Infographic: 14 Ways to Get Backlinks Without Begging

Are you producing lots of great content on a regular basis but still not seeing organic traffic?

The issue may be a lack of external sites linking to you, also known as backlinks. While SEO has evolved over the years, backlinks still remain as one of the most important SEO ranking factors.

What you shouldn’t do is get involved in shady link schemes. This is known as black hat SEO, and it is unethical and ineffective over the long run.

The key to getting backlinks in a sustainable way, without begging for them, is to continually produce high-quality content that people want to link to and share.

So, when you’re thinking of your link building strategies, keep these 14 in mind and try any or all of them. Give each a lot of effort and measure the results appropriately.

Click here if you’d prefer to skip this list and just go straight to the infographic.

1. Original Research

Conducting research and surveys isn’t cheap in time or cost, but outlets like Hubspot and ConversionXL routinely conduct and publish research findings because they generate backlinks.

Hubspot frequently publishes blog posts like this

My friend Brian Dean has also published research-based blog posts:

And has seen a lot of backlinks from the blog post:

If you prefer to not do research yourself or hire a researcher, you can reach out to other companies that conduct research and publish it in PDFs. Ask them for the PDF and if you can write a short blog post that summarizes the findings, or summarizes parts of it, in exchange for a link to their landing page to download the full report. You’ll still get a lot of links and social traffic, even if the data isn’t yours. You’re simply reporting on it.

After all, that’s what all science publications (i.e. ScienceDaily) do everyday. They write reports and summarizations of the latest scientific research, and cite the study in their article.

When your article is ready to go, it may help to put something like this in the headline:

  • New Research
  • New Findings
  • New Data

This way, people browsing on Google or social will see that it’s research-based, and they’ll want to check out your article.

Finally, when you release original data, reach out to some companies you have relationships with that may be interested in sharing your research. You can write to them with a simple request – here’s the research we did, here’s the article of the research, maybe it would come in handy for you at some point in the future.

Bonus points if you create an infographic based on your original research.

2. Create Long-Form Guides

More and more publishers are cutting their word counts short and producing content with few words. You can stand out and get backlinks by creating 10x content and giving it away for free.

This involves finding something useful that people will want to read, examining the competition, and creating something 10x better. You (or a writer you hire) will write about 15,000 words, and split the organization up into different chapters.

I’ve created many of these guides and published them Quick Sprout.

Ramit Sethi produced a guide to personal finance and now he ranks #1 on Google for the query personal finance guide.

Brian Dean wrote a keyword research guide:

Guess where this ranks on Google

I’d recommend you take a look at some of these guides so you can get an idea of the breadth of undertaking for producing a 10x guide.

These 10x guides are expensive (writing and design time) and time-consuming, but they can pay off in the form of backlinks to your site.

3. Interview an Influencer

Influencer marketing is all the rage right now. Most brands want to figure out how to get a big celebrity or athlete to endorse their product. Or better yet, be business partners with them.

But there’s another strategy you can take if you’re interested in getting backlinks. This involves interviewing an influencer to get their knowledge that would help your audience. If you don’t have connections, you’ll have to be good at email outreach and be a skilled people-person.

If you are granted an interview, it’s important to come prepared with thoughtful questions, and have respect for their time. Most influencers probably won’t want to chat for more than 15 minutes, but if you’re a skilled interviewer who asks good questions that should be more than enough time to get valuable information from them.

You can publish your interview either in a video format or via a transcript. If you can, I’d opt for a video if you can make sure it’s high quality. If not, stick with a transcript of the interview.

4. Create an Infographic

Kissmetrics has produced lots of infographics that have brought us a ton of backlinks. We had our own in-house designer create the infographic, but if you don’t have your own designer you can hire one through Upwork.

The most difficult part of the infographic process is brainstorming a topic that’s a good fit for the infographic, then creating the copy and graphs to go in the infographic. A great designer will take a lot of the weight off your shoulders. Just come up with a topic, produce the content, and let the designer work their magic.

Don’t forget to add an embed code at the bottom to make it easy for people to put it on their website. A lot of other sites may just download your infographic and put it on their site. This is why it’s useful to have your logo on the infographic – so even if you don’t get the backlink, you still get your brand some exposure around the web.

If you’re looking to rank well for a particular term, you can add that keyword to the embed code. See what Copyblogger did with this infographic:

5. Create a Quiz

Much like infographics, quizzes are popular and get a lot of shares. If you create on your site, you can add an embed code and get backlinks just like you would do with an infographic.

