Link building is kind of a big deal.
I know, there are plenty of people out there saying you can rank highly in Google with zero backlinks.
And it’s certainly possible if you’re all about that quality content.
Which, of course, you should be.
Even so, a website without quality backlinks won’t have a great chance at competing in the organic search results.
If you really want to kill it in the SERPs, and virtually guarantee yourself a good shot at ranking for any keyword you set your sights on, you’ll need to get some backlinks.
Quality backlinks, that is.
The best way to get quality backlinks? Do some quality linkbuilding.
Welcome, friends. You’ve arrived at the topic of today’s little discussion and list of tips.
Not to brag or anything, but we’re pretty experienced with linkbuilding here at Monitor Backlinks. Backlinks are kind of our thing.
We also get tons of questions about how to launch a high-quality linkbuilding campaign that only does good things for SEO. This is important to be thinking about since bad backlinks, or a poorly-executed linkbuilding campaign, can actually damage your SEO.
Google knows that backlinks can be easily manipulated or paid for, so they’ll penalize you for anything that smells fishy.
It goes without saying that earned links are much more powerful than paid or self-created links.
So, we’re going to give our tips for linkbuilding with SEO in mind. You’ll earn natural, powerful and positive backlinks that deliver a tangible SEO boost and mad referral traffic.
8 Tips for Linkbuilding and SEO
1. Build links for exposure and visibility
Before you go off the races, trying to build backlinks to boost SEO metrics alone, consider exposure.
Exposure is really important in the digital marketing space.
This means that you’re really putting your website out there so it can be discovered by its target audience.
Obviously, this is a really important achievement for any online marketing campaign.
Everything we do, especially when it comes to content marketing, SEO and linkbuilding, is to get our target audience to reach our pages.
In this case, when we’re focused on exposure or visibility, it does not matter whether you build dofollow or nofollow links to your website.
As long as your target audience can see your website, you’re golden.
For example, check out this list of popular authors on a major content marketing website:
No backlinks or other juicy SEO elements to be seen, but their names and personal social media pages are out there. This is a great way for them to build name recognition among their target audience (in this case, that’s likely people who are interested in content marketing and looking for advice/tips).
Just one caveat: While exposure is a great way to help a website increase referral traffic and direct traffic, but this does not mean that you can spam every channel in your industry. Be strategic and smart, and add value!
Where to build links for exposure:
- Create social pages in various social channels
- Associate your brand with big brands
- Consistently appear on established blogs or industry news sites
- Participate in community discussions that are topically related to your niche or industry
How to build exposure:
- Always share your content on your social media pages, and also consider community forums or an email newsletter.
- Always reference your existing publications in your new publication, and embed links (this is what’s known as internal linking).
- Do a press release whenever there’s a new product launch, company rebranding or even a website redesign which you think might be highly valuable or interesting to your audience.
2. Build links for traffic
Okay, we’re still not directly discussing SEO metrics yet. We’re still talking about how backlinks can have other positive outcomes.
But SEO is one big feedback loop. If you’re growing your exposure and traffic, you’re getting more visitors to your site and improving their level of engagement with the site.
This, in turn, is recognized by search engines and will give you an SEO boost. So, the SEO benefits are indirect.
Though, the direct and immediate benefits of growing your traffic are not to be ignored. You probably know them well by now.
Traffic is the big goal. The big fish. The 20-point buck.
Without traffic, a website doesn’t have any purpose. All of your SEO and linkbuilding endeavors are done with the goal of increasing traffic.
Here, we’ll talk about building links to grow your traffic. Namely, to grow your referral traffic.
There are so many direct and indirect benefits (on SEO and otherwise) to focusing on linbuilding for traffic:
- You’re building relationships/partnerships with other sites in your niche
- If the websites are high quality, you’re getting a good SEO boost right away
- If the websites have a great, engaged audience (which also happens to be your target audience) then you’ll probably get tons of referral traffic
- Lots of referral traffic will be noticed by Google and other search engines, registering as an SEO boost
- If you placed this backlink wisely, this referral traffic will be your target audience, giving you leads/conversions
Now, here’s the thing.
While building traffic to a website is crucial, acquiring the right traffic is what’s more important to every website.
Regardless of how many eyeballs you drove to your website, if none of them stick around to read—or convert into leads—that will end up killing your bounce rate and hurting your SEO.
Where to build links for traffic:
- Popular niche blogs
- Social channels
- Community discussions
- Content curation sites
- Authority websites in your niche
How to build links for traffic:
- Contribute highly-researched, well-written content on highly-ranking blogs in your industry, referencing your own content published on your website within the context of the content itself (if possible) and/or in your author bio at the end of the content.
- Always update your social channels with your own pieces of published work.
