10 Safe and Effective Link-Building Techniques for Your Business’s Website

Search engines like Google and Bing analyze hundreds of signals to calculate a website’s search rankings, but none are more influential than backlinks.

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While I don’t necessarily promote “backlink strategies” per se, and I’m clear that you can rank without them, there is something to be said for the organic approach.

Lori Ballen

Backlinks, defined as a link on one website pointing to another site, reflect authority.

By continuing to build high-quality backlinks, search engines will view your website as being popular and authoritative, resulting in higher rankings.

The problem is that many webmasters use manipulative, black-hat [cheat tactics frowned on by Google] backlink-building strategies that either do not affect their site’s search rankings or an adverse effect.

To achieve and maintain a high search ranking, you can build backlinks using safe and effective methods, such as the 10 listed here.

1) Manual Blog Commenting

Commenting on blogs is a simple and effective way to build high-quality backlinks. This strategy has been around for more than a decade, and while other techniques have faded in the wake of Google’s recent algorithm updates manual blog commenting remains a powerful tactic for search engine optimization(SEO).

Manual blog commenting involves leaving valuable, handcrafted comments (not generic messages or spam) on popular, relevant blogs. Most blogs require visitors to specify their name when leaving a comment.

Many, however, also allow visitors to specify their website’s URL. When you add your website’s URL in a comment, the blog will typically create a backlink to your site using your name.

This anchor text is not ideal, but blog commenting can diversify your website’s backlink portfolio so that it looks more natural and organic.

Here are some tips to build backlinks with manual blog commenting:

•   Only leave a single comment per blog post. Too many comments can trigger spam filters, in which case your comment won’t get published.

•   Use a pen name or your real name. Don’t use an SEO keyword as your name.

•   Take the time to read the blog post before commenting. Otherwise, you won’t be able to leave a valuable comment.

•   Don’t include links in the comment body. A link to your website should only appear if the comment form has a dedicated “website” field.

2) Social Media

Social media networks encourage users to share online content, so they all support backlinks. On Facebook and other social channels you can create a Page for your website’s brand where you can share links to your site’s content.

On Twitter, you can tweet links to your site’s content. On Pinterest, you can create backlinks by pinning your site’s images.

Furthermore, most social media networks allow you to create a backlink in your profile. As your presence on social media grows, more and more people will follow your account. That means more exposure and clicks for your shared backlinks.

When creating backlinks on social media, use your web pages’ actual URL. Some webmasters use URL shortening tools like Bitly.com to create shorter URLs for social media. These tools work by creating a short, unique URL that redirects to your desired web page.

Because they are used by spammers to conceal the real URLs of their nefarious web pages, though, you should avoid using them when promoting your site on social media or elsewhere. There’s also some belief that shortened URLs don’t pass the same SEO value as true URLs.

It’s not uncommon for visitors to share links to your website’s content on their own personal social media profile. If a visitor enjoys reading an article or blog post on your site, he or she may publish a link to it on their Facebook, Twitter or other social media profile.

To attract more backlinks, include social sharing buttons at the top or bottom of your content.

Visitors can then click a button to share your web page on their social media profile, without leaving your website.

Most content management systems (CMSs) have plugins or add-ons for social sharing buttons.

Backlinks created on most social networks get the nofollow attribute, developed by Google and designed to prevent search engine bots from following a particular link. Although they aren’t as valuable for SEO as standard links, nofollow links can still help you secure a higher search ranking for your website.

3) Online Press Releases

Press releases have been around long before the internet. In the past, businesses would publish newsworthy announcements in newspapers.

If a company wanted to announce the appointment of a new chief executive officer (CEO), for example, it would run an article in an appropriate newspaper with wide circulation to spread the word about the leadership change.

With more than three-quarters of the U.S. population now connected to the internet, though, online press releases offer a more natural and effective way to make newsworthy announcements such as this.

Online press releases are useful for making newsworthy announcements about a business or website. Maybe you recently changed your website’s design, or perhaps you added new products to its inventory.

Regardless, you can create a press release to announce this news to your target audience. In addition to making newsworthy announcements about your website, though, you can use online press releases to build backlinks.

Press release distribution networks typically allow you to include a backlink to your site in your press release.

After creating a newsworthy press release, submit it to some of the top press release distribution networks like PRLog.org, PRNewsWire.com, NewsVine.com and PR.com.

Press Release Distribution 24-7PressRelease.com

4) Testimonials

Providing online businesses with a testimonial of a product or service that you purchased from them can help expand your website’s backlink portfolio.

More than 9 out of 10 adults read customer testimonials. Therefore, online businesses often display them on their website to boost conversion rates and generate more sales.

A typical testimonial may include the customer’s first name, geographic location and a positive quote about the purchased product or service. Some, however, may consist of a backlink to the customer’s website.

Start by searching for online businesses that sell products or services related to your website. Next, look over their sites to see if they display customer testimonials with backlinks in them.

If they do, contact them to see if they’re interested in presenting yours. Some online businesses may offer you the product or service at a discount in exchange for a testimonial, while others may give it to you for free.

However, paying full price for a product or service is usually worth the backlink that comes with a customer testimonial.

