A backlink to your site is created when another site links to you. A backlink is treated by Google as an endorsement of one website by another. If a trusted website like BBC News or Wikipedia endorses your website then Google will take note and trust that your website is worth knowing about.
The number of links to your website will build gradually, as a function of how often you publish content and how effectively you promote it.
Put more effort into promoting big and interesting pieces of content. If you promote everything the same then your best notes will be hidden in the typical noises you make.
It can be worth talking to the webmaster or editor of a site which covers similar topics to you. Collaborate on a community resource, write a piece of niche content for them or let them write on your behalf.
If you credit each other with a link then Google can see that the two sites are endorsing each other appropriately which can lead to an increase in your online reputation.
You want to keep in mind that SEO copywriting for others should be done with the aim to increase web traffic rather than solely reputation. Knowing this, don’t purchase links from unrelated websites or send out spammy ‘please link to my website’ requests.
There is a moral obligation to provide content that is valuable, honest, accurate and helpful, don’t try to cheat the system, or mislead people into using your site.
Most universities dedicate a part of their site to their alumni, and some link back out to their alumni’s websites.
Likewise - Alumni Spotlight
Ask your clients for a list of the universities/schools they attended and pitch their stories to those universities.
Ask friends and family with websites for a link back to you
Asking clients to write you a review
Then promote that review to get some traffic going back to their website as well as yours.
Associations and Organisations
If you are a part of any, find out if they link to their members, if they do - ask for one.
Giving out “top local restaurant” badges which can be embedded on the website of the winning site, which also include a link back to the awards page on your site.
Comment on someone’s blog post with an interesting point and a link back to your site (if they allow do follow links). Do this occasionally.
You can submit your blog to various blog categories.
Create a web of 4-8 similar but non-competing blogs. Make sure everyone links out to each different blog in the network once a month.
If you brand gets mentioned, ask for a link. You can use something like “Mention” to find these as they happen. You could also use Link Prospector for finding previous mentions at scale.
Replacing broken links with links to you*
Asking a webmaster to replace a broken link with a link to you.
On Twitter, Quora, Forums and anywhere else people hang out. The questions you answer can be stored and rehashed as an FAQ Page in the future
Get links from the British Chambers of Commerce
They represent businesses, see if you can write something they’ll publish. Take the time to find the right person to get in touch with and ask for a link.
Publish a theme
For a site you built from scratch for example, you could publish the theme and start seeing others using it as the basis of their site.
Online newspapers run by everyone give you the opportunity to link back to your site in a bio.
Send press releases to them - on a slow news day they might just run a story by a local business!
Company Directory Submissions
Submit you site to relevant general directories.
Evergreen Guides and Resources
Create a timeless and complete guides on a subject. If it’s not timeless then set up a regular update schedule.
Contact people using your images
Using Google image search you can find other websites using your websites or infographics. Ask them to link back or tell them it’s copyright infringement.
If you come across a contest taking place - reach out to the person running it and ask if you could offer some services or products to the winner. They’ll give you a link on the contest page.
If most in your industry have a particular view on a topic, write up the opposing view. Do it quickly and well and you could get a hot debate going.
When you do this you should consider turning comments off, and encourage people to write a response on their blog in order to continue the conversation.
Identify people in the industry who do a lot of theses posts and build a relationship with them.
Cite your own content on relevant wikipedia pages. You can get a link under the references tab which is highly trustworthy, nofollow or not.
Cover News First
Subscribe to the reputable blog RSS feeds in your industry. When hot news breaks - write it up.
Create and share content regularly
Create “Links of the week” pages
Add a link from your site to the best articles you read in your niche last week. Explain why so that bloggers know you actually read it.
Create a contest
i.e. “Worst experiences of X” then you sell the remedy for X.
Some sites will give links to contributors. Search the text “link to your website” then narrow the results down based on relevancy.
Get answers from experts in an industry, if the article is high quality then the experts themselves will promote it.
If you did a great design, submit the site to a directory to get a link from it.
Curated Scores and Rankings
Create scores or ranks of people
release the data and release a visual of the data too.
Similar to ContraContent
Let people know about common misconceptions. Make the content big and bold.
Offer Embeddable or Linkable Discount Coupons
Donate to charities
They often have a donor page and you can get a link back if you donate a certain amount.
Draw the emotions people feel doing certain things in your niche.
Write an ebook, put it in there.
Contact sixth form colleges, secondary schools and universities and ask their webmaster if there is anything you could write an entire tutorial on.
