5 Whitehat Link Building Techniques to Start Now
Last month, our agency gave a Digital Marketing Workshop that acted as a beginner’s guide to online marketing for lawyers and small businesses. One of the things I emphasized was to focus on whitehat link building techniques. Rather than ask you to sit through my workshop (which, incidentally, I am doing again on December 29, hint, hint!) to learn more effective SEO services, I am going to give you my top five list for how to start building quality backlinks right now. In case you want to skim quickly, here are my tips: consistency is key, start with the big ones, double check your social media, write a guest blog and ask a friend for a link. Sound easy? Maybe. Maybe too easy. And that’s why you should keep reading to learn the basic SEO strategy behind backlink building.
Link Building Vocabulary Basics
First, let’s run through quick vocabulary. Otherwise, whitehat link building techniques are already over your head.
- What is SEO? Search Engine Optimization. If you are already overwhelmed, this may not be the best article to start with. Call me and I will get you on the right track.
- What is whitehat SEO? It is any SEO practice that Google (and thus all other search engines) will approve of. It is ethical, it’s organic, it’s above board and it makes sense. Let me give some examples of blackhat SEO to better explain in contrast. Blackhat SEO is when you try to cheat or game the system – buying backlinks, posting spammy comments to get backlinks, literally copying content from somewhere else and putting it on your site and keyword stuffing. Clear as mud? 🙂
- What is a backlink? A backlink is literally a link FROM another site TO your site. It’s like a popularity contest. You want more links (just like in high school when you wanted more friends) than anyone else. These links generally serve as an endorsement, more or less, of your website and business. And, just like in high school, you shouldn’t buy or bribe people to be your friend – or to link to your site. But there are a lot of different types of backlinks and they can count differently.
Number 1: Prepping to Build Your Backlinks for Consistency
Before jumping into finding places to link to your site, be strategic and get your house in order. So, start a Google doc (or get a post-it note) and answer these questions. The key to backlink building is CONSISTENCY. You want every place that ever mentions your law firm or business to list it EXACTLY the same way. Consistency is key in whitehat link building techniques. Did I mention that your backlinks should be consistent?
- What is my official business name? Here is an example: Smith & Smith, LLC versus Smith & Smith L.L.C. (without the comma but with periods) are different companies. You need consistency.
- What is my address and phone number? Again – consistency. Are you using your toll-free number? Are you using a suite? Spell out words like “Street” and “Expressway” instead of using abbreviations.
- What are links to all my social media accounts? At a minimum, include Facebook and LinkedIn. If you have Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tik Tok or something else that I have not heard of, get the link.
- What are my office hours? 24/7? 8 AM – 5 PM?
- What email address will I use to sign up for listings? And do I want that email visible for inquiries? You will have to verify a lot of these listings, so make sure you get the emails. But know that you may also get a lot of spam – so consider more than one email address.
- In 1000 characters, describe your business. Many listings allow you to include a description of your business. Toot your own horn! You can shorten as you go, if needed.
- Ask yourself other important questions because a lot of the links will ask you:
- Do I offer free consultations?
- What are my professional ID numbers?
- Where should clients/customers park?
- What languages does my office speak?
- What payment methods do we accept?
- Is my office wheelchair accessible?
- Do we offer a restroom?
- Do we offer military discounts?
Number 2: Get the Basics on the Big Three Listings
If you are brand new to the internet, there is this awesome thing called Google. Just kidding – I think. You have heard of Google, right? If not, call my consultants now at (888) 530-2935. If so, keep going, you’re doing great! You need to get a listing on each of what I call “the Big Three,” which includes Google, Yelp and Bing. Plus, they all offer a link back to your website – win!
In all likelihood, you already have a listing on all of these – whether you created it or not. But, you need to now claim it and update it and answer every question it throws at you – CONSISTENTLY. There’s that word again. In internet marketing, consistency matters. Ave and Avenue could be read differently. So, put it one way on all of them and stick with it.
