Every webmaster remembers that faithful day of February 2011 when the Panda Update took the world of SEO by storm. This update was one of the most terrifying things that has ever happened because it altered the results for more than one out of every 10 searches and it caused many sites to plummet in the rankings. Nevertheless, in 2011 content farms and bad back-linking strategies were abused by what we refer to as black hats, and Google engineers had to put a stop to it. The world of SEO has changed a lot since then, and it seems to me that webmasters have finally understood that ethical search engine optimization practices are the key to withstanding any algorithm update and progressing through SERPs.
Nevertheless, not everybody is born a SEO professional, so if you are only at the beginning of your journey, or if you don’t yet have a complete grasp the field, the following tips will definitely come in handy. After observing several sites that have lost their rankings after certain algorithm updates, I have managed to create a list of ten back-linking strategies that will keep you safe from Panda’s wrath.
1. Harness the Power of Social Media
Google has realized that social media signals can be used to affect the overall ranking of websites. This is because people are more likely to comment, share or like good content if it is actually good, while crawlers can be tricked through various strategies. Furthermore, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter or Google+ have become serious business promoters. Another thing that you should consider is the usefulness of Google Authorship markup which will make your content stand out on SERPs, add individuality to your articles and increase your online credibility. All these things prove that social media signals are the undeniable truth that something is truly valuable. Try to take advantage of these powerful mediums and obtain +1s, likes and shares.
2. Never Use Mass Link Building Techniques
What are massive link building techniques you will ask? Everything that implies the creation of thousands of suspicious links in a small amount of time will look very strange for Google. Whatever you do, just don’t! I know you are eager to grow your wonderful site, but SEO is not something you can do overnight. The only way that you will ever be able to create thousands of links in a short amount of time is by creating viral content, and this doesn’t happen very often.
3. Create Back-Links through Guest Posting
Guest blogging is the most efficient way of creating high-quality back-links for your site. As long as your content is good, and the site on which you are posting is relevant to your niche, then you will have found a surefire method of creating awesome back-links. Furthermore, if you post on sites that receive a lot of visitors you will be able to redirect even more traffic from them. If you are new to guest-posting I can assure you that it is not that difficult. Remember, one good link, on a high authoritative site is a lot better than 50 links on obscure sites that nobody visits.
4. Comment on Blogs for Even More Links
Blog commenting is a quick and easy method of generating beneficial back-links. On one hand you will be able to connect with like-minded people, and get noticed by fellow writers; on the other hand you can create super-fast links to your site. I have actually recommended this technique to many beginners, as it is one of the most lucrative strategies. Nevertheless, it does require patience and time (as do all SEO strategies). In order to succeed you will have to visit blogs on a daily basis, leave relevant comments and attract the attention of readers.
5. Find Alternative Types of Content
Written content may be the most popular type of content, but it is also one of the most poorly done. There are so many interesting alternatives that you can take advantage of. Infographics, videos, eBooks, webinars, press releases, podcasts, images, content visualizations and many others will help you gain the competitive edge. In order to create your link, just paste it somewhere within the content.
6. Search for Link Building Opportunities
As I was saying earlier, there are many ways to create back-links, so many actually that it is hard to keep track. Nevertheless, guest-posting, blog commenting and social media tactics should be used wisely. You can’t just post on any type of site. Focus only on domains which are related to your topics, which have human visitors, and which are within your reach. In other words, don’t expect the Guardian to accept an article you wrote, because this rarely happens, but try to expand your online presence. Go from site to site, and work your way to the top. This means that by the time you start posting on awesome sites you will already have a decent portfolio to back up your work.
7. Make use of SEO Tools
Efficient link building strategies don’t simply refer to getting the link that you want; it also implies keeping it in good shape, and monitoring it. Somewhere in the future, you will have hundreds, if not thousands of sites linking to you, and more often than not some links get broken. This will affect the overall performance of your site, so do yourself a favor and install some SEO programs like Open Site Explorer or Majestic SEO which will enable you to spot low quality links. In addition to this, Majestic SEO, SEO quake and Mozbar can help you rapidly identify the domain authority and page rank of a page, which is very important.
8. Create Back-Links on Forums
Your main goals online should be to boost your way up the SERPs, and become an authority online. Activity on forum boards will help you in both aspects. Virtually all forum boards have a small signature bellow the comment section where you can add the link to your site. If people like what you comment they will probably click on your link.
9. Build Strong Relationships with Fellow Writers
Nobody can understand our struggles better than fellow co-workers. In the battle for the sweet spot on Google, you will have to use all the weapons at your disposal. This means that you should turn to your friends for help. In other words, whatever you do, try to leave a lasting impression, and create strong relationships with like-minded readers and bloggers. This can also be done in the real world by attending conferences and seminars.
10. Take a Look at Your Competition
Guest posting may be the best way to create good links, but after a while it can become difficult to find new opportunities. This is why you should always keep your eyes opened to see what your competition is doing. I’m not saying that you should copy their every move, but you can become inspired, and also understand the way that they are working, what type of keywords are they trying to rank for, what sites are they approaching, how are they finding them and so on.