How to Build Links Effectively for SEO
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Welcome to SirLinksalot’s SEO Round Table Office Hours.
In this series, we reply to questions from members of our Facebook Group, SEO Round Table, with video responses in an effort to help them become stronger, more capable SEOs.
If you’d prefer to watch the video – skip to the end of this article.
The Best Way to Build Backlinks?
I said we would get to answering some questions you guys want answered in the group, and I got started on one today that I thought I’d been hearing for quite some time from a lot of people.
I think it is pretty pertinent to everybody that’s in this group and learning about backlink building or how to get quality backlinks, so this is a good place for us to start.
“What are the best practices for blending guest posts, niche edits, PBNs, and other high quality backlinks together in order to create an effective backlinking campaign?”
One thing to note is there are a million different ways to get backlinks to your website, and one site owner may do things differently than another site owner. I am just going to give my perspective on how to build backlinks for SEO.
These link building techniques work for me because they are effective and give me plenty of longevity as far as my asset is concerned. I do not typically want to build things that don’t last a long time. That’s never really been in my interest. In other words, I am not a spam user.
Before we get into how to create a backlink or two, let us first talk about the importance of budgeting for getting links to your website.
Start with a Realistic Budget and Time Frame
I think the first thing that I see a lot of people making mistakes on, as far as building links to one or another website, is they budget for a month or two without thinking about the fact that building websites, SEO, and ranking in the search results takes some time.
Even if you have a good niche, there are all sorts of unforeseen circumstances that can arise as you are trying to earn links and generate traffic to your website through link building strategies, and as you are building out these assets for longevity. Sometimes you build for what you think is a great niche, and then the affiliate profit/referral traffic isn’t what you expected (see: best affiliate programs).
Things like that do occur, so I think when you get started, one thing to really focus on is your budget.
A good way to think about it is that SEO takes a decent amount of time now if you’re going after anything competitive or semi-competitive in the Google search results pages – or if you’re just new to SEO, a little uncertain as to what you’re doing (or what the most important ranking factors are), and kind of experimenting with the various ways to safely get a link to your website.
For the first couple of years that I was doing this, it was a crash course in trying a bunch of different backlink ideas and not even understanding what I was looking forward to or really getting an idea of whether I was succeeding or not. Repeated times of testing out a new link building strategy such as broken link building to see if I can measure any meaningful results.
All of that learned experience comes with time, so it’s kind of nice to have an idea of what to look for.
If you budget over a longer period of time – let us say you have $5,000 in the bank and you want to work on this one asset (e.g. authoritative websites, blog posts, resource pages, a piece of content) – you should have some runway. You should have the ability to have some foresight about what you’re going to do with this asset and should have things mapped-out to your abilities.
If you are fairly new to SEO and you’ve got $5,000 to spend to generate links to your websites somehow, then consider giving yourself about 10 months. That is $500 a month for link building which is more than enough to get started moving yourself up in the SERPs.
“But 10 months is too long! I need money now! Can’t I just use the budget in 2 months and get the results I want?”
If you really know what you are doing, you can. However, if you blow it all and then have no bank-roll left to get new backlinks once you hit a dead end, you won’t be able to go anywhere and the project will be at a stand-still.
Especially while you are new to SEO, it is best to practice long-term principles so that you can better analyze the variables you are manipulating and understand exactly what cause and effect relationship occurs while also staying safe.
It will then be much easier to be able to get fast results later on due to your much more thorough understanding of how things work.
Emulate What Naturally Occurs on the Internet
The idea here is that you want a mix of many types of links with very diverse anchor text spread out over time.
A way to look at that is like buzz on the internet – what it actually looks like versus what we’re doing.
So if you spend your $500 monthly budget on some links to your websites and create this idea of buzz via backlinks going to your site, that helps give it some sort of life in the SERPs.
If you keep doing that over time to make it seem like a natural progression of followers, engagement, and people actively pursuing your brand as a relevant source of information for that particular niche, then you’re going to have a much better shot of resonating for those terms that you want to rank for.
How do you make your sites become relevant sources of information? First, you have to find relevant ideas to talk about it (or products to sell). You can find relevant, trending content (e.g. website posts, social media, referring pages) with SEO-based tools like Ahrefs’ Content Explorer. Then you perform domain comparisons of competing websites by looking at their top-performing pages (i.e. those that rank high on search engine results pages).
