Updated Oct 7, 2017
Before I delve deeper and look for ways to build high-quality backlinks, it is essential to know what backlinks are and why your websites need them. In this article, I will discuss in detail backlinks and the best practices in building them.
Let’s get started. Note, I am sticking to white hat link building practices.
- 1 What Are Backlinks?
- 2 How do backlinks work?
- 3 Social Networks for Reputable Backlinks
- 4 Top Article Directories For Building Free Links
- 5 Other Techniques To build high-quality backlinks
- 6 Additional Link Building Resources
- 6.1 Backlinko’s Definitive Guide to Link Building
- 6.2 Moz’s Guide to Growing Popularity & Links
- 6.3 Kissmetrics’ Natural Link Building 101
- 6.4 Quicksprout’s Advanced Guide to Link Building
- 6.5 Moz’s Guide to Competitive Backlink Analysis
- 6.6 Point Blank SEO’s Link Building Database
- 6.7 WordStream’s Guide to Free Link Building
- 6.8 Matthew Woodward’s Guide to Tiered Link Building
- 6.9 Search Engine Journal’s Guide to Qualifying Backlink Sources
- 6.10 Monitor Backlinks’ Tips for Link Building
- 7 Things To Keep In Mind While Building Backlinks
- 8 Techniques To Avoid
- 9 Do not make these Link Building Mistakes Either:
Backlinks are incoming links to a website. They help the search engines analyze essential metrics like popularity, trust flow, and authority related to your site. Quality backlinks from high authority sites help you in achieving higher rankings in search engine result pages, also called SERPs.
Whether your website is designed to promote your business or service, or you sell products online, ranking is critical. Speaking of selling online, check out my article on e-commerce website builders.
Let’s understand backlinks with the help of an analogy. Imagine you are on a posh street with a range of branded shops and showrooms. These are the high authority sites on the internet. Now, suppose that you have recently opened a new store nearby. Compare this new store with your newly launched website with little to no visitors.
You want to attract more and more customers to your newly opened shop and are looking for publicity. Thus, one day, you thought of putting a billboard nearby a branded shop – XYZ. As a result, whenever customers visited the shop XYZ, they would see the sign and would think of stopping by your shop.
Slowly and gradually, more and more customers start coming to your shop.
A billboard is similar to backlinks on high-authority websites.
High-authority websites are already well-established and receive a significant amount of organic traffic. Whenever people land on these websites, the chances are high that they may click on the backlink that leads to your site. Googles algorithm views these links as signals of trust and authority. Any expert SEO Consultant will tell you how important these factors are in organically ranking.
This pretty much explains why backlinks are beneficial.
Now, let’s see how backlinks work.
Backlinks work in two ways.
First, they boost your traffic. Second, they let the search engines know about your website and increase your online reputation.
But, how do they that?
It has been well-researched that legitimate sites tend to link other authentic sites; while on the other hand, spam sites do not receive quality links from reliable sources. Using link data, although it can never be entirely accurate, it allows one to adopt a more scientific approach towards the SEO strategies.
I recommended focussing on quality backlinks and anchor text variation for better search results.
Backlink building is an important strategy and needs carefully devised planning for successful execution.
If you plan to start a link building campaign from scratch, but are not sure from where to begin, here are a few link building guides which would help you out.
This section focuses on social networks and places where you can build an online presence and post your content in a way that others can share and link for gaining additional value.
LinkedIn offers an array of options where you can link your content for value. In addition to linking your content to your profile, you can also link regular short blog posts to longer and more detailed posts on your main website.
Pinterest is useful for linking content that deals with the specific genres such as DIY and others. It can also be used for infographics and other moderate visual contents. This site can be used in conjunction with different link building techniques down the line.
Reddit undoubtedly is very picky regarding the type of content that it hosts. That said; there are various threads where you can find something related to your niche. You can put your link as a read more while replying to someone else’s comment and it’ll be more likely seen as adding value rather than spamming and advertising.
Despite the Panda update, Google+ can still be used to drop some relevant links. It can best be used for getting a direct link for better and faster indexing.
This site is an excellent medium for dissemination of all sorts of visual content including images, quotes, videos and pictorial messages for the people at large.
Imgur is a useful website if you want to convey a meaningful message accompanied with an image and compelling infographics.
This is a go-between a social network an article directory. It allows users to create hubs centered on their chosen field of expertise.
This site can be efficiently used to share links and swap partnerships with other related bloggers. It is a vital social network for links with specified roles within a community.
This site is quite popular among younger folks. Links are difficult to come by, and the interface is a bit tricky to use.
This network is a guarded community for influencers and an excellent medium to link with other influencers.
Apart from the social networks, article directories can also help your link acquisition strategy. Let’s have a look.
