We all know that Google insists on quality content and I support that, but we all know that links play a major role in website rankings. I am tired of people saying things like, “Create diversified link profiles and build high quality links,” without telling you what is needed for the diversified link profile or where to go to build links. So, here is a list of 20 link building methods that will help you in your SEO struggles and link building campaigns.
1. Forum Posts – The most basic method of link building. Find an active forum within your target niche, create an account, add the link to your signature, and start posting.
This is good for two things:
A) It creates a link with your chosen keyword from a niche related website.
B) By participating in a forum, you can establishing yourself as authority in your niche. Well, that is if you help others and don’t spam. Regular posting in forums, the legit way, can be a great source of traffic.
2. Social Bookmarking – Using sites like Digg, Reddit, Delicious, and StumbleUpon can garner you a mass following.
Submitting links to social bookmarking sites will get you quite a bit of traffic and more interest. This means better search engine rankings. But that will not happen on its own. It’s not enough to just create these accounts and bookmark links. No, you have to engage community, find some like-minded people to follow that will follow back, and digg and like their pages. In return, they will do the same for you.
Again, you need to engage with people from your industry. No one will give you 2 seconds of their time if you are not willing to offer your time in return. The beginning is especially hard, but these two sites are a huge wealth of traffic waiting to hit your website, so invest time and effort into building connections and it will pay off.
4. Guest Posts – Consider writing guest posts on blogs of a similar niche with links back to your own content.
This is one of my favorite methods of link building. You get an in-content link, and if you publish your post on a website with high traffic like Famous Bloggers, you can get more exposure. Like with everything else, connect, engage, comment, and offer more and more. These few examples should give you a hint that social interaction is the key to website promotion and link building.
5. Link Bait – Write an article people will want to link to. Something that’s catchy and useful for your niche.
This is easier said than done! Link baiting is actually an art on its own. Doesn’t matter if we are talking about articles, apps, widgets or infographics, they are the holy grail of link building. For starters, try to write something that has quality and really helps people. Spend some time doing research and write something unique, and you will have your very own link bait. Of course, the power of your social connections is what will make it viral, so if you are a new blogger it will be really difficult for you to try this method. But in the end, every single article can be seen as link bait.
6. Linking to Others – Others in your niche can help increase your link building efforts by linking back to you if they see you’ve linked first.
Linking out is a great way to gain links. Mention of people and blogs from your industry in your blog posts can actually get you a few quality backlinks, so don’t be afraid to link out. Also, link out to major authorities in your industry; show Google and your visitors that you know what quality is and that you will gladly tell others about it.
7. Link Exchanges – Link exchanges work similar to the idea above, but the approach is more direct.
People either avoid link exchanges or overdo it. Like everything else, this one needs a bit of moderation. Find several highly related websites from your niche you can relate to and you can freely exchange links. No harm no foul. Don’t skip this step, but don’t exchange 50 links. Be moderate. Also, you can go for reciprocal, 3 way or even 4 way link exchanges.
8. Link Directories – People think that submitting to link directories is pretty much the bottom of the barrel in terms of quality link building.
Wrong. Quality niche directories can give you a powerful link boost and will spice up your link profile. Don’t skip this step. Like link exchanges, find a few authority directories in your specific niche and get listed there. But don’t go around submitting your website into every directory you find.
9. Free Templates – This one is a little harder but can provide you with great results. Links in the footer to your content go up on any site using the theme, whether it’s WordPress, Joomla, etc.
This is not a link bait and it is. A good theme on its own is a link bait and will get links, but what I am suggesting here is to create free themes and templates that you will offer the community to use, for free, as long as they keep the link in the footer of the template intact.
10. WordPress Plugin – If you’re a coder and you create a plugin that people have a need for, it can bring you some decent traffic if the plugin proves to be useful.
This speaks on its own – a link bait and not, just like a theme. But this is for advanced users with some significant tech skills.
11. Contest – Promote yourself with a contest offering prizes for people to enter. Tell them to spread the word. The more participants you have, the more links will be spread.
This is a great way to get people to spread the word about you and to get some natural links. But you have to find a good idea for the contest, which is not hard. This is one of the definitive must use link building and website promotion tactics.
12. Blog Network – Time consuming, but creating a blog network linked to your main blog to help promote it can be one way of building links.
Or, you can join plenty of existing blog networks and engage with bloggers there. Similar to social networks, but highly targeted.
13. Paid Reviews – If you have a product, offer to pay bloggers to write a review about the product.
Or don’t pay – you can get free reviews by offering your product for free or with a grand discount, which is a promotion on its own. Offer to give your product or service away for free in exchange for a review with links to your website.
14. Giveaways – Giveaway some of your product for free. People will grab it and link to the site.
Similar to reviews, but you are not asking for anything in return, which may prove to be more beneficial or less. It all depends on the level of promotion and the buzz you create in social circles.
15. Become An Authority – Write on topics people need to know more about in your niche. People will link to these articles.
Everything leads to this. Every article, forum post, tweet and everything you did will lead to this point. But this is one thing not everyone can do and it certainly won’t happen over night.
16. Web 2.0 – Create a Squidoo lens or HubPages article that details products or information in your niche. Make sure the lens includes a link back to your own website.
Squidoo and HubPages are great places to show others that you are in fact an authority in your niche, and also to connect and engage with more and more people. I just got around to this, but links from these web 2.0 properties can prove to be very powerful. You just think up the quality of your content, and no Google update will worry you.
17. Competitive Linking – Find blogs and sites where competitors have linked their services and products and link yours there as well.
This is plain old competitor research, but instead of contacting sites and asking for links, you look for membership sites, profiles, and places where you can list your services. This is very easy to do. Just follow-up on your competitor backlinks, and you will find plenty of these free link opportunities.
18. Blog Comments – This one is pretty much like forum signatures. Find blogs with content the same as yours, leave a link to your website in the comments section where allowed.
Sounds simple and it is simple, but in order to gain the most, you need to offer a useful comment. Don’t go around with “great post” and “love your work” type of comments. Offer something; give a real opinion, positive or negative. But comment on the article in question, and you will get noticed and that link will be clicked on.
19. Hire a link builder - The above methods take a lot of time and expertise. Hiring someone with the knowledge to do it for you can be more effective than doing it yourself.
If you have the funds and wish someone with experience to build links for you, hiring a link builder or an SEO company is the best option you have. The only part that is tricky is finding someone who is a good link builder and offers legit link building services and not spam links. I would recommend looking through SEOmoz marketplace for that.
20. Sponsor A Cause – Know of a charity drive that’s beneficial to your niche? Announce your sponsoring of it and people are sure to take notice.
Again, if you have money, this is a great way to gain some authoritative links from trusted domains and organizations. Most companies will link back to you under their list of thanks, so this is always a great way to get quality links without actually buying links. I would advise against it unless you know very well what you are doing.
So there you have it
20 ways to build links and what to look for. Some of these methods can be used by the absolute beginner, while others require some experience and technical knowhow, but you will get there. Remember that in online or brick and mortar business, you need to have a plan and something to look forward to. SEO is the best way to go about getting some serious traffic in the long run, so don’t skip link building. By all means, of course, use everything you can, including social media marketing, PPC, and offline efforts to bring traffic to your websites.