With regards to creating free backlinks, going digital has never been easier these days. Website builders, content management system (CMS), and social media platforms alike have made it easy for businesses to reach people in and out their borders. But with millions of businesses online, it’s a challenge to get seen (and heard). Simply publishing a blog post and adding some keywords won’t do the trick.
Search engine optimization (SEO) has evolved drastically over the years, and there are now several factors that impact your ranking. Keywords is not the core of SEO. In fact, relying solely in them is suicidal. It takes more than just quality, keyword-driven content to optimize your site. Links also play a crucial role in the world of optimization. Hence, it’s imperative to invest in creating solid link building strategy.
In its simplest form, a backlink is when a page contains a hyperlink that takes the readers to another external webpage. It’s also referred to as incoming links or inbound links. The website containing the link is called the referring domain, and the site that receives the traffic is called the target page. When search engine like Google crawls or evaluate a website, they analyze the site’s content, structure, and the quality of your backlink profile. Your backlinks will help search engines to index your content based on relevancy.
Think of backlinks as votes. The more sites linking to you, the more votes you have. And the more votes you get, the higher the chance you get ranked high on search engine result pages (SERPs). That’s why it’s important to build your links strategically. Technically, you’d want to generate backlinks from authority sites (basically, a website that has earned the trust of its readers and experts). The good news is that creating backlinks can come at no cost.
The question most website owners ask themselves: how do you create free backlinks? Here are the ways to create backlinks for free.
1. Internal backlinks
Backlinks play an important part to the way search engines interact with your website. Search engine crawlers used your backlink profile to update their pages and understand how your website/content is relevant on other websites. Internal backlinks, on the other hand, is imperative in retaining your website visitors and providing great user experience and easy navigation. Basically, internal linking is creating a link from your website to another page on your website.
With internal links, your visitors are more likely to remain in your website instead of typing in another query that might send them to your competitors’ websites. One of the most common ways to do this is by creating in-depth articles that could be linked from other posts that contain technical terms. You’d want your readers to understand the jargon, and just adding a short definition to the first instance is not the smartest move. Instead, you’d want to take them to another page that explain the term into detail.
To do this, make sure to use the technical term as the anchor text that will then contain the internal link. This way, your readers can easily navigate your website and read relevant articles without leaving your website. However, be careful not to overload your pages with internal links. While there is no documented limit on the number of internal links you can add, the rule of thumb is to add 2 to 5 internal links per post.
2. Guest posting
You could never go wrong with guest posting. Perhaps, it is one of the most common ways to build your backlink profile. Guest posting is the act of writing a content for another website. The strategy is to create quality, engaging, and compelling article that’s relevant or within your industry. This strategy is important and perhaps, beneficial, for your business – for several reasons. When you share your insights and expertise on other companies’ website, you’re establishing yourself as an authority figure within the industry.
It also allows you to build relationship with other thought leaders and expose your brand to an entirely new demographics. After all, guest posting is much different than ghostwriting, whereas you don’t get any credit. Guest posting also benefits both parties; that is, the company/website you write the content for, and you. Basically, you’re helping the other website to generate more views and build their resources, while also drawing attracting traffic to your own website.
What’s really great about guest posting is the fact that you’re not only generating link to improve your index ranking, but it also allows you to put your brand out there for new readers. Moreover, when you guest post, especially in authority sites, you’re also building your reputation online massively. But be warned, when done incorrectly, guest posting can also do harm to your brand.
It’s imperative to only write guest posts for websites with respected backgrounds. You don’t want to write for blogs with spammy content or for websites with very low traffic or authority. Getting started with guest posting is very straightforward. On platforms like Twitter or Google, simply type in your niche or any relevant industry keyword + guest post (alternatively, write for us).
3. Forum and blog comments
We all went to the internet to ask questions. And most of the time, we find ourselves blog posts to seek the information we’re looking for. Yet, sometimes readers need more something that published posts fail to deliver. That’s where blog commenting steps in. Look for industry-related blogs and follow them. Most bloggers invite their readers to ask questions or write down their stories, opinions, and insights in the comments section.
The author usually personally responds to questions and most of them try to reply to every comment. However, there are times when the best answers are from the other readers. And that’s where you come in. If you notice some information are not covered in the blog post, you can make suggestive comments with that piece of information. Or, if you notice an unanswered question, take the opportunity to provide an answer.
