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How to Build Organic Backlinks

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

What is an Organic Backlink?

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!

Why Build Backlinks?

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.

How to Build Organic Backlinks

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 https://thisismyurl.com/build-organic-backlinks/. 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 meetup.com or eventbrite.com, 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, Meetup.com 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?

Create Internal Links for Better SEO

wordpress, lanyards, blog

Internal links strategies for WordPress websites

Internal links enhance the user experience for visitors by sending a user to other pages deep within your website, often times to provide them with extended information on a specific subject or area of interest such as Search Engine Optimization or building WordPress websites.

Realistically, your homepage can’t (and shouldn’t) have links to every subject on your blog but with deep-linked internal links, your visitors can quickly get to the more complex information.

How internal links help your visitors

First and foremost, the purpose of deep linking is to help your visitors find content easier. This happens when a specific subject or phrase on a page is linked to another page on your website. For example, if I was writing a post about improving internal links on a WordPress website, I would choose to hyperlink the word WordPress to another post helping users understand what WordPress was.

How internal links help your search engine optimization

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is all about improving your organic listing in Google and other popular search engines to ensure your listings appear at the top of the results.

Now that we’re clear that internal links have nothing to do with search engine optimization, and everything to do with helping your audience find the best content on your website, let’s look at exactly how (and why) internal links help your website’s SEO.

Internal links raise your authority

The first thing to understand about your website’s authority is that it’s dependent on all the pages on your website, not just the homepage.

So while it’s vital to have a great authority for the homepage, you also want to build the authority for as many of your internal pages as possible. To do that, you need to build backlinks from both your own pages and external pages or else these low authority pages will drag down the value of your high authority pages.

Improve search engine’s understanding of your website

Internal links, or deep links, help to improve your website’s overall presence on the web by improving how search engines see your website. It’s important to remember that while intelligent, search engine robots are still simply software applications and they rely on links to locate new content.

The goal of your internal links should always be to add value to your target audience, but a remarkable benefit of improving your user experience is that you also improve the performance of your website in search engine result pages.

Internal links will raise your visibility

It would be impossible for search engines to find most content on your website without the benefits of deep linking, either from your own website or from incoming external links.

The more links to a page, from both your own content and the external links, the higher that web page will appear in the Google search engine results.

Internal link strategies

Let’s look at a few strategies for building internal links on your own websites and marketing materials, and how these methods can help your business.

Vanity URL’s

If your business is looking to create a specific promotion for an upcoming event, product, or post, you can use the built-in WordPress permalink structure to improve your SEO, or you can create a vanity URL with WordPress to promote a specific page.

A vanity URL takes the form of a subdomain that is usually part of your domain name (seo.thisismyurl.com), a specific subdirectory (thisismyurl.com/SEO), or a unique URL for the event (seo.tdl).

Once you’ve created a vanity URL for your marketing efforts, setting it up with a 302 redirect will ensure search engines know the final destination is the page you’re intending on linking to.

Deep link your content

Internal links are links between websites
Deep linking with internal links will build your own site traffic, as well as help Google better understand the content on your website.

When building internal links, it’s vital to deep link your content from one post (or page) to another. My strategy for deep linking is to write my initial post, then during the editing phase, to regularly review a list of posts that I feel could be beneficial for my audience. I also make a habit of regularly revisiting old posts, to see if a new post can help improve the understanding of earlier content.

Create plenty of content

If you’re going to take the time to write a blog or build a website, you’ll want to set aside a schedule to write enough content to populate your blog, as well as a strategy for generating enough content to produce internal linking opportunities. If you’re looking for a great way to start planning your content strategy, I strongly recommend Brian Rothstein’s new book on content strategy ideas.

Use natural internal links

Let’s go back to my first point, these links are for readers. The side benefit of building SEO value is just that, a side benefit. To create truly powerful internal links, avoid linking words such as click here, or learn more. Internal links should be part of the everyday text or graphics.

