Link Building for SEO – Free Advertising with Just a Little Hustle

Many people will hear that organic SEO is free. That’s true – it’s just time. So what’s the best use of time if you have great content prepared and published? Link building.

Why link building?

  • Dumb and smart search engines like to see other sites link to your site as part of a voting process
  • If authoritative sites link to you, users assume your site has high-quality content
  • If your site name is sprinkled throughout industry sites, users will begin to trust your site and assume it is a site they must visit

Talk to Journalists

Famous SEO Matt Cutts once said that instead of spending so much time focusing on technical SEO, site owners “should be talking to journalists.”

Talking to journalists is a form of link building. If you can offer something newsworthy, chances are good a hungry journalist looking for stories will write about you and link to your site. I’ve seen a client of mine get mentioned in the New Yorker, but the journalist didn’t add a hyperlink to his site. I urged him to get the link, because it helps build page rank.

If your organization is large enough, you can have a dedicated link-building team. If you have a PR consultant, urge them to get links to your site placed in news articles.

Want to handle PR on your own? Become a source for reporters. Sign up for free at HARO [Help a Reporter Out].

Guest Blogging / Prospecting

While I don’t guest blog at this time, I can tell you it is very powerful. I read an article on a popular photography blog in 2010 that was written by a guest blogger and have been following the guest blogger’s own blog for 9 years. Pretty powerful. You can do the same. Here’s how you can reach out to publications that accept guest bloggers:

  1. Use the Google search operator intitle:
  2. Combine the search operator with your industry, for example say you were looking to write guest posts for SEO: SEO + intitle:”write for us”
  3. Contact the publication. Google should take you directly to the page with information on how to contact the publication.

Where Are You At?

See where you are currently at. Use Google’s Search Console to see sites pointing to your site.


I don’t recommend tools to check backlinks for competitors because they are expensive. Also, chances are you are starting with a low rank and you might get discouraged seeing others ahead of you. It’s best to spend your time link building on your own or enhancing the existing content on your site.

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