Backlinks have been and will always be one of the most important factors in contemporary SEO. If we look back a decade ago, someone would simply rank by creating thousands of backlinks with the use of their own websites by repeating an anchor over and over again. That, among so many other exploits like keyword stuffing, duplicate content, and “squishy” redirect pages.
You can figure that it didn’t take long for Google to figure out that their security must be improved as fast as possible. And so it came: the first Penguin update. Basically, a new search algorithm that promises to keep spammers and exploiters away.
As search engine optimization became different, linkbuilding got influenced, and avoiding penalties became a big concern for webmasters. Fortunately, you will soon learn how to create and organize your SEO plan in such a way that you will never get in trouble.
Links: Google’s Number 1 Ranking Factor
According to a recent study performed by Brian Dean, an SEO Expert, and owner of Backlinko, the first three major ranking factors mentioned by him are backlinks, the authority of the backlinks, and then content. Hear me out now. If you have any ideas about implementing black-hat when trying to rank your website, you need to ditch that mentality right now!
This article is meant to inform and teach you about the safest and most reliable ways in which you can build backlinks without receiving any Google penalties. More than that, if you do a fine job, you’ll see your rankings flourish.
Strategy #1 – Anchor Text (the right way to do it)
Even though recent Penguin updates allowed Google to track spammy anchor texts, that doesn’t mean that they now became useless. On the contrary, they are now even stronger than before. Now, there are different types of anchor texts. Let’s look at some of them and see how each help or hurt your SEO campaign.
Exact Match Anchors – the exact keyword that’s being targeted
Branded Anchors – any anchor that mentions your brand name
Generic Anchors – call to actions (click here, buy now, subscribe for free)
Naked Link Anchors – precisely the site’s name, including the .com part
LSI Anchors – variations of the main keyword
The easiest ways you can get penalized is by having a big percentage of “exact match anchors”. If you think about it, it’s improbable that so many websites will use exactly the same anchor text to describe your website.
The anchor texts you should use the most are the branded ones. It’s said that 70% of your anchor texts should be branded. Using branded + keyword anchors is a sure way to stay away from trouble, and also get good results. Example: “Nike summer t-shirts” – “Nike” = branded, “Summer-t-shirts” = target keyword
Another tip would be to keep the LSI and the Generic Anchors to less than 5%. These anchors shouldn’t be abused, as their role is to add an extra information related to the main subject. Overusing these anchors will surely get you penalties when you expect the less.
Strategy #2 – Great Quality Content
On the 23rd of March, 2016, during Google’s Q&A session, Andrey Lipattsev revealed the best three ranking factors: quality content, links, and Rankbrain. Now that it’s been confirmed, the only things left for us to do is take action.
When they say “quality content”, trust me that they really mean it. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Crafting informative and relevant content takes time and dedication. Guess what: not every guy who wants to improve rankings by using content marketing actually knows how to write his own articles.
Lack of money or (and) skills to do what’s needed makes people wonder how they can use other techniques, like Black Hat SEO, in order to rank faster. Trust me when I tell you that investing or creating your own great content rather than outsourcing cheap BH services will help your website grow in rankings big time.
A good way of approaching this is to create content that may appeal to high authority non-competitor sites in the specific niche, and not only. The moment your content appeals to other webmasters, your will start receiving backlinks. The more relevant backlinks you get, the higher you rank.
Strategy #3 – Guest Posting
Guest posting is another strategy that marketers frequently use. This strategy is one of the most efficient one when it comes to getting backlinks. When you create great blog posts, you gain authority in the eyes of the readers and Google.
The main principle here is quality over quantity. If we look at Google’s quality guidelines, we can notice that they discourage “large-scale article marketing or guest posting campaigns”. What they mean is that you shouldn’t try to exploit the ranking system by having excessive amounts links coming from blog posts.
Having a successful guest blogging campaign takes a lot of time and effort. It’s not like writing a crappy piece of article and expecting it to be shared and mentioned. Also, you will have a hard time being approved by the blog owners.
A guy named Syed Irfan Ajmal, an SEO expert, took a different angle regarding guest posting. When he launched the campaign for his client, he linked back to his blog content instead of his landing pages. As a result, his client increased his revenue by 23% because of the traffic received as a result of his approach. Here’s the detailed study in case you want to check it out. It will also help you get a better grasp about how to create a successful guest posting campaign.
Strategy #4 – Guestographics Technique
If you haven’t heard of this term, it is a combination of terms invented by the founder of Backlinko. It means info-graphics + guest posting. Let’s see how this works.
The main thing you have to do is create a quality infographic. Second, find websites within your niche that write about your infographic’s topic, and pitch it to them. The twist in all this is to bribe the blogger with additional FREE content, which is supposed to complete the inforgraphic.
You’ll have to be persistent though, as not all the webmasters will be interested in your proposal. A great e-mail is non-intrusive, short, and to the subject. Tell him exactly the benefits their readers will get after reading your blog post, and the importance of that complex infographic.
Strategy #5 – Expert Roundups
This is a brilliant strategy that can get you thousands of social shares in just a few days after launching it. Here’s the idea behind. You come up with a topic that your target audience would really like to consume. Find experts in that niche, and convince them to give you a comment regarding that subject. Tell them that you’re writing a complex article, and they’ll be announced when it’s ready.
After you gather tips from all of these experts you’ve contacted, finish the article, and send them an e-mail with the article link. Encourage them to share it on their social pages, and boom, you get hundreds and thousands of social shares. This happens because 1) the experts usually have a lot of followers and 2) a person is more likely to share something which an “expert said”.
Strategy #6 – “Best of” Blog Posts
This is one of the easiest way to find relevant, high quality blogs around your niche. When you’re going after backlinks, you realize that you must have the list first, and the more contacts, the better.
Websites who do “best of” blog posts carry huge potential. First, you can use them to gather your list of potential guest posting partners. When you search for these blog posts, type “best [keyword] posts/blogs/websites 2016”. It will reveal articles that list those blogs that you’re looking for.
Second, you can contact them directly and ask them to include your blog post into theirs. If you can do that, your blog post will get a huge exposure. You can usually do this by contacting the webmaster, and offering him something in return for mentioning your blog post. Some websites like these even have specific guest post approval rules, so make sure you check their policies first.
Linkbuilding has changed a lot during the last years. What worked then doesn’t work now, and what works now may never work in the future. Now, quality linkbuilding is intensive labor, but when done right, it will only create great results.
Bear in mind that Google is always watching, his crawlers are always crawling, and nowadays it seems foolish to think that you can get away with exploiting the system. Instead of risking penalizations, choose to use these 6 safe linkbuilding techniques. They are totally safe, and they’re not likely to cause your campaign any damage.
SEO is hard, but not for everybody. It’s all about testing, testing, and testing all over again. No written strategy will help you if you don’t take action. That’s why I encourage you to be open-minded, and approach these six link building strategies in your next campaign. Happy ranking!
Antonio is a marketing specialist at essay writing service EduGeeksClub which provides online assistance to students and supports them throughout all stages of essay writing. He loves hiking, biking and writing about everything there is in the world of marketing.