The Modern Day Guide on Building Back Links That Google Loves
Times have changed throughout the past few years for what practices have worked well for higher optimized SEO. Ranking your website well in the Google Search Engine entails a lot more than buying spammy back links, back links that are not relevant to your niche, and other outdated harmful grey and black hat techniques.
Since the inception of the Google Panda algorithm, there has been much more emphasis and effort made toward the ethical approach for building solid back links for your website SEO profile.
Modern day SEO services involve a good amount of outreach, relationship building, and a deeper effort toward earning those back links that Google can trust. One high authority, niche relative, or natural back link, is way more valuable than several spammy directory links that lack authority and trust.
Also, more and more websites are being penalized for lack of effort and cheap attempts for gathering low end back links that no longer have a place – in the eyes of Google.
Here are 9 highly effective ‘White Hat’ SEO back link techniques used by the modern day SEO experts.
1.) Guest Posting – Still Very Highly Effective
Guest ‘blogging or posting’ has been an SEO practice that has been widely used for some time now. Some SEO’ers have started to deem this technique as becoming ‘Black Hat” or ill advised by Google.
“Stick a fork in it, guest blogging is done.” – 2014
Matt Cutts, Head of Google’s Webspam Team
When I created our Designatude several years ago, I was convinced on becoming an experienced article contributor, and I still believe that Guest Posting practices are still alive and one of the more effective back linking methods used today. Based on my recent experience and results, I do find this to also be the case.
I feel that as long as your guest post is that of high quality (excellent, engaging, and relevant content for the reader), then any natural link you earn, should and will be in excellent standing with Google.
The main thing to remember, is the whole point for asking a blogger to accept your article/post on their site, is that you are giving them something of value for their readers to consume.
So, you are putting yourself in the position for submitting quality content that will be accepted and published, from the get go. For this all to work, it has to be beneficial for both parties involved.
By obtaining these valuable natural back links, your SEO link profile will become that much stronger. Just be cautious and don’t overuse this practice, and you will be safe from setting off any alarms with Google.
- Do a Google Search for “Write for us” + “blog niche (SEO blog)” and/or “Guest guidelines”. This helps you easily find some of the high authority websites that accept guest posts for your niche. Also, you can find out the blog guidelines, which you will need, if and when you get accepted by the website owner for a guest post.
- Track down the emails of website owners for article niches you would like to guest blog for. Email the owner and give them a genuine ‘pitch’ for how writing an excellent article for their readers, would benefit their site.
- In your email, remind the owner of how their website and articles have intrigued you, and that you have become a regular visitor. This will establish a healthy long term relationship and lead to more contributor opportunities for you on their blog.
- Make sure you are prepared, and have several ideas covering a variety of topics. Present some of these to the blog owner in your first email.
- Read the Guest Post Guidelines carefully. Should you not only meet all the requirements, but go above and beyond these. This will strengthen your relationship, and present more – future opportunities.
- Maintain your relationship with the blog owner. It shouldn’t be just about getting links to your website. Many of these bloggers will come to your website, and sometimes link to your articles that bring value to their readers.
- Should you need to hire a guest blogging service, make sure you get examples from real URL addresses to the website articles that the service provider guest blogged at.
2.) Find and Turn Mentions Into Links
Every once in awhile your website or brand might be ‘mentioned‘ on other blogs. This could happen through organic search or via social media. Often, your mention is not in the form of a link.
This is the perfect opportunity to contact the site owner and ask them to create a link for you!
You can use Google search, Google Alerts, and a variety of paid and non-paid SEO tools for tracking down these mentions of your brand and website.
Once you identify the source of where your brand or website is mentioned, it is all just a matter of contacting the website owner or Webmaster. Politely ask them if they would not mind linking this ‘mention‘ to the appropriate page on your website.
- Using tools such as: ahrefs.com, web.mention.com, buzzsumo.com, and many others…this will quickly help you track down and identify the source where your website or brand is mentioned.
- Once again, when you contact the owner or webmaster of the website that mentions your brand, be very polite. By asking for a link of your mention to your website in a polite manner, you will build some trust and establish a good relationship. This could lead to many other linking opportunities down the road!
3.) Broken Links & Link Building
What is Broken Link Building?
This is the process of identifying broken external links on high authoritative websites. Then, pitching the owner/webmaster that you can repair the 404 (broken) page by giving them the option to link to a page with similar content on your website.
These websites need to have been around awhile with several external links…which in time, the linked pages are no longer published.
There is a bit of work and effort in the process for finding the websites in a familiar niche and identifying the broken external links. With some patience though, this process can be learned and become very effective in obtaining awesome links.
This has been a practice that has gained popularity during the past few years. If this is not overused, the time and effort will greatly reap some nice rewards.
