As every website owner knows, search engines loves backlinks. These are links from other websites that take people from their website to yours.
However, not all backlinks are equally in Google’s eyes and with good reason.
There used to be a massive online industry in selling links. Many website owners signed up.
Unfortunately the links they bought came from basic, spammy or just plain nasty sites totally unconnected with their market.
It was only a matter of time before Google and other search engines put their collective foot down and introduced penalties for so-called black hat backlinks.
So, how can you ensure your backlinks are whiter than white? Read on for our top ten tips for beautiful backlinks…
What are White Hat backlinks?
Proper ‘white hat’ backlinks meet the search engines guidelines, and must:
• be natural (i.e. not bought en masse)
• from good quality, related websites
• be “nofollow” if part of an advertorial or similar
And a lot else beside.
Here are 10 effective and efficient ways to ensure your backlinks get the search engine seal of approval:
1. Get rid of your Links page
Yes, we know you swapped links with loads of people back in the good old days. We all did. But if your Links page contains hundreds of links to totally unrelated websites, it could seriously damage your website’s credibility. Link to useful resources in your marketplace by all means, but keep that Links page lean and mean (and up to date).
2. Vary your backlink text
Google detects patterns very well, and if your website links are always written as “Akira Studio - London’s leading web design agency”, it’ll know. So mix up your link text where you can - be a web design agency for one link, web designers for another, website developers for a third, and so on.
3. Banish blog networks
This is the old technique of creating several related blogs and linking from one to another in a perpetual web of linkage. If you are part of such a network, Google will see straight through this technique and slap your wrists with a lower ranking in the SERPs.
4. FIX blog sidebar backlinks
One of our clients noticed that she had literally hundreds of backlinks from a single site. This was because a single backlink to her site was in the blog sidebar of another related site - and had been for years. (She even requested it!) That blog sidebar appeared on every blog the website published, relevant or not - and so did her link. Given Google’s hatred of repeated links from one source, she simply contacted the blog owner and asked them to remove the link from their blog sidebar. Problem solved.
5. FORGET Article directories
Oh, how we used to love these, a virtual library of articles on every subject under the sun, all with a nice juicy link at the end. Problem was, no real person ever read them, and the articles were often very poor quality. So Google devalued them. There’s no need to go back and delete your articles, but don’t bother to create any more.
6. PICK YOUR Web directories CAREFULLY
In the late 1990s, when search engines like Alta Vista and Ask Jeeves ruled, the technique was to list your website in as many online directories as possible. Then Google came along, and everything changed. That’s how old this technique is. Instead, find local business directories for your area, such as those created by Chambers of Commerce, and get listed in these. They are far more useful for real people, and Google knows that.
7. Native tongue links only
Another legacy of the old ‘pile them high, sell them cheap’ linking-buying days are links from sites in foreign languages. Again, Google will be suspicious if you have extensive links from a website in Russian to your English blog.
8. NO-FOLLOW Guest blogs and ‘advertorials’
There is nothing wrong with guest blogs, but don’t let your generosity be your downfall. Make sure any backlinks are ‘no follow”, so your readers get the benefit of a live link, but the search engines don’t see it as free advertising for the blog writer.
9. SPURN Auto-created links
10,000 links for $10! Too good to be true? Too darn right! Software can now post automatically to open blog comments forms, forums and web 2.0 websites such as Squidoo and Hubpages. And, of course, Google knows that and if you have loads of these still being posted, will slap your website so hard you won’t see it for dust. Don’t, just don’t.
10. Don’t cheat
There will be companies that offer you backlinks saying they can exploit a loophole, or have found a way to manipulate the search engines. Don’t go within 100 miles of them; today’s loop hole is tomorrow’s severe penalty.
The mantra for building quality backlinks for your website is: Keep your links natural, relevant, and from reliable and authoritative sites.