How to Build a Safe and Natural Backlink Profile
Backlinks have always been valuable for businesses trying to improve their ranks in major search engines, but the ways backlinks can be used are constantly evolving. Immature search engine algorithms straightforwardly favored sites with more links pointing to them over sites with fewer links, but to improve the web experience for the average user and curtail the practice of backlink spamming, Google has developed a much more sophisticated algorithm.
Backlinks are still a vital component of search engine optimization, but in order to build your authority without suffering a penalty, it’s important to ensure a safe and natural-seeming backlink profile.
Backlink Practices to Avoid
First, let’s take a look at what you should not be doing. If you can avoid the most common “dangerous” backlinking practices, you’ll be halfway to building a backlink profile that is safe, natural, and valuable for your brand.
- Don’t believe companies who promise cheap or a huge number of backlinks. In the SEO world, you get what you pay for, and if a backlink building offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.Cheap backlink companies have a habit of building links from low-quality sources, which can get you penalized and take your campaign back to square one.
- Don’t pay for your links directly. Google’s official policy is that buying or selling backlinks for the purposes of improving page rank is a violation of their Webmaster Guidelines.
- Don’t exchange links with another company—at least not too often. It’s fine to exchange a link or two with another company when it’s relevant, but if you have too many links reflecting each other, Google will take notice and penalize you.
- Don’t rely on directories. Some directories, like very specific industry-related ones, are okay to use as part of your strategy, but avoid article directories or anything that looks like it’s low-quality.
- Don’t repeat your “signature” all over the web. Google detects instances of repeated language, so if you use the same company description or author bio to accompany all your backlinks, you won’t build as much authority.
Types of Sites to Find
Now that you have an idea of what to avoid, you can start looking for some high-quality sites to use for your link building. One of the most important factors for your backlink profile is going to be diversity. If you only have one or two different sites pointing to yours, or if you only backlink using industry directories, eventually you’re going to find problems. Instead, focus on using a wide range of different sites for your backlinks.
The most authoritative sites to use tend to be official sites and trustworthy education sites, such as those that end in .edu or .gov. However, as you might imagine, it’s somewhat difficult to find backlinking opportunities on these sites. It’s worth a bit of extra effort to link on sites like these, but don’t shy away from other opportunities. As mentioned above, it’s wise to avoid low-quality link directories, but look for niche-specific directories. They’ll give you ample opportunities to post meaningful, quality links.
The best sites to use, in general, are ones directly connected to your line of work. Any forums, resources, directories, or community pages that are relevant to your industry are perfect places to start building a backlink profile. Just be sure to vary it up by using multiple sources.
Types of Links to Build
The key to building a good link is to make your build relevant, with unique high-quality content. If you repeat the same phrase or use the same link over and over again, Google will take notice and penalize you. Instead, make sure all your links are:
- Relevant to the conversation or topic. Don’t shove your link into a comment just because the thread is somewhat relevant to your industry. Make sure it fits naturally into the conversation.
- Uniquely written. You should never use the same phrase twice, even if it’s a brief description of your business.
- Varied in direction. Instead of linking to your homepage, do some deep linking. Link to pages and specific posts within your site.
Keeping these points in mind, there are some key types of content you can use to structure and support these links:
- Guest posts are solid opportunities because they give you a chance to demonstrate your expertise, give you a semi-permanent place on the web, and also give you multiple chances to link back to your site. Guest post for different sources, but feel free to post regular articles on any given external site. Search engines favor consistency, so long as you’re producing well-written content, so establish your authority by writing on a regular schedule.
- Comments are another chance to post relevant links, especially in a forum-style discussion. Make sure your comments are on topic and are not blatantly promoting your site—you could easily be flagged as spam otherwise.
- Press releases and social opportunities are peripheral means of link building. Your press releases should be comprised of well-written content about a newsworthy event (i.e., don’t make something up just to have an excuse to syndicate a press release). Any time you write or post relevant content, make sure to share it on social media as well.
Diversity is valuable here too; don’t backlink using any one strategy exclusively.
Timing and Frequency
In the world of backlinking, patience is vitally important. Posting hundreds of links as quickly as you can was how you built ranks quickly back in 1999; today, that spike of activity almost guarantees a penalty. There’s no objective rule for how many links you can post within a given timeframe, especially when each company has a different budget and a different set of goals. However, it’s important that your efforts are seen as reasonable by major search engines. For most businesses, that means a handful of guest posts per week, and a few comments per day.
It’s also important to space your efforts out. Instead of posting all your links within a short timeframe, make link building a long-term strategy. Your backlink profile will appear to be much more natural if it grows steadily over a period of time.
Letting Others Build Your Links for You
One of the best ways to help your backlink profile appear natural is to let others take care of the work for you. By leveraging the power of viral content and social media, you can make people actively want to link back to your site. Use your blog to write consistent, compelling content, and use social media channels to syndicate it to the masses. Once people are hooked, they’ll start linking to you as an authority—and you won’t have to lift a finger.
Similarly, you can work on an infographic or an interesting video. It might cost some money up front, but if you create a visual piece that’s highly shareable, you’ll attract hundreds or even thousands of potential linkers.
Overall, successful and natural link building comes down to three things: relevance, diversity, and patience. Your back links should be spaced out in terms of both timing and location, and your content should mean something to your audience. Keep your strategy consistent, don’t go overboard, and eventually you’ll establish a perfectly natural,Google-safebacklink profile that will boost your rankings and authority for years to come.
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