How to Build Backlinks

Posted by roinah on Saturday, November 12, 2011

How to Build Backlinks

It is out of question that quality backlinks are crucial to SEO success.
More, the question is how to get them.
While with on-page content optimization it seems easier because everything is up to you to do and decide, with backlinks it looks like you have to rely on others to work for your success.
Well, this is partially true because while backlinks are links that start on another site and point to yours, you can discuss with the Web master of the other site details like the anchor text, for example.
Yes, it is not the same as administering your own sites – i.e. you do not have total control over backlinks – but still there are many aspects that can be negotiated.

Getting Backlinks the Natural Way

The idea behind including backlinks as part of the page rank algorithm is that if a page is good, people will start linking to it.
And the more backlinks a page has, the better.
But in practice it is not exactly like this.
Or at least you cannot always rely on the fact that your content is good and people will link to you.
Yes, if your content is good and relevant you can get a lot of quality backlinks, including from sites with similar topic as yours (and these are the most valuable kind of backlinks, especially if the anchor text contains your keywords) but what you get without efforts could be less than what you need to successfully promote your site.
So, you will have to option to other ways of acquiring quality backlinks as described next.

Ways to Build Backlinks

Even if plenty of backlinks come to your site the natural way, additional quality backlinks are always welcome and the time you spend building them is not wasted.
Among the acceptable ways of building quality backlinks are getting listed in directories, posting in forums, blogs and article directories.
The unacceptable ways include inter-linking (linking from one site to another site, which is owned by the same owner or exists mainly for the purpose to be a link farm), linking to spam sites or sites that host any kind of illegal content, purchasing links in bulk, linking to link farms, etc.

The first step in building backlinks is to find the places from which you can get quality backlinks.
A valuable assistant in this process is the Backlink Builder tool.
When you enter the keywords of your choice, the Backlink Builder tool gives you a list of sites where you can post an article, message, posting, or simply a backlink to your site.
After you have the list of potential backlink partners, it is up to you to visit each of the sites and post your content with the backlink to your site in it.

You might wonder why sites as those, listed by the Backlink Builder tool provide such a precious asset as backlinks for free.
The answer is simple – they need content for their site.
When you post an article, or submit a link to your site, you do not get paid for this.
You provide them for free with something they need – content – and in return they also provide you for free with something you need – quality backlinks.
It is a free trade, as long as the sites you post your content or links are respected and you don't post fake links or content.
Getting Listed in Directories

If you are serious about your Web presence, getting listed in directories like DMOZ and Yahoo is a must – not only because this is a way to get some quality backlinks for free, but also because this way you are easily noticed by both search engines and potential visitors.
Generally inclusion in search directories is free but the drawback is that sometimes you have to wait a couple of months before you get listed in the categories of your choice.

Forums and Article Directories

Generally search engines index forums so posting in forums and blogs is also a way to get quality backlinks with the anchor text you want.
If the forum or blog is a respected one, a backlink is valuable.
However, in some cases the forum or blog administrator can edit your post, or even delete it if it does not fit into the forum or blog policy.
Also, sometimes administrators do not allow links in posts, if they are not relevant ones.
In some rare cases (which are more an exception than a rule) the owner of a forum or a blog would have banned search engines from indexing it and in this case posting backlinks there is pointless.
While forum postings can be short and do not require much effort, submitting articles to directories can be more time-consuming because generally articles are longer than posts and need careful thinking while writing them.
But it is also worth and it is not so difficult to do.

Content Exchange and Affiliate Programs

Content exchange and affiliate programs are similar to the previous method of getting quality backlinks.
For instance, you can offer to interested sites RSS feeds for free.
When the other site publishes your RSS feed, you will get a backlink to your site and potentially a lot of visitors, who will come to your site for more details about the headline and the conceptual they read on the other site.
Affiliate programs are also good for getting more visitors (and buyers) and for building quality backlinks but they tend to be an expensive way because generally the affiliate commission is in the range of 10 to 30 %.
But if you have an affiliate program anyway, why not use it to get some more quality backlinks?

News Announcements and Press Releases

Although this is hardly an everyday way to build backlinks, it is an approach that gives good results, if handled properly.
There are many sites (for instance, here is a list of some of them) that publish for free or for a fee news announcements and press releases.
A professionally written press release about an important event can bring you many, many visitors and the backlink from a respected site to yours is a good boost to your SEO efforts.
The difficult part is that you cannot release press releases if there is nothing newsworthy.
That is why we say that news announcements and press releases are not a commodity way to build backlinks.
Backlink Building Practices to Avoid
One of the practices that is to be avoided is link exchange.
There are many programs, which offer to exchange links.
The principle is simple – you put a link to a site, they put a backlink to your site.
There are a couple of important things to consider with link exchange programs.
First, take care about the ratio between outbound and inbound links. If your outbound links are times your inbound, this is bad.
Second (and more important) is the risk that your link exchange partners are link farms. If this is the case, you could even be banned from search engines, so it is too risky to treat in link exchange programs.