Your quizzes should be enjoyable for people to take. They don’t have to be a knowledge test. It’s best if you create something that encourages people to look inward and think about themselves. The end result then makes something that’s shareable with others.

This is what Buzzfeed does so well. They create quizzes like, “What Kind of [fill in the blank] Are You?”. People love taking the quizzes and sharing them because it’s about each person.

Try adding quizzes to your marketing strategy and see what results you get!

6. Contact Sites that Link to Defunct Sites

This is known as the Moving Man Method, courtesy of Brian Dean. I’d recommend you check out his full video for a breakdown of this. It’s pretty brilliant and I have to give him the proper credit.

The important thing to keep in mind is to only reach out to high quality sites. Remember that crappy sites that link to you are your problem. You are responsible for who links to you. Remove the crappy sites that are linking to you and you’ll improve your overall backlink profile.

7. Testimonials

Offering a free testimonial is a win-win relationship. The business gets a testimonial and you get your name and company name on their website, along with a link back to your site.

Obviously, when you reach out to these companies, you need to be a customer of their product or service. Don’t contact companies you don’t use and offer a testimonial.

I’ve done this on a lot of different sites and it’s helped to increase my exposure.

Here I am on the homepage of Backlinko:

And here I am with Brian Dean on the Ahrefs homepage:

And on Viewership.com:

I have many more around the web, but how many visits do you think these three sites receive? That’s how much free exposure I’m getting, because I endorse their product and wrote a testimonial.

8. Guest Blogging

This is one of my favorite methods for gaining links and exposure. Guest blogging can be free (if you’re a good writer) or paid if you prefer to hire a ghostwriter. If you haven’t written for other blogs before, I’d recommend hiring a ghostwriter. It will cost between $250-$500 for a quality article with at least 2,000 words.

In the article, you can link to your own content. I’ve done this with my articles in Entrepreneur:

Don’t go overboard and put a dozen links back to your site. Keep it reasonable (maybe 1-3 for every 2000 words) and make sure the owner of the blog is okay with it. If they’re not, you may want to take your content somewhere else. I think it’s a fair tradeoff considering that you’re giving them great free content in exchange for some links and exposure.

Be sure to also use your byline wisely. Keep it sharp and to the point. Tell readers who you are, what you do, and what value you bring. Link to your site. Bonus points if you can link to other parts of your site, like Bnonn does on the Kissmetrics blog:

In his byline, he’s advertising his free course (which brings him leads) and has a link back to his website.

9. Find Unlinked Mentions

If you’re well known, you’ll have hundreds or even thousands of sites that mention your company or name but don’t link to you. Using this method, you find those high-quality sites that aren’t linking.

For example, if I write about Copyblogger or mention one of their blog posts but don’t link to it, they can reach out to me in a helpful way and suggest I add in a link to their site or blog post. I’m already mentioning them; so adding the link is only helpful to readers.

Credit to Brian Dean for this tactic – he calls it link reclamation.

10. Public Relations For Page Rank

Having good relationships with journalists and news outlets is great for public relations and backlinks. But you shouldn’t cold email a journalist and ask them to promote your company. That won’t work and will only make you look bad.

Use Help a Reporter Out, but don’t rely on it. You need to make an active effort to make relationships with journalists and help them out when they need it. All good relationships rely on reciprocity.

Some of you may have a unique story or angle that a news outlet would like to cover. That’s how I got coverage on CNN:

I knew they wouldn’t want to hear about my business, but rather that I live in hotels. I did get links to my businesses from this article, and it brought a lot of referral traffic.

So as you build those relationships, you’ll eventually start getting mentions in outlets and publications. This can do wonders for your exposure and your “link juice”.

11. Use Outreach Efforts When You Write a Post

When you write a blog post, you’ll probably be linking to other companies and articles. When you do that, you should make an effort to contact the people that run those companies or write those articles and tell that them that you mentioned them on your blog post. They may share it social media or mention you in a future article. Remember – trust the laws of reciprocity.

When you reach out, it’s important to not ask for a backlink. That will make you look desperate, and no one wants to look desperate. Just simply reach out and tell them that you liked their article/post or company so much that you wanted to share it on your blog post. Then share the link to your blog post. That’s all you have to do.

Finally, don’t write a blog post that has hundreds of links. If you do that and reach out to each one you linked to, it will make you look bad because you’re giving out a bunch of links in order to ask for a link back. Keep the number of links on your blog posts reasonable, and tell bloggers and companies when you write about them. Then, trust the laws of reciprocity.

