While you can’t directly control your off-page SEO, getting backlinks can be a stumbling block for many small business owners. In this post, we will look at easy backlink sources, and more ways to get quality backlinks to your content.
Easy Backlink Sources
There are sources of low hanging backlinks. While they may not be the highest quality links, everything helps- especially when you are just starting out.
1- Link from Another Site You Own
If you own more than one domain, make sure that you get backlinks from each site you own to the other sites that you own.
2- Backlinks from Your Friends Social Media
Get backlinks from friends and family on social media. Even though links from social media are nofollow links, the traffic that you generate can improve your site traffic and could produce indirect benefits that will create follow links down the road.
3- Post Swaps
Find other bloggers in your niche and see if you can swap posts with them with attribution of course. It is always best if the links appear high up on the page, which is why some of my guest bloggers are recognized before we delve into the content of the post.
Some SEO experts will warn you that search engines don’t like duplicate content. While duplicate content can be a problem, it is really not always that bad. After all, how many product descriptions have you seen on Amazon that are exactly the same? Sometimes, you may also have the same content but with different cities mentioned. In this example, 99% of the content is exactly the same, with only the city and perhaps an image being different. Moreover, press release and articles can frequently appear on different news sites.
There exists a canonical tag to identify the source of the content. However, it is not required. In the absence of this tag, a search engine like Google will identify the best version or URL. If another site is using your content, you will want to include it so that Google knows you are the originator and give you credit for it.
4- Submit URL to Directories
Submit your website’s URL to specific directories in your niche. Backlinks from directories are not valued very highly by search engines, so I would only focus on directories that do not charge you to get listed.
5- Links from Suppliers and Customers
Reach out to your suppliers and customers in your value chain and ask them for a link back on their website.
6- Trade Association Links
Join a trade association and get listed on their website.
Solicit Links from Other Sites
Aside from the six easier backlink sources above, you can do a link analysis of your completion to see where their links are coming from. There are many tools that can help you find a competitor’s backlinks such as Majestic, Moz, SEMRush, Ahres, and many more.
Majestic is reported to have the largest database. In fact, a free account allows you to analyze your own site for backlinks. However, the free account only provides a little bit of useful information, and you have to subscribe to their paid account to get a deeper analysis.
I personally like to use Moz Link Explorer because they offer a pretty good free version. Their free version will give you 10 free searches a month, and allow you to export a large majority of the highest-ranked links to a CSV file. Of course, the free version of Moz Link Explorer is not for professional SEO types, as they prefer the more robust tools. However, for the small business owner on a budget trying to find which sites they might approach to get links from, for the price of free, Moz gets my vote
Brian Dean of Backlinko.com is a recognized expert in getting backlinks. In a recent video on link building, he provided eleven ideas to generate backlinks. The following is a summary of seven of his ideas that you can do without subscribing to any expensive SEO tools.
7- Mine Link Roundups for Backlinks
Many sites curate articles for an industry and publish periodic posts that summarize content from other sources and provide a backlink to the original article.
My Monday #PickOfTheWeek post reviews the four best articles that I have read during the past week, as they relate to my niche of side-hustle and lifestyle businesses.
On the flip side, a site like Paper.li that has a great Domain Authority and Page Authority feature many of my posts on their site as part of their roundup.
You can find roundup sites by using a keyword that describes your niche and add “Roundup”, “Best of”, “Pick of” of “This week”.
When you find a site that is in your niche, you can often send the owner an email like the following:
Hi [site owner],
I just discovered your [roundup name] today. Pretty cool stuff. I’m reaching out because I recently published a post about [topic of post] that might be a great fit [URL to your content]. Keep up the awesome job!
8- Report Broken Links for Reciprocity and a Backlink
Find a website with a resource page or some list content you would love a backlink from.
Browse a few pages with links and look for broken links. To find broken links, you will need to enter a domain or landing page into a broken link checker. You can find them with a Google search “Broken Link Checker”, or add the “CheckMyLinks” extension to a Chrome browser.
If you find a broken link, send the owner an email like:
Hi [site owner]
I was searching [fill in the blank] and came across your checklist. Pretty cool stuff. I liked [fill in the blank] However I did find a broken link. Would you like me to share?
When they reply, send a reply back:
Hi [site owner]
As I said the post is pretty cool. I wouldn’t change anything [or add a recommendation] except for the broken link [provide title and the URL to broken link]. It would be awesome if you would consider mentioning my [fill in the blank] in your post [provide URL to the page with the broken link]. It might be a nice addition to the [fill in the blank] section.
9- Build Backlinks from Podcast Appearances
Many podcasters are looking for guests that have some type of domain experience. You can search “Podcasts” followed by the keyword for your niche to find lists of podcasters you can reach out to and let them know you are available as a guest.
You can also go out to popular podcast sites like iTunes and Stitcher and search for a podcast in your niche.
PodcastGuest is a free site that matches podcasters with guests.
10- Create Branded Strategies and Methods for Backlinks
Tools and how-to content are great ways to get backlinks. To up the game, don’t just write a post, create a tool or a process and hope people will find it. Give it a name and create a logo for it too. Then in a post that you can publish on an external site, say something like:
Hi [site owner]
I have a tool I called [insert the name you gave it] or I have a process that I called [insert name of process] your readers may find interesting.
For example, I have a model that I call the Viable Customer Model and discuss it in a video. Creating a tool or process and giving it a name is what is known as link bait, and it works wonders for getting backlinks.
Coschedule offers a Headline Analyzer and Neal Patel offers Ubersuggest. These are both tools that I personally use often and are cited by many articles and posts.
11- Become a Source For Reporters and Bloggers
Reporters are always looking for experts to cite in their stories. Help A Reporter Out or HARO is a website that matches journalists with expert resources. Being a HARO source takes some work and you have to respond pretty fast to a request. However, you can get some really quality backlinks from news sites with very high domain authority if they provide a follow link citing you as the source.
Even if they include a nofollow link, your link is placed in front of their audience. If you register as a HARO source, you will get three emails a day. Respond to them with your pitch and if accepted, the journalist will cite you as a contributor.
I discussed ways to help locate reporters using HARO, as well as three other similar sites in our post about finding Crowdfunding influencers.
12- College/University Resource Page Link Building
Backlinks from colleges and universities are ranked high by search engines. Most .edu sites have a resource page for their students. Moreover, many also have clubs that list local resources. Search operators are ways to tell a search engine like Google to narrow the focus of a query. Using a search operator, you can find colleges and universities by using the “Site:” search operator followed by “.edu” to restrict the search to only sites with the .edu extension. Then you can add your keyword for your niche.