You’ve heard of them and even if you’re scratching your head, you probably have them! If you’re still wondering “What are backlinks?” you’re gonna learn that plus how coaches like you can accumulate more backlinks to get found online by more potential clients (cue cheers!).
So What are Backlinks?
Straight-up: backlinks are links from other websites that point to your website.
And why you should care about backlinks —
even especially if you’re a health coach who just wants to help people heal and be happier!
Simple: How many backlinks you have and whether they’re good quality are two ways Google judges the importance and value of your website. Besides, the more backlinks you have, the more opportunities for new potential clients to find ways to your business!
Here’s the thing: Backlinks take time, effort, and sometimes money to get. So we wanna be judicious in the backlinks we work for so they’re worth it.
Here’s how to decide whether that backlink juice will be worth your energy:
- Relevancy: is the general content of that website and of the specific page that would link back to you relevant to your business? It better be, ‘cuz what are backlinks gonna do to bring you new ideal clients …if your fresh traffic arrives on your site seeking the wrong thing?
- Authority: What’s the domain authority of the website? Use an analysis tool like Ahrefs or Moz Open Site Explorer to check it. Needless to say (but just in case), stay away from spammy or questionable-in-integrity websites, as this could harm your rankings instead of help them (in addition to your credibility with humans — it’s vital for your website to be trustworthy if you want your business to be perceived as trustworthy!).
- Traffic: If the domain authority is high, it’s likely that the website’s traffic is decent as well. But you can check fo’ sho’ using tools like Alexa or SEM Rush.
How to Get Foundational Backlinks
Now that we’ve answered, “What are backlinks?” let’s advance quickly. Some backlinks you can get easily and fast and they are even free, plus (!) Google values them. Let’s call these “foundational backlinks.” We’ll start here.
You probably already know that you should focus on very few networks and go all out on them, instead of sort of sometimes maybe marketing your biz across 10 networks. It’s way more powerful to pick 1-3 social media channels where your peeps hang out and work on your visibility there every day.
Side note: Not getting so much traction on social right now? I plan on writing more about this, but one thing that can help boost engagement is posting at optimal times — check out this guide on the best times to post on social. Take it as a guideline and play with it; it’s worked pretty well for me but one of my most-commented-on Instagram posts was published around 2 pm, so it really depends on your audience.
For backlinks purposes, even if you want to focus on a few networks (which is smart!), setting up profiles on additional social media networks that link back to your website will help with your domain authority.
So even if you don’t use certain networks to grow an audience and market your business actively, it’s still a good idea to set up a profile for your business (you don’t have to advertise it to your followers!) and make sure your profile page on those platforms has a direct link to your website.
Great ones to have:
- YouTube (it’s the second most powerful search engine, with Google being #1)
- Google +
By the way, depending on the platforms you’re on and post style/format, you can follow these tips to better convert the traffic you’re getting from social.
And of course you can have business listings too, like Google My Business, Crunchbase, Yelp, Trustpilot, and even Yellow Pages, especially if you have a brick and mortar location (hello, local SEO!). A bonus of listing your business on these sites is that it will help build trust around it (provided that the reviews are positive, of course! But you’re awesome, so you’ll get good reviews!).
Also, if you have a local business, you may benefit from using geo-targeted directories. Conduct a search with terms like these:
- your city + directory
- your niche + city + directory
- health coach + New York City + directory
- food allergies+ Santa Monica + directory
This way you can find some relevant and hopefully high-domain-authority options to list your business info and link back to your website.
Listing your business for backlinks from location-specific pages like Yelp or a directory will be phenomenal for helping local peeps who need your services find you when they’re Googling for an expert in their area!
How Health Coaches Can Get Other Backlinks
Of course! Writing great content around a strategic keyword and promoting this content with social media and backlinks? You’re now advancing from “what are backlinks” to “killing it” territory!
Approach this with a long-term mindset: the idea is that you’ll continue getting traffic and credibility from this into the future. So even if it’s not the HuffPo, as long as the site is relevant and gaining traction, go for it! Same with podcasts: you won’t have a lot of text, but you’ll expose yourself to a new audience and get one or more backlinks to your business.