Featuring top bloggers in certain niches - if you feature them then they’re likely to spread the word.
Add a link back to your website in your email signature. It could be really small, but it will drive a little more traffic to your site.
Filling Content Gaps or Fixing Grammer
If you find an article which could be elaborated on or updated - reach out to the webmaster and ask if you could fill that gap. Of course - ask for a link somewhere relevant too.
Being part of a Forum
Find niche forums related to your site, promote yourself but also give away your knowledge generously. You’ll soon get links back which generates a sizeable reputation depending on the quality of the forum.
You get links to your site of course, but if other webmaster can embed it you’ll get juice through that.
Interview people and jump at any opportunities to be interviewed by someone else. Your time will usually be worth it.
Write a regular column for a blog or paper
Your own or your company Wikipedia page
If you aren’t important enough to write about then this won’t pass their spam checks. Someone else should write it too in order to keep it unbiased. If you can pull it off - do it!
Content Copyright infringement
If someone uses your copy and doesn’t credit you as their source then you can ask them to link to you or take it down.
If you have a server - host their site in return for a link
The sites you can do this for depends on the quality of your servers!
Create an Industry Niche Glossary
Rookies don’t know jargon - create a list of acronyms and keywords that they may not understand. Keep it updated and offer updates to others you find as well.
Map Industry Events
Then share the Google map of “45 meet ups in battersea” for example.
Host Your Own or Other’s Events
If you have a space unused for certain times of the week, allow an event you support to be hosted there.
Create DIY Guidance, Tutorials and How-to’s
Apart from just being incredible helpful, writing such guides help you to understand the subject on an even higher level. In order to explain something simply you need to understand it fully.
Create a mashup of industry experts saying stupid things or generally try to make people in your niche laugh!
If you create and share a niche group of icons you can get design blogs linking back to you.
Be generous with your links
Link others as you’d like to be linked yourself! Mention people and their websites often and when they notice they’ll might link back and thank you!
Lists lists lists
Good niche lists get good links
Create a mobile App
Create a simple app that acts as an RSS reader of your or others blogs.
Build a community site
If you aren’t happy with the niche community sites available to you, create one.
Get Other Newsletters to Link to you
Build relationships with those writing and publishing semi-popular newsletters.
Links on business cards, vehicles or anywhere else to generally raise awareness in public spaces.
“Our Retailers” lists
If you recommend or supply products from certain manufacturers then you can ask to be listed on that manufacturer’s website as a retailer of their products.
If your niche is passionate about a certain issue, petition.
Submit Your Podcast to Podcast Directories
Make it Printable
Create cheat sheets, infographics, charts and checklists which can be printed off by people. They may just tell others how useful it was to them.
Compare the incomparable
If two things are so similar that they’re hard to compare - write that comparison as other people are likely having the same issue as you!
Give Your Service or Products to Bloggers
Then ask them for a review!
Link Back From Your Online Profiles
If you sign up to a site which allows you to have a profile then you can likely link back to your site. Contribute more and your profile becomes linked to more often and that link back becomes more valuable.
Quiz Questions and Tests
Allow people to share and compete their test results with one another!
Get Links to Your Social Pages Replaced With Links to Your Site
Then make sure that the page they can link to pulls in your twitter or facebook etc.
Download Competitor Backlink Profiles
Download them as a CSV and work through them. You can’t steal a link from a news article but you can approach blogs and directories and others for a link to you too. At the very least this should be done in order to give yourself some ideas!
Publish Research Papers for your Niche
This establishes yourself as a well researched authority on the subjects you write about.
Offer a Scholarship Competition
Have them write 1000 words about something they’re passionate about and have some of the voting done socially.
Set up Others With a Website
If it’s easy to you and tricky for others, just do it and ask for a link back.
Speak at University Events
Contests, Wordpress Plugins, Drupal Themes, Charities, Events, Clubs and Animal Shelters to name a few.
Write good stories
The more personal the better.
Web Apps or Web Tools
Create calculators or clever widgets or tools which others will find useful.
Writing Testimonials of Products You’ve Bought
Scrape URLS of Your Twitter Followers and Link to Them!
If they follow you then they are more likely to link back to you!
Black hat SEO
One strategy is to find abandoned domains that have link equity, then use archive.org to repopulate the content on some of the pages that got the most links. Obviously, include a few links in the content back to you.
I recommend using Domain Hunter Plus and Godaddy auctions for finding them in the first place.