If the question calls for long-form answer, it’s best to provide a summary and end it with a link to your own published article or website. Commenting on forums can also go a long way. Like blog commenting, forums are a great place to build your backlink profile. Look for forums within your field, join them, and create an account with a solid profile.
Yahoo Answers and Quora are just a couple examples of places where you can answer questions. They’re a great place to share your insights and provide helpful solutions to people seeking information. When possible, add a link to your website or blog post that readers can easily visit if they want to know what else you can offer.
Infographics have been one of the favorites when it comes to SEO. Not only do they make for a powerful content, but they’re also very good at grabbing the attention of the readers. They are eye-catching, very aesthetically pleasing, and highly informative. Infographics make it easy to deliver bite-sized, digestible complex data. And what we really like the most about infographics is how it can easily generate shares online.
Most people think that generating infographics costs sky-high, but it doesn’t have to be. True, hiring a graphics designer to put your infographics into life can be costly. However, you can do it yourself, so long as you have the idea in mind and quality resources. Tools like Canva and Visme.co allow you to create and design infographics at no cost. Most of the time, the textual content is more valuable than the design.
Then, you can share your infographics to your social media profiles. Or better yet, repurpose it as another content, like a blog post or video, Visual.ly, Pinterest, and DailyInfoGraphic.com are also some websites you can share your infographics with. When marketed correctly, your infographics can generate hundreds of backlinks.
5. Repurpose your content
We all know that creating content takes a lot of work. But what if you can create a piece of content and generate four, perhaps, five backlinks from it? That’s doable when you repurpose your content. How do you do it? Here’s an example of how you can put this into action:
- First, write high-quality blog post that attracts backlinks and traffic. Add plenty of external links and internal links, too
- Then, create a relevant content based of the first article you wrote. This will be posted on a different platform. For example, you can create a 3-5 minute YouTube video where you raise questions and present the main ideas. Or, create an infographic version of the blog post and publish it on Pinterest
- Next is to create social media updates pointing back to the repurposed content (Pinterest infographic or YouTube video) and to the original article
By repeating this cycle, you can spread the same content and/or message repeatedly.
Testimonials work effectively because they are not strong sales pitches. Rather, they come from unbiased voice – from real people that have truly enjoyed the products or services. When testimonials are showcased, they can help convert more prospects into paying customers. Companies love displaying testimonials they receive. They typically showcase testimonials on their landing pages.
Some even create a web page solely for exhibiting positive reviews. If you have used a product or service recently, you can use this to your advantage to build your backlink profile. If the company asks for a review (or if they have a testimonial page), spend some time writing up short, positive feedback of your experience using the service or product.
Most websites will include your email account or website alongside your name when they display your testimonial, just to prove that you’re a real person. Be sure to reach out to them and let them know that they can use your testimony on their website. And voila! That’s how you can use testimonials as part of your build linking strategy.
7. The HARO trick
The HARO trick (Help A Reporter Out) is a great strategy to generate backlinks on authority news sites. Basically, it’s a service that connects journalists with a wide range of sources. And if you’re registered as a source, you get the opportunity to get media coverage for your business. To get started, you need to sign up as source (which can be done by heading to HARO website). Once registered, you will receive three emails daily from Monday to Friday.
These emails contain queries or source requests, organized into different categories, including healthcare, technology, business, and so much more. Monitor the queries daily and look for those that are most relevant to your expertise or business. With the number of queries you’ll receive each day, it’s imperative to only stick to leads that are relevant to your industry. You will have to scan through the list and look for the most related to your market, then send a contribution pitch to the reporter.
Your pitch must include your response to the journalist’s inquiry, along with your contact information. This also gives you a chance to link your website. While it’s not always guaranteed that you will get a backlink from every query, but more often than not, you are likely to be rewarded with backlink on an authority site, especially if you have responded quickly to a query with a compelling, reliable answer that the reporter needs.
8. Bloggers and reviewers
As mentioned above, testimonials can generate backlinks. So, what if you can get other bloggers, influencers, or industry experts spread the good news about your products and services? Offering your products to people who can potentially review or promote them can go a long, long way. Not only can they expose your products to a whole new audience, but they can also generate backlinks for your website.
While this is not exactly a free method to create backlinks, the cost is minimal and the profit can be maximal. To put this into action, it’s crucial to invest time in searching for bloggers or industry experts who write product/service reviews. Remember, quality over quantity still holds very true even in this matter. Basically, you don’t necessarily need to offer your product to many people. Selecting one or two influential people with strong community is better than having a dozen people but with low to zero audience.
