We all talk about link building, but what is it? Oh no! That is a big question, but as you know I like to analyse the why, what, when and how of everything! Unfortunately the details of link building are often ignored and there are no hard and fast rules to go by. Certain link building techniques can work for some webmasters and not others. This is because there are so many factors to take into account.
If you are a webmaster, link building will most probably become an important part of your life. I know I did not realize this when I first started building websites.
Another funny thing is that most spammers are simply link building the wrong way and are just not educated yet. Hopefully this tutorial will save you from going down that road.
What is Link building?
Link building is part of search engine optimization which is a process that helps your website get found by the search engines. Link building is a large part of search engine optimization and is a very important part. The links that you build to your website tell the search engines what the page is going to be about. Each link can also be counted as a vote in favor of your website.
Links allow search engine bots to travel from one page to the other examining the Internet and recording what they find. If you don’t have any links going to your page then this will make it difficult for the search engine bots to crawl your webpages. If you have a good amount of links leading to your page then you have more chance of being crawled.
Lets Start Building Backlinks
Let us presume that you have a brand-new website and want to start building back links. Even if you have a website that is relatively old and haven’t started back linking yet, these methods will work for you as well.
When I first start back linking for a new website the first thing I do is build a plan.
Build Your Backlinking Plan
When you are building your back linking plan, this process also helps you plan your website. All of these tasks will ensure that you build a better website that has an accessible navigation and the right content.
- Keywords to target for your niche and each page you plan to create.
- Identify who your target visitors will be.
- Identify where your target visitors are hanging out and make a list.
- Make a list of your 10 closest competitors and research where they get their back links from.
- Priority of Pages to link to, main landing pages
- Creating an internal linking structure. Where, when, how.
- A list of site suitable websites for guest posting.
- A list of sites suitable for dofollow blog commenting. Not just for SEO link building but building a community.
The first Step – Keywords
Link building without knowing your keywords is like driving through a strange city without a SatNav. You will get lost and you will get nowhere!
It is a fine line between a useful keyword that people are searching for and one that never gets typed in at all. Sometimes I have found that even a simple S on the end of a word can make or break your success. Yes that’s how detailed this is and this is why we need to research our keywords.
I have written so many articles about keyword research so I am not going to repeat myself. Below I will list a few of my favorite articles. Please note that everyone has their own method of finding keywords. I have developed my methods over many years of testing and tweaking. Again there is no right or wrong method here, only the method that works for you.
Successful WordPress website checklist (points 5 &6 from this article)
I am now using Keyword Elite because it saves me a lot of time and Keyword Elite has 50+ video tutorials showing you exactly how to do everything. I personally hate maths and would prefer software to give me the results. But as you know I also love the Google keyword tool. Of course other keyword research software can give you more details in less time.
The key is to find keywords that people are searching for, and even better if it is a problem keyword that you can solve.
Elements of natural link building
A combination of all of these factors listed below is needed to emulate natural link building.
- Variety of anchor text links
- Variety of locations
- Links built at a speed that is humanly possible
- No traces of automation
Every part of search engine optimization is done with a goal to look natural. This is not just for the search engines though, we want everything to look natural for the real human visitor.
To Anchor text or not to Anchor text
Anchor text is when you make your keywords into a link that points to a page or post that is targeting those exact keywords. For example a page about a SEO checklist would use SEO checklist as the anchor text link that leads to the page.
Some people argue that the full URL is ok too. I agree in some circumstances but in others I don’t. For example I think it is OK to leave the full URL of a root domain like http://tips4pc.com as it is short and sweet. However if I was to leave a link like this, http://letsbuildwebsites.com/repurpose-your-existing-research/ . If everyone left links as long as this the internet would not be a pretty place. Web design would be down the drain instantly.
