15 Ways to Get Free Backlinks
Backlinks are the focus of attention of SEO community for a good reason: link profile is one of key factors for the website’s SEO. At the same time, link building expenses are a significant part of SEO budget.
In this article, we’ll explain how to save your money and get free (or almost free) backlinks in 15 different ways.
1. Social Media
Social media use is one of the easiest ways to get free backlinks and increase your brand visibility in SERP. Some of them allow you to get dofollow backlinks, others don’t. In spite of the fact that dofollow links value much higher, do not underestimate nofollow links. Natural link profile must contain both dofollow and nofollow ones.
- LinkedIn. LinkedIn blog-publishing service allows you to place nofollow links in articles. They can lead traffic to your website and naturally diverse link profile. And the main thing is that correctly written posts can be ranked pretty high in organic search. It means that you can use Linkedin blog as an additional promotion tool.
- Pinterest and Tumblr. These popular visual content sharing platforms allow to make posts with dofollow links and successfully promote your content in organic image search.
- Youtube. If you didn’t start any promotion of your company on Youtube, now it is time to do it. Don’t want to think about this? Ok, but what about backlinks and brand visibility in SERP? It’s reason enough to start working with Youtube.
- Google Plus. We have already dedicated one of our WordPress SEO articles to Google+ social network and its importance. Backlinks from active G+ profile can be very useful for your website’s SEO: they’re considered not only by Alphabet’s search giant but also by other search engines.
- Facebook and Twitter. Even if single thought about creating nofollow links makes you depressed, we highly recommend not to ignore popular social networks. They can become a nofollow link source, attract new visitors to your website and increase organic presence of your brand.
- Reddit. Reddit is one of those services that react negatively to link spam: it requires appropriate and relevant link posting. It can sound a bit scary but don’t be afraid. When you’ll understand laws Reddit lives by, each properly placed link can become great garnish of your ‘link cocktail’ and lead huge amount of targeted traffic to your website.
2. Blog Publishing Services
Independent blogging platforms and blog publishing services from leading search engines can serve as additional source of backlinks and traffic. While making posts, don’t forget that publishing of same content on all platforms definitely isn’t good for you. Besides, every blogging platform has its own specific characteristics you need take into account in the content development process.
- Blogger (ex-Blogspot). Blog publishing service developed by Google that allows placing dofollow links in posts.
- Medium. Large independent service that is pretty popular in professional communities. Unfortunately, all Medium links have rel="nofollow noopener" attribute.
3. Q&A Platforms
Main perk of Q&A services in terms of your website’s SEO lies not so much in backlinks creating, but in increasing brand visibility and direct targeted traffic flow. Usually, Q&A websites automatically set rel="nofollow" attribute for all links, but it doesn’t mean that such links are completely useless for your website.
Here are several Q&A services that deserve special attention:
- Quora. Large international service with a huge community and amount of professional questions (and answers, of course).
- Yahoo Answers. Popular Q&A service developed by Yahoo search engine.
Manual blog commenting is one of the most simple and widespread link building techniques: all you need to do is to find and filter topics relevant to your niche and then start leaving comments.
Before you start working with a certain forum, you need to check:
- amount of organic traffic
- regular activity
- who ‘lives’ on a forum: real users or link builders
Before writing comments, take forum rules into account: some of them say that you need to get some reputation before placing links in your comments. Violation of the rules can entail temporary or even lifelong ban.
5. Websites with Lists of Products/Companies
If ratings and lists (of products or companies) are popular in your niche, you can use existing options and add your company (and website link) to them.
To find popular niche lists, use one of the Serpstat instruments — Keyword Research → SERP Analysis → Top by Keyword.
Link adding method will depend on list format of the list itself. If it was created as an article, you need to write a message to its author directly. If it was generated automatically, perform all necessary procedures required by a website to get in general rating.
6. Guest Posts and Publications in Niche Mass-Media Blogs
‘Blog’ section of niche media can be seen as next step in a long chain of ‘opinion pieces’ evolution of classic print media. The difference is that publication process became much easier than before. Now it is enough to register (or log in), upload your article with appropriate formatting and correct links and push a ‘Publish’ button.
This technique successfully works in such projects as TechInAsia: user-generated content goes through basic moderation and doesn’t require lengthy referral process and serious editing. It is a perfect way to place a natural link on the one hand and attract a great traffic from the newsfeed (and organic search) on the other. Also, you can check out this list of guest posting sites and try to get a backlink on them.
One way or another, we can say that guest blog posting in niche media is a profitable venture :) You need only to spend a little time and make an effort to create unique and valuable content that must be approved for publication.
