However, one of the most effective ways to improve your Google rankings is to get backlinks to your website.
If you have no idea what a backlink is, don’t worry. In this episode of Priority Pursuit, we’re discussing what backlinks are, why backlinks matter for SEO, and six easy ways you can get backlinks as a creative entrepreneur so you can move your website up the Google ladder and more of your ideal clients can find your products, services, and content!
What are backlinks?
First thing’s first. What is a backlink? A backlink (also referred to as an “inbound link”) is simply a link from another website to your website.
Backlinks can link to your home page, any other page of your website, any blog post, or essentially anything that exists on your website and has a URL.
Why do backlinks matter for SEO?
Just like your goal is to provide your customers with the best products, services, and experience as possible, Google also strives to serve its users well. For Google, this means helping users find the information they need as quickly, easily, and as accurately as possible.
To achieve this goal, Google ranks content based on EAT, which stands for “expertise,” “authority,” and “trustworthiness.” In other words, Google prioritizes—and more or less rewards—credible websites by ranking them well, which makes Google users more likely to click on and visit these well-ranking sites.
If you want to improve your SEO, you need to prove to Google that your website is credible and has authority. And, arguably, the most effective way to do this is to get backlinks to your website.
According to Backlinko—a company that specializes in SEO—you can think of backlinks as “votes” for your site. In other words, any time Google sees another website linking to yours, Google will consider the backlink as a vote for your website or a specific piece of content’s credibility. And, as a result, Google will more than likely increase your website or piece of content’s rankings so more people looking for your products, services, or content can find your information.
As your business grows, your goal should be to accumulate more and more backlinks. The more backlinks you have, the better your “domain authority”—a term used to describe the measurement of the trustworthiness of your site—will be. And, the better your domain authority is, the higher Google will continue to rank your website.
Six Easy Ways You Can Get Backlinks as a Creative Entrepreneur
Now that we’ve discussed why backlinks matter for SEO, we need to discuss ways you can earn them. Whether you’re a photographer, hair stylist, interior designer, or another kind of creative entrepreneur, the following backlink strategies can likely be adapted to your industry.
1. Create consistent online directory listings.
When Google sees your website and information listed consistently across the internet (meaning your business name, hours, address, email address, phone number, etc. match across the board), Google will essentially say, “Hey, this business is everywhere and must be legit.”
As you create online directory listings for your business, consider these options:
Free Online Directories
While some online directories do charge a fee, the following directories are free of charge:
- White Pages
- Better Business Bureau
- Apple Maps
- Merchant Circle
- Super Pages
- Hot Frog
I highly recommend taking advantage of these options at the very least.
Industry-specific Online Directories
Chances are, there are online directories within your industry. For example, if you work in the wedding industry, The Knot, WeddingWire, and Zola are online directories you can take advantage of. Or, if you’re a photographer of any kind, you can list your business on Happily Ever Photo.
Finding industry-specific online directories will likely take some research on your end, but because many of directory websites have high domain authority themselves, these backlinks can be very helpful.
That said, many come at a price. The Knot, for instance, no longer has a free listing option unless (1) your business is already listed with The Knot or (2) you pay for a one-year listing with The Knot. Ultimately, you have to decide what is best for your business based on your budget and ideal client.
Location-Specific Online Directories
Does your town, city, or state have a local blog or organization that lists information for businesses in the area? If so, take advantage!
If you serve a specific area, this can be especially advantageous as having local directory listings will help Google associate you with that area.
If you’re willing to set aside a day or you have an intern or VA who can dedicate time to online directories, you can likely get your website listed on directories in a day or two.
However, if you don’t have this kind of time or if you know it will be difficult to maintain your directory listings (e.g. You’d have to change everything again if your business’s address changed.), Yext might be a great option for you.
Yext is a Yahoo-owned system that will do all of your online directory listings for you and help ensure that your listings stay consistent. While I do recommend exploring Yext packages, Yext is approximately $500 per year.
You’ll need to decide if Yext is right for you based upon your budget, time available, and competition. (Side note: The more competition you have, the stronger your SEO game needs to be to rank well for your desired keywords.)
2. Link to your website from social media.
Another easy way to get backlinks to your website is simply to include links to your website on social media.
For example, be sure to include links to your website in your Facebook information. On Instagram, include a link to your website in your bio. (If you need a little inspiration, check out the link that appears in my bio.) And, regularly link to your website with posts. Also, take advantage of Pinterest.