- To get started, do a thorough search for sites that are in the same familiar niche as your website/blog. There are some Chrome extensions that help you check the PR, Domain Authority, and unique back links – (MozBar, Quick SEO to name a few)
- Here are some useful tools for checking broken outgoing (external) links:
Check My Links
Ahrefs Site Explorer
- Once you identify the pages that have the broken links, make sure the page is a good qualifier for linking to your website. Not having spammy links, too many external links (dilutes the link juice), high page authority, and relevant to your linking page.
- Contact and politely explain to the website owner about the detrimental broken link(s) on their page. Let them know that you have a similar in content page, of high quality, that they can easily link to. This quickly solves their broken link dilemma and earns you a great link!
4.) Sharing Content via Social Media
Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus are excellent platforms for sharing your articles to your followers and getting them to check out your blog/site.
When your visitors read and learn how useful your article content can be, chances are, they will link to your article as a good reference in an article they already have, or might be writing soon.
- Follow and find followers that are interested in your same industry niche. You want to share information from your website and articles that would be useful and engaging for your social media audience.
- Establish relationships with your followers and build trust. Retweets, Likes, Comments etc. will build a great foundation with your followers and gain you more.
- Be creative with your content sharing. Images will captivate your social media audience more than anything. When sharing an article link, always have a highly visual image and catchy title. There are several free open source image sites out there to use.
- If you have an infographic as part of your article content, certainly share it! Or look into creating infographics as part of your blogging content. These have attracted a great number of links for bloggers in the past few years.
- Keep a good mix of evergreen content and the latest trending topical content that you can find at places like Buzzfeed, Buzzsumo, and Google Trends.
5.) Blog Comments
Commenting on blogs within your industry niche can be an excellent way to build relationships. Although you receive a link to your website, this is not the original intention for commenting on blogs.
Most, if not all links, will be ‘no follow‘ links. Google does not follow these links, therefore not providing the link juice for increasing your website authority.
As mentioned, blog commenting is all about forming relationships. You search for some of the top blogs in your niche, actually read the full article, then ask your questions and provide some positive feedback on the subject.
Not only will the writer of the blog article appreciate your comment feedback, but the other commenters will take notice as well. In many cases, these interested and curious readers will go to your website/blog and search for some helpful information that they can refer and link to.
Also, if you establish trust with your fellow bloggers, eventually they won’t mind if you add some of your specific article links that would be useful for the topic and readers wanting to know more.
Earning editorial back links from blog commenting in your niche will really boost your SEO efforts!
- Find some of the top blogs in your industry niche. You want to not only learn information, but have a chance to share what you know on the subject as well.
- Read the whole blog post. Don’t just skim it and reveal the minimum knowledge you gained by doing that. Based on your comment, the author can tell if you are only there for your personal agenda.
- Write at least 3 lines of good, relative, and specific feedback for your comments. The whole idea here, is to get some readers to your website, based on the knowledge you present in your comment.
- Respond to any author responses and get engaged. Respect and etiquette come into play here. Authors appreciate this, and will keep you and your blog in mind, when it comes to referral links.
- Use your real name and an email address that is not gmail (if possible). Most comments are moderated and if you come off with a spammy name and gmail, your comment most likely will never be approved.
- Build a network of solid bloggers in your industry niche. Continue to enhance current relationships and add new ones within your network. This will increase several opportunities for guest posting, mentions, and referral links to your website.
- Stay consistent and try to comment at least once a day. Not only does this keep you in the groove with the network you are growing, but those ‘no follow’ links help balance out your back link profile, which provides more trust in the minds of Google.
Testimonials are still considered a good ‘white hat” linking technique. Giving an honest and positive testimonial for a product or service you purchased – is a win win situation for both parties.
This can be a challenging practice, as not every website owner wants your testimony. Also, there are only so many testimonies to go around, as the smart website businesses don’t go over board with testimonials. It gives the visitor the belief that this service or product is too good to be true.
If you can succeed upon getting your testimonial published on some of the higher authority sites, then the time and effort certainly becomes worth it.
- Google is pretty stringent on back links being relevant to your website niche. Keep this in mind, when picking the businesses you would like to pitch for adding your testimony.
- Also keep in mind, that you need to have purchased a product or service from a business before submitting a testimony.
- When asking the business to submit your testimonial (with link), give them some live testimonials you have already made for other companies and bloggers.
- Only pitch companies that you have had a truly positive experience with. If the company has a negative reputation, this in turn can hurt your website reputation, if you are supporting this company’s service or product.
- Try and establish a line of communication by emailing the company with some positive feedback on your purchase. If they end up responding, the give them a pitch on how your testimony will increase their credibility.
