If you want traffic for your site you need to get backlinks. Link building will be the most important thing you do as part of the optimization of your site. If you read the last part of this series you should have a better idea of what you want to look for in a backlink. Knowing what to look for is one thing, but I’m sure you want to know where to look. As promised here are some tips for where you can get backlinks for your site.
Once again I’m going to start with the idea of providing good content on your site. Content that people naturally want to link to should be the backbone of any link building you do. Naturally links are also the best and easiest kind since other than providing the content you won’t need to do anything for the link itself. While it won’t happen overnight this is ultimately going to be the way to get more backlinks for your web pages and give you the edge over the competition. Before people can start linking to you naturally they will need to know you exist of course so getting a few backlinks on your own is still where you want to start.
You probably know about the Yahoo directory and the DMOZ, but what’s after that? Actually there are tons of directories and more seem to be springing up every day. Not all are going to be great directories, but most are relatively easy to submit your site to. Some of the larger directories like the aforementioned Yahoo and DMOZ can provide great links to your site, but some will charge for the listing like Yahoo and some will be difficult to get into like the DMOZ. Not to worry. No one link no matter how good it is will make or break your site. Decide if it’s worth the expense for the Yahoo link and submit to DMOZ and move on to the next directory.
Niche directories on the topic of your site will typically be better than general directories so those are what you ideally should be looking for. Niche directories should contain categories that are about your site. You can find directories easily enough by searching for them. Pick your favorite search engine and try some of the following searches:
- “your keyword” + directory
- “your keyword” + “add url”
- “your keyword” + “add site”
- “your keyword” + “submit url”
- “your keyword” + “submit site”
You can play around with different ways to say “add url” and even vary your keywords. You can even try the same searches at different search engines. Some of the results returned will be pay directories, but often many will be free. This isn’t going to be a fast or easy way to get links. It will take time to perform the searches and check the results pages to find the form on the site. And you still need to submit the form as well. It can be very tedious so my advice is to do this a little at a time. I like to spend an hour or two during the week searching and another hour or two submitting. Set a goal for yourself like 10 or 20 submissions a week and just keep at it. It will take awhile to build links this way, but in general your site wil be accepted. Also keep an eye out for people publishing lists of directories in forums.
Speaking of forums they can be a very easy way to get backlinks for your site. Many forums will allow you to post links in your forum signature and once you do every time you post you’ll have another backlink. The idea though isn’t to just randomly submit nonsense posts just to get your link there. Forum moderators may easily delete your post unless it provides some worth to the forum. What you want to do is find a few forums about your particular topic and become part of the community. Ask and answer questions as a way to network with other people in your industry. If your posts are good you’ll most likely get traffic from other forum members and visitors when they click on your signature and possibly even make some valuable contacts.
Spend a few hours a week checking out the forums you join and making a few posts. The links will add up fast. Google probably won’t count every link or at least won’t count them all equally. They tend to give you credit for the first few links they find on a site and then reduce the weight of the others. Yahoo and MSN seem to like this kind of linking more.
Similar to forums posting is commenting on blogs. Find some blogs you like and that are in your industry. Whenever you see a post there that interests you add a comment. Many blogs will ask for a URL to your site or blog and your name will become a backlink. Even better is if you have a blog of your own you can mention another blog in your posts and if the blog owner has trackbacks turned on an excerpt from your post will appear as a comment. many blogs also provide a blog roll which is just a list of links to other related blogs. Get to know some of your fellow bloggers by posting comments and you’ll possibly find your blog on their blogroll.
In the same way you found directories you can find another source of backlinks through searching. Search for the backlinks of some of your competitors and see if any of those sites will link to yours. Start by searching for one of your keywords and then do a backlink search on the sites that show up on the first page. You already know those sites do well for the keywords you want to rank for and now you can find out some of the links that helped them get there. They mostly likely have a lot of backlinks and probably even some high quality links as well. And you already know those sites are willing to give out links. Just as with directory searching this method of getting backlinks can be tedious and time consuming. It can also be an excellent way of finding links.
If you like to write, article submissions can be a quick way to get a lot of backlinks for your site. Most article submission sites will let you write a brief bio in which you can add a link or two back to your site. You can also add links where appropriate directly in the content of the article, but make sure it’s not too many. After you submit your article other webmasters will download it and add it to their sites along with your links. The better the article the more times it will get downloaded and find it’s way on another site.
There are many sites that will accept your articles and you probably won’t be able or want to submit to all of them. You can find a list of article submission sites in this thread at Webmaster-Talk.
Just as with article submissions, submitting press releases can be a quick way to get a lot of links quickly. The more newsworthy your release the more likely it will be picked up by the various media outlets. Many of the press release sites will want you to pay to submit your release, but you can find some that are either free or low cost. In the best case your release will be picked up by something like Yahoo news. A couple of press release sites to get you started are PRWeb and PRNewswire
Link baiting can be a great source of getting backlinks naturally. The idea is to provide content on your site that is either newsworthy, contrary, an attack, a useful resource, or humorous that other sites naturally want to link to. I’ve written about the details in my post on Link Baiting As Part Of An Effective Link Building Campaign and instead of rehashing those details I’ll simply direct you to that post.
Sites are always looking for more content and one of the ways they can easily add content is through rss feeds. Most web portals are now offering users the ability to add rss feeds to their home pages. Start a blog on your site and then submit the feed where you can. If people find your information useful they’ll be able to add your feeds to their site. By allowing only a partial feed visitors to that site will need to come to your site to read past your excerpt. RSSTop55 offers a list of places where you can submit your blog or rss feed.
Other ways to generate backlinks
Another way you can generate backlinks for your site is simply to provide some linking code on your site under a ‘Link to Us’ or similar heading. You’ll still need other webmasters to grab your code and use it, but providing the code for them makes it a little easier and you will get to control the anchor text and the page or pages of your site where the links point.
Start an affiliate program. if you have a product for sale you can set up an affiliate program where you pay other site owners when someone they send to your site goes on to make a purchase. The affiliate link you provide for them and they place on their site will also be a backlink to you.
There are many ways to get backlinks for your site and I’ve only provided some of the more common methods. They should be enough to keep you busy for awhile though. You can do those directory and competitor searches forever. The idea is to always be on the lookout for more sites that will include your link. More links is generally better, but remember that not all links are equal. Often one very well placed link will do more than many lower quality links and there are some links that can cause more harm than good. Finding sites to link to yours can be difficult and tedious at times, but hopefully these tips on getting backlinks will help you find more or give you ideas when you’re having trouble finding new backlinks.
SEO Basics Tutorial
If you liked this post, consider buying my book Design Fundamentals