Your home says a lot about who you are.
You can have beautiful content inside, but if you haven't put any work into your homepage—the entrance to your site—people won't know what your brand or company is all about, as a whole.
Your homepage gives an overall impression of the rest of your website, and when people land on your homepage, they should want to keep clicking around.
They should get a feel for who you are, and should want to get to know you more.
As the face of your brand, your homepage needs to be as strong as possible.
So linking to the homepage is important because it sends signals about your whole "house," which helps search engines understand what your site is all about.
Yes, homepage backlinks are still very important. They help PageRank flow through your site and they're not very hard to obtain legitimately, and under the white hat.
Normally, websites are linked to the homepage when the brand or company is covered in the media, especially in reported articles and interviews.
Unless an author is interested in a specific piece of your content, it's your homepage that gets the spotlight.
Website testimonials are another way to get homepage backlinks.
Definitely, while deep links give a big boost to the overall SEO, they're not the only backlinks worth getting. Links that point to your homepage will ultimately benefit your entire site, and it's generally the homepage that gets the most visits (direct, referral and organic).
So now you know homepage backlinks are totally worth adding to your link building campaign.
Methods, of course, and tools.
And yeah, some word of caution to help save you from pitfalls, too.
How to Get Homepage Backlinks
You want to get those homepage backlinks safely and make sure they're the right ones, don't you?
I like the rule of balance and the rule of thumb Financier SEO's owner and SEO expert Leonard Park gave me:
- As a rule of balance, "Aim for one backlink to your homepage for every backlink to your site’s subpages."
The result from following this rule is that your homepage is going to have more backlinks to count than other pages on your site.
- A rule of thumb is to choose, for the homepage, branded anchors over generic key terms for your niche, and branded anchors should constitute 70% of the backlinks. If your domain is exact match, make that 40% instead.
Finally, since nofollow backlinks also have a role in your link building strategy, Park advises aiming to make these 30-50% of your homepage’s backlinks.
9 Ways to Get Homepage Backlinks
1. Respond to Media Queries from Journalists and Bloggers
Choose niches equal or similar to yours to get featured on.
Bloggers and journalists always hang around forums and platforms to get experts, like HARO, SourceBottle and MyBlogU.
Responding to them ups your chances to get featured, and your site cited and linked with a homepage backlink.
(See the experts I quoted in this article for an example!)
You have two ways to go about this:
1. Sort through the queries to find those mentioning a backlink
2. Scour the web for the outlet where the piece is going to be published to see if they credit sources with live backlinks
When in doubt, ask the journalist whether and how you're going to get a link credit for the quote.
2. Press Releases and Events
Sometimes press release links are nofollow links, but they do still get traffic and the backlink can be picked up for media coverage with link juice benefits.
Focus on making your press release unique and interesting for your target media outlets.
Also, take part in conferences: You can get cited for your talk and credited with a link to your homepage.
Make sure the name of your website or its full URL appear on your talk notes and, if available, on the conference programme page devoted to your talk.
3. Interviews and Roundup Features
Bloggers love to publish roundups or to interview experts in various niches, so this is another great way to get easy homepage backlinks.
Give it a go, especially if it's prominent bloggers in your niche. If they have a roundup open, participate, or get interviewed.
I got interviewed at least three times for my freelance blogging and my tiny character blogging niche. Word spreads!
Make it easy to interview you.
4. Creating Compelling Content (Of Course!)
Quality, compelling content naturally attracts links—even to the homepage!
Remember that content is king only if it rules like a king, not like a fraud. If your content rules, then yes, it's king and it earns backlinks.
And your homepage content and structure must be king, too.
In other words, your website as a whole must be worth linking to.
5. Email Outreach
There are several ways to do this, including recommendation pages and resource-based articles in your niche.
You simply email bloggers and ask them to link to your homepage as the go-to place to find resources of value for their readers.
Even better if you also target influencer blogs and industry outlets—these websites carry a lot more weight in terms of authority and they can help you build trust, authority and thought-leadership.
Leave quality testimonials for products and services you use and love, especially if there's a pre-existing relationship with the webmaster. This gives you higher chances of getting the testimonial published on their site with a backlink.
You want your testimonial to be valuable, like a tiny well-written review.
7. Guest Posts
You can go a long way with guest posts.
But only if you make them helpful, authoritative and memorable. (Then the webmaster is hardly ever going to rethink your guest post placement and downright delete it on the next content audit.)
Googling terms such as:
[niche] "write for us"
[niche] "guest post guidelines"
will return dozens of websites in your niche that welcome guest posts, and their quality criteria.
A homepage backlink is generally placed in your author bio paragraph at the bottom (or at the top) of your post.
So make your bio appealing for the reader of the post, who needs to know why continuing the experience on your website is important (for example, the reader of your guest post on email marketing can find more successful examples of email marketing templates on your website).