Top Article Directories For Building Free Links
Directory submission can be risky, especially when you choose to create links from low-quality article directories. This is why we have curated a list of high-quality article directories you should stick to if you want to generate high-quality backlinks.
This site is primarily curated by bloggers who are looking for quick quality information with minimum effort. It is a favorite hangout for digital marketing professionals.
Slashdot is a go-to directory for geeks and computer engineers. This article directory provides valuable yet crisp information related to technology and impact of technology on politics, primarily focused on news and technology. If your niche fits well with the niche of this directory, your articles can surely perform well.
This directory can be considered as a jack of all trades as it deals with information and content of every genre. It is one of the most valuable general directories that we have with us today. All you need to do is create your account and submit the articles.
This is another general purpose directory you can submit your articles too. Since it deals with a range of genres, chances are high that you will find your niche here. It is still one of the least spammy directories you can stick to.
This directory explores the niches related to technology and advertisements. Keep producing the high-quality content, and you should be good to go.6
SelfGrowth is an all-pervasive directory, curated carefully to cater to one’s plethora of needs ranging from success in business to personal matters related to health, lifestyle, relationships, and financial issues.
This one again is a go-between a social networking site and directory for articles and blogs. You can sign in with your Facebook profile and then proceed to submit your content.
It is one of the largest and oldest databases available on the internet for submitting all sorts of content regardless of its niche.
It deals with articles related to general interest with a seasoned and qualitative content invested with knowledge, credibility and well-established credentials.
The techniques mentioned below do not fall under a particular category but instead are a combination of methods.
This is a Moz’s guide to broken link building. It helps you in identifying the broken links and resurrecting the pages to preserve the link juice.
- Converting Blog Posts To Podcasts
It is used to convert your content into an audio format for gaining a more significant foothold and earning links from podcast storefronts and reviewers. This further helps your followers to go through your content quickly while they are traveling.
It acts as a link between a news reporter and someone from the industry wanting to share opinions and incidents inside the industry. HARO can be an excellent way to establish yourself as an authority.
HARO is one of my favorite PR tools, although it takes hard work and persistence.
- Converting Blog Posts to Videos
It is used primarily to turn your blogs into videos for advertisement through social networking sites including YouTube and Facebook.
- Answering Questions on Quora
Similar to Yahoo Answers, Quora is yet another platform where one gets to know the precise and well-informed answers to their question by a set of expert contributors. All you need to do is answer the questions related to your niche and add your blog’s link.
- Converting Blog Posts to Slides
Convert content into presentable PowerPoint slides. You can showcase the PowerPoint slides on Slideshare and at the same time invite other bloggers to use your presentation.
- Creating Roundup Posts
Explore and search other bloggers who are interested in sharing information and expertise related to your industry.
- Writing Testimonials
This is another method through which you can generate backlinks. All you need to do is write testimonials for the products and services that you used, and ask the business to link the testimonial back to your blog or website.
- Converting Implied Links into Real Links
There are a lot of instances where you are mentioned in a post but not linked. You can use this to your advantage by asking them to turn that mention into a link.
- Guest Posting
Guest posting is still alive and is an excellent way to earn some quality backlinks. All you need to do is find well-reputed blogs and websites you can guest post on. Start by contacting the blog’s owner.
I’m sure; you must be ready to kick-start your backlinking strategy by now. However, there are a few things you need to take care of. We will discuss them in detail in the forthcoming sections of this article.
11. Press Releases
Press releases are often underestimated when it comes to a link building strategy. However, used correctly they can be beneficial. Are you going to rank your site off press release backlinks only? No. Press releases can create quick and easy publicity. Links from a credible press release service can also be used to optimize your anchor text ratio.
For Press Releases I suggest:
Additional Link Building Resources
This is a genuinely enlightening guide to everything about backlinks, all-inclusive. The website, its author and the information and guidelines provided are authentic and something that you can bank upon to build high quality links.
It is the best guide available.
This forms an integral part of the Moz’s beginner guide to SEO. This chapter encapsulates all the things related to backlinks, and it also gives you a vital insight on how Google views the backlinks.
An excellent guidebook if you want to boost your online presence and want to link your website with high-authority resources. Well, it can be said that this guide differs mainly from deliberate link building but, it provides a complementary set of instructions to be followed.
This guide goes one step ahead by incorporating all the related information in addition to providing the advanced strategies. This guide is co-written by the same authors of the backlinko’s guide – Neil Patel and Brian Dean.
This is an exhaustive guide as to how one can analyze the links that are moving around in your niche. Also, the guide would also help you in approaching high-authority websites and would help you analyze how your competitors are gaining backlinks.