So, how do you actually reach out and make an offer? Start with a friendly greeting and mention that you were looking for articles related to your industry when you found their published post. Compliment their post and highlight the content you liked the most. By doing so, you show your genuine interest in their content. Then, let them know that you have a product/service that matches the subject.
If you’re comfortable, mention how much you usually charge. Then, say that you’d like to offer it to them at no cost. All you would like in return is that they mention you in their blog post or, if possible, write a review. If they are interested, they will surely get back to you. Take note, however, that this is not guaranteed to work all of the time. You are reaching out to them out of good faith, and you cannot force them to write about your product, much less to pen positively about it.
9. Social Media
Social media platforms are a great place to generate backlinks. They’re free of charge and can reach audiences locally and internationally. Social media has become so crucial in the digital business that some even choose to become Social Media Specialists to help out businesses gain better online presence. You don’t necessarily need one when you’re still starting up. Setting up your social media profiles is straightforward and shouldn’t be very difficult. Of course, as your audience grow, you may eventually need a specialist.
Create a Facebook page for your business. Use this page to interact with your audience, promote your company, and share updates. If you have blog posts on your website, sharing them on your page can help grow the amount of readers. When sharing your content on your page, do not forget to add backlinks.
The strategy is to share only the very highlight of your article, then encourage your followers to click the backlink to read it in full. As much as possible, make everything you post on your page easily shareable. Infographics, informative, and humorous posts and short videos usually generate the most shares. When your content gets shared repeatedly, it creates a ripple effect of backlink opportunity.
Instagram is also a great place to build your backlink profile. Influencers, industry experts, and bloggers alike love sharing their insights and experiences on their pages. When you offer them your products/services for free, they may use their social media platforms to share a photo of your product or a photo of them enjoying your services. They are also likely to mention your social media profile or even add a link to your website so their audiences can check out what you have in store.
You don’t want to miss this backlinking opportunity, so make sure you have your social media profiles properly set up and ensure that you follow people that are relevant to your industry. Instagram doesn’t allow clickable links on the comments section. The best way to add a backlink to your Instagram business account is to add the backlink in your bio. Or, you can also use third-party apps such as LinkTree, Milkshake, or Linkin.Bio to add one clickable link to your bio that will get people off Instagram and direct them to where you want them to be.
Twitter is another place you can utilize. With this platform, you can post your content or share your products. Check what’s currently trending locally and internationally, and always look for backlink opportunities. Use hashtags strategically and follow people within your industry.
This method of getting free backlinks is not the easiest. But if you succeed, it will generate backlinks and even expose your brand to a wider audience. Getting interviewed online has become very popular lately. However, to be interviewed, you have to have yourself established as an authority in your niche or industry. This could take a while and would take a lot of effort. But once you do, you’re likely to get a lot of invitations for interview. So, how do you position yourself as an authority?
a. Becoming an authority
Here are a few notes to remember: specialize in something. Don’t be a jack of all trades, master to none. When people know that you specialize in something, they’d know that you can solve specific challenges and needs. It’s also important to provide real value to your customers or community. Provide insights, helpful advice, and practical tips that will actually benefit them. Here are some types of content you can produce to provide real value to your audience:
- Blog posts
When you’re consistently producing valuable content to your community, they are more likely to see you as an authority (or an expert) in your industry.
b. Getting interviewed
Say, you’ve managed to become one. When you’re a well-known identity in the industry, you will probably receive invitations for interview. But you can also look for websites that run virtual interviews. You do not necessarily have to focus on one niche, but it’s best to stick with brands or companies that are relevant to your industry. When you find one, send them an email and let them know that you would like to be a part of their project. It’s a good practice to give them an overview of what type of insight you can offer.
An alternative option is to reach out to online publications within your area. You may ask them if they are interested in writing an article on local businesses and offer yourself to be an interviewee. To execute this method effectively, you need to widen your network. Follow people or brands within your industry and do not be afraid to reach out. Use your social media platform to broaden your connection. Platforms like LinkedIn can help you connect with experts and same-minded individuals within your niche.
11. Broken link building
Who would have thought how broken links can help your generate backlink and rank high on SERPs? Just what exactly is broken link building? In it’s simplest form, it’s a tactic where you find resources in your niche that are no longer live, then recreating them as a new content. Then, you will have to reach out to webmasters who link to that content and ask them to replace the broken link with a link to your new version.