Info-graphics made their way to the content marketing scene a few years back, and in my opinion, they are still an effective ‘white hat’ back linking technique.
Authors were just using featured info-graphics for their entire article post. I have seen more and more authors mixing up info-graphics with other content.
Depending on budget – this is a high risk/high reward opportunity for the taking.
There have been several attractive info-graphics out there, known to have brought in many links and shares for the blog publisher!
- There are several tools out there for creating info-graphics. Some are free and some are paid. Ask your web design company more about this.
- Prepare and make sure you have enough data for your topic.
- Stick with a cohesive color scheme and stay under 5 nuances of color.
- You should always brand your info-graphic, even if it is subtle. This is your property and a valuable one at that!
- There are several companies that create info-graphics, which can save you the time…and many cases, save you some money.
- Share your info-graphics on all the popular Social Media platforms – consistently and often.
The .edu links are some of the highest authority and Google trusted links out there to obtain. They are golden and will do your SEO link profile wonders. One of the best ways to obtain these challenging to get back links, is by offering a scholarship.
This ‘white hat’ practice is alive and still going strong. This should be included in your link building campaign if your budget permits.
Budget is key as most minimum scholarships require $500. When all is said and done, the exposure, heightened reputation for your business, and .edu link…are totally worth the investment.
How this works: You create a scholarship requirements page on your business website. The students that are interested in applying for your scholarship will find your information and link on the .edu website, click the link and be brought to your website. That .edu link is priceless!
- Find the more popular and authoritative .edu websites that will accept your scholarship proposal. Do a thorough search on Google for schools that take in scholarships.
- See which .edu websites will let you add in an article for more exposure to your business on top of the valuable back link.
- Check Moz Site Explorer for Domain Authority and weigh in on whether the link is a high enough DA to make it worth the scholarship investment.
- Let your scholarship campaign be a lengthy one in time requirement for applicants. This will get your website more exposure and traffic from all those that apply. 6-12 months is a good time period.
9.) Charities Donations & Sponsorship
Organizing a charity event, donating to a charity, or sponsoring a community club, is an excellent way to build your business and brand reputation. These are also great ways to earn trustworthy and authoritative “white hat’ links.
You can organize a charity event and gather as many businesses to join. It’s no surprise that many businesses are open to this idea. You would have to be prepared to do a good amount of financial planning, but once again, the reputation and back links earned, are a great reward.
Searching for organizations and non profits that are running a charity drive or accepting donations is a great idea. After making a donation, these organizations will give you a ‘mention’ and link to your business web site.
Sponsoring a local community organization takes on the same role as donating, and can lead to brand reputation and some great back links as well.
- Try to stay within your business niche when organizing a charity, but you might have to shoot for other local options. This is okay, as their websites will have good content and trust, and this works fine with Google.
- When searching for organizations to donate to, make sure they are highly regarded and their website is not spammy. Also, check with Moz Open Explorer for their domain rank and weigh in on finding the highest ones. After all, you are making a considerable donation.
- You also want to make sure that the donation sites you are searching for, don’t have high numbers of links on the page your business link will be listed. This will dilute the link value you receive, when Google crawls these pages.
- Sponsoring a local event like a Marathon for cancer awareness or something of that nature, would call for a big budget, but would do wonders for your reputation and back links received.
- Be very cautious of any organization that is accepting donations. Be clear in your pitch, and ask kindly that they include a link to your business website. Google has gotten tougher on spammy sites accepting paid links as “donations”. Here is a great write up and list of some of those sites that you should stay clear of.
All these techniques and a few others have been more widely used in the past few years. Google has really cracked down on the spammy black hat practices, and for the better. As an Internet user, I really appreciate more predominant content rich and engaging sites resulting from the search engines.
The Web is getting cleaner and just more practical. My feeling, is that the practices listed above will be safe and sound for the few years to come. These are legitimate practices bringing legitimate results.
SEO has certainly evolved a great bit in recent years, and the algorithms continue to evolve on a daily basis. As a top SEO company, we find the importance of staying up to date on the current algorithms and any changes and updates to them. It changes rapidly.
Related article: 15 TACTICS TO OPTIMIZE YOUR WEBSITE FOR HIGHER SEO RANKINGS FOR 2019
Also, Content Marketing has been on the rise for the past few years. Using various ways for bringing your traffic and visitors to your website, is a strategy worth looking into. Blogging and Social Media have played pivotal roles for this type of marketing, and is gaining popularity rapidly.
I highly advise looking into Content Marketing as being a part of your Digital Marketing strategy moving forward. Organic Search Engine Optimization is getting more challenging as the rules continue to change as this article is being written.
Have questions on SEO or want a team of professionals to work out a custom back linking strategy with your online business? Contact our Portland digital marketing company and we will gladly answer any questions you may have.