As you probably already know, the more websites that link to your website, the higher you’ll rank in search engines. Now there are a lot of shady ways to get backward links, such as buying text links from brokers or website owners. Or even worse, hacking old WordPress blogs and adding in links to your website.
I do NOT recommend that you do anything shady as it results in short term gains and in the long run you’ll have a good chance of getting caught and potentially being banned from one of the major search engines.
So instead of going with the short-term route, here are some legitimate ways you can build links so that you can boost your search engine traffic.
Link building tactic #1: Infographics
Mint.com is notoriously known for creating good infographics. If you aren’t sure what they are, infographics represent data in a visual format. For example, I created an infographic that represented the complexity of the U.S. tax system, which made the Digg homepage and sent around 20,000 visitors to Quick Sprout within 2 days.
As long as you put in a lot of time and effort into creating these graphics, you’ll have a good chance of going viral on the social web, resulting in thousands if not millions of new visitors to your site and more importantly gaining backlinks from authoritative sites.
Link building tactic #2: Quizzes
Mingle2 was the first site that really leveraged the power of quizzes and within a few months it ranked number 1 on Google for “online dating” and “free online dating”.
The way Mingle2 did this was by creating viral quizzes such as: “Would you eat your buddies in a blizzard”. At the end of the quiz there is a little badge that you can place on your website, which then links back to Mingle2.com with the keyword “free online dating” or “online dating”.
Link building tactic #3: Comics
Comics may seem a bit geeky to you, but they do very well on the social web. A site called The Oatmeal builds comics like “Why I’d rather be punched in the testicles than call tech support”. These comics aren’t filled with any factual data or anything like that, but they are really funny.
According to Yahoo Site Explorer that comic naturally pulled in over 3000 links. And if that doesn’t impress you, the site is also able to get over 20 million pageviews a month according to Google Analytics.
Link building tactic #4: Reviews
Just because creating good content isn’t sexy, it doesn’t mean it won’t build links. For example I wrote a review of the American Express Black Card a few years ago and it naturally built hundreds of links.
I didn’t solicit the links, but I created the most extensive review of that card on the Internet and since then sites like Mahalo and Wikipedia naturally started to link to it.
This not only caused that page to get a lot of backward links and rank high in Google, but it is still to this day the most popular blog post on Quick Sprout according to Google Analytics.
The key with writing reviews is to get in-depth and provide information that doesn’t exist in other places in it’s entirety. If you aren’t covering every aspect of the product or service you are reviewing, don’t bother creating reviews like this.
Link building tactic #5: Trends
Who doesn’t want to know what’s going to be hot? I know I do.
Smashing Magazine is known for writing very detailed blog posts, which is why it is one of the most popular sites on the web. One thing that they have been doing year after year is breaking down up and coming trends.
For example, their blog post on “Web design trends for 2009” is rich in content, contains tons of images, and most importantly is broken down into sections so that are easy to read. This caused that blog post to receive over 200 comments and close to 5000 backlinks. Not bad for a single piece of content.
Link building tactic #6: Lists
I know lists are old, but they still work. If you don’t believe me, just look at all of the “top 10 lists” that have made the Digg homepage. According to Digg, over 1300 top 10 lists have received over 500 diggs, which isn’t too shabby.
If you are going to create a list type of blog post, here are some things to keep in mind:
- A picture should be included with each list element.
- Who says they have to stop at 10… spice it up and create odd numbered lists such as 11 or 51.
- Just like everything else, the post needs to be detailed with little fluff.
- Get to the point and go into the lists. The biggest mistake most websites make with list posts is that they write big introductory paragraph instead of just going into the meat.
Link building tactic #7: How-to guides
How to guides are so successful in building backlinks that companies have been built around just that content type. Just look at sites like eHow, which has over 11 million backward links and is considered to be the 43rd most popular site in the US according to Alexa.
If you’re creating a how-to guide make sure you:
- Include pictures that show each step.
- Write depreciative content that breaks down each step (not everyone is as smart as you).
- And if possible, create a video showing the final product.
There are a lot of ways you can naturally increase your backward link count, you just have to be a bit creative. Sure, you can take the easy route of just buying text links, but going with the natural route is a more long term strategy that truly provides better results.
Whatever method you use, just make sure the content you are creating is related to your website. For example if you are going to go with the quiz route, make sure the quiz is 100% relevant to your website unlike the Mingle2 example I used above.
On a final note, here is a video with 5 more tips on building links from Google engineer, Matt Cutts.