11 May

Backlink Tips: The 20 Crown Jewels of SEO

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Backlink Tips SEO StrategiesEvery Web marketer knows: Implementing good backlink tips is essential. This helps build a healthy link profile for your website or blog, making it more easily found on Google and other search engines. Here’s an UPDATED list of 20 ways you can search engine-optimize (SEO) your site by implementing a few backlinking strategies…

The more inbound links there are leading to your site, the more convincing it is to search engines that your Web or blog content is high-quality. In fact, having a healthy number of quality backlinks signals that your information is worth showing to even more people. The search engines at some point will likely list your page higher.

So, if you’re like most digital marketers — i.e., in a quest to attract more prospects from the search engines — you want backlinks. They’re the Crown Jewels of search engine optimization (SEO)…  the best kind of website bling.

Inbound Links: Quality Matters

Some links you’ll acquire naturally and can’t control:  People are free to share your blog posts and Web pages with their readers and social media followers. And that’s a great thing.

But most times, Web publishers have to jump-start the backlinking action for ourselves. If your site is new or isn’t pulling as much search engine traffic as you’d like, there are some best practices in backlinking worth implementing.

That said, there are two over-arching principles worth noting when building and acquiring backlinks:

  • Not every backlink is one you want connected to your website. In fact, some backlinks will hurt your rankings with the search engines. Exercise caution when it comes to buying lots of low-quality links from “link farm” services. Your site eventually will be penalized, and possibly not shown at all by the search engines.
  • The keywords used in a link — and the words surrounding a link — heavily influence how impressed the search engines will be with that “vote” for your site. When possible, make sure the links created for your site are contextual. In other words, the most helpful links come from Web pages using keywords related to yours keywords.

20 Backlinking Tips

There’s not always agreement in the SEO community about backlinks. That’s because Google and other search engines don’t give too much away about how they calculate the value of links. There’s a lot of educated guessing…

Still, there are some general principles and tactics that most every SEO expert agrees on. Here are 20 of the best practices and tips for link building — blinging-up a site you want to make more easily discoverable on search engines:

On-page Linking Strategies:

1.  Register your site URL with the search engines.  If you can’t find your Web pages on Bing, for example, it might be because you never told them your site exists. So, be sure you’ve registered with the major search engines as well as local search and directory opportunities.

  • According to comScore’s April 2013 report: Google handles 66.5% of online searches, and the Yahoo! Bing partnership now handles nearly 30% combined. Ensuring these search giants can find your pages and values them is more than half the battle.

2.  Create excellent content that people will want to link to. Be a valuable resource for your blog audience. Extra detailed (i.e., long) content articles and tutorials attract traffic and backlinks from impressed readers.

  • If you really want to draw traffic, create a “link bait” piece:  a uniquely helpful resource on your Web page. Examples of this include an industry-related infographic, a mortgage calculator if you’re a realtor, or a color wheel if you’re an interior designer. Try to produce something that becomes a memorable “go-to” on your particular topic.

3. Link to yourself routinely. Make a habit of creating links from one page on your site to another. Internal linking this way passes link juice to different pages on your site. Search engines scan for and value this kind of linkage.

4.  Don’t add a ton of links to your blog posts and pages. A rule of thumb is no more than 1 link every 250 words in an article.

  • When you cross-link your Web page, the search engines follow those links. They pass along a fraction of the PageRank from the originating page. But too many link-outs dilute the SEO juice being passed along to your other pages.
  • Plus, search engines could penalize that Web page if it starts looking like low-quality “link spam,”an attempt to stuff links in to game the system.

5.  Make most your links using the “anchor” link structure. When possible, make neat-looking links your using your keyword phrase. Like this:  “I’m a copywriter in St. Louis who can help.” Anchor links send a stronger signal than a “raw” link that looks like this:  http://web-marketing-store.com/copywriter.

6. Prioritize placing backlinks in your main content. The links in your sidebar and footer don’t carry as much SEO weight as those placed within actual articles and other content.

7. The earlier a backlink comes in an article, the better. Links placed closer to the beginning of an article carry more weight than those embedded deep down in an article.

Off-page Linking Strategies:

8.  Link to your site from sites with high Google PageRank. This would be sites like Facebook, Twitter, eBay, and other category leaders. This is particularly smart to do when you want to get your Web pages indexed faster by the search engines. Also note: placing your page links on Google Plus offers a bonus when you want Google Search to index your pages.

