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If you want to boost your rankings on search engines, first and foremost you need to build organic backlinks.

Build Organic backlinks between websites
A backlink is a link from one website to another, specifically your website. It helps search engines understand the value of your site.

A backlink is simply a link from somebody else’s public website or blog that links back to your website. An organic backlink is simply a backlink that occurs naturally, without purchasing the link as advertising.

You can see who’s already providing a backlink to you in Search Console, a free tool from Google.

Before you spend a lot of time getting backlinks from others, be sure you’ve spent time building your own internal links from one page to another on your website. Deep linking is one of the most valuable sources of traffic you have for SEO!

Major search engines use backlinks to help judge which content on the Internet is important, vs which isn’t. Robots sent out from companies like Google assume that if lots of legitimate websites are linking to your content, you too must be legitimate.

So how do you become legitimate? Backlinks.

It’s recursive (repeating on itself) look at websites. The more valid backlinks you have, the more search engines trust your website, and the more they trust your website, the more value they give the backlinks you have on your website.

Without backlinks from other websites, or websites that search engines trust, a search engine doesn’t know if they can trust your content, and so won’t present your website to visitors in the top rankings.

If you really want to build organic backlinks, there are a few steps that you need to follow, and while they’re in no particular order because search engine optimization is an ongoing endeavor for website owners, I’ll present them here for a brand new website.

Make Sure Your Website Works

Before you go out there looking for links to your website, take a bit of time and make sure that your website is worth linking to. Do you have a great domain name and website hosting ready to share with your community? Did you take the time to plan a web structured website? Is your website secure and safe for your visitors?

Create Quality Content

One of the first things anybody should do when building a website is focused on the content of their website. Content is king, if you’re not a skilled writer, hire a good writer or at the very least, a great editor.

The reason content is king when you’re trying to build organic backlinks is simple. People don’t want to link to garbage. So make your content awesome by focussing on subjects people want to read, that are relevant to your industry, are well written, and proofed effectively.

Build a Great Website

HTML Website code
It may look like gibberish to you, but search engines need to read quality HTML code to understand what’s on your webpage. That’s where a great website comes in!

We could debate what a great website is but when I say you need to build a great website, I mean build a website that search engines think is great and people can use easily.

Make sure your design is easy to navigate, works well on mobile devices, that the text is comfortable to read. Basically, make sure people can find your site, read your content, and share it with their friends easily.

Make it Easy to Share Your Content

Help people share your content by including links in the footer of your posts, encourage them to share it, but also be aware of the most basic parts of your post, the URL.

A URL is the address of a page on the World Wide Web. The Uniform Resource Locator, it’s the address that appears in the box above this article and in this case its Easy right? If somebody wants to link to this post, all they need to do is copy and paste that URL into Facebook, or Twitter, or their own blog posts.

By making it easy to share my post, I’m encouraging you to share it.

It’s important to know that neither Facebook nor Twitter links have value in SEO terms so you shouldn’t focus on them for backlinks, but they’re still an important part of Social Media Marketing.

Also, keep in mind that there are a lot more social media platforms than Facebook and Twitter. Don’t forget to use YouTube, Linkedin, WeChat, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Slideshare when appropriate! Instagram is a great marketing tool for photographers and restaurants, so be sure to look for social media links were you can.

Tell People About Your Content

Use your own social media accounts to promote your content and tell as many people about it as possible, but don’t limit it to Twitter and Facebook. Make the most of LinkedIn and industry-specific social media sites as well.

The more people you tell about your content, the more likely it is that they’ll share links to your content in their own posts and stories. But telling everybody isn’t really enough. You need to tell people who matter, and who may share your content with more people.

Learn From Your Competition

When I’m looking to build organic backlinks for myself and clients, one of the first things that I do is look at the competition and see who’s linking back to their competitors’ websites.

Ask Writers to Link to You

I build a list of websites to contact directly and I look for authors who’s posts may benefit from some of mine in the future, then I ask those authors to read a post that I feel would help them, and encourage them to include my link in their story.

Build Organic Backlinks in the Community

One of the least utilized forms of backlinks is simply reaching out to people and organizations within your community. Remember that major search engines are looking for proof that you’re a trustworthy source of information, so help them.

Create Local Backlinks

Some of the easiest backlinks to generate are right outside your front door.

The Fine Grind Cafe, for example, includes organic backlinks from the St. Catharines Downtown Business Associate webpage to their own website, as part of their profile.

Be sure that you’re business website is listed in your local business directories such as your Chamber of Commerce, and Business Improvement Association.

The same is true for community groups that your business participates in locally, events that sponsor, meet-ups on or, and local associations or simply social parties your business participates in.

If you’re involved, simply ask for a link back to your website.

Local backlinks give you the added bonus of helping search engines to know where you are physically in the world. By building your links with local businesses, you’re also building local SEO.

Build Organic Backlinks in your Industry

Behind the Scene Photography
When I run workshops and community events for photographers, I’m always sure to ask for a backlink from their site to help promote me.

Beyond your local market, focus on building your backlinks quickly within your industry. If you’re part of an association, check that you’ve included your link on their website.

For example, are you a member of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business? Or a professional industry association for your trade or profession? Do they have a website (if not, could you give them my number?), and do you have an organic backlink with them?

As with local backlinks, if you’re part of them, ensure your website is listed.

Build Organic Backlinks Everyday

There’s a whole host of things you do every day in business that can help you build your organic backlinks and help you stand out to search engines.

Job postings on popular websites such as Indeed, Monster, or locally with Kijiji or Craigslist. If you’re hiring locally, reach out to the local associations and schools to be included on their websites. If you’re in a specific industry, ask your associations to post the job to their site.

Write and submit news stories to small newspapers in your region, and your industry. Share your knowledge with others and build organic backlinks through their newsletters.

Include a special or a promotion for each of your associations and make sure they include organic backlinks on their website.

If you’re running a meetup, lets you include organic backlinks as an event sponsor!

Partner with a charity, school, or not for profit and build organic backlinks through their websites. You can even offer to help and write the news stories for them.

I’m sure I’ve missed plenty of great ways to build organic backlinks. Why not share your favorites in the comments below?