8 Link Building Strategies for Cash-strapped Startups

Long gone are the days when you can spam comment sections with links to your webpages. You can’t expect to see a boost in your search ranking by posting links in forums, or by adding your website to directories, or even by putting out a press release announcing your startup’s launch.

Google is strict about links these days, which means gaining quality links that boost your business’s signal can be tough.

Fortunately, building links is still very much possible. Here is a variety of link-building strategies — some offering better results than others:

1- Hire an SEO Agency

Hardly the first suggestion you likely expected, hiring an SEO agency is undoubtedly the best solution for how to get high-quality backlinks without wasting cash. When you outsource SEO to a qualified company, you are paying a known cost for a guaranteed service that SEO professionals will perform.

Because SEO experts know the best methods for building links, you can be certain that your startup will improve its search rank with whatever investment you can make — which isn’t necessarily true if you risk building links on your own. In truth, there is no such thing as free link building; you are always paying the costs of time, energy and tools, so you should seriously consider routing those costs into professional services.

2- Become a Columnist

Authoritative websites within your industry are always looking for new content by knowledgeable professionals. If you are a competent writer and have new insights relevant to your industry audience, you should contact a few sites to inquire about becoming a regular columnist.

Unlike guest posting, in which you pitch a topic, write it and move on, as a columnist you will write multiple pieces of content for one website. Usually, you get an author’s bio at the beginning or end of the content, where you can place your website backlink.

3- Swap Guest Posts

Then again, guest posting has its own advantages. If you can’t afford to pay websites to place guest posts, you might offer various websites a guest post swap: You get a post and link on their site, and they get a post and a link on yours. Because all websites are looking to increase their backlink catalogue, this can be a win-win.

Then again, you might try reverse guest posting, which is inviting authors to pitch posts for your website. In this method, you don’t have to go to the trouble of creating new content; because most authors like to link to their guest posts around the web, you get an easy backlink and content for your website.

4- Create a Rare Resource

Anyone can produce a 400-word listicle, but massive, well-researched guides to technical but essential processes are few and far between. Epic resources are highly regarded and receive a wealth of links.

If you can devote your time and energy to developing an as-yet unavailable resource in your industry or field, you can benefit greatly from it.

5- Guest on Podcasts and Videos

Similar to writing a column for an authoritative website, serving as a guest on podcasts or online videos can help you build links. Guests often get to pitch their current projects at the beginning or the end of the interview, meaning the audience gets to learn about your startup firsthand.

Plus, in the text descriptions of the episode, you can request a backlink to your site.

6- Write Testimonials

One of the oldest link-building tricks in the book, writing reviews and testimonials for business services your startup uses is a good way to get a quality backlink. Especially if your testimonial is well-written, your startup will be featured on the other business’s website, with a backlink of course.

7- Research Broken Links

The internet is not static; it grows and changes, and sometimes, links get left behind. Most websites have more than a few broken links, which are links lead nowhere. Webmasters don’t like broken links because they make their sites look shabby (and can negatively affect SEO), so you can easily convince most webmasters to replace a relevant broken link with an active link to your website.

This is another time- and energy-intensive link building project, but if you have the time and energy, it can be a worthwhile endeavor.

8- Spy on Competition

Your competition is as thirsty for links as you are, and it is possible that they are tapping resources that you haven’t thought of.

By spying on your competitors’ marketing strategies, you might discern new link-building methods you can take advantage of, too. Some ways to spy include signing up for your competitors’ email newsletters, creating a Google alert for your competition or using a backlink monitoring tool for your competitors’ website.

Building backlinks is certainly harder than it was 20 years ago, but it isn’t impossible for a startup on a budget to build an enviable backlink catalogue. Whether you work with SEO professionals or go your own link-building way, you can improve your search ranking with backlinks.

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