Link Building

How to Ask for Backlinks and Get Them

Most website owners take a great deal of time trying to understand SEO. They read all the articles about the Panda updates, look to see what Google looks for in a website, and then determine how to make sure their website is optimized to fit these standards. One of the most important things a website can do is obtain backlinks from authoritative websites across the web. This is most commonly achieved by hiring a writer to offer guest posts to different websites in exchange for a backlink. Sounds easy, right?

Unfortunately, getting a backlink from a site isn’t always easy. As a full-time writer in a company’s SEO department, I can tell you firsthand that getting an editor to give you a backlink can be a long process. There are many different requirements that an editor may have when it comes to backlinks:

  • Links must be completed related to the article.
  • Links are only allowed in an author bio box at the bottom of the article, and these links don’t change.
  • You can only have one link back to your homepage.
  • You can only link back to a personal website or social media account.
  • Links in the copy of the article must be totally relevant.

In order to utilize guest posting for SEO purposes, it is imperative that a writer get one new link back to the company website with each article. If a website only allows one author bio link, then writing for that site again simply would not work for SEO purposes. This makes asking for a backlink tricky.

How to Ask for Backlinks for SEO Purposes

The reason editors are so picky about backlinks is because many people do abuse them. Companies sometimes think that they can just throw a link they are targeting into any article, but this brings down the value of the article and editors want the most valuable articles on their website. For this reason there are usually rules set in place for guest posting on a website; however there are a few things writers can do to help gain the backlinks the company needs:

  • Guidelines – The first thing that a writer should do is read the “write for us” guidelines on a website. This will ensure that the writer knows exactly what a company offers in the way of backlinks. Then, if a writer discovers that the company policies aren’t totally in line with what the writer is looking for in terms of backlinks, they can decide if this is something they want to talk with the editor about or if they should leave the issue alone.
  • Personality – A writer has to make sure that they show an interest in the website. After all, writers do not want to offer content full of links. Writers want to follow the rules, so it’s important an editor understands this. A writer needs to explain that they read the guidelines and completely understand where the site is coming from.
  • Content – Make sure that when pitching an article, you’re discussing the content. This is what editors care about, so you want to make sure that you can really sell your article. If an editor can see that you’re writing an article for readers and within the niche of the site, he/she may be more likely to include a backlink or two.
  • Reciprocal Link – Sometimes editors will allow a backlink if they can have a backlink on your site. I recommend that if you can make this work, you really make sure you’re getting a quality piece of content in return. Content drives a website to success or failure, so you don’t want to slack just for the SEO perks. After all, SEO won’t mean much if you have a website full of links you’ve given away just for a backlink in return.

When to Talk with an Editor about Backlinks

In some cases, it is inappropriate to ask an editor for something they clearly stated in the guest posting guidelines. Editors put these up for a reason, and the majority of the time a company has to deal with it. The only time a writer may want to use a few of the tactics discussed above is when an editor isn’t entirely clear. For example, if an editor says they are looking for regular contributors, but they will only allow links in a static author bio, a writer may want to explain why this won’t quite work. In my experiences, many editors will make an exception if you can prove you’re a good, quality writer.

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