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How to get more people to link to you for free without being spammy

Hi! I’m Maddy Shine and I’m known as the SEO and visibility queen. I love supporting you to be more visible so you can have a life you enjoy, where you’re running your biz and not your biz running you.

If you’re reading this, you’ve most likely got a website. Whether it’s on WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, Moonfruit, GoDaddy or something else, you need to have a website that represents you, where you’re talking about what you do and what you sell. I’m going to share tips today with this assumption in mind, so read away and come and tell me on Instagram @maddy.shine about your favourite tip.

You see, you need to get out there and be talked about. That’s how you’re going to get those dreamy word-of-mouth-only bookings, right? But with in person networking events + conferences not happening, how are you going to do that?

And whilst you may not have (m)any bookings right now, you do need to be more visible in order to get more bookings in the future.

But how?

Listen to Maddy!

Links, baby, links.

The simplest way to get links to your website (especially if you’re not feeling particularly inspired right now) is to go after getting people to link back to your website. Why?


Well let’s be honest, as people who use the internet we only really want to see quality websites when we’re Googling something, right? Websites that tell us what we want to know, websites that offer something that we find of value. And Google knows that and as a result only wants to show us quality websites. It wants to be helpful. But how do we indicate what a quality website looks like? There are literally squillions of factors, but one of the key factors is whether other quality websites are linking to your website.

The more links you have from quality websites, the more likely you are to be seen by more people. The more people who see you, the more you’re likely to get enquiries + bookings.

Let’s be clear here, you can pay. Of course you can pay. And it’s great to support those directories who do charge if they work for you and your type of business. But there are also ways you can do this for free.

This kind of task doesn’t rely on how rubbish the news is, it doesn’t rely on how creative you’re feeling that day. Simply put, it’s a task that is perfect for winter.

So here are my five top tips on how to get links back to your website for free.

1.Go to anywhere you’ve ever submitted work/shoot/real wedding

You know you’ve had weddings + shoots featured on other websites. Most people don’t keep a track of these mentions + features (which by the way you need to do!) so here’s what you can do. Write a list of everywhere you know you’ve been mentioned. Then one by one, go and find that feature. You’ll be able to do this by Googling your business name + the site you’ve been mentioned on (e.g. Fiona Kelly Photography Rock My Wedding).

Make a list of those mentions and then go through them making sure they’ve actually linked to your website. Many do already by default which is great, but you want to make sure they definitely do. Yes, that includes that one time you submitted a single image to a bigger article. Yes, that also includes the one time you gave a quote to a piece that was being written, even if you weren’t the main feature, you deserve a link! So and ask for it.

Oh and if you’re sitting on weddings + shoots in your drive that you think are awesome and are of your ideal client no matter how moons ago they were taken, pretty please, submit them! There are SO MANY wedding blogs out there. Spend some time Googling “UK wedding blogs” and you’ll find TONS. Woohoo. So many opportunities. Make a list, and get cracking. Some wedding blogs even take shoots + weddings that have been submitted elsewhere. So do check their details.

2.Google yourself (no, really!)

Next step is to Google your business name and/or Google your own name (if they’re different). Step by step, go through each mention contacting the site owner and asking for a link to your website. You preferably want a keyword backlink which in simple terms, is where you use one of your keyword phrases as the link for e.g. ‘Oxfordshire wedding venue Moor Barns” (that’s a made up example) and the whole phrase will be a link to your website. Boom. More links. More notice from Google and therefore from new people, potential clients.

For keen beans this applies to steps 1 and 2: if you’ve already got a link back on all your featured work, I would suggest you go one step further and set up a new page on your site to update the link back to you so that rather than simply linking to your homepage, you link to a specific page “Welcome Rock My Wedding readers, lovely to see you” and you have a sort of newly formed homepage introducing your business + your main services before linking to the rest of your site. This page would not be linked on your main menu, it would just be for people clicking through. (Doesn’t that create lots of pages? I hear you ask. Yes. And that is fine, as long as they’re relevant to your business)

3.Get yourself on business directories

OK so before I share more about how to get links on business directories, this was once an overused spammy tactic by companies with hands on major budgets + resources to get to page one. Google cottoned on to this, penalised a whole bunch of people and then many others were put off from ever doing it. So here’s the key to getting quality links on business directories.

  1. Write 5-10 short mini bios (100 words or so) about your business that includes at least one of your keyword phrases (Cornwall wedding florist for e.g. or South Wales wedding cakes) The bios can be very similar, just not word for word exactly the same.
  2. Google your town + business directories and make a list of all the sites you see. Then Google your county + business directories and make a list of all the sites you see.
  3. Guess what? You start using the mini bios you wrote in step a) to get listings on the directories you found in step b). Focus on the free ones first because well, they’re free.

4.Get yourself listed on Industry Directories

If you’re a wedding business in 2020 you’ll know about wedding blogs. You’ll also most likely know about industry blogs that exist like this one! Get yourself listed on as many industry directories where your ideal clients / contacts are hanging out and you’ll be more visible. Again, focus on the free ones first because they’re free.

5.Write Guest Posts

Writing a guest post might be more long winded than simply getting a link in a directory but it sure is helpful to increase awareness of who you are and what you sell. In fact, this is a guest post right here! It’s a great way to get a link back to your website and it’s high quality too because a guest post shows your value to an audience who might not be that familiar with you (yet!). Make a list of websites where you’d like to see your business, no matter if they’re a major site, a medium site or a local site, make a dream list and start searching around the site for where they’ll share how they accept guest posts. If you can’t find it, get in touch with them. Don’t pitch on the first email, simply get in touch with a comment on a particular piece they recently published, introduce yourself and ask if you can be of service. See what they say! You never know!

Focus on the businesses that compliment yours when starting to pitch to write for other people. For e.g. if you’re a photographer, go to wedding planners who have blogs. If you’re a cake maker, go to florists or photographers you know.

(Remember if you can submit to The Wedding Industry Journal too!)

Want a shortcut? Course you do!

There’s a handy tool called ahrefs.com/backlink-checker where you can look up your competitors’ websites and see where they’re linked. It’s a great way to know where to start with where to start. You can also look up your own website to see where else you might be linked that you didn’t know about / had forgotten about.

So to sum it up, go get ‘em tiger! Make a list. Work your way through the list. Be patient, tick off the tasks and get on with the work. By building up a consistent presence in your audience’s lives, you’ll soon see it pay off.

Come and tell me what you think of these tips on Instagram – @maddy.shine – see you there!

Maddy x

Photography credits: The Woman and the Wolf and Fran Minifie Photography

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