- Participate in community discussions, and cite your own published content (with links) when sharing your knowledge in the community thread. Just make sure you’re adding valuable insight to the conversation with these links, or you’ll come across as spam.
- Publish content that consolidates all of your work in one place, with links leading readers to each piece of content referenced.
The key to all of the above strategies is to find where your target audience congregates and start there.
3. Build links for authority
Okay, now we’re getting to the direct SEO strategies.
Building links with the goal of building the authority of your website.
You need to establish your authority to ensure that people will be more likely to trust your website whenever you publish content or share information.
In the digital marketing space, the higher the authority of a website in its industry, the higher the chances of reaching the #1 spot in the SERPs.
How to build backlinks that build authority:
- Make sure you get dofollow backlinks in this pursuit.
- Generate links on .edu or .gov sites, which are Google-trusted domain extensions.
- Build links on top-ranking blogs in your niche/industry
- When placing backlinks, choose websites with powerful SEO metrics (high Domain Authority, Citation Flow, Trust Flow, PageRank and more). These will pass on their link juice, so long as you get a dofollow backlinks.
- Do not focus on building links to your individual blog posts. Instead, focus on your home page or category pages.
4. Diversify your backlinks
Getting your links from one source—or only having backlinks point to one single blog post or use the same exact anchor text—is likely not very healthy for a website in several ways.
This can only make you lose a lot of potential traffic and opportunities. Even worse, this can hurt your SEO and put your whole at website risk. It looks unnatural to search engines if all the backlinks in your profile are very much the same.
It looks like you might be engaged in some kind of link scheme, where you’re paying for links or otherwise trying to manipulate things in “black hat” fashion.
So, for this reason, diversity has become a huge part of digital marketing and SEO.
Way back in 2013, Dr. Pete of Moz gave this as his #1 SEO tip of the year: Diversify link profiles, backlinks, anchor text, backlink sources and so on. Diversify everything.
You can stay diverse by seeking out backlinks in the following methods:
- Guest blogging
- Community engagement
- Local listing
- Press release
- Brand association
- Video distribution
- Slide presentation
- Image link building
By mixing and matching your strategies and sources, you’re very likely to conjure up a diversity of backlinks.
5. Don’t automate link building
Automating your link building is oh so tempting.
This is a lot of work, isn’t it?
Well, yes, that’s kind of the point. If it’s not a lot of work, then you’re probably cheating.
Google strongly encourages webmasters to focus building quality websites instead of focusing on building thousand of links to the website’s pages. The old strategy use to be to shoot for quantity, which led to lots of automation and, frankly, crappy links.
While backlink quantity still helps a website compete in organic search, it does not mean that you will automatically rank for your target keywords.
In my opinion, a thousand links don’t matter if none of them is actually high quality. You’d be better off with one single link on an authoritative website that leads plenty of warm leads to you via referral traffic.
Meanwhile, any automated backlink is almost guaranteed to be terrible—poor anchor text choice, poor-quality websites, poor appearance (looks like spam), poor traffic (nobody will ever see it, especially not in your target audience).
6. Don’t acquire links on irrelevant websites
Again, Google aims to provide quality results to search users, if your website’s link profile are all low-quality, manipulative and irrelevant to your industry, that ain’t good.
If you’re running a food blog but have all your backlinks in totally irrelevant places (gaming sites, political news blog, etc.) then this doesn’t reflect well on you. And, as you already know by now, you won’t be getting much in the way of referral traffic.
Rather, you’d want to have a good number of backlinks on other high-quality food, diet, heath and nutrition blogs, for example.
7. Don’t build low-quality links
Avoid link farms, ugly-looking directories, bookmarking sites or irrelevant websites. Skip the porn and gambling sites.
Cleanse your site of nasty, spammy links at every opportunity, and strive for good-looking links on good-looking websites.
8. Don’t build links too fast
As long as the links themselves are natural and high-quality, you shouldn’t have to worry about this at all.
However, any kind of automation, paid linking plan or other link scheme will lead to a massive influx of backlinks flooding your site at a weirdly fast rate.
The confluence of bad quality and high speed will send you headfirst towards a brutal SEO penalty and delisting from Google SERPs.
Links are important.
No matter how you turn the world of internet upside down, links will to be useful to a website.
And even if Google is doing some experiments as to whether or not it is possible to show results without the influence of links, they are still far, far away from completing these experiments.
As long as links still have huge importance in helping a website rank and compete in organic search, you’ll need to do SEO linkbuilding the right way.
Now, get out there and score some awesome links!
Joseph Gojo Cruz is the author of RankingElite, a Philippines based Internet Marketing blog for businesses. Joseph has been working in online marketing industry for over 3 years from website audit, link and content development, social media and search engine optimization.