12. Quality on Quality Blogs

This can be one of the best ways to gain exposure. You’ll also get backlinks if the comments are not a nofollow.

The priority when writing a comment is to make sure it’s thoughtful, relevant, and adds to the discussion. Writing, “great post, keep it up” isn’t thoughtful or relevant and it doesn’t add to the discussion. When someone reads your comment, it should be clear that you actually read the blog post or article and have something unique to add to it. Your comments should be like the blog posts you write – high quality, thoughtful, and useful.

The WordPress commenting plugin Commentluv uses dofollow comment URLs by default. I’d recommend searching for these blogs, subscribing to them, reading them as they come out, and making comments shortly after they’re published.

You can also link to your blog in the comment:

13. Request Your Company or Article Be Added to a Resource Page or Listicle

It’s important to only do this if you really think that what you want to link to would improve the article. I get a lot of requests from bloggers asking for links. I ignore all of them because none of them make sense for my blog. I can see that they don’t want to make any of my articles better, they just a backlink.

Check out the script Brian Dean has for you in his mega-guide.

14. Create a List of Your Own

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, list-based posts get a lot of traffic.

Unfortunately, I think that a lot of marketers and content creators view them as a shortcut. They’ve been brainwashed by viewing the listicles that are in slideshow form, thinking that if they just brainstorm a few things to put on their list, and add a sentence or two to each one, that their job is done. You shouldn’t make it that easy on yourself.

Other marketers will go overboard and make their list so long (i.e. 150+ items) that no one will read it all. There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with this if you can make manage to make each item useful. Don’t add things to your list that don’t make sense just so you can have a bigger number.

Keep in mind, as with everything, quality over quantity. (Ideally you have both quality and quantity). You’re better off keeping your list at the right amount and making more quality list-based posts instead of putting all your energy into one post.

The Infographic

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Conclusion

Getting backlinks doesn’t involve begging. It involves hard work. It takes creativity, hustle, and good people skills.

Your best competition, the ones consistently at the top of Google, aren’t cold emailing companies and bloggers asking for backlinks. They’re hard at work producing great content that people want to share and link to.

All the work is worth it. I’ve been in content marketing for years and I still find that backlinks are crucial to ranking higher in Google.

I hope you’ll examine these 14 tactics, find some that work for you, put in meaningful effort in each, and measure the results. Then let me know how they work for you.

What methods have you found useful and effective to get backlinks without begging for them?

About the Author: Neil Patel is the cofounder of Neil Patel Digital.

Source: New feed 2

How to Write Meta Descriptions To Boost Your SEO

How many times have you Googled something and your search results have little to no content below the link?

Yeah, that’s the meta description. And every website should have one.

If you have a website, then meta descriptions should matter to you.

Even if you don’t personally have a website and simply browse online, meta descriptions should still matter to you.

A meta description is a website’s final attempt to get your attention and seal the deal with a click-through.

Not only is a meta description a link’s last-ditch effort to gain a visit or two, but it is also a factor in search engine optimization that many digital marketers ignore.

But a neglected meta description could mean lost viewers, forgotten leads, and less traffic.

What?

Thankfully, adding meta descriptions is simple. Writing good meta descriptions that help SEO is the tougher part — but it can get easier with help and a little practice.

I’ll explain exactly how.

Meta descriptions explained

A meta description is the snippet of text displayed below each link in the search results. It is the HTML element that provides more information about a website to search engines and searchers.

Why do meta descriptions exist?

Well, they serve a couple purposes. They describe the contents of a web page to the searcher while simultaneously convincing and persuading the searcher to click the link.

Meta descriptions play a big role in search results.

Any words that match the search query are made bold in the description.

They also serve as a sort of advertisement for that specific website, providing the searcher with a brief glimpse into what they could gain or see by clicking.

See the below example of search results for “simple SEO guide.”

The meta descriptions above are the few lines of text below the link title and URL.

You will see that some included the bold words from the search query, and others are simply the first few words of the website or blog post.

But meta descriptions aren’t reserved for search engine results pages (SERPs).

They also appear when people share content on websites and social media channels. While search results and SEO aren’t relevant in this particular instance, well-written meta content will still encourage opens on social media and external sites.

And click-throughs on social media, while not technically recorded by Google or Bing, will still contribute to a site’s overall traffic, relevance, and publicity.

All in all, meta descriptions can contribute a ton to your website’s success.

The importance of meta descriptions

A meta description is your website’s last sales pitch to a searcher. It is the most important feature to improving click-through rates from an organic search.