7. Broken Link Building
If outbound content generating or publishing becomes problematic (you've completely run out of ideas or website owner asked for an exorbitant price), you can use one more link building method. This method involves searching for broken links and replacing them with active relevant links (from your website, of course):
- Select websites.
- Crawl them with Netpeak Spider to find all broken links within each website. You can read a detailed guide about broken links and how to find them in our previous post.
- Export and analyze broken links.
- Offer to website’s owner to replace broken link with a new one that leads to a relevant article from your website.
8. Testimonials for Services Your Company Uses
A lot of companies working on B2B market willingly place user testimonials on their own websites. In most cases, they even place a link to your company’s website. Use these vain little ways and ask your colleagues to write a feedback for services your company uses.
9. Participation in Conferences and Other Professional Events
Participation in professional events can not only be useful in terms of traditional PR: it also can provide additional possibilities for link building. Send your employee to an event as a speaker, become an media partner or a sponsor – and you are guaranteed to receive high-quality backlinks on event’s website. Don’t forget to speak out your requirements for links at the beginning of the partnership with event organizers.
10. Collaboration with Bloggers
In a perfect world partner (advertising) blog posts include an active dofollow link, and therefore content marketers and SEOs are interested in them.
Can we classify this method as free? If your company has sufficient social media authority or huge email subscriber base, your PR opportunities can be a good argument for collaboration with bloggers. Otherwise, you can always propose a straight swap if the blogger really needs your product.
This backlink creating method is the most resource-intensive. And we don’t even mean money: it’s all about your time and nerve cells. The process of creating a Wikipedia page demands your perseverance: you’ll face series of edits before your article will be approved by Wikipedia administrators. However, when a page will be published you’ll get your treasured trusted backlink.
Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is an online service for reporters helping them to quickly find experts in different fields of expertise and get professional feedback. Service allows registration for both reporters and experts, so you can register as an expert to be mentioned by reporters in their publications.
13. Linkless Brand Mentions
If your company and website are well known outside your office, you probably were mentioned in niche media and professional blogs. Some of them place links that can be easily tracked (with Google Analytics or Serpstat), others use only simple text mentions. In the case of first ones everything is pretty clear, but what should we do with linkless mentions? Of course, we need to remedy the situation and place correct and pretty links to our website everywhere!
To find all existing linkless mentions and link them to your website, you need to perform the following actions:
- Find mentions.
You can do it with Google using several basic search operators. To formulate request use the following template:
“brand name” -yourwebsite.com -twitter.com -facebook.com -google.com
Quotation marks are there for searching exact matches. A hyphen allows you exclude mentions from some specific websites (e.g. from social media or your own website).
- Write to webmasters and ask them to add your links to website content.
‘And that’s all?’, you may ask. Yes, the procedure is pretty simple. Compose a courteous and thankful letter asking to add your links. If necessary, send one more letter in a few days, but don’t go crazy.
Don’t forget to check a website that mentioned your brand: mentions could be placed automatically. Also, a website can be involved in stealing content or selling spammy links. You can check it out with a lot of different metrics available in Netpeak Checker, including Moz Spam Score.
14. Partnership with Educational Institutions (.edu Websites)
Government and educational domains usually have high trust ranks and therefore they’re especially attractive for link building. It is a bit problematic to get backlinks from .gov websites, but getting links from .edu ones is much more realistic.
There are only three scenarios of creating backlinks on .edu websites: in comments, in place of broken links and directly in text.
The first way looks like a usual spam and will not bring any benefits: Google reacts negatively to websites with hundreds of spammy link comments regardless of their domain zone. The second way was described in paragraph 7. It works well for an absolute majority of websites in different niches.
The third method will require much more efforts than previous two, but it also offers bigger benefits. To get an organic mention and natural backlink from .edu website you need to find educational institutions and offer them mutual cooperation. It can be an information exchange, internship program for students, etc.
15. Online Review Websites
Online review websites also can become a place for backlinks. They can focus only on one specific niche (information technologies, cooking, beauty etc.), so you need to find those related to your business.
Building a link profile is one of the most resource-intensive processes of website optimization. However, you can avoid significant cost implications using sources of free high-quality backlinks. And here are some of them:
- social media
- blog publishing services
- Q&A services
- websites with lists of products/companies
- relevant mass-media’s blogs
- niche websites with broken links
- testimonials for services your company uses
- conferences and other professional events
- relevant professional blogs
- websites with brand mentions
- .edu websites
- online review websites
Do you know any other sources of free backlinks? Share your experience and we’ll be glad to add your recommendation to our article.
If you have some questions, don’t hesitate to write them in comments below: we’ll do our best to give you a detailed answer.