Building Backlinks – The Right Way

Building Backlinks – The Right Way

by Dave Curtis on 10/03/2011

West 47th St and 6th Ave - The Diamond District in Manhattan

West 47th St and 6th Ave – The Diamond District in Manhattan

Diamond Search Engine Optimization

Let’s look at the purpose of links as WE(BMASTERS) originally intended them to work. Back in the mid nineties when we populated the internet with our sites (before Google or Bing) links were to help people find us and bring us traffic from other sites similar to our own.

They worked because we linked back and forth to each other.

Your diamond store linked to my diamond store and together we provided more styles, shapes, cuts and sizes of diamonds and settings than either of us on our own, we made our customers very happy to find exactly what they were looking for by sending them to each other to more perfectly fulfill their desires, and we both earned more sales and referrals. Life was good.

Sometimes a small or unknown comes along and doesn’t have time to develop a relationships so they gave you a call and said “Hey, I’ll send you a check for a couple of hundred bucks for your trouble, I’m new and need the business and am too busy with the startup to spend a lot of time getting links, would you mind helping me out?” Sometimes yes, sometimes no – but that’s how paid links got started. Why not? After all there’s a risk if you don’t know the site (lots of other reasons to pay or accept money for a link – a hard working stay at home raise the kids housewife with a website has to feed her hungry children, sure she could use a few hundred dollars for baby food and pampers).

ALL THAT HAS CHANGED.

Google came along and said “if you want to rank with us, take down those links between you!”

Johnny Come Lately “Google” starts making rules as to what we can do and can’t do on our own internet.

There are a lot of free and paid ways to build back links. Google doesn’t like paid links without a nofollow attribute, and the FCC doesn’t like paid links that don’t identify themselves as sponsored. You can buy no-follow links which come in two varieties:  those that need to be paid for over and over again and those that are in place and stay there. The cheaper version is usually part of the linking process used in link directories, and aren’t of much traffic bringing value. More expensive and renewable no-follow link text advertising versions of no follow links might be ok but it depends on where your links are placed (eg: high traffic? no traffic? crap sites etc).

Gaining links through article submission sites were once popular places to add a link at the end of your published article because these sites delivered rank and were copied and pasted (your link included many times) as content on other people’s sites. Article web sites aren’t popular any more and don’t provide any follow links the way they once did. Duplicate content is also an issue just as having multiple text links with identical wording is an issue. I didn’t say problem, just issue, because I still think good articles on article publishing sites aren’t so dissimilar to guest blog posts where you are essentially writing an article for someone else with a link back to your own site (in many cases).

If you’ve read several hundred different pieces on the web regarding backlink building you’ll read about how you’re supposed to contact other webmasters with sites you’d like to receive a link from and ask them for links. You’re supposed to convince them why your site is a “good fit” (webmasters don’t want to link out to other sites unless they’re purely informational in such a way as to support what their own site is “selling” even if no money is changing hands.

Then there are the “paid links” which are Google No-Nos. You can’t have paid links that are follow links or your competitors will turn you in and send you to hell. Forever. Amen. And if you have a site and suggest (either as an SEO building SEO sites OR as a site owner selling whatever it is you sell) that you deal in paid full follow links then you’re committing suicide. So read between those lines.

Content attracts links! That’s true – content does attract links if it’s a fit for someone who has something to say and your site backs it up in some way.

I have a friend with a site selling fertilizers. Someone on a pot smoking web site links to the fertilizer page and says “hey, man, that stuff works great, bla bla bla” …and there you go! A back link is born. Maybe not the best but it’s how it happens in nature.

Make your pages informative. Try to have a point of view that’s unique enough that it will differ from all of the other vanilla authorities out there, or be more informative or add some things the other site authors neglected to mention and you’re more likely to get a link from anyone who agrees strongly, I think.

Notice I said “I think”. After reading a kazillion pages including books on linking  it’s all just one giant blur of various level experts, old and new data, and opinions trying to stand out as different… essentially the exact same thing I described above about how YOUR site should try to be different even though it’s not about Search Engine Optimization. Getting a good number of quality back links to your site is not easy.

Here is why getting quality and quantity back links is not easy

Backlinks cannot be gotten all at once. Paying an SEO to build your links (as if he or she were cutting your hair) in a one shot “paid, done” deal is counter productive and potentially damaging. Links need to be gotten over time and shouldn’t spike unnaturally all at once (come on folks – Google knows exactly when any link was created and measures everything – they know what’s natural and what isn’t). Your links need to vary and not all point to the main page of the site, or all suddenly point to some deep landing page inside of your site (another Fake Alert).  So what if you have a site that does have link potential? How can you jump start links to a specific page?

Press Releases

Yeap. Press Releases. Good old fashioned digital online press releases, those pesky little blips on Google’s Radar that just so happen to point to some page(s) on your web site along with a little news – and that so often linger and get re-posted in various places and are (not mysteriously) followed up quite often by interested webmasters creating real, quality, permanent and free links to your site’s page(s) after reading the press releases.

THE BIG SECRET:

Social Media, Email Newsletters, Twitter and Facebook

So how do I link TO other people’s web sites? That’s a valid question since I’m an SEO and I tend to link out quite often to supporting pages on my own sites as well as link out to other sites from some of my client sites. First of all,  I absolutely ignore email requests for links – almost. I will sometimes read them, but so far have never linked to any of the requested pages.

Facebook and Twitter are the hot social media sites as of this writing (10/2/2011). In my case Twitter is where I’m able to connect to the other people in my game – search engine marketing, optimization, videography and graphics and copywriting, as much as I can. I’m also interested in Affiliate Marketing so I follow a few people I like to interact with there. Demographically Twitter users are a bit better educated and have slightly higher incomes than Facebook users. Not sure why, but one has to be higher, so Twitter is it right now. I find good industry related posts I can read and link to using Twitter.  Conversely when I write a good piece on my own blog I occasionally get a link back to one of mine. So if you’re on Twitter and perform updates to your web site’s blog then by all means tweet the new articles. You might get links back to them.

Facebook is a slightly different story. There are some serious groups on Facebook. I do blog work for clients who are on Facebook and what happens is they join groups and start posting links and commenting back and forth. I write a piece for them and then we post the link in Facebook – it get picked up and pasted into another 5 or 10 related groups. I also do videography so once in a while a video goes viral and in a week has a few thousand views – it’s being shared on other blogs and sites, and these in turn lead to links back to the client’s main web site. So Facebook and Twitter. Personally I think Facebook is a large waste of energy because so much of what’s done there in the groups COULD be getting done on various real blogs fully indexed by Google. I’d much rather see my client creating pages on the blog and the Facebook group friends making comments on the blog posts but that’s just not happening for me (reason I’m saying this is because in case you’re on Facebook all day and aren’t writing on your own blog? Why? You should be!)

Email Newsletters. Oh yeah. The old standby. The BEST email newsletter I receive by far is the one from Network World Magazine. All it is is a list of links to ten of the most recently written articles, each with a good catchy headline and a short teaser description. I click, I like, I paste the link into Facebook and Twitter …and sometimes include a link in something I’m writing back to the Network World Magazine online page. Sometimes. So there you go – write a lot, create a short “email newsletter” containing a bunch of useful links to your own articles and sit back and wait for the links to start rolling in!

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