5) Local Business Directories

If your website is for a brick-and-mortar business, creating listings on the top local business directories will create new backlinks to it. We call this Local SEO.

Google My Business and Bing Places for Business, for example, display a plethora of information of about businesses, including their name, hours of operation, address and website URL.

These backlinks are particularly useful when optimizing your website to rank high for local searches performed within a specific city or region.

Local business directories, explicitly designed for brick-and-mortar business, require your business to have a physical address to use this backlink-building method. If your business is home-based, but you don’t want to use your home address, you can rent a post office box.

6) Website Content

You can attract backlinks organically by filling your website with high-quality, authoritative content.

The general idea is to produce content-rich web pages that are more detailed and informative than the web pages of all other sites covering the same topic.

When one of your web pages becomes known as an authority on a particular subject, other websites will cite it as a resource. Even Wikipedia editors may link to your site as a citation.

– Lori Ballen

To attract the most backlinks using your website’s content, follow these tips:

•   Create long content. According to a HubSpot study, 250-word webpages attract just half the number of backlinks as 2,000-word web pages.

•   Include at least one image, quote, color, video etc. every 200 to 300 words of text so that it’s easier for visitors to read.

•   Ensure that your content is accessible on a variety of devices, including smartphones.

•   Conduct your own studies or surveys on a relevant topic and include the results in your content.

•   Encourage visitors to share your content on social media.

You might like this article on how to hire ghost writers.

7) Guest Blogging

Guest blogging consistently ranks as the preferred backlink-building strategy among many SEO experts. This strategy involves writing blog posts for other blogs.

You don’t get paid for guest blogging, but most blogs allow you to backlink to your site, either in the content or the author bio box. If you score a guest blogging opportunity on a high-traffic blog with authority, that one backlink can prove highly valuable in your SEO efforts.

Although there are “brokers” that connect guest bloggers with blogs in search of new content, it’s best to reach out to blogs manually.

Using Google, research some of the top, content-rich blogs in your website’s niche. After creating a list of 20 to 50 blogs, send each one an email pitching your guest blogging service. In this email, explain how your website has the same audience as their website, and provide the webmaster with a few proposed topics on which you can write.

You’ll probably get some rejections, but other blogs will recognize the value of your custom content and gladly accept your post submissions.

In this article by backlinko.com, you’ll find great tips and the following keywords used to search for guest blogging opportunities. 

List of keywords used to find article submission and guest blogging opportunities

8) Video Marketing

Video marketing is a safe and effective way to build backlinks to your website. Statistics show that the average U.S. adult watches over an hour of online video content each day.

When someone enjoys watching a video, they may share it on their website or social media.

The easiest way to build backlinks with video marketing is to create engaging, relevant videos and upload them to YouTube. In the video’s description, enter the URL for your website’s homepage.

Assuming you leave embedding enabled (it’s turned on by default) a backlink to your site will get created each time someone shares your video.

Like most social media networks, YouTube automatically affixes the nofollow attribute to backlinks in videos, but they can still boost your site’s authority and search rankings.

80% of Internet users have watched a video ad online in the past 30 days. Of that 80%, 46% took some action after viewing the ad. In fact: 

– Video Brewery

The secret to success using this method, however, is to produce high-quality videos that people want to watch and share.

9) Infographics

You can also attract high-quality backlinks using infographics, defined as a visual representation of data, statistics or information. This increasingly popular form of online content, according to Search Engine Journal, receives 30 times more views, as well as more social shares, than text articles.

To attract backlinks using this method, you’ll first need to create an infographic featuring visualized data that’s relevant to your website’s audience. If you lack graphic design experience, an image-creation tool like Canva.com can help you create an infographic, or you can outsource this task to a professional graphic design studio.

Once created, your infographic can get uploaded to a page on your website. You should then create an embed code for your infographic using the free tool at Siegemedia.com/Embed-Code-Generator. That will allow your website’s visitors to easily share your infographic on their site by copying the embed code. And like the video marketing technique, each time your infographic gets shared on another website, it creates a backlink to your site.

You can publish and share your infographics on some directories, many of which let you include a backlink to your website. Some of the top infographic directories include InfographicPlaza.com, InfographicBee.com and Visual.ly.

10) Spy On Competitors’ Backlinks

Uncover new backlink-building opportunities by spying on your competitors. That involves performing an off-site SEO audit on your competitors’ websites to see how many backlinks they have and where those backlinks are. If a competitor is beating your website in the search results and you want to outrank them, try replicating some of their backlinks with your own site.

Some tools can provide insight into your competitors’ backlinks, such as Moz’s Link Explorer. Developed by the SEO experts at Moz, Link Explorer reveals the number of backlinks, number of linking domains, anchor text, Spam Score and other backlink metrics of a web page. You can even use it to compare the backlinks of your website to that of your competitors’ websites.

Using safe and effective backlink-building strategies is essential to your website’s success. You may fly under Google’s radar when using black-hat methods for a while, but this will eventually catch up to you. And once Google discovers that you are using manipulative techniques to build backlinks, your website may receive a rankings penalty.

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