This benefits both you and the webmasters. They’re able to clean up their website by removing broken links (because broken links are bad for SEO) while building links to your website. Many things are easier said than done, and that holds true to this method. Broken link building can generate you a good amount of backlinks, but it’s strenuous and time-consuming. Here is how you can perform broken link building:
Prospecting, that is, to crawl, find, scour, or scrape dead pages, requires a lot of time and knowledge. There are several ways to do this: you can on by prospecting keywords, phrases, 404 checking, link extraction, and so forth. Thankfully, there are a number of tools you can use to make prospecting a lot easier. There are tools out there that allow you to crawl or scrape other websites and look for any broken links in them. Once you have determined the broken link, you can then proceed to the next step: content creation.
b. Content creation
Broken link building is more than just identifying the error links. It also requires you to recreate the content that meet the quality standards of all those who previously linked to the now broken resource. You can use tools like Wayback Machine to see/read the original content of the broken page. That will give you a general idea of what was in it and how you can create or improve that same content.
It may requiring updating of relevant statistics, removing or adding citations, and simplifying terminologies. You may also want to reach out to the original author to gather more information to add credibility. Supposed you have identified the broken link and has written an updated, more improved version of it. The next and final step is to start your outreach.
You’ve found broken links and created compelling, powerful content off of them. Now time to start your outreach. There are a number of ways you can reach out to webmasters to notify them about their broken links and offer them a replacement. The most efficient, and perhaps the most effective way to do so is by sending out email campaigns. Targeted emails are more likely to get attention, but if you’re sending email templates, make sure to tailor the campaign in a way that you can add customization. Emails with a personal touch can increase your conversion significantly.
12. Link reclamation
Other brands/companies who have used or heard about your business may mention you online without backlinking to your site. When you let this slip away, you’re actually wasting a great amount of backlinking opportunity. There are many factors why you might need to put this strategy into action. In most cases, companies mentioning you in their website might just have forgotten to add in your link – an understandable human error. Or perhaps, your brand was only brought up because it is a part of a larger narrative.
It could also be that webpages that have linked you before are now down, redirected, or repressed over old content. No matter the case, you’d want to take this opportunity to reclaim your link and strengthen your link profile. Use backlinking tools to search content that mentions your brand. Typically, such tools can notify you when you are being mentioned. And more often than not, you will find that they have already link to your website.
In cases where they miss to link you, sending a friendly email to the webmaster usually does the job. Thank them for the post and for mentioning you. Perhaps, share the good points you’ve learned from them. Then, ask them if they would consider adding a link to your website/page. Remember, you’re practically asking them to link. So don’t force them on having the link added. Rather, make a friendly request, not a demand letter. When done properly, you may just earn yourself a chunky backlink.
13. Moving Man Method
Another great way to create free backlinks is by using The Moving Man Method. This method can bring your backlinking profile to a greater scale. The Moving Man Method is much like broken link building, except this time, you’re not looking for broken links, but URLs that have been moved or no longer being updated. You’re likely to find these types of links on companies that have rebranded or now closed down.
These links are not necessarily “broken”. SEO tools typically do not flag down them as broken links, and they won’t be 404s. But they’re outdated, and therefore become low-quality links. Webmasters are keen to replace antiquated links with improved and updated ones. However, since these types of link are not easily flagged down as broken, they’re usually not aware of the problem.
How does company rebranding give you backlinking opportunity? When a company shuts down or rebrands, they typically leave thousands of backlinks that are no longer functioning. This said, there will also be hundreds of links pointing to them that hold no value already. This could impact the sites that link to the redundant URLs. These redundant links are up for grabs.
And webmasters are highly likely very keen to update such links with newer ones. And that’s where you come in. Use tools to search for companies that have rebranded, closed down, or no longer updated. You can start off by simply searching your niche followed by “shut down”, “no longer updated”, “rebranded”, or something along these lines.
Once you have identified your targets, the next thing to do is to determine the amount of backlinks that are pointing to it. The higher the number, the better backlinking opportunity there is. And now comes the challenging, perhaps dull, part of this technique. Reach out to the site owners and inform them of their redundant links and suggest a better alternative – yes, your link.
Just make sure that you have a published content that best matches the now-broken link. Otherwise, it’s better to create the content first before starting your outreach. Most of the time, webmasters are unaware of the broken links and will be really glad you have told them. So not only this method allows them to replace low quality links but it also gives you the opportunity to generate backlinks.