Linking to suspicious places is something else that you must avoid.
While it is true that search engines do not punish you if you have backlinks from such places because it is supposed that you have no control over what bad guys link to, if you enter a link exchange program with the so called bad neighbors and you link to them, this can be terrible to your SEO efforts.
For more details about bad neighbors, check the Bad Neighborhood article.
Also, beware of getting tons of links in a short period of time because this still looks artificial and suspicious.

Link building tips

PageRank of the linking page

PageRank of the linking page, one of the most important factors, determines how much valuable importance is passed on to your page.

The higher the PageRank of the page linking to you, the higher the value you get.

Each link to your website is considered a vote.
If your neighbour states in public that you are very trustworthy, or that you are his best friend (Google PageRank 2), this is of course a less important vote than when the President of your country says the same (Google PageRank 9).

Number of links on the linking page

The value your web page gets from a linking page is equal to the total PageRank value of that page divided by the total number of outgoing links on that page.

Getting a link from a PR4 page that has only 20 outgoing links is much better than getting a link from a PR4 page that has 60 outgoing links.

With the same philosophy, it is better to get a link from a PR2 link page that has only 10 outgoing links than getting a link from a PR4 page that has over 100 outgoing links.

It is therefore as important to evaluate the total number of outgoing links on a links page, as it is, to evaluate the PR of the linking page.

This is where many people often hesitate, as they usually insist on getting a link from a high PR page, but if that page has 100 outgoing links, your page would only get 1/100th of that value.

Industry relevance

Search engines give higher importance to links pointing to your site from your own industry segment as opposed to those from unrelated industries.

A link on a site about motor sports will do very little good for a restaurant site, however a link in a food services directory will likely have high relevance.

Searching industry relevance pages:

Search for similar pages once you have found a really good page.

Look for "similar pages", "related pages" or "more like this" next to entries in any search engine's results list.

Alternatively use the Page Specific Search on the Google Advanced Search screen.

Page relevance

Most sites offering links have several categories listed on their sites.
Try to get a link from a category that closely matches your own industry.

For instance, if you have a site related to hotels, then, on your partner site, a tickets site for example, try to identify a resource directory pertaining to hotels, resorts, reservations, vacation packages, travel, tourism, food and beverages, etc.

An algorithm called “Applied Semantics” determines the industry relevance of a page within a site.
The Applied Semantics algorithm studies various keywords on a Web page and tries to determine the industry or business segment of each page.
Applied Semantics estimates the industry segments that are relevant to a particular page.

Anchor Text is the visible hyperlinked text on a Web page.

Since anchor text is very important, make sure that your most important keywords appear in the anchor text from the link pointing to your site.

It tells search engines what the page is about.

Used wisely, it boosts your rankings in search engines, especially in Google.

If you use "click here" as the words people are going to click on, you're telling people the page is about the subject "click here".

If you use "Part 2" as the anchor text, your telling the search engines the page is discussing "part 2".

You wouldn't want to rank highly for "click here" or "Part 2".

However, if your site is all about purple widgets, you don't want only "purple widgets" to be used as the phrase in every link to your site.

Over-optimizing like that would create an unnatural pattern.

You can use anchor text in:
• External links – links from other sites.
• Internal links – links on your pages.
• Navigation maps.
• Links on your main page. A very important spot.
Remember that real live humans will read your links as well as search engines, so the words in your anchor text need to make sense!

Dynamic link pages

You should also watch out for any link pages that are generated dynamically.

Chances are that such pages would not get indexed soon enough, which means that a link from such a page would not benefit you.

Some dynamic link pages are intentionally generated in such a way so as to prevent them from getting indexed.
Some dishonest webmasters do this to trick you to prevent any PageRank revealing from their site to yours.

Links from such pages therefore do not give you any benefit.

Examples of dynamic links include URLs containing symbols such as “?” or “&”.

Javascript link pages

It is also important to identify pages that are generated through Flash or a JavaScript, as Search Engines cannot read Flash pages nor can they read the links fixed within Flash.

These are some of the tricks unethical webmasters use.
While such a site may claim to have placed a link to your Web page, in effect they are not giving you any benefit.

Redirected links

A link that is first redirected to another page within your partner site before pointing to your site is a redirected link.

You should watch out for such links, as search engines do not give weight to redirected links.
It is very unlikely that your site would describe any benefit from a redirected link.

Framed sites
Avoid getting links from framed sites as Search Engines cannot read texts within frames.

A link placed on a framed site would not give your site any benefit, as Search Engines would not be able to recognize such a link.

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