8. Valuable Blog Comments
I'm not talking about the link in the name here.
That helps, sure, but the value of your content matters more. If your comments add greatly to the content of the post, the blogger might well choose to feature you in their next post—or guest post.
Believe me, I got a homepage backlink in 2014 for leaving a super comment on a blogger's post (one I admire).
And he put the backlink on the Ahrefs blog!
All the more interesting, right?
9. Distributable Free E-books
If you place a homepage link in an e-book you created and it gets distributed, people know easily how to credit the e-book author.
Besides, if you publish the e-book or white paper as a downloadable PDF, the backlink gets indexed by Google.
5 Handy Tools to Get and Analyze Backlinks
HARO (acronym for Help A Reporter Out) is a well-known platform for many journalists, bloggers and experts looking for free publicity.
And quite a good place to get homepage backlinks!
To find opportunities on HARO, get started with the Free plan for sources—it includes two emails a day with a digest of all media queries for that week.
Like HARO, SourceBottle is a platform for journalists and sources to find each other, and it works via email.
Unlike HARO, however, SourceBottle allows you to freely browse opportunities on its own query directory, so you don't have to wait for your daily email to come through.
MyBlogU is a forum-based community for bloggers to meet and collaborate on brainstorms, interviews and collaborative posts.
I've personally built good homepage links by getting interviewed here, or by contributing to other bloggers' brainstorming projects.
Twitter is a great place to search for guest posting opportunities that allow you to place your homepage backlink in the author bio.
Simply use the search field with key terms like "guest post" or "write for us," like you would do on Google.
3 Types of Homepage Backlinks to Avoid
1. Directory Links. Unless it makes sense for your business, avoid getting directory links just for the sake of obtaining a backlink to your homepage. Most directories are low-quality link farms that will only negatively affect your overall backlink profile, sending in toxic signals.
2. Spammy Forum Profile Links. Be careful when you join new communities, especially if you're only doing it to place a homepage backlink in the profile field. Don't do that! Only join forums that are important to you, and participate in the discussions. Link dropping on a dead profile doesn't work.
3. Paid Links That Pass PageRank. This is the type of backlink Google is mostly against and it can make you incur a penalty or demotion in the SERPs.
Managing Homepage Backlinks: A Short Guide to Link Quality Assessment
Now, how to make sure your homepage backlinks are good links that you actually want linking to your homepage?
You need to assess them for their quality and overall value to your site.
But which criteria should you follow?
There are four of them. Read below.
Ideally, every backlink you earn is relevant to your niche, especially if the webmaster shares your same vision.
If you sell fishing supplies on your website, the linking site should be about fishing or sports supplies. Other types of websites, especially if the quality is low, might trigger search engine spam filters' and users' concern.
Naturally, anyone with access to a blog or social profile can link back to your website, and you shouldn't worry if you see a few of these links coming in, as long as they're not blatant spam.
However, these links should be a good minority in your backlink profile. If the number increases over time, the pattern gets suspicious.
The backlink must have relevancy within the content or it might trigger spam filters, as well as the reader's inner sentinel that tells them something's very wrong about this link here.
If you feel your backlink is out of place, it might be the sign of a past or ongoing negative SEO attack.
Contact the webmaster and ask them to edit or remove the backlink before you proceed to disavow it.
The link to your homepage must be contextual and powerful enough to drive traffic and sales, especially if placed very close to natural text with a well-crafted CTA.
A backlink thrown somewhere in the text where it doesn't make sense carries no traffic value, nor will it ever make sense for the reader or Google.
In fact, traffic value is closely related to the first two points here (niche and contextual relevancy). The backlink's Citation Flow and number of Google Analytics visits can give you a glimpse of its influence and traffic potential.
Presence in Google Search
Your homepage backlink must be indexed for it to carry organic benefits.
If it's not, it might be a sign the linking website may be under Google penalty (or has been demoted), which is something you don't want to affect your own site.
Alex Reichmann, CEO of iTestCash, also makes a good point about how backlinks relate to your industry:
"I think when it comes to linking, it's important to assess whether your link looks legitimate or not. I don't think backlinks on homepages are common unless your industry calls for it."
It's worth paying attention to whom is linking to your homepage.
If the backlink is a suspected toxic signal, the safest option is to disavow the backlink.
Homepage backlinks aren't hard to get—they only require a bit of work, because unlike content pages, they're less topical and more brand-oriented.
As Adam White, Founder of SEOjet, told me:
"Homepage link building should serve one purpose only, to build brand trust with Google. They don't target keywords on the homepage. Google trusts brands, so if you want to be trusted, you need to do it the same way."
I agree with him. It's a matter of trust.
So now you have everything in your link building toolbox to build great homepage backlinks that build trust in Google and in the users' eyes.
See? Showing your guest the entrance door of your beautiful house wasn't so difficult after all.