14. Create high quality content
The very foundation of building good backlink profile is having high quality, compelling, and credible content. It’s the key to generate backlinks whether on social media, guest posts, and pretty much of the tactics we have shared. Take note, the goal is to have bloggers, companies, and other sites reference to your website. What’s in it for them if they add your link to your website?
They’re less likely to link to you if you have mediocre and untrustworthy content. The point is, you want your content to be high quality. Produce unique and insightful content that will benefit your readers. Share your expertise and provide valuable information. Remember, content is king. But we all know that coming up such a top quality content is not easy. It takes a lot of work and research.
But good content pays off in the long run. You get to establish yourself as a reliable source of information, and other sites are likely to link to you. Not to mention, high quality content can be easily repurposed. You can turn them into videos, infographics, and other shareable content that could generate backlinks. New research shows that human brains are hungry for information.
In this digital age where knowledge and information are easily accessible, people want reliable content. When your readers enjoy and trust your content, they’re likey to share it with their friends/colleagues, more often than not, via social media. This will, consequently, help you earn more backlinks. True, you cannot force people to share your link, but a high-quality content can.
15. The Skyscraper Technique
Just as how tall skyscrapers make you say “wow”, so does this method. The Skyscraper Technique can double your website traffic.
What is the Skyscraper Technique?
So how do you create backlinks using the Skyscraper Technique? It’s basically aiming to be the skyscraper – you have to become bigger, newer, better, more relevant, and more interesting than other websites. It’s more than just having super high quality content. More precisely, it’s about outranking other sites in the SERPs, especially the high ranking websites on the first page.
To deploy this method, it requires extensive content planning and creation. You want to start off by selecting the right keywords – keywords with high search volume and relevant to your industry. After determining the keyword, take a look at your competition. You can use Google or other SEO tools to look for top ranking content that uses your chosen keyword.
Evaluate the content: Are your competitors’ content relevant to your brand, service, or industry? Do you have the means to come up with better content than the high ranking results? If your answer to both questions is yes, then you can proceed with the actual content creation. The goal is to produce better content than your competitors.
Creating better content
How do you exactly define a “better” content?
- Your content must be visually appealing. Add photos, graphs, videos, and other visuals to make your content more clear and pleasing to the eyes
- Avoid blocks of text and use short, digestible paragraphs
- Write in a way that a native speaker writes in your language
- Add evidence, statistics, data, scientific research, or personal experience
- Include information that is more updated than competing posts
- Provide step-by-step instructions and use bullet points or numbered list
- Offer clear, actionable solutions with call-to-actions (CTAs)
- Provides accurate and concise answers to most frequently asked questions
Going back to your competitions’ content can help you create better piece, too. Look for their weaknesses:
- Are there points they failed to cover in their content?
- Are the numbers (data, statistics, etc.) still accurate?
Once you have produced better content, reach out to publishers, editors, or bloggers who are currently linking to your competitions’ website and recommend your brand new piece. Now let’s talk about this technique’s success rate? Are backlinks guaranteed when you use this method? Of course, the success rate vary and depends on several factors.
For one, the quality of your piece must actually exceed those of the high rank results. Give editors a reason to ditch their old links and link back to you instead. Secondly, your outreach strategy can make or break your success. It’s crucial to reach out to the right people. And lastly, your authority can go a long way. Establish yourself as an expert, a reliable source of information per se, in your space.
16. Learn from your competitors
How are your competitors’ backlink profiles? What backlink strategies have they utilized? Learn from your competitors and you might just earn yourself a bunch of free backlinks. Follow them on their social media platforms and see which of their post generate the shares. When you determine the content that works effectively for your competition, it will help you perform the Skyscraper Technique above and come up with a better piece. Not just that, it will also help you assess the marketing strategies they use that earn them backlinks. Use this to your advantage to build better strats.
By now, you already know how backlinks can bring your business to a greater scale. When you build a strong backlink profile, more sites will link to you, and consequently, there is a higher chance of you getting ranked high on SERPs and get more traffic. Backlinks are very powerful SEO factor that you should invest in. You don’t necessarily have to spend big to achieve good backlink profile.
The strategies mentioned above can be performed with zero to very minimal spending. Create powerful, irresistible content that will generate backlinks. Spy on your competition, find their weakness, and use that to your advantage. Backlink checker tools can help you gather insightful SEO metrics that you can use to create or improve your backlinking strategy.