I remember the day I created my first website. I thought that with a little promotional impact, and a reasonable amount of Social Media engagement, I was going to be able to attract all the traffic I needed.
I couldn’t have been more wrong. The success of a website depends on many factors. One of the most well thought out and researched of these factors centers on “earning backlinks,” a phrase coined by SEOMoz’s Rand Fishkin.
The term backlinks refers to links that link back to your site from other websites or blogs. Earning high Page Rank backlinks will ultimately provide your website with the authority needed to rank higher in the Google Search results. That is why it’s so important to craft a strategic plan of action on how to obtain these, even before you launch your website.
It’s not an easy process, but lucky for you, this guide will show you where to start and how to channel your efforts. There are vast amounts of articles on the web about creating, building, and earning backlinks. Some of these articles are spammy and others simply contain erroneous information.
First and foremost, you should create a log where you can keep track of the backlinks you are attempting to earn. There are tools that will help you do this, but I like to use a plain old Excel sheet to keep track of my efforts and their effect.
If you need one desperately, don’t fret. I made it easy for you. You can download it here.
Let’s start by identifying the different categories where you can start earning relevant backlinks. I created an info graph below that may help you visualize these.
Earning backlinks is a matter of effectively engaging in Social Media, Guest Posting, Link Bait Brainstorming, Content Creation, Engaging with relevant blogs and fixing website issues.
Earning Backlinks With Social Media
When you are just starting out with Social Media link building, it can be quite the hassle.
Let’s start off with the easy part.
Here’s a list of sites that will help you with the acquisition of relevant backlinks in order to build initial authority:
- ClaimID. This site allows you to create groups of links about yourself. This is a very useful tool and you should start setting it up toward the beginning of your backlinking efforts. Be sure to add the link to your home page or blog and then create groups of links to point to your social profiles as you make them. This makes it easier for all your Social Media profiles to be indexed by the search engines.
- Slideshare. This tool allows you to upload and share PDFs, Whitepapers, Excel files, and more in the form of a Power Point presentation. Slideshare will not only provide you with a backlink but it can also increase traffic to your website if you decide to embed these on your website or blog.
- Technorati. This tool allows you to index and rank your blog. As an additional bonus, you can claim any blogs you have to add another link, as well as your RSS feed.
- Mybloglog. This tool is similar to Technorati.
- Zillow. Although this site is mostly used for real estate agents, it’s becoming widely popular among many users.
- Last.fm. This tool will let you manage and edit your favorite radio stations while giving you a backlink to your site.
- ISSUU. This tool allows you to publish PDFs in aesthetically pleasing presentations in the forms of catalogs, e-books, and Power Point presentations.
- coRank. These tools help you keep track of the content your friends are sharing and liking. Just be sure to include the link to your website or blog. Although you won’t be able to customize the anchor text, be sure to write a bio in the “about me” section.
- Scribd. This tool is similar to ISSUU.
- Eventful. This site allows you to include, share, and create events. It will also allow you to include your personal information as well as your site address.
- Lanyrd. This site allows you to manage your event from day one. From guest lists to topics covered to Twitter hashtags, you’ll be able to update your guests on anything related to the event. You will also be able to include a link to your site and Social Media handles.
- Biznik. This is a networking site that will allow you to find similar industry experts as well as network with prospective clients. You’ll be able to include a profile of yourself and a link to your website or blog.
- Yelp. This is a site you must not ignore for two reasons. Number one is the fact that positive reviews can help you increase conversions. Number two is the fact that these will be featured on the search results on any search engine. Be sure to put a lot of focus on this one.
As you start earning backlinks, you’ll realize it’s very time consuming. At the beginning, it might be hard to spend countless hours doing outreach and thinking of creative ideas to obtain backlinks. That is why, as you get your strategy down on paper, you should start building profiles on those sites.
Use Your Photos/Graphics To Get Backlinks
It doesn’t take a Social Media Specialist to know that images and memes are booming on Social Media Platforms.
Therefore, you should consider signing up with these photo-friendly sites, which will help you create your online reputation while giving you a relevant backlink:
- Tumblr. (Use this site to create a blog and share your memes. Memes are increasingly popular on Tumblr).
- Pix Bay
Earning Backlinks From Design Work
Alternative ways to earn relevant backlinks with your creative designs include submitting your site to these CSS directories, which are mainly used by Graphic Designers and Web Developers:
- CSS Mania
- Best Web Gallery
- CSS Elite
- CSS Design Award
- Unmatched Style
- CSS Cake
- CSS Winner
- Site Inspire
- CSS Remix
- Design Shack
- CSS Drive
You can also build backlinks with Social Media using your Twitter account. Check out this article by Social Media Enthusiast, Kristi Hines, where she explains how to build high PR backlinks using Twitter.
Alternative Ways To Earn Backlinks
In the list below, you’ll find ways to increase the authority of your site using tools and research that will make your life easier.
Here it goes:
- Ezine Articles. Article Directory Sites can often be a double edge sword, but if used in moderation they can provide great visibility for your blog.
- Blog Commenting. Search high PR blogs with follow tags with these three resources:
- Promote Creative Content. Use these 88 Content Creation Ideas by Miranda Miller from TopRank Online Marketing to get your creative juices flowing.
- Get a Backlink From Copy/Paste. Tynt allows you to upload an html code on the backend of your website that gives you a backlink every time your content is cited. It’s free and easy to install.
- Know How To Find Broken Links. This can often be daunting to some people but in reality it should be a step-by-step process that is ultimately beneficial. Check out this Tactical Guide To Broken Link Building from Blue Fountain Media. It’s easy as 1,2,3.
- Tweak Other Articles. Better content usually ranks higher on the search engines. With that said, make it a habit to suggest tweaks to other people’s content in your area of expertise. Be sure to practice constructive criticism. Perhaps you’ll be able to squeeze out a link for the good deed.
- Build Relationships. Aim at joining trusted sources like the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and the Chamber of Commerce. These are sources that are seen as authoritative. Try to think of the membership fee as a cost of doing business in the long run. Chances are, you’ll end up benefiting from these powerful links. “This is especially true of relationships that start in the real world. Go to seminars and places where you can expect to find people in your industry with a presence on the Web, and start building up your network,” says Pratik Dholakiya, Director of SEO & VP of Marketing at E2M Solutions in his 10 Post Panda/Penguin Era Link Acquisition Strategies piece.
Phew! Hopefully you didn’t hold your breath. Now that you have the basis for your strategy, it’s time to put it to the test!