Today we are going to address two problems at once. The first is: how can you get backlinks that look natural and earned. In other words, backlinks that are going to make search engines happy and help your website grow without being penalized.
The second problem is how to get backlinks with little to no cost beyond your time and effort. One of the biggest challenges when trying to get a new website off the ground is getting the initial links needed to start building organic traffic and getting clients or regular visitors.
In this guide, we'll go over 5 strategies that will help you accomplish both of those goals. These are all variations of methods we use in-house and deliver in the form of the Monthly Mix package.
What are natural backlinks?
There are many popular definitions for what constitutes a "natural" backlink. For the purposes of this article, we'll be using this one: a "natural" backlink is one that is useful, organic, relevant, and that is built without resorting to spam tactics.
Links that fit this definition should be the foundation of your SEO work, as these are the types of links that allow you to grow your website organically with little risk of penalty. If used correctly, all of the 5 strategies outlined in this guide will help you build natural backlinks reliably. And all of these methods can be used for free.
Building Natural Links
1 - Competitor Backlinks
Getting backlinks from the same sites as your competitors is a good way to close the gap between your sites. And while some backlinks are hard to copy, if you go through your competitor's backlinks with a fine comb — this tool can help —, you should find plenty of low-hanging fruit.
The two easiest links to copy are directory links and list articles. If your competitor has links from business directories like carrd.co or about.me, all you need to do is create an account and add your business to the same directory. And if a blog or article has mentioned your competitor as part of a list, you can contact the list's writer or the site's webmaster to see if they'd consider adding your site to the same list.
2 - Press Backlinks
Pitching to journalists and building relationships with the press is a great way to earn powerful backlinks over time. This method is easier for some brands than others, but don't think that you need to be a household name to get the attention of journalists. If you have interesting facts to share or if you can provide quotes as an expert in your field, that's already enough to get plenty of journalists interested.
One of the most popular ways to get press backlinks is by using HARO. You can also pitch to journalists directly through their websites and on social media; we wrote a detailed guide on how you can do that.
3 - Q&A Backlinks
Here's an experiment. Open Google and type this: "Site:Quora.com YOUR NICHE". No quotes, of course. What will show up is hundreds of questions relevant to your industry. Answering these is a great opportunity to include links to useful guides on your website.
Remember. The key here is to make your backlinks look natural, so just shoving a link to your home page in a 1-paragraph answer won't do. Ideally, you'll be writing useful answers, and including links to blog posts on your website that are relevant to the question asked. And you should include that link in an organic manner.
Quora isn't the only place to do this. You can also target platforms like Stack Exchange, Answers.com, Reddit, and more.
4 - Event Backlinks
Hosting events is a great way to build backlinks. As the host, you'll be free to announce your event on platforms like Eventbrite and many others. And of course, you can include links to your website both on your profile and on the listing for the event itself.
Of course, the key here is to actually host an event, and not just create fake listings for the links. You can browse Eventbrite for inspiration on what kind of event to host — it can be an IRL meet-up, an online discussion, a class about a topic you're familiar with, etc. Free events have a better chance of being shared and getting attention, but you can choose to host a paid event as well.
5 - Review Links
Even wondered how businesses get listed on review websites like Trustpilot and Trustmeter? Often, the process is as simple as setting up an account for your business on one of those sites. And that usually gives you the option to add a link to your website on that brand new review page.
Having listings for your businesses in these websites also encourages customers to engage and leave reviews. Which is a great way to build social proof over time.
Other Viable Options
I hope you find the methods outlined above useful for your SEO efforts. And if you'd like to try out even more strategies, here are some effective methods I suggest you try:
- Social media links: Some social platforms like Twitter and Reddit are indexed by Google, making them good opportunities to earn organic backlinks.
- Guest posting: Offering yourself as a guest writer for different publications is a good way to earn do-follow backlinks from big websites.
- Resource pages: Look for lists of top 100 or top 300 sites relevant to your industry, and contact the author to see if they’ll add your site to the list.
- Podcast links: Appearing as a guest in podcasts often means having a link to your website included in the episode’s description.
- Petition links: Most petition websites are indexed. You can earn links by creating petitions and championing causes relevant to your brand and your audience.
- Video links: If you’re producing links, publishing it to various video streaming websites gives you a chance to include links to your website in the video’s description.
Want to escape the grind of spending hours on link building and increase your link diversity to boot? Check out our Monthly Mix package! It uses all the 5 strategies featured in this guide and many more.