If you’re looking to improve your SEO – and who isn’t? – learning how to link a website is one of the first places you should start. There are a decent amount of blogs out there that suggest buying them in bulk, reciprocal links and other shady shortcuts like private blog networks (PBNs).
But here at The Content Factory, we don't believe in shortcuts – there may be some short-term gain, but you're likely to get slapped down by the Google Gods at some point. And when it happens, you're in for world of hurt.
When it comes to digital marketing, shortcuts always catch up to you and rarely deliver the results you're looking for. We've written a guide on how to get backlinks in the past, but if you know anything about how to link a website, you know there’s always more to learn. And since things are always changing, what you learn today might not still be true tomorrow.
Here are the best ways to link to a website to build online connections with powerful brands.
1. Regularly update your blog content
Write a lot — and often. Fresh content is what every search engine looks for in a website, and it's now more important than ever. Updating your blog content frequently will ensure that the search engines keep noticing you, and ranking your pages accordingly. One really good blog post that’s between 1,500 and 2,500 words posted once a week to your site will help you rank, drive traffic and generate leads/sales.
The longer the article, the more opportunities you have to include keywords, contextual search terms and their variations. Write two to three really awesome, long-form blog posts and you’re even more likely to be the first site asked out to the virtual prom (if that existed, we would imagine it would be thrown by Google, of course).
2. Research (the right!) keywords for SEO
The first place to start when improving your SEO is rock-solid keyword research. In many cases these are the words you’ll be linking to (it’s called anchor text and we’ll discuss it in more detail later).
Use SEMrush (that affiliate link will get you a week of free service) or another keyword analysis tool to determine what keywords people are searching for and how competitive they are.
Our favorite keyword research tool is SEMrush — that's why we recommend it, and have become affiliate partners with them. It's very intuitive, but has plenty of power to precisely target your keywords to your audience. Click here to try it free for 7 days, and see what you think.
Choose keywords that are relevant to your industry that have high monthly searches and low competition. The term social media marketing cost may draw more monthly searches than the term social media marketing pricing. The semantics are very similar, but by changing that one word, you could increase your traffic.
3. Optimize your anchor text
Once you’ve come up with a great keyword list, use these keywords in all of your content, including your landing pages, blogs, product descriptions and any link bait articles that you may post to other sites. If you’re using the keyword "social media marketing cost," hyperlink to an appropriate area on your site or an appropriate external article.
4. Always link to other areas of your site when adding blog content
If you don’t have many blog posts to link back to on your site, link back to appropriate landing pages. If you’re using the keyword blog content and don’t have a post up that’s appropriate to link to, send people to your services page, for example.
5. Always link to at least one external site on every blog post
It’s not all about you. Seriously.
Linking to other sites not only encourages those sites to link back to yours, but it also tells search engines and readers that you’ve done your homework and have legitimate sources that you’ve cited. When all is said and done, giving someone a backlink will ultimately benefit your site and the site that you’re linking back to.
Plus, when you give complementary, non-competing companies and experts a shoutout in your blog content, you have an excuse to tag them when you share the post across your social channels. Do this, and you'll find that they're pretty much always good for a retweet or interaction. This helps introduce their followers to you, and can significantly increase your network over time.
Additionally, many of these people will have BuzzSumo or Google Alerts set up to notify them whenever somebody mentions or links to their brand. In many cases, they'll hit you with a backlink or proactive social share to return the favor.
6. Comment on other blog posts
Comment on DoFollow blogs that are related to your industry with anchor text (keywords that hyperlink to areas on your site). Focus as much as possible on commenting on blogs on sites that have a high Google PageRank and Alexa ranking, or at least sites that have higher rankings than yours.
Over time this will improve your own site's SEO, and in the short term you'll get in front of their readers and introduce them to your expertise and brand.
7. Write link bait
What is link bait? Link bait articles tend to be longer blog posts that are informative and meant to go viral.
They’re more in depth than the average blog and often give shoutouts to other companies and experts. Here's an example of a link bait that we wrote about the best Chrome extensions for digital marketers. Whenever we share the post across our social channels, we make sure to tag the companies – and score their engagement in return.
For another example of a different type of link bait we've written, check out our ultimate guide to content marketing. This post in itself has everything you need to know about content marketing, all in one place, and links out to many different experts in the field.
As this guide has climbed the search engine results pages (SERPs), many other people have linked to it as a resource – including the people we named in the post, like Neil Patel.
8. Write about products, programs and services that you love
As a business owner, you probably have at least a few products that you use that you simply couldn’t do your job without. We, for example, can’t do our jobs effectively without BuzzSumo, HootSuite and HARO, so we decided to blog about them.
Not to brag, but HootSuite commented on the blog post we wrote about them. It was kind of a big deal, and we were really pumped about it. Other people in our industry also have found the information helpful, and it’s helped us to make some great connections.
Similarly, BuzzSumo featured the testimonial we wrote for them on their site – along with a backlink to ours. Being a brand champion for the companies you love can have huge results, as our CEO Kari DePhillips outlined in this LinkedIn post (give it a read, there are awesome case studies there).
9. Write guest blog posts for other websites
If you have the opportunity to contribute blog content to a great site – one that’s related to your industry and has high SEO rankings – go for it. Sometimes a site will even pay you for it, but even if they don’t, the benefits are awesome.
Especially if you're doing it for free, most sites are so jazzed that they’re getting good web content that they’ll let you link back to your site. If you're lucky, you might even score a permanent on-site profile or a significant new source of referral traffic.
Pro tip: before you write the guest post, confirm that they'll allow you to include a dofollow link in your content. Without that, it's not worth your time unless the site is huge and you want the byline for your portfolio.
10. Write exceptional content that provides value to the reader
Above all, write great content that provides value to the reader – and that reader should be your target audience, by the way.
If you do this, you'll get your target audience to share your content and link back to it. Crazy concept, right?
If you're not super confident about your content writing skills, you can sign up for our Rise & Convert online SEO training program, which walks you through everything from technical SEO to keyword research to perfecting your blog content so that it ranks well in the SERPs – and converts.So, there you have it.
The secret to how to get backlinks isn’t really a secret at all. Write great content, link to other great content and comment on great content.
Are you a femme interested in SEO? We've got a killer Facebook group you'll want to check out. Sisters in SEO was co-founded by Kari DePhillips, TCF's CEO, and has grown to become the largest network of women in the industry with over 3,000 members.
If you're a bro, we've got you covered too. Join TCF's digital marketing Facebook group, which covers everything from SEO to digital PR.
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