There are many pieces in the Getting Found on Google pie.
Backlinks are a huge piece of this.
So how do you create backlinks to your website?
Keep reading to learn what backlinks are, why they are super important and tips for small biz owners on how to get them.
This post is chocked full of pro tips to get backlinks to your website. Once you start implementing these tips, don’t neglect the other factors important in getting found online. Check out our post on getting your blog posts found online for example.
Backlinks, say what?
A backlink is a link from an external website to your website. These are very important for getting your website found on Google and other search engines. Search engine algorithms take many factors into account when deciding which webpages to show. Backlinks happen to be one of the top factors. Part of the Getting Found on Google process is consistently getting more backlinks to your website.
You’re probably thinking OMG, this sounds hard and like a lot of work. It’s not too bad, especially after you read all the tips below and realize that all you need to do is start asking for backlinks. Getting backlinks is just sales and you are a small business owner, so you got this.
Backlinks Should be Relevant to Your Industry and Location
The number of backlinks to your website is important, but the quality of the backlinks is even more important. Google will penalize you if your site has a ton of spammy backlinks. The backlinks you go after should be relevant to your industry. If a local business, local links matter. Google will look at how many links you have from your community. Spend time getting those prime local links! Lots of ideas on how to get local links are listed below.
Backlink Quality Matters
Websites have different amounts of authority associated with them. Older well-established sites have more authority than new websites. Generally speaking, you want to get backlinks from the following types of websites: big news sites, websites that end in .edu, .gov and .org and the sites of opinion leaders/blogs in your industry. This is not a trivial task, but getting all that excellent link juice is well worth the effort!
Develop a Backlink Strategy
Acquiring backlinks is not a one and done thing. Google looks at the number of backlinks over time. I.e. the big G wants to see that you are continually getting more backlinks. It’s a best practice to have a backlink strategy for your website in place and to keep working at getting new ones. Keep reading for tips on how you can start getting backlinks for your website.
How to Create Backlinks for Your Website
Just want to check out all the tips without reading all the details? Here is a great infographic with a summary of the 20 tips to get backlinks. You can download it here :). You’re welcome!
Creating engaging, useful content is the best way to earn backlinks. Create a piece of content that is so helpful and awesome that people naturally want to share and link to it. Be creative about the type of content and keep in mind that humans are visual creatures. People love fun things to look at like infographics, and videos. Don’t forget to choose a good keyword to help drive organic search traffic to your content.
Social Media Accounts
All businesses should be active on social media. Why? Because your customers are there. Being active on social media is a way to engage with your customers, learn their problems and goals and get good strong backlinks to your website. Use your social media accounts to promote the great, useful content you are publishing on your website.
A citation is a listing of your business’ name, address, and phone number. You definitely want your business listed on Google, Apple Maps, Bing Places, and other directories. Here is a list of places you should get your business listed. One thing to keep in mind is that your name, address and phone number should be consistent in all locations.
Pro tip: Make sure your address and phone number are exactly the same in all citations.
Mentions of Your Business
If someone mentions your business or product but doesn’t link to your website this is a prime opportunity to ask for a backlink. Just reach out to this person and ask them to link to your site. They likely will because they already mentioned your business. Set up alerts for your business name and product using Google alerts and keep your eye out for unlinked mentions of your business. These are low hanging fruits!
Pro tip: search ‘(your brand name) + site:yoursitesdomain.com.’
Review sites are very popular these days and often have a lot of authority (think Yelp for example). Get listed on all the relevant review sites for your industry. If offering home services, get on AngiesList and HomeAdvisor. Get on G2 Crowd if you have a B2B software. Be active on Glassdoor.
Get Involved with Your Local Community
Even if you target a large area, you should spend time strengthening relationships in your local community. The benefits are two-fold: you find more potential customers in your area and you get backlinks.
Get your business on your neighborhood website, your building directory, the local chamber of commerce site, local news source, city directories, etc. Search for ‘(your city + business directories).
