While search engines use a variety of different ranking signals these days backlinks are still the main. Reputable backlinks tell the search engines that your site is valued by other sites and by web users.
The emphasis though is on the word “reputable”. Back in the day when the search engines were less picky about the backlinks they followed and ranked sites for it was common practice to create spammy backlinks on as many sites as possible to win the search ranking war. Nowadays that practice will get your site ranked poorly and possibly delisted altogether. You need to be smart and let those links to your site grow naturally.
You can help things along though by using the right research tools and backlinking techniques. Here are some tools and methods to make use of when encouraging backlinks to your site.
How to Use SEO Tools to Grow Backlinks For Your Blog
– Find the Keywords You Could Rank For
One of the major impediments to the success of your site is your competitors in search rankings. To compete effectively against them you should try to gain as much information about those competitors as possible. Online SEO tools can help with that.
Google Keyword Planner is a great tool for finding keywords that are relevant for your site. You can also use it to get keyword suggestions for your competitor’s site, however. Just enter their site’s URL into the search box on the Keyword Planner page and you should get a list of keywords that will tell you what your competitor is focussing on for their SEO.
– Discover the Sites That Link to Your Competitors
Ahrefs and Monitor Backlinks have great tools for finding which sites are linking to which other sites. These can be very useful if you want to know who is linking to you, but they are even more useful if you use them to find who is linking to your competitors.
Once you have that information you can begin targeting those sites and other similar sites with your own backlinking strategies and work to gain an SEO advantage over your competition.
– Locate the Social Media Profiles for Your Competitors
The approach your competitors take to social media can tell you a lot about them and the SEO strategies they use. Before you can use those social media profile pages for research though you first need to find them.
Tools such as Spokeo could be great for finding this type of information. Your competitors’ site will usually have contact information that can be used as a research seed. You can usually find an email address or phone number for them and then use those details to do a phone number search or email search.
The phone number is usually your best bet, as it allows you to do a reverse phone lookup. This is also known as a reverse number lookup and it is like using a phone book in reverse. Instead of searching for someone’s phone number using their name, you use their phone number to search for their name and other details.
Spokeo has a detailed database of information that could be accessed by using a reverse phone lookup, email search, or similar method. This information could also usually include the social media pages for your competitors. Once you have the location of those pages you can begin using them to get a better idea of who your competitors really are and how they approach their marketing efforts.
– Use the Broken Link Method to Build Backlinks
Broken Link Building or Dead Link Building is a method where you use a tool such as one of those available at Ahrefs to find external links on a third-party site that go to 404 pages or something similar. Since that link is no longer working the site owner will appreciate knowing about it, as dead links make their site look bad.
Assuming that you have content on your site that covers the same points as whatever the dead link was originally pointing at then you can contact the site owner to let them know about the dead link.
After telling them about the dead link in your message just mention that you have similar content on your site that might fill the gap and give them something new to point that link at. Since this saves them work researching a new resource to link to they will likely give you that backlink in appreciation.
– Guest Posting for Links
Writing guest posts for other people’s blogs can be great for both getting backlinks and gaining authority in your niche. It can also help you build new business contacts and marketing leads. Before you can make those posts though you first need to find a way to contact the blog owner whose blog you want to write for.
Hunter.Io is a great online tool for finding email addresses based on a website URL. You just enter the domain name of the site into their search bar and click the “Find Email Addresses” button to get the email addresses for that domain.
Once you have an email address that you can use you next need to do your outreach to the blog site owner. Mailshake is a great tool for doing this. It allows you to send contact emails and other types of messages as quickly and efficiently as possible while giving you the best chance of having those messages actually read.
– Create Social Media Profile Page Links
A nice semi-passive way to build organic backlinks to your site is to place a link to your site on the account profile page of social media sites that you regularly visit and contribute to. Ideally, your contributions should be relevant to your site’s niche for this to work effectively. You also need to be in the habit of providing useful answers and information for people making inquiries about issues they are having in that niche.
If you gain a reputation as someone who is knowledgeable on the topics being discussed then some people will visit your site from your profile page link and discover more useful information there. After that, whenever they encounter a question relating to a topic that you have covered on your site they will be likely to post a link to the page that topic is on, giving you free backlinks in the process.
– Use Crowd Marketing to Get Links to Your Site
As discussed in the section on social media, getting into discussions to help people out is a great way to also promote your business. By putting yourself forward as both someone who is helpful and someone who is knowledgeable you become a person of authority within the communities you participate in.
If you have content on your blog or site that adds more information to what you are saying then you can often slip a link to it into the discussion as a helpful resource. This link will then become something that people will be likely to bookmark and post themselves when they encounter people with similar problems in the future. This allows your site’s links to spread naturally via crowd marketing.
There are a variety of tools that you can use to improve your backlinking strategy and a number of interesting methods that can be incorporated into that strategy. Those listed here are only a small sample of what is available and some creative research will turn up many more for you to use. So put these methods to use along with any others that you find and give your site a winning edge over your competition.
Maguire Haigh is a marketing manager for Spokeo. He is interested in the latest technology trends, marketing strategies and business development. He also prefers traveling, exploring the world and meeting new people. Maguire has great experience in creating and editing articles on different topics.