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As a new SEO in 2015, I found myself asking how to get quality backlinks. At the time, I didn’t realize there was a right and wrong way to do this. Thankfully I decided not to buy quality backlinks, before ever realizing the devastating effects it could have on a website.
The questions running through my mind at the time are topics that I hear in the blogging world almost daily. It’s no wonder that many are asking this question since backlinks are undoubtedly a major ranking factor when learning how to SEO.
How do we get these quality backlinks that are seemingly so important?
Well, if you haven’t heard this little speech yet then allow me to be the first to tell you; quality backlinks need to be earned. If you are not writing high-quality content, you cannot expect high-quality backlinks.
But thankfully, on the flip side, writing great content could land you a quality backlinks list.
Though the majority of your backlinks should come naturally over time, it’s not necessary to sit back and wait for them. There are a few proactive ways to find high-quality backlinks for free.
What are Backlinks in SEO?
A backlink is when a page on the World Wide Web is linked to from another source. Google uses backlinks as a way to measure authority and relevancy. Backlinks are a good way to improve SEO and gain more traffic and conversions.
Regular Follow Backlinks
A regular backlink will always be followed. This means that as search engines crawl content on the web, they follow all links that link to, from, and within your content.
No Follow Backlinks
No-follow backlinks are those that are marked with a “do not follow” tag. These links do not pass “SEO juice” to your website, but they are still important.
Related: Ways to Make Money with SEO
How to Create Backlinks Free Manually
There are many ways you can create backlinks free if you take the time to learn and implement the methods that work. One thing I would advise is that you stick to white hat SEO methods only. Black hat SEO methods might bring you faster results, but they will also tank your website when (not if) Google finds out you’ve used them. Don’t worry, I only teach white hat methods on my blog.
So where can we get these high-quality backlinks free? Isn’t anything “high quality” going to cost us money? When speaking practically, yes. When considering SEO, no. All real high-quality backlinks will be free.
You will definitely want a well-rounded balance of both regular and no-follow links so that your content appears natural to Google.
1. Share Your Content
Whether you’re sharing your content to your email list, Flipboard, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, or other open networking sites, it’s best to start by sharing your content for others to see. If your followers like it and gain valuable information, they may link to it naturally.
2. Join HARO
HARO (Help A Reporter) is an amazing site that connects reporters and content creators with sources (other content creators). Join HARO to receive three emails per day with requests from high authority sites for information in all niches. Simply respond to each fitting request and if chosen, receive a followed backlink from a high authority site.
3. Ask For Backlinks
Asking for backlinks used to be a popular way to get them, but as time passed, the sheer volume of requests made this method spammy quickly. It can still work for those who are active in a niche network. Ask those you know and provide value for a link to your newest post if you genuinely feel that it would benefit their audience.
4. Create Valuable Images and Infographics
Infographics are a fast way to get backlinks from highly relevant websites. The only catch is that your graphic design has to be immaculate. If you cannot create a high-quality infographic or image, consider hiring a graphic designer to do it for you.
5. Ask To Be Included In Roundups
There are Facebook groups dedicated to helping bloggers quickly find roundup friendly blog posts. Bloggers publish requests every day asking for links to different blog topics that they can include in their roundups. This is a great opportunity to get free backlinks when you have posts that fit the criteria.
Search for these three groups on Facebook and request access to learn more about roundup backlinks: Blogger Round-Up Requests, Bloggers Sharing Links for Roundups, and Blogger Roundups
6. Links From Your Own Posts
So many bloggers forget the importance of proper internal linking for SEO purposes. If you have some strong posts that get organic traffic, be sure to link to some relevant posts to pass on the “link juice”. Also, proper navigation and internal linking help Google understand your blog as a whole much better which also helps SEO.
One of the best and often overlooked ways to create backlinks for your website is to interlink your related posts in a natural, helpful way. You want to create clear navigation for your readers and for search engines to crawl.
There is much more to SEO than simply “getting backlinks”, but many bloggers have no idea how to implement other strategies. For example, keyword research and site structure are important as well.
7. Create YouTube Videos
YouTube is a great way to get relevant backlinks. If you create podcasts or helpful tutorials, grow a YouTube channel and link videos back to your relevant blog posts.
8. Interact on Quora
Backlinks from Quora are no-follow, but that doesn’t mean they are low quality. Leave helpful answers on questions related to your blog topics and backlink to your relevant posts.
9. Leave Valuable Comments On Others’ Blog Posts
Leaving valuable comments on other blogs is a way to get no-follow backlinks. When used sparingly, these links are important for a few reasons. First, think of blog commenting as a way to grow your readership. If you write a new post or page that targets a specific keyword phrase, search that phrase on Google and comment on those posts. Leave the link to your related post (only in the “website” field if given).
10. Check For Broken Links On Wikipedia
When you write a blog post on a topic that ranks well on Wikipedia, check the relevant page for broken links. If you are able to use your source to replace a broken link, no questions will be asked. Otherwise, the only way to add backlinks from Wikipedia is to become a contributor and add valuable content to the page.
11. Join Active Forums In Your Niche
As long as it’s acceptable to post links in your interactions, niche forums are a great way to build your backlinks. Many forums will provide no-follow links, but you may happen upon some in your niche that allow regular (followed) links! Make sure to be helpful and build trust before dropping a link and hoping that traffic (and link juice) will flow to your blog.
Backlink Tips and Burning Questions
There are plenty of ways to build backlinks, but not all methods are clear-cut. Here are a few more questions that people are asking.
I Need More Instruction on HOW to Build Backlinks. Where Do I Start?
The methods I’ve shared are brief but effective. If you need step by step training, check out Debbie Gartner’s 31+ strategies for more ways to build backlinks. There will be some overlap with the methods I share, but with far more detail and instruction.
Should I Buy Quality Backlinks?
I’m only going to say this once. Do not buy quality backlinks. It is a black hat SEO method and Google forbids it. If you are found paying for backlinks, Google will penalize your site and it will never rank again. The initial boost from buying backlinks is not worth the issues that it WILL cause in the future.
Should I Swap Backlinks with Fellow Bloggers?
Google forbids link schemes. This includes “excessive link exchanges.” If you end up naturally swapping links with other bloggers in your niche, Google understands that it’s going to happen. But if your link profile is bogged down with many swaps, it could get you a manual penalty that prevents your site from ranking on Google.
Do I Need to Build Backlinks Forever?
Once your blog or website gets noticed, you’ll find that other content creators may start linking to you naturally. If everything goes smoothly, your backlinks should start growing without your hands-on help. But it may take years before this happens.
Are You Building Backlinks?
Building backlinks as a new content marketer is crucial to building your site’s authority. There is a fine line between earning natural links and grabbing links that could potentially hurt your efforts. Make sure to avoid anything that seems like a scheme.
Debbie Gartner’s eBook is a great resource to learn the right ways to build backlinks.
Where do you like to get quality backlinks?