Another thing I must mention is to use a variety of anchor text that means the same thing. For example if I wanted to link to a page about computer maintenance, I would very the anchor text like this:
- computer maintenance
- computer maintenance tips
- computer maintenance information
- maintain your computer
- PC maintenance
- care for your computer
I guess you get the moral of the story here. It is not good to just go out and build links using the same anchor text. For one page on computer maintenance I would only use the same keyword about four times. using the word computer maintenance 10 or more times would set off alarm bells and we want to stay under the radar. I wouldn’t go overboard with the links either.
I am a firm believer that everything you do when it comes to back linking must be relevant to the content that you are providing. For example you’re anchor text that you use must tell a story of what content it leads to. There is no point leaving links with the anchor text “click here” or “see this” etc because you are not endorsing what the content is about on the other side of the link. It could be a scam and lead to anything. Of course the occasional “click here” link is fine to make your link building look natural, but doing it too often is bad for search engine optimization. In fact this is not search engine optimization at all and leaving links with the anchor text of “click here” is only fishing for traffic. Therefore you are cutting your SEO opportunities out.
So now you are using varied anchor text that means the same thing, to link to your particular page. The next thing to make sure these back links are relevant is to optimize your content to match what you are claiming. So if you are claiming that there are computer maintenance tips on a page then you better make sure there are in fact computer maintenance tips on the page. This is not rocket science, it is simply common sense.
Quality of Backlinks
There is not clear way to tell if a website will give you a quality backlink or not. Therefore I have a few ideas on how to gauge quality.
- Google page rank – This is a difficult one. An old blog with PR 1 is not as good as a new blog with PR 1. The old blog should have worked its way up, but didn’t. To say that Google PR does not matter probably means you have something similar to the “small man syndrome”.
- Alexa ranking – Any website that has less than 500,000 Alexa ranking must be doing some promotion to get there. Blogs without promotion usually hang around the 1.4 million mark. Blogs under 100,000 are definitely preferred.
- Moz rank – I do not really think more ranks are necessary but if you prefer this then go for it!
Quantity and Speed of backlinks
If you build 100 backlinks this week, can you do this every week? Consistency is the key here. If you usually build 10 backlinks a week and then start building 200, alarm bells are going to ring. Bigger websites can get away with more link building because you would presume that would happen naturally anyway. However new websites would not.
Everything in moderation is the key here when building links. If you go out and build 100 links
Variety of Links Built
Creating 20 backlinks on various different websites is far better than creating 20 back links on the same website. Also getting 20 back links from only one website that is definitely not look natural and this is what we are trying to do.
The variety can also mean of the variety of anchor text you use. This is mentioned in detail above.
Link Building Tutorial For Blog Posts
We build links on our own website for different reasons. Here is my list of how I define a link type on my blog.
- Navigational (SEO and NAV) – Leads to main landing pages on site.
- Internal (SEO and NAV) – Leads to other related content on your site within content.
- Informational or definition (EDUCATION) – Defines or explains something further.
- Promotional (GOALS) – Affiliate links and links to other goals.
- Reference (INFO BACKUP) – Source of information, backup of facts.
Please note: I am not following any guidelines here so please do not feel the need to correct these terms I have used. The problem is, I made them up. I often make things up. 🙂
These internal links can be counted as backlinks to your pages as it is shown in Google webmaster tools as such.
Some backlinks provide different benefits
- Search Engine Optimization
- Page Rank Juice
- Targeted traffic
- Un-targeted Traffic
- Back links to get indexed
The best backlinks depend on what benefit you would like to see
Search Engine Optimization
- Links from related websites and content (eg.guest posting)
- Links from authority sites with good reputations
- a mixture of links from various sources therefore looking natural
- links built at a speed that equals your blogs page and authority
Page Rank Juice
- Links from high page rank sites or pages
- Preferably “dofollow”
- A high quantity of smaller page rank site links or
- Less links but on high PR sites
- Links from highly related content
- Links from forums talking about a problem you can solve
- Endorsements from authority sites in your niche
- Getting links from unrelated content
- Getting links from sites that have junk traffic
- Mass link building
- Getting links on famous blogs
- Getting talked about by famous bloggers
A back link is better if it is harder to get
Links Easy to Get
- Social Bookmarking
- Blog commenting on any website (unmoderated)
- Directory submission
- Profile backlinks
- Web2.0 backlinks
- Article submission in mass
Links That are MEDIUM EASY to Get
- Paid directory submission
- Forum posting (moderated and high quality)
- Article submission on authority sites
- Blog comments on high reputation sites
- Yahoo answers
- Guest Posting
Links That are HARD to Get
- Links on high page rank sites, especially the homepage,preferably aged.