Meta descriptions are a major tool that searchers use to decide which search results will be the most helpful, relevant, and authoritative.

They are also super important for search engine optimization–but not in the way that you may think.

It is important to point out that meta description content is not factored into search results. So it’s not necessary to put keywords into your meta description.

But let’s take a step back and consider not just search engine behavior, but human behavior. Meta description content may not influence the search engine algorithm, but click-through rate does.

That’s right. Google is actively measuring — and factoring in — user behavior when it comes to search results.

There are so many factors that go into ranking a website; it’s easy to forget that human activity is constantly being analyzed and considered.

Kind of makes you think about the way you conduct searches, doesn’t it?

Knowing this, think about the way that your meta descriptions look to an average searcher.

Do they appeal to a computer or a person? Is the content arranged to grab an algorithm’s attention or the human eye?

Meta descriptions may not directly benefit SEO, but click-through rates do, and meta descriptions help get clicks.

And the more people that click on your link, the better the content will perform in search results.

Now, for any search engine results page, it is not a given that every searcher will scroll all the way to the bottom — not to mention clicking over to a second or third page.

In fact, click-through percentages taper off as you move down the results page because, logically, the more relevant and reliable links are already situated at the top.

At least, that’s what the average searcher assumes.

If your website is located further down the first page, or even on the second, you are already working with less than your competitors.

This makes a concise, persuasive meta description all the more crucial to that link’s success.

But those results that fall at the top don’t necessarily have their work cut out for them, either. Ranking in the first few results doesn’t always guarantee a click-through.

Providing a high-quality meta description will ensure that a searcher doesn’t go scrolling for another result.

Relevant results encourage clicks. Meta descriptions help searchers understand why your link is the most relevant, helpful, trustworthy option.

And the more searchers click on your website, the better your site will perform overall.

Here’s how to add — and write — killer meta descriptions that convert search queries to surefire clicks.

How to write meta descriptions

For now, head over to your website’s HTML and take a look at the <head> section. It’ll look similar to this.

<head>
<meta name=”description” content=”Insert meta description here!”>
</head>

To add a meta description to the site, insert the content next to (you guessed it) where the HTML code says “content=”.

Regardless of what content management system you use, you should have complete control over what your meta descriptions say.

The especially goes for WordPress, whose backend platform makes it easy to alter this information.

If you use an SEO plugin like Yoast, you can add the meta description to the section labeled “meta description”. You can even preview how it will look in the SERPs.

Now that we have the technical how-to out of the way, let’s review some tips for writing meta descriptions that grab a searcher’s attention, wrangle a click-through, and boost your SEO.

At its core, writing a great meta description isn’t all that different from writing great sales copy. It is an exercise in concise persuasion designed to sell whatever lies beyond the link.

You have a few sentences to grab someone’s attention and garner a click-through.

Every single word you add to that meta description should be dedicated to producing a click, while still maintaining factual accuracy to meet expectations.

This may take practice, but it is worth it for the overall health of your website. Thankfully, changing out your website’s meta description is pretty easy.

If you test one meta description and don’t love how it performs, you can simply head back to the HTML and try a new one.

If you’re overwhelmed about where to start, prioritize your homepage and most important pages, like your product pages, top blog posts, or About page.

Get a feel for writing meta descriptions, and then take the time to fill them out for the rest of your website.

Now, let’s dive into how to write up meta descriptions that are clear, helpful, and persuasive.

Be specific and relevant, including the focus keyword.

Within your meta description, you essentially have two to three sentences to persuade people to click. So every word in your meta description matters.

Nowadays, the average searcher will recognize a generic, fluffed-up meta description from a mile away.

They will also most likely ignore that sort of description for one that better suits their search query.

Use your meta description to further connect with the target audience of your website or blog post link. Use relevant language that will appeal to them and be specific about what your website offers.

Layer your focus keyword into your meta description authentically. (That means don’t repeat it multiple times or throw in a few different variations for the sake of better SEO.)

Search engines will often bold the words in your meta description that correspond to a searcher’s query. This makes it easier for a searcher to see exactly how your website aligns with what they have searched.

Use action-oriented language, with a call-to-action.

Great sales copy always includes present-tense, actionable language. Your meta description should read no differently.

Use the meta description to describe exactly what you want the searcher to do or what exactly will happen when they click on your link.

Give the searcher a clear picture of what lies beyond the link.

Consider starting with words like “Learn,” “Discover,” “Experience,” or “Read” so the searcher has a clear idea of what your website provides. This may also inspire new actions beyond the searcher’s original query.