Keep your internal links to an acceptable number

Internal links in WordPress
Internal links are the means for Google to find better content on your website faster and improve your SEO.

Google has an article for webmasters that encourages website owners to maintain a reasonable number of internal links per page, but it doesn’t clearly define what a reasonable number of links per page may be. As a result, the best I can recommend is a guess but generally speaking I suggest linking no more than once per paragraph, and only when the link justifies an internal link.

Internal link questions

When should you create an internal link? Here are the three questions I ask myself:

  1. will this link add value to the reader’s experience, or lead to a call to action;
  2. have I already linked to this resource, in this post or page;
  3. does it feel spammy, or self-serving;

Okay, that last one might seem completely arbitrary but in my experience, it’s a great indicator if a link is warranted in a situation.

Deep linking to buried content will improve website traffic

I think it’s always a great idea to include fresh content on your website, either by routinely updating the pages or by including a timely blog but there’s also something to be said about deep linking to evergreen content on your website.

What is deep linking?

Deep linking is a fancy way to describe linking to content beyond the homepage of your website, in particular, to blog posts and pages that may not receive a lot of traffic on your site but you want to push visitors towards.

In the case of evergreen articles (posts that are always fresh), it’s a great idea to link from your content to them in order to help add value to a post or explain a complex concept to your audience. For example, when I mention a site-specific plugin in a WordPress coding article, I always link to a tutorial article to help visitors who are new to the concept.

Remember, if you’re not willing to link to your own content … why should anybody else?

Ensure your links are optimized

When you’re adding links to your website content, be sure that you not only link phrases (instead of words) but that you’re also taking the time to include the proper title attributes and surround your links with relevant content to ensure you get the most positive search engine boost possible.

Search engine robots often view isolated text links as website navigation, or suspicious text so be sure to include strong link text within naturally flowing language.

Link using words and phrases

To help improve the quality of your website links and improve your search engine optimization, take a few moments to link phrases within your content, rather than single words. It’s equally important to avoid linking text such as “click here“.

Search engine robots read more than just the target of a link, they also read the content surrounding the link and the title attributes of the tag itself! If you want to make the most of your search engine optimization, take the time to link your content properly.

Search Engine Optimization tip – deep linking

Deep linking your way to profit and better usability.

When it comes to Search Engine Optimization for your business website there are a few things that you can always count on working and deep linking is at the top of the list. At it’s most basic level, deep linking is linking to content on your website other than your home page. In practice, it’s linking from one web page to another using hyperlink.

Common sense is the best way to apply Deep Linking to your web pages but since we all know that common sense isn’t all that common, let’s look at some practical applications of how and when to use Deep Linking to optimize your site.

  1. To promote similar articles or pages. If your web page or blog entry has a paragraph which highlights another entry on your site, link the text in your new posting to the old page. For example, this article is about Search Engine Optimization so I link to similar content on my site.
  2. To provide easy access to common pages. Whenever I ask people to contact me, I like to include a link to my contact page.
Deep Linking is different than simply linking to content outside of your website and it doesn’t affect the target content as much as external linking does but it does help your content build value in the eyes of Google and other search engines. More importantly, Deep Linking is about increasing both usabilities for your readers by providing hyperlinks to the valuable content on your website as well as defining yourself as an expert in your industry.
On a technical level, Deep Linking helps you establish credibility with search engines by doing two things:
  1. Helping Google find content on your website which could have been orphaned or unindexed otherwise.
  2. Improves the understanding of your content in search engines databases by associated content with similar content.
Remember, the first letter of HTML stands for Hyper. As in HyperText (HT), so if your web page is hyperlinking to other content, what good is it?

Conclusions about internal links

What I hope that you can take away from this post is that internal linking is designed to be of benefit to your visitors, and by improving their experience on your website, you’re also improving your own search engine optimization and site usability.

What do you think? Can you recommend any other times internal links can be of benefit?