- Forum posting (certain authority forums)
- Guest Posting on massive authority websites (Problogger)
- Editorial links where authority website suggest your link as a resource. Imagine getting a mention on SEOMoz for your SEO tips. That would be a great link!
If it is almost impossible to get back link on a website, this becomes valuable property. Anyone can go out and comment on a blog and leave a link, anyone can suggest resources tactfully in a forum, anyone submit their links to free directories. What do you think about what I am saying here? “That the harder the link is to get, the more valuable it is.”
How many back links should I build to my website?
For a new website I like to build the basic starter pack links which include some directory links, profile links, and so on. Not too many though, just about 5 a day for the first few weeks.
I also like to do some article marketing or guest posting to kick off your site. Of course to do this you will need to have some content on your site to link to. You will also need to guide your website visitor through your site to your goals. This could be to sign up for a newsletter or buy a product.
I would submit about 10 articles pointing to my site and also internal pages. After this I would continue and post one article a week, more if you want to get more traffic. I would also continue to build other links such as links in Yahoo answers, forum posting, and blog commenting. I would do this on a regular basis to actually bring real traffic in. If you are performing all of this yourself then it will never be seen as spam.
I also like to create free blogs and pages to use to build links back to my main site. Lets make something clear now though, now days the difference between blogs and websites is blurred. So when I say blogs it also means websites and vice-versa. When I say free blogs it means you are not paying for web hosting. You will see this in the last video on this page.
Later when your site is more established I would use UAW (Unique Article Wizard) to generate backlinks to your articles and guest posts to make them popular. I would also use UAW to build links to internal pages, but at a slow rate. I never blast any links out there. Also with UAW it can take me hours to produce one article that is going to be good enough to point to my site.. The more time you spend on this, the better the quality of article, the more it will count.
Where do I build links to?
A common misconception is that you just build back links to your main home page using your main keyword. This cannot be further from the truth. Each page has its own personality and its own keyword. Each individual page also benefits from having its own back links pointing to it.
Here is a cool video showing where to build back links, how to build back links, and how many back links to build
What about Facebook, Google plus and Twitter?
Good question! First we have to agree that it is easy to get these links. We can even buy followers on all networks, we can even buy shares. There is even software to automate the finding friend process..The list goes on.
The good backlinks you get from these networks is when random people with influence retweet, share, or plus your content. Real people sharing great content gives great benefits. Lets be clear on the difference here.
Link building maintenance
Oh no! Yes there is link building maintenance involved and it depends on how much competition you have and how many links they have. Your link building efforts may secure your position for many years as long as your content is relevant and up to date with fresh information. However if someone else comes along with better content and more backlinks they can out rank you. This is when you start to to link building maintenance. To get back up to the top of the rankings, you will need to repeat your link building efforts for that particular page that you want to rank for. You can also build new links on old pages.
In the video below I show how I rank on page one for a certain keyword. Because I did not maintain or keep up with my link building tactics, the page dropped out from a page one ranking.
Link building is an ongoing process and the methods and tactics will change.
This is absolutely nothing new in the business world though as all successful businesses adapt and change with the times.
How to view your incoming links
Ileane from Basic Blog Tips has a great video tutorial showing you three ways to view your incoming links. That way you can keep track of the incoming links that are pointing to your website. You will notice that people might mention your fantastic content and link to it, all your post might be mentioned as a solution in a forum. Either way it is great to keep an eye on your incoming links to see if your link building is moving forward.
Well what can I say? Link building is extremely important for your WordPress websites success!
What do you think about this back linking tutorial and have you got any extra information that you think I am missing?