What a year it has been in the SEO world! We were hit with big Google updates with crazy names like Penguin and Panda and they left many webmasters confused as to what their next step might be.
For some websites, spammy link building strategies led to major penalties from Google including major drops in their rankings as well as complete de-listings in some cases, which can have devastating effects. Websites that held number one positions for many years slipped to several pages back or in some cases to pages so far back that they can’t be found.
So much has changed in the world of SEO, but one thing has remained the same.
Link building is still an important part of SEO, but the way in which you go about getting your links has changed. In the past, link building was fairly easy – you log onto an internet forum and someone from somewhere in the world offered to get you 5000 or 10,000 backlinks for $25. The links weren’t natural and they were spammy, but they were links nonetheless and they helped keep your website on the front page of Google.
Fast forward to 2012, and link building has changed dramatically. Now you’re left with the question of “what kind of links should I be building?” We’re glad you asked the question because we have the answers for you!
Link building strategies
1. Guest Posts
This has long been a great way to build a solid backlink profile on the web, but is sometimes overlooked because it can be hard work. For some, writing great content takes time and effort and it just doesn’t come as easily as other methods of link building. Well, too bad! Guest posting is a great way to build links, but the only way to be successful at it is to find relevant, high quality blogs that will accept your posts.
The key to success with guest posts is to write compelling, helpful and non-promotional guest posts. No one wants to read about you promoting your services on a guest post, so forget that part of it. Think long-term. Over time you will build a nice profile of quality backlinks that will help your website rankings.
2. Link Baiting
Link baiting is another idea that has been around for years, but it’s now become even more popular. There’s an art to link baiting, however, and it doesn’t work for everyone.
In order to do it successfully, write content that people NEED to link to for whatever reason. With the growth in social media, it can be easy to get your link in front of thousands of people and some may take the step of linking to your content in a blog post.
3. Local Directories
Gone are the days of directories, so don’t think we’re telling you to go out and submit your website to thousands of web directories, because we’re not. What I mean by “local directories” is looking for places that you can get a backlink that is highly relevant in your community.
There may be local Chamber of Commerce or business groups, Linkedin Groups, local high quality niche directories, or other sites that do well in the SERPS in your local geographic area. It’s hard to tell you exactly where to go because it will be different for every industry and area, but look for those sites or directories tailored to the niche of your site.
4. A Few Words About Link Building
Link building is not dead as some SEO experts have decried, but is instead different than what it once was. Google is looking for natural link building methods, not spammy ones. Don’t overdo any one link building method, even if it’s a legitimate one.
Vary your link building strategies/methods and pace yourself so you don’t raise suspicion among the Google gods and end up with a penalty. Link building is hard work and after the Google updates has become even harder, but it has forced us to clean up our act and do things in a legitimate way. Google has said for many years that they want quality websites and quality SEO methods, but it seems that they have finally moved forward with some of those ideas and put them into their search algorithm.
What link building strategies are you using currently and have you been able to verify any positive results from these methods? We would love to hear about it.