This guest post was co-authored by Ken McGaffin and Susan Payton
There are many ways to get other sites to link to yours, which helps in boosting your ranking on search engines.
Here are 25 link-building methods you can use for your website.
1. Pay for a Listing
There are sites that will pay to host a link to your website, so if you’ve got the budget, this is your easiest method. This can be a great way of attracting traffic, but be careful that the site you're advertising with follows Google's webmaster guidelines.
Paid links fall within Google's guidelines as long as they are designated as advertising. You should do this by:
- Adding a rel="nofollow" attribute to the <a> tag
- Redirecting the links to a page that is blocked from search engines with a robots.txt file
Fail to follow Google's advice and you may adversely affect your site's position in their search results.
2. Join a Trade Association
Oftentimes, trade organizations link to their members’ websites, so this is a great way to get more exposure for your site. A quick search will help you find many organizations that relate to the industry you’re in. Check to see that they have a member directory with links before joining.
3. Get People Talking About Your Products
People might be talking about your products right now. Would you know if they were? It’s easy to set up a free Google Alert to find out any time someone mentions your company or links to your site. This might come in the form of a product review, blog post, social media update or question in a forum about your products.
It’s important to know who’s talking about you and respond to any questions or feedback (especially negative) immediately.
4. Join a Local Group
Just like with trade associations, local groups like Chambers of Commerce or business networking organizations will often link to their members’ sites. Find groups you want to be associated with and join.
5. Be a Great Case Study
By giving your opinion, taking surveys and connecting with the media, you can get a link to your site included in a case study or article. Let your opinions be heard, as it’s a great way to get some exposure online.
You likely fit into some category, whether it be as a young entrepreneur, senior entrepreneur, work-at-home parent or ecommerce specialist. Connect with others like you, and brand yourself as a representative of that group. Look for opportunities, such as the one that YoungEntrepreneur.com offers, to submit your story for more coverage of you and your company.
7. Submit a Tip
By providing useful information on your blog or website, visitors to your site will link to these tips and share with others. Also look for media leads like Help a Reporter Out, where journalists put out requests for tips or advice from certain types of people. You might get quoted in a
newspaper, magazine or website.
8. Piggyback Breaking News
Pay attention to the news, and find ways to write blog posts or comment on relevant news. For example, after the news broke that the Clintons’ cat, Socks, had passed away, PetsPlace.com wrote an article on “10 Oddest Presidential Pets,” which was linked to by many other sites.
9. Become a Valuable Resource
Often, writers will compile a list of resources for an article. If you have a relationship with the writer or reporter, you might be included in that list. For instance, if you run a diner in Arizona, your restaurant might be included in a list of places to visit in an article about Arizona. At Wordtracker we set up an online marketing Academy that is packed with valuable advice - it attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors a month.
10. Offer a Discount
People love saving money, and they love sharing deals with others. Many bloggers specialize in finding coupons and sales and telling their readers about them, so make sure they know about your discount. During holidays, offer special themed discounts to improve visibility and links.
11. Make a Donation
While contributing to charity is good in and of itself, it can also provide good PR opportunity, as many organizations will link to contributors’ sites, or include them in a press release. You can issue a press release yourself about your involvement with a charity.
12. Support Your Industry
Whether you donate to industry organizations, attend meetings or just host a badge on your site, you may find that they respond in kind by hosting a link to yours.
13. Be Unusual
The more unique your business, the more attention it will get. Sites like CoolBusinessIdeas.com look for innovative companies to profile, and you can search for sites where you can submit your out-of-the-ordinary company.
14. Give an Interview
People make better stories than companies, so position yourself as an expert in your industry with journalists so that they will want to interview the person behind your company. Ask them to link to your website.
15. Start Hiring
Even posting jobs or internships that you have available can get you links. Human resources and hiring sites often link to other sites, so you might get linked to by dozens of sites from a single job description.
16. Attend an Exhibition
If you set up as an exhibitor at a conference or trade show, you may have the opportunity to get your link and company listed on the event’s website. Also offer to give quotes about your experience at the show to reporters.
17. Buck a Trend
If everyone else is suffering in a down economy but your company is thriving, ride this wave to get some publicity. Reporters look for anything that’s going against the grain, and that just might be your big break.
18. Publish Videos to Your Site
19. Publish Videos on YouTube
YouTube is the second largest search engine next to Google, so it makes sense that posting your videos on here would drive traffic to your site. Not every video is viral-worthy, so focus on creating videos with useful content your customers will enjoy.
20. Position Your Products as Gifts
Bloggers and writers often compile gift lists for holidays, and your products and links could make these lists. Plan three months out to contact journalists about lists they’re working on in the future. So you should be pitching your best Valentine’s gifts in November.
21. Help People Make Money
Affiliate programs serve multiple purposes: first, they get other people to sell your products for you. Second, those people get to make money. And third, you get more links to your site. Set up an affiliate program that compensates people for writing about or linking to your site and making sales.
22. Offer Healthy Products
Health is still all the rage in the media, so if you sell products that are good for people, you increase your chances of getting media coverage.
23. Partner with a Local College
Your company might be a good partner for a local university. For example, you could offer special workshops or extend your company’s services or resources to the school. In return, you might be listed on the company’s website as a supporter.
24. Ask for Help
There are sites like MarketingProfs.com or Answers.com that allow you to ask for advice or feedback. It could be as simple as asking what web designers think of your website or whether your logo expresses what you want it to. You’ll get a link that anyone visiting that page will see.
25. Get Blog Reviews
There are thousands of blogs who review products. Identify the bloggers whose audience includes your target market and ask them to review your products. Be aware that some bloggers charge for their services, and you may also be required to give away a second product to one of their readers.
Use any or all of these tips to start getting more links to your website today!