If you’ve been studying up on SEO, you’ve probably seen quite a few recommendations and services for generating backlinks to your site as a method for improving your organic ranking. There are paid services and there are methods you can use to drive organic backlinks.
While the paid services can give you a certain boost, they aren’t without risk. With paid backlinks, you are buying to get links back from whom? Links only generate results if they are driving traffic from sources where your target audience is spending time while organic backlinks identify you as an authority and produce more quality traffic of potential customers.
Since these six techniques made a very lengthy single post, I decided to break it into a two part series. I believe it’s best to give valuable information you can take action on instead of overwhelming you with too much at once. New information that gives you an advantage is great, but it is meaningless if you don’t take action.
Today, I’m going to focus on the first three top techniques for generating organic backlinks.
1. Participate in your community.
Most communities (or niches) have forums, associations, blogs, and groups within social media networks where you can engage people of influence, prospects, and potential joint venture partners. By engage, I don’t mean hit them up with a healthy dose of spam. In these community circles, there are often Q&A forums where you can poll the group to get a better understanding of their needs, wants, and perceptions about value, plus you can respond to questions they pose. By providing quality content and answers in these forums, you are increasing the likelihood that people will check your profile and click through to your branding site. You increase your chances you will gain attention and increase backlinks from other sites referring you and your excellent input, too.
For example, I have been a spotlight contributor with Entrepreneur Connect, an online small business forum hosted by Entrepreneur Magazine because of my participation. Plus, I had my content distributed to other major sites as a result. Some of these sites and other members within the community backlinked to The Solopreneur’s Guide with an endorsement. I don’t contribute there anymore for various reasons, but while I did, I gained notoriety and credibility. Find the forums, the groups within LinkedIn and Facebook, and other sites where you have an opportunity to show off your talents by helping others or post your quality content to sites with backlinks to your branding site. Another side benefit from this strategy, in addition to getting more backlinks, was I earned more clients directly from the forums. Not a bad bonus, huh?
2. Provide original research.
Have you ever had to make an argument and referenced supporting data to make your point? This is a common practice. And when it is provided online, it gives people the opportunity to backlink to the research data in a post, a video description, or an online article. Think about what common problems nag your market … what you find people frequently asking questions about that you can do testing on or create a research report to resolve a problem. Then, publish this data on your branding site and in other community forums to make your market aware of it and give them opportunities to link to it from their branding sites and social media networks.
For example, Edmunds, a top online site with information to educate auto consumers created their True Cost to Own Calculator. With this calculator, an auto shopper can now assess what an auto will cost to own over say a 5-year period in addition to the price they pay to purchase the vehicle. With this calculator, shoppers can compare vehicles they are interested in buying to see which one will cost them the least to own. So while one vehicle may be less expensive to buy, it may end up costing the owner more over the 5-year period because it doesn’t hold its value as well, or it has a poorer quality record than another vehicle with a higher sticker price.
While you may not be in the auto industry, think about the value this calculator brings and how many other sites will backlink to it referring it to friends or referencing data because it supports a business argument they are making. What can you produce to give value to your market that hasn’t already been said a thousand times before or hasn’t been researched and tested?
Do you blog or post articles with regular frequency on your branding site? If not, why not? Blogging or writing articles gives you an opportunity to flex your talents, plus it creates an opportunity for you to draw visitors back to your site. Additionally, it creates an opportunity for people to generate backlinks to your quality content. Make sure that you have an RSS feed, a way to opt-in, or a newsletter so your content can go to people instead of forcing them to come to you. Make sure you have a way they can easily share your post or article via the social networks for generating more backlinks, too.
If you haven’t been blogging or haven’t been with any consistency of frequency because you’re not sure what to write about, think what kind of “how-to” content or tutorials would benefit your ideal prospects or people of influence. Think about myth busting. Referencing other people’s content with links back to their sites is an excellent opportunity to catch their attention and get them to return the favor, too.
For example, in this blog, I have referenced back to Business Money Today, an excellent site that helps entrepreneurs find various sources of funding for their ventures. In the spirit of reciprocity, Business Money Today has linked back to my site referencing my information and allowed me to be a guest blogger with backlinks to my blog in my posts.
Next up in this two part series are the techniques of using fits, social sharing, and videos for generating more organic backlinks. Stay tuned!
All the Best,
The Solopreneur’s Guide