Pro tip: Don’t forget to search for business directories in neighboring cities!
Sponsor events local organizations are hosting to get prime local backlinks. Think things like little league tournaments, golf tournaments, 5ks, job fairs, car washes, church events, job fairs etc. Search ‘(your city name) plus inurl:sponsorships’ or ‘(your city) + little league sponsorship’ to find more local sponsorship opportunities.
Pro tip: Involve your employees. Sponsor a group your employees are active members of.
Industry/Trade Specific Groups
You are likely already an active member of groups specific to your industry. For example, if you are a massage therapist you are likely member of the American Massage Therapy Association. Look into getting listed on their website and don’t forget about local chapters. Reach out to local chapter leaders about being listed with them.
Sponsor a Meetup or create one! This can be a great backlink and an excellent opportunity to find customers.
Pro tip: if setting up an event don’t forget to get this listed on local event sites. Search for ‘(your city) + site:.gov submit event free’ or ‘(your city) + site:.gov submit meetup’.
Offer a Local Scholarship
Many universities have pages with lists of available scholarships as a resource for their students. Search ‘(your city) + site:.edu Scholarship’ or ‘(your city) + site:.edu Scholarship list’ to see what’s out there in your area. You can offer a scholarship and get a prime .edu backlink. Use other scholarship announcements to model your scholarship after.
Local Business Networking Sites
Be active in networking sites like Alignable. These can be good opportunities to get a backlink and connect with customers and other businesses.
Search for .edu or .gov resource pages to get your website listed for a resource page in your industry. Search for ‘(your city) + site:.edu resources (your industry)’ or Search for ‘(your city) + site:.gov resources (your industry)’. For example, if you own a psychiatry practice you could potentially get listed on a local university’s mental health resources page.
Win an Award or Get Nominated for One
Many places have ‘Best of’ awards. Search for ‘nominate a business + (your city)’ to see what types of awards are available in your city. Nominate yourself or have someone do it for you.
Offer Discounts to Students, Military and Staff
Offering a special discount to students can be a great way to get a backlink for a .edu site. Search for discount opportunities using ‘(your city) + site:.edu student discount’ or ‘(your city) + site:.edu employee discount’. This tactic can be extended to the Military and large employers in your area. You can create a cool promotion and then reach out to get it listed.
A listicle is a combination of a list and an article. People love reading these and they are a great way to get backlinks. You can create local best of, things to do, local bloggers to follow, gift guides, etc listicles. Once you create the listicle reach out to the businesses/organizations you featured and ask them to share the listicle on their site. They will likely be happy that you thought of them and agree to it. We did this with a local gift guide and got several backlinks from it!
Build Backlink Relationships With Other Businesses
Use business relationships to get backlinks. You probably make recommendations to other local businesses all the time. Why not give them a backlink and ask for one in return? Let’s say you are a web hosting company and recommend web developers to your clients. Give the web developer a backlink from your site and ask for them to return the favor. Maybe you are a wedding photographer and always recommend a hairstylist. Or a lawn care company recommending a tree trimming company.
Update Your Alumni Profile
Many universities actively keep data on their graduates. This is a great opportunity to get a .edu backlink. Search for ‘site:(name of your university.edu) + alumni records’.
Researching and asking for backlinks is a time-consuming process and many businesses resort to buying backlinks. Be super careful here. Make sure the backlinks you are buying are not spammy. Remember Google may penalize you if it thinks you doing something suspicious. Outreach Mama is an example of a company that helps get credible backlinks.
Check Out Your Competitor’s Backlinks
Who is linking to your competitor’s websites? Could you also get a backlink from them? Use a tool like Link Explorer from Moz to see where your competitor’s are getting backlinks.
Getting other websites to link to your website is important for getting found online and should be something you are actively working on for your business. A little bit of outreach goes a long way when creating backlinks for your site. Don’t be shy! Get out there and ask for them.
Do you have a good trick to get backlinks? Please share!
Need help or have questions about your backlinking strategy? Get in touch! We are happy to help.