So you’ve got your brand new website up and running and now your working to improve its SEO. If you’ve done any research into Search Engine Optimisation, chances are you will have heard of backlinks. For those of you who aren’t familiar with backlinks, they are essentially links from other websites to your own. For example, if somebody mentions one of your blog posts in their own article, that’s a backlink. But what if you don’t have much content to link to because your website is new? Thankfully there are still some effective ways to build backlinks when you’re just starting out. Keep reading for a list of easy ways to build backlinks on a new website.
“Do I Really Need Backlinks?”
You may be wondering “Why are backlinks so important, what can they do to improve my SEO?”. That’s a great question. After all, you don’t want to waste time on things that will have a tiny effect on your search rankings. The most obvious point to make is that by having lots of backlinks, you increase your visibility online and reach more potential customers. Let’s say somebody has linked to one of your blog posts and they have a large following on their own blog or social media. Even if 10% of their readers click the link that’s still a nice little boost to your site’s traffic. Now imagine you have 100’s of those high-quality backlinks!
One of the most important things to consider is that Google places a lot of emphasis on the quality and quantity of backlinks to your website. It directly influences your search ranking and could mean the difference between appearing on the first and second page in search results. In fact, Google considers it so important that it’s one of the main ways they determine your search ranking. For this reason alone, it is an essential step in improving your SEO.
The concept of backlinks may seem simple enough, but for many business owners, it is often the most time consuming and difficult part of SEO. Why is that? Well, remember I said it’s not just the quantity of backlinks that matter but the quality. Let’s suppose you run a crocheting blog. 50 backlinks from local haberdashery stores will be much more effective (and relevant) than 50 backlinks from gardening blogs.
Another factor to consider is the ‘domain authority’ of the website that is linking to you. High traffic domains such as bbc.co.uk, mashable.com etc. will have a greater domain authority because they rank well in search results. If these domains backlink to your own, Google takes that as an indicator your content is high-quality and useful. Your search ranking will begin to improve as a result.
A word to the wise: The quality of your backlinks is actually so important that Google may see it as ‘spammy’ if you have a bunch of them from unrelated websites. This could result in manual action being taken against your site for breach of Google’s policies. Don’t be tempted to contact everyone you know and ask them to link to your site if their content is completely different. It’s not worth it. Another good way to get your website blocked by Google is by buying backlinks. This is when you pay to get your content featured in as many places as possible. Not only is it extremely expensive, but it’s also against Google’s policies.
For those of you who may be tempted to cut corners, Google has an algorithm dedicated to rooting out spam and artificial backlinks. Introduced in 2012, the ‘Penguin algorithm‘ was specifically designed for this purpose. It’s so effective that it became part of the core algorithm in 2016. The good news is there are still easy ways to build backlinks on a new website. As you’ll see below, it’s actually not that difficult to do, if you’re willing to dedicate some time to it. It should be noted that as with everything SEO-related, it will take time to see the results so be patient.
“Ok, So How Do I Get Backlinks?”
Great, now you know what backlinks are and how not to get them. So what are the easiest ways for new websites to go about doing it? You may not have much content to actually link to at the moment so how can you possibly get any backlinks. Luckily, there are places you can put them right out of the gate that won’t attract the ire of the dreaded Penguin algorithm. I’ll go through these in order, starting from the easiest to the most time-consuming.
1. Social media profiles
Yes, including a link to your website on social media counts as a backlink. A high quality one too. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube all have high domain authority and usually appear on the first page of search results. This makes this one a no brainer! You’ve probably already set up these accounts, so make sure you’ve included your website’s address there. It’s as easy as that.
2. Business Directories (Yell, Yelp etc.)
Who doesn’t like free things? Another easy way to build backlinks is by listing your business in search directories such as Yell and Yelp. They are completely free to use and often rank in the top 500 websites in the UK. When registering for these services, make sure to include a link to your website. Not only will your business be more visible, you will have gained another high quality backlink. Bonus!
It’s also worth mentioning that local business directories are also incredibly popular. Check out your local chamber of commerce to see if you can list your business for free there as well.
3. Ask for reviews
A great way to get backlinks and an endorsement for your products at the same time! Try reaching out to websites that review similar products and ask them to feature yours. You may need to incentivise them by sending them free products to test but it’s worth it for the exposure. An effective way to do this is to find a review of a competitor’s product. Send an email to the site owner explaining how your product is better and why they should review it. It’s a little time consuming, but totally worth it.
4. Write high quality content
Ultimately, the best way to get good backlinks is also the most time consuming. Google places a lot of emphasis on high quality content, since it wants to provide as much value to customers as possible. Having well written content on your website will slowly improve your search ranking, leading to more traffic and therefore backlinks. To speed up the process, you can always reach out to other (relevant) sites and ask them to link to your blog posts in their own content. This can be tedious, but really is the best way to substantially improve your ranking.
So, there you have it! A list of easy ways to build backlinks on a new website. What other ways can you think of? Let me know in the comments!