it help you find viable candidates in your area, it can also lead to backlinks on sites like Career Builder and Indeed.
Not all of these tactics will work for every company, but if you have the time to do at least two or three, you have a chance of expanding your backlink profile. Now, go get ’em!