Backlinks are an integral part of search engine optimization, playing a part in how your website ranks in the SERPs and increasing your online visibility. In years past even if your site didn’t have a lot of content, if you had enough backlinks you could still rank well for your keywords. Before pandas and penguins were unleashed on the SEO world to feast on thin content and link farms, online marketers had their pick of easy ways to build backlinks.
Then SEO Changed
That all changed, when in February 2011 Google unleashed their pandas and started penalizing the ‘over-optimized’ sites with thin content and too many ads.
On April 24th 2012 Google unleashed the penguins. And not the cute ones like in Happy Feet. These penguins feasted on sites that took part in link farms, low-quality directories and article submission sites, cloaking, keyword stuffing and other black hat techniques.
Since April many SEO’s have been either a) cleaning up their site’s backlink profile if they were hit by the Penguin update; or b) feverishly working on ensuring that their sites don’t have questionable backlinks before Google finds them. After the cleanup, many will start looking for ways to start building up their link profiles with quality relevant backlinks.
Tips for Quality Backlink Building
- Use a back link checker like Open Site Explorer and search for your competitor’s backlinks. Study to see where their links are coming from and if you could also be mentioned on the same site.
- Find blogs where your competitors have left guest posts and leave your own guest post on the same site.
- Monitor who has mentioned (tweeted, shared, written about, etc) your content using an online brand monitoring tool (i.e. Google alerts). If they aren’t already linking to your website, contact them to see if they would be willing to.
- Find a trending topic and build an informative infographic about it (if you don’t have a graphic designer at your disposal check out the free online tool http://infogr.am). Distribute the infographic through your social channels. If it’s good and current, your followers will share it.
- Have a profile page set up on your website with your picture and a short listing of your position, achievements and accolades. It’s less commercial for bloggers, journalists and the like to link to than having them link directly to your website’s home page.
- Network with local bloggers through Meetups in your city. Develop connections and get into their blog posts.