This guide presents an incredibly colossal list of link building techniques that are arranged into a filterable database that can be used with much ease and perfection. The methods can also be organized and sorted according to the estimated time they take for their execution. If you are well abreast with the conventional methods and trends or have particular requirements, then this is an excellent guide for finding techniques that accommodate the bill.
Link building methods always involve investment, be it financially your time, or both. This might be in the form of buying the links directly, buying software, building satellite sites and using paid tools among others. This guide focuses on methods through which you can create links for free.
Tiered link building is a gray hat technique and is placed lower on the pedestal. However, this guide has some vital information that one should know. Also, it is a good illustration as to how a technique can be sold as valuable and useful despite being it’s irrelevant and faulty.
This is an exclusively designed guide to help one examine the sources of incoming links on the site.
This guide is specially created for all those people who need a quick refresher or if they are looking for a quick version of some of the guides listed above. It works perfectly well despite the fact that it’s not as well complete.
The guides about would have undoubtedly helped you in getting started with the process of link building.
Care should be taken that links are fetched only from highly reputed sites. Social networks enjoy high credibility and are loved by search engines. Thus, they are an ideal choice for building backlinks. If you want to learn more about their SEO TOOL, check out this massive list I have been working on.
In addition to making use of the resources mentioned above for creating links, it is essential that you stay the course and avoid shortcuts.
Here are a few things that you should keep in mind while acquiring backlinks:
- Do not forget social media
As we have already discussed above, social networking sites can also help you in earning backlinks and boosting your overall ranking. Pinterest, for example, is a DA 90+ website and allows you to add one link to your profile.
Similarly, you can make use of Google+, and LinkedIn by making your company profiles and adding a link.
- Generate quality backlinks by featuring others
Feature other bloggers on your blog is a proven strategy to build backlink to your website. This will not only boost your relationship with other bloggers but would also help you in increasing your domain authority. The chances are high that when you feature other bloggers, they will link back to your posts, thus, providing you with free exposure.
- Invest time in creating infographics
Catchy and detailed infographics can also help you in catching all the attention. Create visually appealing infographics with the aid of websites like piktochart and others and then share them on social networking websites. You can also encourage other bloggers to use your infographics as it is, or you can choose to submit your infographics to infographics submission sites for more visibility.
4. All the inbound links in the world will not rank your site if you lack quality content.
Techniques To Avoid
- Comment Spam
Avoid leaving low value and inferior quality comments along with the links on the blogs related to your niche. This technique might earn you some links but won’t add any value. Stick to high-quality blog comments on blogs associated with your niche.
- Purchasing Cheap Links
Avoid buying low-quality links. Period.
- Churn and Burn expired domains
This method makes use of the recently expired sites. It is a type of link set up which you set up for yourself with minimum effort. Avoid it.
- Article Spinning
Article spinning is a process of creating a quick piece of content by changing words here and there. It sure can produce articles quickly, but lacks quality, and should be avoided.
Stay away from these low-quality techniques.
Do not make these Link Building Mistakes Either:
- Avoid linking to sites with poor backlinks profiles
Stay away from sites with a negative reputation or backlink profile.
These include the likes of illegal sites, gambling sites, porn sites and others. Linking to any of the bad reputation are appreciated by search engines You risk harming your search engine ranking instead of boosting it.
Bonus tip: Study your competitor’s backlinks and target those first.
- Don’t get involved in buying and selling of links
Avoid buying links from other websites just to get backlinks. This is considered spam. You might even end up in need of my google penalty recovery services. Focus on organic methods to build natural links.
- Don’t try to get links from websites that are not niche relevant
It is highly recommended to get backlinks only from high authority websites which belong to the same niche as yours.
- Do not use spammy anchor text
Anchor texts play an important role. Refer to this chart I made.
- Don’t build tons of backlinks in a short time span
Take it slow and steady. Avoid generating a lot of backlinks within a short span as this might impact your reputation adversely in the eyes of Google. Link velocity is a small ranking factor.
The bad news is that 98% of the link building services online will do more harm than good. There are no shortcuts, avoid grey hat. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Period. The other 2% are going to be expensive. But, if you have a budget contact me and I can help or point you in the right direction.
Over To You
I hope that the backlink resources mentioned above will help you in creating high-quality backlinks. With a little bit of hard work and effort, you can quickly boost your blog or website’s authority significantly.
I can not stress enough; you should avoid practicing unethical marketing tactics to increase your reputation. You will end up doing more harm than good in the long run.
Be alert, and avoid falling for quick fix techniques to build backlinks.
Always remember that building quality backlinks and boosting the domain authority of your website is a slow and steady process, and takes time.
What are your views on this?
Which best practices do you employ to build links to your website?
What are you going to do first?
Do let us know in the comments.