To get your website ranked on Google and other search engines, you need to start building backlinks with other sites.
Back in 2017, I got serious about learning SEO tactics for the first time. I ran across link building in this free 405-page ebook from Joshua Hardwick — Link Building Strategies: The Complete List. I was blown away by how many details he offered in the guide but quickly realized it best fits software (SaaS) companies. But, the foundational SEO approach can fit your local business as well.
I’m here to help you get more search traffic by growing your backlinks online.
What the heck is a backlink? The term might sound mysterious. But the simple goal is simple: Find more high-quality websites that will link back to your website. This proves to Google your website (and business) are worth taking notice of.
Don’t worry, none of these require you to send out those sleazy cold emails. Effective link building is all about building a legitimate network that benefits everyone involved.
Best Joshua Hardwick Strategies to Grow Your Local Brand via Link Building:
Here are my favorite pics from his guide to grow your search traffic (in no special order). Enjoy the planning session!
- Be Controversial – If you’ve been in the same industry long, I bet there is a short rant article you could write. Draft it up and share with influencers in your community.
- Be the First to Review Something – Find a new product in your industry, then reach out and offer to write a review on your site. Then, tell the right people about it.
- Better Business Bureau – Go to www.trust-bbb.org to find your local bureau and find out out how much membership is. Then, join up if it’s not too pricey. You’ll get a membership link right on their site.
- Blogger Reviews – Bloggers and influencers love free stuff. So, make a list of them in your industry space and offer them free access to your product or service (in exchange for an unbiased review).
- Brand Mentions – Write about a specific brand or product on your website. This is a sure way to garner backlinks. So, make a list of brands your business loves and write up a short review on them. Share it with their CEO, other fans, and your community.
- Business Directory Submissions – There are specialist directories out there for every industry under the sun. Usually, you just need to set up a free account and claim your business. These links are often low-quality but might be a no-brainer.
- Chamber of Commerce – Just like the Better Business Bureau, this will cost a membership fee but is an easy win if your time is more valuable that money right now.
- Community Links – Go find the top online communities in your industry, and set up a profile (account). Make sure you include your website URL in your profile, and you’re off to the races. Go ahead and engage with a few questions and conversations along the way.
- Convert Mentions to Links – Your business has probably been mentioned online somewhere (without including a link). We all get a little lazy sometimes right? Set up a Google Alert to find out when it happens, then send a simple low-pressure ask to the website when it happens.
- Create a Community – Build your own niche community and nurture helpful conversations. The hardest part is building momentum initially, and letting everyone know it exists. But, it can be a huge win if you invest the time and effort.
- Create an Event Checklist (or similar resource) – Think of a prominent event in your niche, and write a helpful prep list for attendees. Those websites have a high domain authority in the eyes of Google, and others will be glad to share your content.
- Curate Industry Quotes – Write up a blog post of your favorite quotes related to your industry, then reach out to the speaker and say thanks. They’ll usually want to talk about it somewhere online.
- Curate the Web – Pick a topic your audience cares the most about, and pull together your list of favorite places for them to learn more. Make sure to let those brands know you included them, and they might just be willing to share your new resource!
- Do a Charity Run (or ride) – Charity events are a great way to get high-quality links from websites. Besides the obvious purpose of supporting your favorite charity, it also builds a healthy community. You might be able to get the event covered by a local news station. But, you can at least submit it to online directories and build authority with Google.
- Donate to Charities & Non-Profits – Find a charity that supports the industry or cause your brand aligns with, and check if they have a partners page on the website. Supporting them is already a no-brainer, but building more credibility for your site is icing on the cake.
- Event Recaps – Do you attend any industry conferences already? If so, jot down some of your favorite notes or quotes and publish them as a recap post on your site within 2-5 days. Then, email it out to bloggers and industry organizers who will be interested in sharing the content.
- Forum Posting – Find a forum in your niche to join, and start adding value. Make sure you don’t drop links to your site right away. You always want to make sure you add value to the conversations first and prove you’re not a random spammer.
- Get Interviewed – In this age of podcasters and YouTubers, it’s easy to find people willing to interview you (if you’ve established some expertise on a topic). Reach out and ask if they’d be interested in hosting you!
- Get Manufacturer Links – Odds are, some of the brands you sell have a “where to buy” page. If you find one, just send over a quick email to the brand and ask them to add you on!
- Giveaways & Contests – Find a blogger or influencer in your industry, and partner with them to run a contest with their audience. This way, you can provide the prize and your efforts will go much farther than with your own audience.
- Host Your Own Events – Set up an event, event if it’s a monthly meet-up, and share it on your website. It’s a sure way to add value to your audience and great content for other websites to pick up and share.
- List Posts – This method is now a little over-used, so you have to make sure your list of XYZ things related to your niche is high-quality and regularly updated. But it still works. Look for quick, understandable ideas that haven’t been published by anyone else yet.
- National Days & Events – Journalists write on National Day events every year. So, build a quality piece of content related to an event or day in your niche. Then, share with anyone you think might be interested (several weeks or months before the day or event).
- Niche-Specific Directories – This is a low-level step, but a simple win for backlinks. Find those directories in your industry and make sure your business is listed (with correct website, name, address, and phone number).
- Profile Links – You’ve likely got several social media profiles, so make sure your website is included on the bio info in each. Easy win!
- Resource Page Link Building – A resource page is simply a curated list of great content online. when the publisher keeps it updated and cares about the quality (and it’s in your niche). First, go build an excellent piece of content. Then, share it with the publisher and find out if they will include it.
- Sponsor Events – Finding a local or niche-specific event is fairly easy. Then, find out the sponsorship cost (and what it includes). You can often sponsor a key event for $100-500 and build a quick topic-related link.
The simple truth is, you don’t need to find 58 websites that will link to yours this week.
You only need to start building momentum. The best way to get rolling is to pick 2-3 of the ideas above and get started. You’ll quickly find what you prefer (and what fits your niche)—once you start conversations. Before you know it, you’ll be bumping up against your 100 link goal!
One backlink from a high-quality site in your niche is worth 10 low-quality links.
And, you don’t have to be a big software company to start You’ve got everything you need to start building links, and sales. Pay attention to what works and do more of that. The search traffic will follow very soon.
Don’t hesitate to reach out and schedule up a strategy call if you have any questions—I’m glad to help!
P.S. – Check out Hardwick’s original article right here: Link Building Strategies: The Complete List (if you want the whole 404-page version).