The longer you own a commercial website, the higher the probability someone will contact your company to explain that they have the secret to tons and tons of traffic: backlinks.
Now, to be clear, they’re not wrong. Receiving backlinks to your website is one of the most effective ways to earn a spot in Google’s good graces. The problem is that a lot of these snake oil salesmen own hundreds or even thousands of their own low-quality blogs. They’ll post links to your site from these blogs and, while you may enjoy a boost in the rankings for a while, eventually Google will shut you down. You’ll have spent thousands of dollars with nothing to show for it.
Instead, let’s look at some legitimate ways to earn backlinks that Google will actually respect.
Network with Other Companies and Sites
This one is really easy, but because we live in a high-tech, digital age, it actually seems a bit anachronistic to some. What you want to do is make a list of all the companies you can think of in shoulder markets that aren’t remotely in competition with you. Then reach out to them and offer space on your site to post a blog (as long as the subject is relevant). You’ll most likely get a backlink from their site/social media account because they want to show their market what they had to say.
Of course, you should also see if they’d be willing to give you space to do the same. That’s another easy backlink from a real site with real traffic.
Any industry sites or popular websites like The Huffington Post and Fortune are also great options, though you should expect that it will be a bit more work to get posted on them.
Take Social Media Seriously
One way to bypass Google in the beginning is to get on Twitter, LinkedIn and/or Facebook and really turn it into a priority. This largely comes down to networking again. Don’t just post statuses or links to your work and hope for the best. Reach out to other accounts and form a relationship.
As your following increases, you’ll have more people clicking through on links to your blog posts and other parts of your site. Eventually, this will turn into legitimate backlinks and you’ll have a real social media presence to leverage in the future.
Here’s another really simple way to get backlinks. All you need to do is run a Google search for your company’s name. Then scroll through the results and find every example of when it was mentioned by a third party. Finally, reach out to these sites and ask if they wouldn’t mind including a link where your company’s name is or some other descriptor (it’s always a good idea to vary the anchor text used). If it’s some kind of blog post or article, offer them a quote or any other information they can update the piece with.
Quality backlinks will improve traffic to your site more than any other SEO technique, but this also means plenty of people try to cut corners with it. Instead, just use the three easiest methods above and you’ll be on your way.