9. Leverage social bookmarking sites for backlinks. Sign up for accounts on sites like Pinterest, Reddit, and Digg. Submit each new blog post you publish, creating a strong link for your site — and attracting traffic.

10. Create links from a variety of high-quality websites.  This is better for your SEO than acquiring multiple links from the very same site. Be social, mingle around the Web!

11.  Comment on various blogs related to your industry or niche. Not only does commenting on related sites encourage new people to click to your site, commenting builds backlinks for your website. But here’s what’s important to know about blog commenting to increase your backlinks:

  • “Do” Follow links are more helpful for your site than “No” Follow links.
  • “No” Follow links can be helpful toward ranking a Web page better, but SEO experts say not as much as “Do” Follow links.

To quickly know if a comment you’re about to leave on a blog will pass some link juice to your site, install this free Firefox Add-on:  Hover Nofollow.

12. Focus on creating backlinks on sites relevant to your theme. There’s little to no SEO benefit in acquiring backlinks from unrelated sites. If, for example, your site is about fashion, search engines won’t give your site SEO credit for commenting on a site about cars.

13.  Join and participate in forums related to your niche. After you’ve participated for a while, forums allow you to place your website link as your signature. You can also share relevant blog posts periodically in forums. Great way to build more good backlinks while increasing blog traffic.

14. Commit to the practice of article marketing. This is an awesome way to increase inbound links to your blog or website. Not only does this send more traffic to your site, the link you put in the author’s box becomes more valuable over time, helping raise your site’s authority with the search engines.

15.  Increase your blog’s social signals. These are the social media “thumbs-ups” that Google increasingly factors into ranking Web pages higher. Add social bookmarking buttons to your blog, so readers can easily share your posts. The more your visitors like your Web page for Facebook, or +1 it for Google Plus, the more influential the search engines view your page.

16. Mount a one-way link “advertising” effort. Another great way to build your site’s link profile involves buying space on relevant blogs, websites, or e-commerce sites. Contact the site publisher, offering to pay a fair price for an ad. This is merely a form of advertising.

17.  Vary your link types. Don’t only create anchor links off-site. Anchor text links are the strongest, but you still need to use the “raw” URL sometimes. Similarly, periodically use related keywords and bits of random text surrounding your keyword. This way, there’s a natural, varied appearance about links the search engines discover.

18. UPDATE: Mount a press release campaign. The primary reason most businesses issue online press releases involves getting more traffic to a website. The Web marketing crowd also leveraged online press release distribution for this additional benefit:  PR websites used to allow your links to send SEO link juice to your website. However, Google changed its policy on this in 2013, forcing all press release sites to remove the SEO power of links to our websites. So:

  • Press release campaigns no longer are helpful for SEO purposes. They won’t help your webpages rise higher on Google now. But: A well-written press release certainly can still send targeted traffic to your website.

19. UPDATE: Guest blogging offers strong backlink opportunities. Well, this is another popular SEO-building tactic that recently was impacted by a new Google linking decision… While guest blogging generally is still great to do between individual bloggers, we now must avoid guest publishing on those big, popular guest blogging websites. This article at KISSmetrics explains the do’s and don’ts in detail: The Real Truth About Google and Guest Blogging.

20. Don’t build backlinks too fast. Doing this appears “unnatural” to search engines. For example, if your Web page has had only one backlink pointing to it for months — but suddenly it has 100 links, it might look suspicious. This could cause you an indexing problem with the search engines.

What other backlinking strategies would you include on this list? Let us know in your comment below.

6 thoughts on “Backlink Tips: The 20 Crown Jewels of SEO

  1. I wish had all this info last year when I was much newer to this all in one just like you made here, I am sure this will help a lot. Linking is just as much about actual networking as it is computer skills, that is something that took time for me to realize.

    • Very true. The more relationships established on social networks, the more apt people are to share your quality blog posts and pages.

  2. I`ve seen many conflicting opinions on backlinks and especially ones with your keyword as anchor so i don`t know who to trust anymore, some say that doing such backlink strategies leads to get penalized by some google algorhytm parts like panda or penguin so did things really change after hummingbird update or link building looks just same as it was before ?

    • Everything listed is legal and passes SEO power. The biggest new changes in the SEO world are indicated as UPDATE. They involve guest blogging sites and press release sites. And yes, it is also true to that links should no longer simply contain your keyword(s).

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