Link building in itself is sort of black hat. You’re putting in effort to create inbound links that weren’t created organically.
But as marketers, you have a duty to pay attention and try to build quality backlinks. Thankfully, there are still plenty of white hat, legitimate strategies out there for you to try.
They require a little extra effort, but if you’ve hung around with us, you know we’re big fans of elbow grease.
1. Guest post and do it often. Want to build good-quality backlinks in a way that Google thinks is great? Start contributing to blogs in your niche. The link back to your website will be your reward, so optimize it just like you would on your own site.
2. Offer interviews. A good PR & marketing team should be able to get your experts interviews with top blogs in your niche quickly and easily. We’re all struggling for content these days and if you have a story to share, it’s increasingly easier to get a story written about you (and a link back to your site).
3. Use Google Alerts to find linkless articles: Lots of people write articles, even cite quotes from your articles, without linking back to your site. Set up a Google Alert that tells you when someone mentions your name or the name of your company. If they use your content without linking, politely ask them.
4. Leave legitimate comments: Surely you have a feed of blogs you read in your niche, either because you’re interested, need them for work, or use them to come up with blog topics. Leave comments often on blog posts that you read. No only will it garner the attention of the blogger (comments are so hard to come by these days!) but it will also provide you with space to put a link back to your website.
5. Set up profiles on commenting tools: Many blogs use commenting plugins like Disqus and LiveFyre that provide you with a public profile every time you comment. Get in there and link your profile back to your website.
6. Add your homepage link to all of your social media profiles: Add your URL to your social media profiles. Some great places we recommend is the beginning of your “About Us” description on your Facebook page before it gets cut off so that everyone sees it, and also in the beginning of all your YouTube video descriptions before it gets cut off.
7. Publish to multiple social networks: We publish every day to Mequoda, Facebook and sometimes LinkedIn. Social networks are your biggest link-building advantage, and they weren’t even on link-building lists five years ago!
8. Create infographics: Wait, wait, it isn’t hard! Infographics get passed around like wildfire and get re-blogged often. Even better, there are a bunch of tools out there now like Visual.ly and Piktochart that make it so easy even a caveman could do it!
9. Go to local networking events: Every city has their blogger meetups. Want to know the best way to get a quality inbound link? When it comes from another blogger. The more friends you make, the more often they’ll link to you and use you as a blog example. This is also the only time when it’s acceptable to swap links, when you’re both writing about each other and you trust the quality of the other person’s blog.
10. Say no to link offers: Remember a link from a bad, low-quality site is a bad link. Getting an inbound link from a site that Google considers spammy will actually do you more harm than good.
There’s no short-cut to link-building. If it sounds too good to be true, it’ll probably get you in trouble.
And that’s why we’re moving on to the next section.
Five things you should never do when link-building
I’ll make this quick and simple. Backlinks built through black hat practices are called Blacklinks.
The following no-nos don’t require explanation because they all cause the same problem – you, in the gutter of Google search results when they figure it out.
Google is smart these days and the get-rich-quick schemes of link-building are over. So just forget about using any of these tactics:
- Don’t hire a company to build links for you.
- Don’t buy links.
- Don’t exchange links with another site.
- Don’t comment spam (i.e. leave comments with keywords as your “name” that link to your website).
- Don’t publish link-building articles to article directories (they took the biggest hit in the last year).
Excellent. Class dismissed!
Wait—care to share war stories about link-building with your own site? Any stories of what once worked, and what has changed? Let us know in the comments.
To schedule a no-obligation conversation with Don Nicholas, our CEO and lead consultant, about link-building and generating more website traffic, contact Ann-Marie Sullivan at 866-713-1005 or email her.