Before Google launched Panda and Penguin algorithm updates, a lot of us were aggressively creating links for our websites to manipulate our ranking in search results. We were spinning articles, stuffing them with keywords linked to our sites and publishing them on article directories. We were also commenting on irrelevant and low-quality articles on the web only for the sake of link building. Article spinning and link building automation software were very popular that time.
Now, SEO is not just about building thousands of inbound links. Things have changed since the time Google released their algorithm updates. However, there are still a number of website owners out there who are still using the old-school methods of link building. If you are one of them, then you should stay away from that and consider the following tactics.
1. Creating High-Quality Content
If you publish an interesting, informative and well-written article on your site, many bloggers will be aware of it and likely link to it. However, you don’t just sit there and wait for it to happen. You may want to contact other bloggers who have written a similar article and ask them to give you a link. You can also promote it on your social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+, and popular social bookmarking sites like Reddit and StumbleUpon. In this way, you will increase your chances of earning quality links for your website.
2. Manual outreach link buildingIf your website is new or your business is not that popular, one of the things that you can do is to contact website owners and blogger and ask them to link to one of your web pages. Of course, you need to prove to them that you are worth linking to. Again, you can do this by creating more content-rich and informative pages in your website. Additionally, you should contact only the people who are in the same industry or field as yours.
3. Commenting on blogs and participating in forums
Who said that these are not working anymore? Of course not! We can still comment on blogs and participate in forums only if keep it limited to our niche and if we make sure that our comments are engaging and provide value to the posts that we are commenting on. And most of all, we should avoid blog sites that are heavily spammed.
When you are dropping a link, consider using the field for website's URL or strategically inserting it in your comment. Use your name instead of using a keyword as the author of the comment.
Here are some of the comments I created for one of my websites:
But please take note that self-created links offer the lowest value in SEO so consider keeping it to a minimum.
4. Local business directories
If you are running a website for a local business, you should consider listing it to Google My Business and local business directories (Type "business directory Philippines" in Google). To be successful, you need to make sure that your listings are well optimized and you should ask your customers to give you positive reviews (of course, you need to give them a good reason to do so).
Click here to learn more about this topic.
5. Web Directories
Be very careful when submitting your site to website directories because this is considered as a Black Hat SEO strategy if not done correctly. Submit your website to high-quality web directories like DMOZ. Try also looking for free human-curated directories - just make sure that they are ranking well in Google and other search engines. To do this, you can use SEMRush.com to check their monthly organic traffic and keywords, and Open Site Explorer to view their link profile. Of course, you don't want to submit your website to online directories that are not getting traffic from Google or Bing or don't have any domains linking to it. Also, please avoid sites with a high spam score - you can check that through Open Site Explorer as well.
6. Guest blogging
A year ago, Matt Cutts said in his blog post that guest blogging is still an acceptable way to gain links only if it’s done not just to get links but also to increase brand awareness and contribute useful content to other sites. Obviously, you need to avoid websites that are not related to what you’re promoting and those that don’t offer SEO value at all.
Remember the following to avoid your website from getting penalized by Google:
- You may be asking if it is really a requirement to get dofollow links for your site. Since nofollow links are being ignored by Google, I can say that dofollow links are still better than nofollow links. Does this mean that you will stop creating nofollow links? Let me say that it doesn’t really matter if your links are dofollow or not, as long as they are helping you boost your site’s reputation. Apparently, a nofollow link from a highly-visited web page is better than a dofollow link from a low-traffic page.
- When it comes to anchor text, it’s okay to use keywords as long as they have different variations. This way, Google will not detect that you’re trying to manipulate your rankings. For instance, instead of repeatedly using the keyword ‘SEO Company in the Philippines’ as anchor text on your guest post, you can use synonymous terms like ‘SEO Firm in the Philippines’ or ‘SEO Services in the Philippines’. Just make the anchor text look natural. I also recommend using your brand name often to make sure that Google will not penalize you.
- Google no longer looks at the number of inbound links (a.k.a. backlinks), but on the number of domains that links back to you. Therefore, it’s better to have 1,000 different linking domains than 1,000 links that comes from only one domain.