The first step in a successful SEO link building strategy is deciding to do things the right way. There are black hat ways to get tons of backlinks in a hurry (like buying them or trading with other websites), but Google is good at identifying those tactics and doling out punishments accordingly. Those strategies will do more harm than good, so just put them out of your head forever.
Unfortunately, a Google-approved, white hat approach to link building for SEO is challenging, time consuming, and almost impossible to automate in any capacity. You can do it in bits and pieces, though, and there’s still one easy strategy left: ask for links from websites that have already mentioned you. Simply find places online where your brand is mentioned but not linked, then request a backlink to go with the mention.
If your business has ever been involved in an event, sponsorship, or partnership, those would all be good places to start looking for inbound links. Think about everyone you’ve been affiliated with throughout your company’s history, starting with the most recent and extending back as far as you can remember. Chip away at it over time.
For example, Subaru dealerships can sponsor a local charity by participating in the Subaru Share the Love Event once a year. If a local dealership raised money for a charity, there’s a good chance that charity posted something about it on the website. The charity might not have thought to include a link to the car dealership site when they posted the update, but a simple reminder may do the trick.
Aside from event partners, sponsorship partners, and business partners, your business could be mentioned just about anywhere. The internet is a big place, after all. There are a few ways to find mentions you wouldn’t know about otherwise. Google Alerts is a good free option for catching alerts as they happen– plus you can set them up now in about 60 seconds. Just enter your company name, and maybe a few variations, and Google will take care of the rest.
There are other mention tracking services, too. Depending on how deep you want to look, you may want to try paid options like Mention or Awario. Some scanners can even help you go back to look for past mentions. For most brands, though, Google Alerts will be enough.
Once you’ve identified potential targets and confirmed that you’re mentioned on their sites, it’s time to ask for your link. If you have someone’s email address or another direct form of contact information, that’s a great place to start. Your response rate will generally be higher from more personal methods of communication.
If not, no worries! You can always submit a form through the Contact Us page directly on the site. If you don’t get a response from that within a few days, you can be persistent and try calling their main phone line. Make things easy on them by including a link to the relevant page on their site and the link you’d like included.
If someone already mentioned you on their website, they’re almost always happy to throw a backlink your way, too. The exception to this rule is if they mentioned you out of anger, in which case you might not want that link, and should work on repairing your relationship. Let them know that linking to your site would help you out from an SEO standpoint, and they’ll probably take a couple minutes to make it happen.