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Four ways to get more backlinks

Reported by Dan Norris, Flying Solo
Thursday, June 14, 2012
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Backlinks are still the main way a search engine measures the authority of a website, so if you want to rank better in Google or Bing, you need to bolster your backlinks now.

Here are four simple ways to increase your backlinks.

1. Copy your competition

If I could only give one piece of search engine optimisation (SEO) advice to small business owners it would be to look at what your competitors are doing and match or exceed them.

If you want to be ranked higher in Google or Bing than your competitors then you will have to do more than them, and that means getting more backlinks from higher-authority sites.

One easy way to see what your competitors are doing is visit linkdiagnosis.com (you will need to install the free Firefox Extension available on the website to use the tool). Choose a competitor who is ranking well in Google and enter their web address into the tool. This will reveal their backlinks, showing you which high authority sites are linking to their website (as a general rule, the higher the number in the Google PR column the more authority the site has).

Despite the recent updates to the Google algorithm that emphasise quality content and social signals (Facebook likes and shares, and activity on Twitter and Google+) as giving websites authority, backlinks from high profile websites are probably the main reason competitor sites are outranking you.

So what can you do? Follow up the back-linking websites and see about getting similar links yourself.

Link Diagnosis is an imperfect tool but as a free tool it will give you some great information. Also keep in mind with this strategy that some of the links you might find could be paid links, which are against some search engines' terms and conditions.

2. Comment on ‘do follow’ blogs from your industry

A ‘do-follow’ blog is a blog that enables links in the comments to be traced by search engines. When you comment on a do-follow blog, and your web address is in your signature, you get a backlink to your website that adds to your site’s authority. A lot of blogs are not ‘do follow’ (called ‘no follow’) but there are lists available online of blogs that are, which you can access for free.

3. Participate in forums

Forums are great for building real authority (in the eyes of people) and also your site’s authority (in the eyes of search engines). Some forums allow you to put a do-follow link in your forum signature. This is part of the exchange of being a valuable forum member, so make sure your forum signature includes a link and relevant keywords.

Many forums don’t offer a do-follow link, or only offer it after a certain amount of posts or days. Firefox offers a free add-on that enables users to see whether a forum or blog is ‘do follow’ or ‘no follow’. Alternatively you can pay a freelancer a small amount to compile a list of do-follow blogs and forums for you from your particular industry.

Also remember that blog comments and forums in particular are no place for posting for the sake of getting the backlinks. You will create a lot of enemies if you aren’t providing good value.

4. Provide testimonials

Some of my best backlinks are on high-authority sites that have listed me as one of their happy customers. Usually I have to specifically chase these up to make sure they get published.

This is a typical win-win situation. The business gets to show off their happy customers and you get a backlink to your site, often on a page alongside other high authority figures.

So if someone asks you for a testimonial and you are happy with their service, agree to it and do your best to make sure the site links back to your site (ideally incorporating your keywords but that is often not possible).

How have backlinks worked for your business? What tips do you have on getting backlinks?

To comment on this article, head here.

For more from Dan Norris, head to www.flyingsolo.com.au, Australia's community for solo and micro business owners.

01/09/2014 17:32Sydney, Australia. 1 September,2014
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