For instance, I regularly share blog posts from sessions, from weddings, and with educational content on social media. I share these posts—as well as downloads and other information on my website—on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Google Business.
3. Get your work featured or published online.
Regardless of what you do, there is likely a way to get your work featured or published online, which is a great way to earn backlinks!
This will likely take some industry specific research, but here are a few ideas:’
- Interior designers, there is surely a magazine or online decor blog that would love to feature your work.
- Hair stylists, style bloggers are always looking for trending hair style examples.
- Wedding vendors, there are countless wedding publications in need of content.
Wedding photographers, want step-by-step instructions for getting your work published? Tune into “Episode 022: How to Get Published as a Wedding Photographer with Jasmine Norris”!
Now, in terms of having your work published, the more domain authority a publication site has, the more credibility your earned backlink will have. For instance, as a wedding photographer, I know that getting published on Martha Stewart Weddings would give me far more credibility than a small blog. But, everything counts! As long as a publication appears trustworthy, don’t be afraid to submit your work to publications—big or small.
Wedding photographers, if you’d like step-by-step instructions for getting published, be sure to check out “Episode 022: How to Get Published as a Wedding Photographer with Jasmine Norris”! Jasmine has been published more than 300 times, and she’s taught me everything I know about getting published as a wedding photographer.
4. Serve as a guest blogger or podcast guest.
Another way to get more backlinks as a creative entrepreneur, is to serve as a guest blogger or a podcast guest!
There are a lot of ways you could serve as a guest blogger, but arguably the easiest way would be to reach out to others in your industry and pitch a blog topic idea. (e.g. As a wedding photographer, I could reach out to a wedding planner.) Then, if they’re willing to feature your blog post, you’ll write a helpful post and include links to relevant content on your own site. You can also include a bio about yourself in the piece that links to your website. Serving as a guest blogger in this capacity is great, because it serves both parties well: someone will have more content on their website, and you’ll have backlinks to yours. Plus, this is a great way to build community!
As a small business owner, another great way to serve as a guest blogger is to write a blog for a community website. For example, if you live in a city, there’s a good chance that there’s already some kind of city-specific website or blog that shares about local community events, local businesses, and more. If so, offer to write a blog post for them! For instance, if you own a boutique, you could write a blog highlighting boutiques in the area. Your post could include five or so boutiques you love—including your own—and links to these boutiques’ websites. This is a great way to earn backlinks for you, give your local blog content to share, and serve your industry community.
In addition to serving as a guest blogger, you could also apply to be a podcast guest. More often than not, podcasts will include show notes (both in podcast apps and in blog posts), and as a guest, links to your website and your other relevant content will likely be included. As a result, serving as a podcast guest is a great way to earn backlinks!
Speaking of being a podcast guest, if a tactic, system, or tool has worked well for your business or allowed you to pursue and maintain your priorities, apply to be a guest on Priority Pursuit! Shoot me a message to pitch your topic idea, and if we feel your topic would be helpful to other listeners, we’d love to have you one the show!
5. Get featured as a “preferred vendor.”
Another way to earn backlinks to your website is to be listed as a “preferred” or “recommended vendor” on websites.
This will look a little different from industry to industry, but as a wedding photographer, it’s particularly helpful for me to be listed on venues’ and wedding planners’ websites as a preferred vendor. Not only does this get my information in front of people potentially looking for my products and services, but I also get backlinks.
If you own a boutique or you sell products of some kind, you could consider selling products at a market of some kind that lists all vendors on their website. This could be a great sales opportunity, as well as a chance to earn a backlink.
Being listed as a vendor (preferred or not) will likely take relationship building and work on your end, but a backlink such as this is invaluable for many reasons!
6. Create great content so others want to link to your site!
Last but certainly not least and arguably most importantly, create great content that makes people want to link to your website.
Now, while there is a chance that someone will find your content via SEO and be so impressed with it that decide to link to it, a more effective strategy would be to look at other websites where you’d like to have a backlink, search for content related to your developed content, and reach out to the appropriate party from the website to suggest linking to your content.
That being said, as a small business owner, I only recommend reaching out to people and companies you already have relationships with. Nobody likes a spammy, selfish email. However, if you can develop content that will serve people already in your circle and their ideal clients, they’ll likely be more than happy to add a backlink to your website.
Getting backlinks to your website might not sound like a particularly exciting process; however, backlinks are arguably the most effective way to earn Google’s trust and to establish your website’s authority. As a result, backlinks are a game change for SEO and need to be part of your SEO and marketing strategy.
Links & Resources Mentioned in This Episode
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