I’ve written in this space in the past about getting backlinks and how important it is to get good ones. Now while you can pay a competent SEO specialist to do it for you, there are backlinks you can get on your own for free (you just end up paying with your time for putting in the effort to do it).
Now before you assume I’m going to tell you to comment on blog posts and in forums (things I’ve covered extensively in the past), these are different backlink strategies which are also free and which will help your website rank higher in the SERPs. Some you may be familiar with, others not so much.
There is a raging debate going on as to whether .gov (i.e. government websites) backlinks are automatically ranked higher than those of other websites. Some people say that Google and the other search engines do consider .gov links to be special because of the fact that they are harder to get.
Others say that they organically rank higher because there are so many one way links pointing to government sites. Any way you slice it though, .gov backlinks are a hot commodity and I happened to come across a blog post on SEOMoz (dated from back in 2006, but it seems like the idea should still work) on how to get .gov backlinks.
The idea does require some effort on your part. You’ll need to write a blog post where you mention a government agency (preferably a politician) and a positive effort they may have made on a subject which is near and dear to your readers.
Then, send an e-mail to the webmaster for the agency in question with a link back to your blog post. The idea is that many such agencies have a section where they discuss PR for the agency and will put up a link back to your blog post. Obviously it doesn’t always work, but it seems it should work occasionally if done correctly.
This is another one for those with blogs. Submit your blog’s RSS feed to online directories and you’ll get dozens of backlinks to your site, along with deep links, which are extremely important for those who want to rank higher in the SERPs.
This is a variation on the government backlinks strategy and it’s a bit more of a long shot. Doing this, you hope that a high flying startup which has some serious backing may be able to build PR (page rank) quickly. Basically, you write about their new product, which hopefully will be of interest anyway to your readers and then send a link to the webmaster of the company.
If what you wrote is flattering, you may get a link back in their “press” section. Again, they’re hungry for PR (public relations in this case, not page rank) so they’re more likely to notice that your little blog mentioned them than someone like Apple or Microsoft who couldn’t care less if you cover them or not.
No matter what your business, one of the time tested ways to get backlinks for your website is to use article marketing. This means writing a quality article (the better the article, the more likely it is to get picked up) and posting it on article directories. You then add in an organic link back to your site.
For example, if you run a website offering to prepare people’s taxes, write an article with 5 often overlooked tax deductions. Then add in, “Need additional tax advice? XYZ Tax Services is happy to help you.” Obviously, put in a link back to your site with that anchor text.
Finally, those who really want to get lots of good links should use the tried and true method of getting them – writing high quality content. While linkbait can also sometimes be controversial material, often it just means a really phenomenal article or post on your blog where you share information which is really useful.
Then, people will naturally link back to you because your information is genuinely useful. It’s simple, effective and one of the best ways of getting free backlinks that I know of.