Provide a solution or benefit.

Think about why people make searches online. Most likely, they want to research, buy, learn, or read something, right?

Your meta description should serve as the “Ah-ha — found it!” moment for a searcher.

How can your website give them what they’re looking for? How do they benefit by clicking on your link? What lies beyond your search result that can benefit or help them in some way?

Use your meta description to answer these questions. This information is especially valuable when competing with other blogs or websites.

Nowadays, most search queries result in multiple sites offering similar content. What makes your website different, and how can you use this information to entice a click-through?

Keep it short and sweet.

Good digital marketers recognize that, as humans, we have the attention span of a goldfish — eight seconds, to be exact.

You should remember this in any circumstance that involves writing content to persuade or sell, especially when crafting your meta descriptions.

Don’t assume that searchers will take the time to review all meta descriptions on the search engine results page.

Choose each word wisely, knowing that people most likely skim your description before continuing down the page.

Another important thing to recognize is that Google cuts off meta descriptions that are too long. There have been reports of Google testing snippets of longer length, but about 150 characters is a safe length.

Case in point — Do not get caught with your most valuable information at the end!

Don’t deceive, but inspire curiosity.

You might think it a good idea to embellish your meta description solely to get a click. Who cares if a searcher stays on your website as long as they click-through first?

Not a stellar strategy.

If you’re not truthful about what a searcher can expect from your link, he or she probably won’t hesitate to hit that “back” button.

And too many quick exits can hurt your site’s bounce rate — and, more importantly, the searcher’s trust in your content.

Be honest and clear about the content of your website.

Don’t stuff your meta description full of keywords, either. Instead, consider asking a question that contains a couple of keywords.

Provide just enough (true) information about your link without giving it away. Inspire a click-through with curiosity — not deception.

Good and not-so-good examples of meta descriptions

Need real examples of the above criteria? Below we’ll cover some good and not-so-good meta descriptions based on a few popular search queries.

Let’s review the results from some popular search queries relevant to online marketing, starting with good examples.

“How to build backlinks”

This meta description is short, but includes the focus keyword (“backlinks”) and utilizes words like “little-known” and “never seen” to inspire curiosity.

This meta description is strong because it mentions the benefit of building backlinks. It also explains exactly what a searcher will see when he or she clicks the link.

“What is white hat SEO”

This meta description not only employs an actionable word (“learn”) but also explains the benefit of learning white hat techniques and how they can help your website.

This meta description uses a question to grab the searcher’s attention and then provides a clear solution that outlines the contents of the website, including action words like “teach” and “execute.”

“Content marketing best practices”

This meta description spreads out the focus keywords so that more of the content is made bold, increasing its chances of being noticed. It also mentions both B2B and B2C, which increases the number of audience members who will benefit from a click-through.

This meta description, although short and cut off at the end, provides a concise benefit of content marketing and explains what the webpage contains.

Sometimes, an ellipses at the end of a meta description can help inspire curiosity and garner a click-through.

Now, for the not-so-great meta description examples, using the same keywords.

“How to build backlinks”

It’s clear that this website doesn’t have a meta description because it simply repeats the headline and dives right into the first line of the content, providing no preview or enticing language.

Forgetting to include a meta description leaves your website open to random and irrelevant meta content. Searchers will recognize when you’ve neglected it.

“What is white hat SEO”

Although this meta description is interesting and personable, it lacks relevance and focus keywords. In fact, it’s more likely to appear in results for “black hat SEO” given that keyword is mentioned twice.

Meta descriptions could be compared to email subject lines in this case. Using something unique and fun can help grab attention, but going too far outside the line can just be plain confusing.

“Content marketing best practices”

This meta description does not include any information relevant to the site title, nor does it feature any focus keywords.

This may be another case of a neglected meta description, leaving it open to capturing the first few lines of content.

In this case, that was a bad move for the website, especially since it’s featured on the third page of search results.

Conclusion

While your meta descriptions may not have a direct effect on your SEO, they play a huge role in explaining your web page content and garnering click-throughs.

Adding them is easy — it’s writing them well that’s a little more difficult. Treat them as you would your ad or website copy, and your website traffic numbers will thank you.

In what ways have you improved your meta descriptions to help SEO?

About the Author: Neil Patel is the cofounder of Neil Patel Digital.

Source: New feed 2

Tracking the ROI of organic search for B2B

Contributor Janet Driscoll Miller explains how to calculate the revenue contribution of organic search and why it can be a more powerful metric than rankings alone.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.
Source: New feed