To maximize visibility in organic search results for industry terms, brands must increase ‘domain authority’ with Google. This is often achieved by securing a meaningful quantity of inbound links from high quality websites trusted by Google. While SEO companies often rely on begging for or buying links for clients, a strategic approach can be far more effective: leveraging public relations best practices. The following article outlines best practices for securing both quantity and quality inbound links from local business directories, publications, and industry websites.
Here are 20 effective ways to build links to a website recommended to achieve higher rankings and organic traffic to your website.
1. Conduct Competitive Analysis: Research competitors’ link profiles and reach out to sites linking to them that may also be relevant for your site. Tools like Semrush and BuzzStream can help identify link opportunities with or without competitive information.
2. Promote Existing Quality Content: Promote your new content across social media, email, and other channels to increase natural shares and links. Make content highly shareable.
3. Leverage Unlinked Brand Mentions: Audit the web for mentions of your brand that don’t include a link and reach out to ask for a link to be added to the mention. This article provides a helpful overview. Brand24 is a helpful brand monitoring tool.
4. Submit to Directories: Submit your website to reputable, niche-specific directories. Be cautious with this approach, as overusing directories, especially low-quality ones, can have a negative impact on your SEO. Here is a list of the top 50 free business directories as a starting point.
5. Explore Sponsorships: Sponsor industry events, publications, or other high-authority sites relevant to your audience in exchange for a link.
6. Monitor Your Backlinks: Regularly monitor your backlink profile to ensure that links are of high quality and that there is no toxic or spammy links. Tools like Google Search Console and Ahrefs can help with this.
7. Reclaim Old/Dead Links: Reach out to sites that used to link to your site but no longer do, and politely ask them to reinstate the link or add a new one. Secondarily, identify broken links on industry websites pointing to 404 pages and offer to replace them with one of your relevant pages. Use tools like Ahrefs to identify broken links.
8. Participate in Online Communities: Engage in relevant online communities, forums, and discussion platforms. Provide helpful answers and insights, and when appropriate, link to your website as a source of additional information.
9. Build out a Resource Page: Identify websites that have resource pages related to your niche. Reach out to the website owners and suggest adding your content or website as a valuable resource.
10. Utilize Giveaways & Contests: Running competitions and giveaways that encourage links as part of the entries.
11. Collaborate with Influencers: Partner with influencers or bloggers in your industry for collaborations or features. Influencers often have a wide reach and can help you gain exposure and backlinks.
12. Create High-Quality Content: The foundation of any successful link-building strategy is creating valuable, informative, and engaging content. When you publish high-quality content, other websites are more likely to link to it naturally.
13. Create Linkable Assets: Develop valuable resources, such as research studies, calculators, ebooks, or tools that are relevant to your niche. Create helpful, resource-style posts with lists of links to other useful sites and resources. Make sure to include a brief description for each link. Promote these assets to gain natural backlinks.
14. Create Infographics and Visual Content: Visual content like infographics can be highly shareable. Create visually appealing and informative infographics and share them on your website. Encourage others to use it and link back to them.
15. Secure Guest Blogging Opportunities: Reach out to other blogs and websites in your industry to contribute guest posts that include links back to your site. Focus on high-quality sites with good domain authority.
16. Secure Links via Email Outreach: Identify websites or influencers in your niche and send them personalized outreach emails. Explain why your content or website would be valuable to their audience and request a link.
17. Leverage Your Network: Build relationships with others in your industry, through social media, events, etc. and swap links where relevant.
18. Create Ego Bait: Mention influential people, websites, or products in your content and then let them know about it. They may share or link to your content to showcase their inclusion.
19. Utilize Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI): Create accounts with ChatGPT and Bard for researching links, building databases, outreach scripts and compelling, linkable content.
20. Tap PR: leverage public relations activities, including press release distribution, speaking at industry events, syndicating articles on industry websites and pitching the media as a subject matter expert via free platforms including HARO and Qwoted, although there are additional options available.
Once the above strategies are consistently implemented over time, your company will see an increase in domain authority, resulting in higher rankings, increased traffic and ultimately, sales. The key is to focus on building genuine, editorial-style links from quality sites, not just spamming low-quality directories. Vary your link building strategies over time and monitor success with link tracking tools. Regardless of your level of marketing savvy, development resources or budget, these time-proven strategies will give you an edge over your competitors over time.
Kent Lewis founder of pdxMindShare, an online career community and networking group mentioned on Seth Godin’s blog. Formerly a CMO and founder or co-founder of multiple agencies, he’s known as a thought leader in digital marketing. He’s been an adjunct professor for more than 20 years at Portland State University and a volunteer instructor for SCORE. Lewis co-founded SEMpdx in 2006, a trade organization for search engine marketing professionals. His recognition includes Marketer of the Year by the American Marketing Association and Top 100 Digital Marketing Influencers by BuzzSumo.