So every smart business owner wants their website to come up at the top of page 1 in Google every time someone puts in a search to find the service they provide because they know over 90% of people will use one of the businesses listed there.
Who wouldn’t want to be found online exactly when people are in the right frame of mind and actually searching for the service you provide and are ready to buy (BTW this is why SEO will always be superior to paid advertising!)?
But there are two things you got to get right if you want to get to the top of the search results.
The first is easier (though not easy) because you control it and that’s getting your website properly SEO optimised (This is called on-page SEO).
And the second crucial part is getting other websites to link to yours so these links (backlinks) are a powerful signal to Google that your website is popular and has some clout.
If nobody is linking to you, Google figures this business is small potatoes, nobody’s talking about them or linking to them, so they can’t be any good.
I’m not saying that’s true or fair. I’m just telling you how it is.
Links are votes of popularity, but the problem is getting good quality ones can be hard to get and what used to work a few years back doesn’t really work anymore.
But there are still some really smart ways you can go about this and I’m going to show you my seven favourite ways of building some powerful backlinks from respectable and trusted websites that are going to make you look like the most popular kid in school in the eyes of the almighty Google.
More quality backlinks lead to higher rankings in the search results, which means more traffic, leads, enquiries, sales and customers.
And when I say these are my favourite strategies, I mean these are the ones that I know work well.
So let’s start out with some really easy ones and then I’ll get to a few more advanced tactics later on.
In fact, I’m saving my number one favourite link building strategy for last, so make sure you hang around for that.
#1: GOOGLE STORIES. So how to get backlinks for free? Well, the first one is super easy and that’s just using Google Stories as link bait. This basically just involves a really simple WordPress plugin put out by Google themselves which lets you create embeddable stories with multiple slides, images, text areas and, you guessed it, links.
These are still really underused right now and the way I see them at this point is almost like an updated version of the infographics that was super trendy about 2 years ago.
What I used to do was create an infographic, usually something along the lines of the top Local SEO trends of that particular year and make it look really nice and then get it out there in Facebook groups or SEO blogs making it available to people.
I’d write up a short unique text post to introduce it and I would ask for a link back to my site inside the author bio.
Infographics don’t have the same power as they once did, but a well-done Google story that can be embedded with a link back to your site can also be shopped around to relevant groups and blogs in your niche.
Offer up a unique introduction to each one (write it in a different way for every single group/blog that accepts it so they’re all unique to each other).
#2: GUEST BLOGGING. If you want to know how to get backlinks for free, this is another great one that is tried and tested and all you have to do is contact any niche-related blog out there and you say ‘Hey, I’m going to write a great article for you to add as free content on your site (Blog owners are ALWAYS looking for new content) and you guessed it again, you get a link back to your site in the bio section.
So the problem with this free link building strategy is that it’s harder than it used to be because blog owners are bombarded by these requests, so you have to make sure you and your content stand out.
Do your homework on the blog first and go the extra mile. If you show a genuine interest in their blog and offer great content, they’ll snap you up.
You can also offer to update a post they already have on their site that used to get a lot of traction but now needs updating. This is a powerful SEO tactic that any smart blog owner is aware of and would love some help with.
So have a look for any old out-of-date article that you could either rewrite completely to be relevant again or if it just needs a light updating.
Pitch that to the blog owner because it’s obviously a topic they thought was worth publishing and ask for a simple co-author credit in the existing bio.they
#3: NEWSPAPER SOURCE. Here’s another way of how to get backlinks for free. I love this free link building technique because it really is easy and it simply involves helping a reporter out.
So you know when you read an article where it features a quote from someone, normally an expert on the topic of the article, well that expert can be you!
Trust me, this is way easier than you think. All you need to do is contact your local paper, who are always looking for new stories or experts to comments on stories and just make yourself known. It really is as simple as that and it’s amazing that more businesses don’t do it.
You can also go to a website called HelpAReporter and sign up as a source for free. They’ll send you daily emails that will let you know who’s looking to feature someone like you in their story.
You have to respond quickly to be considered because a lot of people are probably responding and you’re not going to win them all, but you can get some really great links and publicity this way on some very reputable websites.
I’ve been featured in UK national and regional papers using this technique and it works really well.
#4: BRAND SEARCH. The next way to get backlinks for free is really easy. You go online and look for any unlinked mentions of you or your brand and just request that a link be inserted.
Obviously, this is only going to work with more established businesses rather than a new startup, but it’s always worth checking for some free links.
Just do a search for your business name and every time you see it listed on any page it comes up on, but there’s no link on it just manually, reach out via email (or social media) and politely request that it be linked and that you’d really appreciate it.
It definitely helps to be really nice when making these requests 🙂
#5: PRESS RELEASE. So now we’re getting onto the linking strategies that are a little more involved and slightly more difficult to pull off, but these are definitely worth talking about because I’m betting at least one of these could get you thinking that it is actually a great fit for you and your business, so let’s look at another way at how to get backlinks for free.
So, a great way to get a lot of links at scale is to do something or create something that’s actually newsworthy and then put it out to the world in a press release.
There are definitely a few ways you can think about this. First of all, ask yourself: are you doing something differently than it’s usually done or could you do something in a different way?
To help illustrate this, I had a client who was a wedding band owner who worked with a local charity and he’d work it out with some of his newly married couples that he would have all of their floral centrepieces from the wedding donated to this charity. They would repurpose all those arrangements for sick patients who are in the hospital who didn’t have anyone visiting them or bringing them any flowers or anything.
That’s exactly the kind of human interest story that could really get some traction with local news outlets and maybe even get picked up by the nationals as well.
This really works, but hardly anyone is doing it. Why do you think people like Richard Branson keeps getting in the papers doing some goofy stunt? Free publicity baby!
So have a think about how you could create a human interest story that’s linked to your business and create a press release or just contact your local paper direct. There’s always on the lookout for the next story as they have to fill their paper every single day.
#6: AWARDS. This may not be a good fit for everyone, but if your industry has any awards that you can enter, you can get some really great links that way.
Now this one may not technically be how to get backlinks for free, as you’re obviously not guaranteed to win and most of these awards cost money to enter, so it’s not for everyone, but the publicity and links the winner can get can be well worth the time and money. You’ll have to decide whether it’s worth it for you.
#7: PODCAST GUEST. Finally, we’ve come to what I promised you was my number one favourite link building strategy and that is appearing as a guest on podcasts.
There are several reasons why I love this one. First of all, you can always ask for a link back to your website in the show notes and secondly, there’s no more powerful way of putting yourself out there as a true expert in your niche without having to create your own podcast or youtube channel.
Just reach out to the hosts of the podcasts in your niche and just let them know you listen to them, you’re a fan and then, and here’s the really important part, give them three solid topics or episode titles that you could come on and cover as a guest on the show and why that would benefit their listeners.
There are also free websites you can sign up with that are going to connect you with podcasters who need guests, but just so you know, those are generally going to be newer lesser-known shows, but they’re a great place to start and get known.
Practice your topics and your messaging on the smaller shows first, building up your speaking skills and your confidence and then pitch yourself to some of the bigger players out there for some even more powerful links.
So if you’ve ever wondered how to get backlinks for free, here are 7 great strategies you can use to build trust and authority with Google and start ranking your website higher in the search results.
So I hope you found this How To Get Backlinks For Free post helpful. Check out our next one, which will be out soon.
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Pete Skuse (The SEO Guy)
Plymouth SEO Services – Let’s put your website to work for your business