31 May 2006

Natural Backlinks – Getting backlinks without even asking.

I wrote the following in the Albany airport…I’ve got another 2 posts that I wrote in Newark…but I’ll save those for later….I just arrived in London, and I’m on my way out to see sights and perhaps a SEO or 2…or more.

I should also mention that I’m totally amazed at my last post asking people where they are from….I just think it’s sooo cool that people from around the world are actually reading what I’m writing! Thanks!

Building Backlinks the “Natural Way”. I was honestly amazed at the latest poll on “Do you buy text advertising”. So far in that poll almost half of you voted that “You never buy text ads”….quite surprising in that my blog heavily speaks on “link building”….and a large part of my published methods involve, in the end, giving people money or product in exchange for a “link advertisements”.

If you’re not purchasing ads then I gotta figure that you’re doing one of the following:

If you’re “getting backlinks” but not using any of the methods above, then I gotta figure that you’re getting your backlinks  “Naturally”. What is “Natural backlinks” you ask?

It’s mostly links you didn’t have to ask for….other webpage publishers just linked to your site “naturally” without you ever asking them to. Most of these are really the best backlinks to have. Many of these are links within content on related webpages and have good co-citation.

As SEO’s we often talk of and focus on just “link building” in a proactive sense…..Great SEO is also the art of creating something that is so good that it naturally attacks backlinks.  If you’re an SEO, don’t forget that you should be looking at the art of the “bait” in linkbaiting. – the hero in our own time and industry on this is Rand Fishkin.

Here are some common bait techniques:

  • Creating content that is so good, that it gets referenced on many websites.
  • Creating a “portal/forum” for the industry.
  • Creating “Tools” for the industry.
  • Creating, or propagating, “news” of the industry.
  • Researching and publishing articles within the industry.
  • Creating something that no one, or few, have within your industry.

What other methods can you think of?

What methods have you used to attract natural backlinks?


  1. insidedesign May 31, 2006 at 9:53 AM

    Writing from my experience, these tactics have been very helpful. I usually add one more step though:
    Once I launch a new tool/resource that is very helpful, I will release a PR highlighting what makes it great. This spurrs up interest and traffic, then boom, natural links baby ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. feed my brain » Blog Archive » May 31, 2006 at 11:35 AM

    […] Getting Natural Backlinks – stop asking for links and earn them. […]

  3. wheel May 31, 2006 at 12:45 PM

    As I noted on WMW, I’ve taken to offering individual sites presell pages – unique professionally written articles on my niche subject, tailored to their site. This seems to be working reasonably well. Well, other than the fact that I’m getting really sick of writing yet another article on term life insurance :).

    Article directories did absolutely nothing for me. This new thing I’m trying is working out not bad. I get to choose the sites I write for, the sites get some free and good content and get to review it before publishing.

  4. Martin Muller May 31, 2006 at 2:40 PM

    Much easier to get backlink from site you are interested in is write review about them add it to your site (easy reachable by your visitors) and “naturaly” ๐Ÿ˜‰ link to them from your review.
    They find you as source of their visitors and sometimes they add link to you without asking. If not, ask them and mostly they add it after asking.
    Works for sites with the same topic only.

  5. Neil Patel May 31, 2006 at 3:20 PM

    Linking to other sites in blog posts usually helps. Every once in a while you will see those sites writing about you or linking back to you from their blogroll.

  6. Hawaii SEO May 31, 2006 at 3:46 PM

    Be the best in your industry. People will always link to the undisputed industry leader.

  7. kid disco May 31, 2006 at 4:29 PM

    Contests! ๐Ÿ˜›

  8. stevepfseo May 31, 2006 at 8:42 PM

    1. Donate some time to a non profit preferably in your niche. Do a review of the non profit and setup a free blog for them. Most of the time you will get free links without having to ask.

    2. Write papers not articles. 1000 words + Quote some of the top names in the industry and also some well know professors perhaps some governmental sources also.. Use your own ideas and and justify your viewpoint with their information using footnotes to link to them via the mals guidelines.. Think of it like an undergrad. paper versus an article. These will get you links for years to come.

  9. Aaron Pratt May 31, 2006 at 10:11 PM

    I do not do link building, though I have been known to ask a friend from time to time to give me a hand. Blogs only need a couple links to get started, it’s the content and focus that really matters.

    There are several SEO’s who have become greedy with linking out, Jim has never been one of these and as you can see from the number of people who post in this blog he has the natural link building thing going just fine.

  10. Zorning Internet Marketing May 31, 2006 at 10:57 PM

    I think I am kind of in the middle on this I think reciprocal and easy directory links are a good thing for young sites as it provided fast indexing by all search engines and a small amount of traffic.

    But I also believe in quality original content and that after a certian amount of time perhaps a month or two the webmaster should stop trying to find links and just rely on the one’s they have established in the past month or so and divert all efforts to adding fresh high quality content to their site.

  11. Ross June 1, 2006 at 7:41 PM

    Ever since I stopped worrying about links and spent my time blogging, designing and dealing with making my site a better place to be I have gotten more ‘natural links’ than ever.

    Sounds bullshitty and cliched, but it is true.

  12. Bruce Stone June 4, 2006 at 1:19 PM

    I guess Iรขโ‚ฌโ„ขm one of the strange birds who think links should be earned. I never trade, buy or accept offers for links. Any links I get are from customers who find my service a good resource for their website or add a link in appreciation for good service. Its work for me this way for many years and still continues to work well today.

  13. wheel June 5, 2006 at 11:02 AM

    ‘naturale’ is fine if you’re selling widgets. But if you’re trying to promote something like term life insurance or mortgages or credit cards or something competitive, you’re not going to get people ‘just linking to you’. Who the heck is going to link to a site like that? Nobody, not without some grease.

    Beside, on the web, link acquisition = marketing. And I can’t imagine why people don’t want to market their site. Nothing wrong with asking.

    Also Jim, I want to thank you for your extended introduction to and promotion of presell pages. Not only do I agree with you that these are the way to go, but presell pages offered as free content has gotten me more – and better – one way inbounds this month than anything I’ve done in a year. (and I’m thanking you for that). Beats the crap out of link begging :).

  14. Prince Albert June 5, 2006 at 11:28 AM

    Donate goods or services to a charities or non-profits, that 9 times out of 10, will gladly give you a link from their .org

  15. Igor M. June 8, 2006 at 2:37 PM

    Very good article. At the beginning I thought you stole those 3 out of my 10 points for natural link building I wrote about in my blog, BUT it seems this article is older than what I wrote.

    Anyhow … asking for links or paying for them, to me becomes somewhat strategy from the past. Now it’s PR, etc.

  16. Jim June 8, 2006 at 6:23 PM

    Igor, yea…we were both thinking the same thing within 3 days of each other…but I like many of your ideas there…allow me to add your link to your post here:

  17. Igor M. June 9, 2006 at 3:35 PM

    Jim, thanks for the comments and link.

    What’s interesting is that other links in your comments do not have the “No Follow” tags on them and I got a nice pink condom on my link ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Jim, I am assuming the rule is, don’t link to PR0 sites?

  18. Jim June 9, 2006 at 5:33 PM

    Igor, the nofollow stays on automatically for 2 days for any link published in the comments, then it it removed (some wordpress plug in I think).
    So in 1 day you’re link should be set free.

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