With the arrival of Google’s search algorithm update known as Penguin, there was a panic among small businesses and bloggers that their SEO work may fail them, sending them plunging down the results page and into online obscurity. The damage to their profits could be tremendous.
Building high quality backlinks naturally isn’t a secretive process. It’s something anyone can do if you commit to the right strategy and the hard work it requires. Here are a few tips for building high quality backlinks that will last:
Create Link-Worthy Content
HubSpot is a marketing firm that specializes in coaching businesses in the art of creating high quality content on blogs, videos, whitepapers, e-books, and a variety of other formats that attract inbound links. This link building strategy relies on creating a place where your visitors can land rather than just focusing on tricking search engines into linking to your site. While this approach will take time, you’ll also gain valuable insight into your customers that will prove useful for your long term business plans.
Comment on High Traffic Sites
By using a tool like PostRank , you can find the blogs in your field with the highest traffic and contribute to the conversation. Kristi Hines at Search Engine Watch then suggests , “Once you’ve found a few great blogs to start with, then continue to branch out by following links from commenters to their blog. This will help you grow your base of sites to comment upon.”
Keep in mind that the most valuable comments are usually brief, to the point, and go beyond, “Great post.” Also, the sooner you reply, the better, which means you’ll probably want to leave comments while drinking your morning coffee before the comment section gets crowded .
(Bloggingpro note: PostRank now returns a 404 error. The service has closed down)
Ask for Backlinks
Building high quality backlinks often requires good old fashioned networking skills where you look through the contacts in your network and ask for their help. You could send out press releases to newspapers, contact colleagues for help, and reach out to industry sites that may provide a directory of businesses in your field.
Drew Fortin of HubSpot writes <http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/22957/6-Steps-to-Creating-a-Successful-SEO-Strategy.aspx> that building backlinks doesn’t have to be flashy. “Start small – maybe share your links with other local businesses in exchange for links to their sites.” By simply being in business in the same town, you may have enough in common that you’ll be able to help each other out.
Contribute to a Meme
When you spot a meme that could relate to your niche, creating your own contribution is a quick way to build a ton of backlinks and to tap into new subscribers and networks. Between meme pages that receive high traffic and backlinks and social network traffic, a meme is a low risk, low input way to build backlinks for your brand.
Takeshi Young writes at SEO Moz, “I had noticed that this meme was trending on Facebook, so I created my own version and posted it on our website’s Facebook page. Within three days we had over 600 comments, 900 new fans, 3800 shares, and 6500 likes. This is with zero promotion, for something that I whipped up in Photoshop in 15 minutes. According to Facebook’s analytics, the image has been viewed more than 400,000 times by over 200,000 people over the world.”
Create Badges for Your Website
One way to create natural backlinks to your website is by creating pride and value for your brand through a high quality badge that customers, colleagues, and industry sites can include on their sites>. If you include guest posts or articles on your website, you can ask all of the contributors to add your website’s badge, with a specific backlink of your choosing, to their sites.
Host User-Created Content
Whether you feature user-generated images, interviews, or guest posts on your blog, use your website to feature content created by industry leaders and possibly even your readers. They’ll most likely link to your website from their own and include the badge I mentioned above on their own sites. Guest posts are a great short term strategy for spiking your traffic with high quality content and also building long terms backlinks and industry relationships. Another advantage of user created content is that we have seen studies showing that this type of content reduces shopping cart abandonment because of the authority it provides the website with.
Build Links to the Right Pages
If you run a larger website with a variety of products, promotions, and services, be careful about spreading your backlinks too much over the different pages.
Stephanie Chang writes at SEO Moz Category pages are the money pages for ecommerce sites. Getting links to these pages is a major win because these are the pages that will be ranking for key head and mid-tail terms. Furthermore, even as products are rotated or as the site undergoes a redesign, the category pages will still remain a part of the site architecture and are the pages least likely to be impacted. However, it’s also a major challenge to garner links to these pages.”
High quality backlinks don’t and shouldn’t all point to your home page. By targeting specific pages when you ask for links, run promotions, or create content, you’ll be able to control your search rankings more effectively for specific products and keywords.
The best backlinks will be the ones you’ve earned naturally that won’t evaporate when Google catches on to a particular strategy you’ve used to puff up your results. While paid linkbuilding services can work, SEO expert David McBee suggests in a Search Engine Watch article, “All the ‘standard’ link building advice applies: diversity in anchor text, lots of branded anchor text, diversity in the kinds of links you acquire (not all directories, people!), get lots of low PageRank to balance any high PageRank you happen to get and watch out for site-wide links.”
These tips are not flashy. They require time and effort. However, in terms of long term returns, building high quality backlinks the right way will provide a stable SEO strategy.
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