Don’t know where to find a blog that will accept your work? Ask your network. You want someone whose audience includes your ideal customer or overlaps with her. Still no dice? Start Googlin’! You can try terms like your niche + guest post or your niche + write for us. But it’s very likely that if you go into your fave Facebook group full of entrepreneurial ladies, you’ll find someone happy to host your post on their blog!
And to clarify: if you can get published or quoted in the Huffington Post or other big publications, super! Submit an article or sign up for the free service HARO (Help a Reporter Out) to submit advice and get a link back. This is time-consuming, definitely, but you can set aside maybe 10 minutes/day to scan and respond to HARO emails or put your virtual assistant on it if you have one.
Pro tip #1: if you are submitting a guest post with a specific keyword you want to rank for (as you should!) use the ultimate SEO for bloggers checklist to optimize it and get the most bang for your… words ;)
Pro tip #2: Ask if you can link to relevant posts/pages on your blog from the guest post to increase the number of backlinks to your website!
Bring mentioned, quoted, and featured helps build up your authority as an expert. You can then send your peeps over to read what you’ve said and written to let them know that you’re spreading your wings. I do it on my About page, and have sometimes included a blurb on the blog and linked over to the page in question as well.
Partake in roundups
You know when someone in your network says they want to write a blog post with snippets of advice from various experts? (If you don’t know what I mean, here is an example of a blog post I wrote with advice for website copy that converts from copywriters in my network.) When you see a post on Facebook about it (when relevant) jump in!
Now, this takes us back to the issue of relevance and authority. You want the page’s content to be relevant to your website’s content, so check that first. What are backlinks gonna help if they’re coming from pages with articles on car parts or penguins? They’re not, so if you’re a health coach, stay focused on health-related topics.
And consider writing a roundup yourself, too — it’s a great way to meet new experts, build relationships, and plant seeds for bigger collaborations.
Pro tip #1: If you write one, be sure to tag the contributors when you share the content on social media so they’ll be more likely to share it with their followers too!
Pro tip #2: They will be more likely to link to you as a Thank You. This also goes if you interview people for a podcast or blog series — if you are the host, that’s another way to get backlinks!
This is where we go from “what are backlinks?” to building them like an effing pro, superhero.
Remember that for people to want to link to you (even organically without you asking — when people discover your content and are fascinated by it!), you must abide by the following guidelines:
- HAVE RAD CONTENT TO SHARE. You need to provide value — no fluffy 200-word blog posts (we can’t all be Seth Godin!). Dive deep into topics you know your ideal clients need help with. Try to solve a problem, even if tiny, with every piece of content you create (especially on your website). And if you can include a freebie with it to help them implement, even better!
- Give users a good experience on your website. Have your copy be easy to read and your website easy to navigate. You don’t need to blow $5K+ on a website to look profesh, just follow some basic web-friendly guidelines. Here are some great best practices for you to follow for a website that converts visitors into subscribers and clients. Because what are backlinks good for if your website sucks?
- Fly that freak flag. When you create content, writing like you speak can be wonderful — it helps you stand out and be memorable and helps you connect with your readers much more genuinely! If you feel stuck with your copywriting, check out this roundup with copy advice! And this also involves sharing your unvarnished opinions — do you disagree with what the “big names” are saying? GREAT, make your argument! Are you contributing information from a new angle? DOPE, highlight that angle! This helps make your content memorable.
The no-no list: what not to do to get more backlinks
Don’t be shady
This includes buying backlinks. You can easily buy them on public networks or “private blog networks” — but you shouldn’t. Google ain’t stupid. And Google also takes those sites down for quality guidelines violations. Do your biz a favor and avoid those.
By the way, also buying DoFollow blog comments, sidebar links, or footer links are a waste of moolah as well.
Go easy when you distribute your anchor text
Being too aggressive with your anchor text can land you an SEO penalty, so don’t go crazy.
So, for example, if my keyword were “Website Superhero” (meaning I want people to find my website, not the website where I’m guest posting, when mah peeps Google that term) and it were strewn throughout an article, I would want to hyperlink the keyword and link it to my site, but I would also want to hyperlink perhaps the URL itself (website-superhero.com), as well as my name or a phrase describing my business. You want to hyperlink a variety of relevant words as opposed to only your keyword (in this case “Website Superhero”) every time.
Now that we’ve answered “What are backlinks?” and expanded into various ways to get them for greater exposure, it’s time to implement, sister!