There are lots of tricks of the trade when it comes to SEO and backlinks are one of them. If you’re interested in trying SEO yourself rather than hiring an agency, you’ll want to learn all you can about how to find good backlinks, avoid bad backlinks and establish a backlink plan. Google will penalize a site with bad or spammy backlinks, and you don’t want your site sent off to somewhere in Siberia. You want to make sure that backlinks are legitimate and will boost you in search engines.
It gets harder each year to get good backlinks and it’s important to find new, innovative strategies in link building. A good source (and sometimes overlooked) of backlinks is industry newsletters. Newsletters from authorities in your industry and ranking forums are good link resources since they share the same audience as you do, thereby sending targeted visitors to your site.
Finding industry newsletters and forums can be time consuming. Here are some tips to make it a little easier:
- Search Google and Bing for “the name of your industry” plus the word “newsletter.” So if you are a structural engineering firm, you would search for “structural engineering newsletter” or “AEC newsletter” or “civil engineering newsletter.” Take the results and begin to build a list or copy the results into Excel.
- With each newsletter, locate the page that allows readers to earn mentions either through blog comments, community participation or content contribution/guest writer posts. Add these pages to your list.
- Use Twitter to search for newsletter connected to your industry or brand (do the same type of search)
- Search LinkedIn for writers in your industry. For example, a search of “engineering writers” finds writers of industry publications, freelance writers and blog writers and they often have either their publication name or their employer/contact info listed. These can be great sources of information.
Now the hard part. How do you get links from newsletters?
- Identify the type of content each publication offers. The type of content that people are sharing in your industry or space is what you want to promote on your own site and you want to be sure to contact the Editor or Content Manager/Writer at each Newsletter and offer to share your content.
- Become a contributor for blogs in your industry or for newsletters that are on your list.
- Submit your written content to community sites, forums and newsletters and ask for a mention or byline that includes your URL and company name.
- Connect with members of communities who are active and likely to share your content or comment on it, helping it move in the rankings.
Forums can be a bit easier to locate. Follow the same instructions as if searching for newsletters.
- Search Google for “name of industry forums” and put the results in your spreadsheet.
- Complete your Profile on each forum, adding detailed information about your company and brand. Always include your URL, social media accounts, and a relevant avatar or photo/logo, if possible. Remember, even on a forum you want to be building your brand. If allowed, include your URL in your Signature. This may be the only area where you are allowed to “promote” yourself without getting permanently banned from the forum.
- Some forums require you to answer or ask a specific number of questions before being cleared by the moderator to use or add a Signature (add your URL). Be nice, participate, and eventually you can put your URL in your signature. It may take some time. Your URL is key to a backlink.
- Troll each forum for relevant questions that you can answer or threads that you can engage in. You want to look for areas that you can provide value based on your expertise, your company’s products or services and your experience and knowledge. The more you contribute to a forum, the more likely it is that people and potential customers will begin to follow or notice you, leading to even more link building opportunities.
There is one mistake you don’t want to make when searching for backlink opportunities. You don’t want to hire someone to perform automated backlinks for you, usually offered by individuals or companies in foreign countries. You may have heard of these low budget companies that are tempting to try. Often this results in the very links you are trying to avoid. You want to be sure to create each backlink by hand, individually. This ensures authentic, relevant link building and avoids spammy, potentially damaging links.