These are some of the basic content management techniques that help websites become the #1 resource for any topic. Moreover, you or someone you work with could become a valuable resource of information to a niche community (just like how SirLinksalot.co has become a free online resource for SEO-related topics and link building strategies).
As an expert in a field/topic, you are in a privileged position to find relevant guest posting opportunities to get backlinks to your website.
If you have a brand new website without many niche-relevant inner pages/content, then it may take a little while. Make sure you budgeted it out for an ample amount of time and you’ve thought about what targets you’re going to go after over that course of time. Keyword and niche research should be well-thought-out.
You always want to diversify to the homepage, inner pages, and your anchor text from all different types of links. I use PBNs for long-tail, naked, branded – all kinds of different link tactics – which some people might think is a waste.
But it is natural for those things to happen in the SERPs.
If some company, website, post, or products and services get shared a whole lot through social media and the web, then it is creating real buzz, and it is going to get a plethora of backlinks from a bunch of different web/traffic sources. Sometimes they don’t even really make sense to the rational mind, but they do to a search engine (e.g. nofollow links, spam, shady websites, non-relevant links, 301s, certain pages and directories, etc).
You should expect your backlinks to come from any of the following sources:
- Niche-relevant referring domains/pages
- Social media
- Resource pages / directories / press releases
- Guest posting opportunities/sites (e.g. guest post footprints or “help a reporter”-type websites)
- SEO product and services
- Manual outreach / cold email marketing campaign
- And more…
Regardless of where or how you build links, you want to maintain a steady stream of high-quality links pointing to your sites’ relevant pages.
Trust Your Organic Rankings
We’re talking about gaming an algorithm, right?
The algorithm isn’t a rational mind. It operates on a very correct/incorrect kind of wavelength.
You can get away with things that might seem spammy to us – which I’ve seen happen over and over again, especially wielding that big PBN over at Freedom Links (see our PBN Checklist). We saw all sorts of different link profiles that led to the same thing – success in the SERPs.
“Oh, my gosh, like is this spam? Like it looks really ugly, it’s some sort of weird profile link. I don’t really know, maybe it’s got Russian or foreign anchor text. But it’s indexed, it’s in there.”
A lot of people overanalyze what type of links they are getting. Trust what the organic rankings are doing.
If things are moving up and seem to be healthy overall, then things are working well. Trust in tools like Google Analytics to give you an overall picture of your sites’ health.
If you’ve got a rank graph that’s going straight down or consistently declining over time, then you probably need to look into auditing the types of links that you’ve got.
If you’ve got a clean, diversified backlinking profile going to a site over time, you’re going to see a rank graph that continuously moves upwards.
Link Velocity and the Real World
How does buzz about a website, blog post, piece of content, product, or service happen naturally in the Google search results?
I remember when I first acknowledged the power of buzz and it being like a huge light bulb going off in my head upon realizing what it actually did. It was the first time I saw a friend of mine get some buzz via a blog post he had put up on a WordPress site blog roll (I don’t remember if it was a resource page or informational content), and overnight I saw a site that never had any kind of upward inflection get a plethora of it.
He had nothing going on for a long time, or on another website, before he published that blog post. It got a lot of press and 1,800 backlinks from 253 referring domains flooded to the website overnight. That influx of new backlinks managed to boost the organic traffic/rankings substantially overnight as well. It is almost as if my friend’s website just transformed into an asset with high domain authority.
“Well, you cannot send 100 backlink in a month. That is insane.”
It really depends on how you go about acquiring and utilizing high-quality backlinks, and that’s why I say to focus on your budget.
Your “get backlinks budget” is going to determine whether you can sustain a level of interaction with your assets and Google search engine that is going to keep your rank graph going positive, or whether it’s going to look like you had some extreme buzz about your website (or blog posts) and then fizzled out because you could not get links anymore… along with your rankings.
Sometimes you can sustain a decent amount of monetization doing something like that very quickly, but that’s a more advanced technique to get links to your sites’ page(s). For people getting started building their first affiliate website or local site, they need to figure out how to use a specific budget to emulate a steady buzz. And that doesn’t include your budget for posting relevant content (like resource pages) or general website maintenance.
Imagine your website is a real-world business. It’s got to have money and organic traffic coming in every month, and it’s got to be trying to actively pursue new clients every month (probably through outreach, a cold email campaign, or content marketing).