Make sure to find your listing and claim it. There are a lot of tutorials online about how to claim them. So, to give you some buzz words, look for Google My Business (GMB), Yelp for Business and Bing Places for Business. You want Google and Bing because they are big search engines. You want Yelp because of reviews. (By the way, if you are not asking everyone and their mother to review you – you should be and you should also respond to negative reviews.)
Number 3: Check and Set Up Your Social Media Accounts
This may sound redundant, but you need to make sure you have accounts set up on Facebook and LinkedIn for sure. I would love for you to get a Twitter account too – especially if you’re funny :). But, if that is too much work, stick with Facebook and LinkedIn. If you’re feeling extra today, go ahead and reach for the stars and set up other accounts on platforms like Instagram, Tik Tok and YouTube.
Think you already did this and you’re about to skip right by this part? Doubtful. But, hey, stranger things have happened. In case you are willing to test it, try these things:
- From your website, can you go to the correct social media page you claimed? Also, if you have Google+, remove it. That’s so last year and it was discontinued.
- Are your cover photos and profile pictures crisp? Or cut-off? Yuck. And double check it on mobile, too.
- Do you have a custom URL on Facebook? Like, does it say Smith-Smith-Awesome-Sauce-12382398273? If so, fix it. And then fix the links on your website to go to the new one.
- Do you have a call now option on Facebook?
- Are your social media descriptions completely filled out? For example, your services, about section, taglines, business overview and every freaking box filled in? Someone almost always misses something. Or maybe Facebook added a new field.
- On Facebook, do you have an autoresponder?
- How do your social media posts look on desktop and mobile?
- Do the links from the social sites to your website work? You should have an SSL certificate and you should have a redirect so that your website address always starts with https://www.
Number 4: Give Somebody Something for Free: Guest Blogging
Who doesn’t like getting something for free? No one, ever. We wrote a great post a while ago about guest blogging and why it is important for your law firm plan. But, since you’re reading my article, I’ll summarize for you here. Spend some time writing a great article that shows why you are an expert in your field. Then, instead of putting it on your site, give it to someone else to post on theirs.
Do what now? Why would you do that? Well, of course, you get a link to your site. But, a few other perks: you are now a published author (just like that) and it builds up your authority and expertise in that subject matter. Guest blogging, in particular, ties in with E-A-T, so you need it to be part of your plan. The thought is that, as an expert in your field, you were featured on “X” site. So, someone who wants an expert could go to your site or could contact you to possibly be featured on “Y” site. Win!
Number 5: Ask Your Real Friends to Say They Like You
If you have friends (and, if not, reach out to me on LinkedIn and I’ll be your friend) that has a website, ask them to link to your site. This is great if you are in a professional organization or network – even the Better Business Bureau or the Chamber of Commerce. Perhaps your friend has a list of local businesses that he or she supports on his/her website. Ask to be added. Or, maybe your friend needs more material for his or her own site – offer a guest blog. There is nothing wrong with asking someone you know to link to you – that’s not blackhat. They know you, and they are willing to endorse you with a link – win! The worst someone can say is no, am I right? I know you would love CNN to feature you (aim high, superstar), but let’s start with who you already know.
You Just Graduated with a Degree in Very, Very Basic Whitehat Link Building Techniques
I could write a post about each of these tips. In fact, I might. But, the above list is not comprehensive. This will literally get you started – dip your toe in if you will. To be competitive, you need to get backlinks every single month from high-quality domains to build up your own domain authority. You need to build trust with Google. Your backlinks must use the right anchor text. They must be relevant and timely. And you want to focus on links people can use.
Overwhelmed? Take a minute and call our SEO marketing company and let’s chat about whitehat link building techniques for your company: (888) 530-2935. While most of my team is in Austin or Frisco, Texas, I am in Nashville. So, if you’re near one of our offices, stop by and chat in-person, too – once/if the world gets back to normal.