The way that looks in real life is like a popularity contest – you have commercials going, you have people getting billboards, etc – and it’s the same principle as far as gaming the algorithm with the search engines.
You’re out there as the business owner trying to procure buzz. Sometimes that means you’re putting your websites’ name and contact information in niche-relevant resource directories and listings, other times you’re in forums talking about your business (linking back to your post/pages), or guest blogging on high domain authority websites that are relevant to your niche, product or service.
See: How many backlinks per day is safe to add?
The most successful advertising campaigns in the real world are very diversified in the way that they attack what they are going after, and so that’s what your sites and link building efforts should emulate as well.
I love that Kingori said blending because that is exactly what my backlinking strategy is from day one for a new website in order to get it started on its way up the SERPs.
We start by “pillowing” the target website with different types of foundational tools called pillow links (e.g. link back to homepage or relevant piece of content), without aggressively using money anchor text (although I’ll still sprinkle them in there), and then I’ll have a backlinking campaign that should emulate that amount of buzz that I think is sustainable over time considering my budget for the site.
If you’re talking about very high budgets and going crazy with them, the start of an effective campaign can get you to earn backlinks using tools like press releases and social signals – then emulating buzz through them – as it would make sense for lots of links to be coming in during that time.
To sustain something like that over six or more months at a time requires a huge network of links available to you which may be an issue, but of course, we have built that here at SirLinksalot.
Consider your budget, don’t overthink what you’re doing, and be random and intelligent. Mix things up, even if it means being sub-optimal at times with things like anchor selection, backlink types, or a blog post.
Spam is HOW You Are Using Backlinks
Managing big PBNs, the way in which I saw the most successful link building SEO campaigns build backlinks was typically by using more random techniques in order to create longevity and insulate the website.
“Well, is a press release considered spammy? Is using blog post or blog comments spammy?”
When it comes to picking the type of links you’re getting, everybody knows guest posts, niche edits, and PBNs. When we talk about quality links, things become blurry and overgeneralized by many people out in the community. Just because high-quality links are among the most important ranking factors for SEO, it does not mean they can’t be used in a spammy way.
People often think things are spammy incorrectly, for example, if relevant content, resource pages, or a guest post isn’t written perfectly. I have seen people in developing nations around the world, who do not speak English very well, be able to write their own press releases (and they still help them in the search engines a lot).
Do not miscalculate what you can do with your innate ambition and backlinking know-how. Your press release isn’t spammy as long as you are not sending it out with a bunch of money anchors that link to your site.
If you want to get a backlink from blog comments, a broken link, or unlinked mentions – just do what is natural. It makes sense for random names, branded, or naked anchors to be used as the name of the person/entity that published the post linking back to the homepage. Using a money anchor to an inner page here makes no sense.
Think analytically as far as what looks natural (to search engines/users) and what should be inside these links, don’t do the same thing repeatedly, and use randomness as a weapon.
There is No “Right” Way to Get Backlinks
I’ve got this budget of $500, how many of each type of link should I get?
There is no answer for that. You want to keep the algorithm guessing every month, so switch things up.
I have seen people that had great success with a quality backlink like a niche edit, all then all of a sudden they just keep using niche edits to target multiple sites until they bastardize the ability to use them anymore and get any kind of upward inflection.
This is because they have overused one specific type of backlink. A niche edit is a contextual link that is dropped into an existing post (i.e. indexed by Google). Algorithms can detect when you add a link on an indexed page. The backlink can be a niche edit, guest post, or forum link. All links may eventually get detected by search engines, but certain backlinks such as niche edits leave a distinctive footprint (i.e. being contextually inserted into preexisting content).
For PBN links, it is the same thing. They are home / first page links with lots of power (i.e. link juice). That pattern is noticeable to algorithms and seasoned SEO professionals. There are lots of examples of patterns or footprints. For instance, a broken link fix creates a pattern for any search engine crawler to detect as well.
There are many ways to get a backlink.
You can do manual outreach link building that involves tactics like finding unlinked mentions or broken links, performing email outreach, utilizing guest post opportunities like “help a reporter”, and searching for relevant content.
You could even just ask for a link from a site owner (who happens to be a close friend and SEO professional). Trying to convince a stranger to want to link to your website/pages isn’t easy, but this type of manual link outreach can be done.
All of these ways to get backlinks to your website/pages, if done exclusively, are going to hurt your website and rankings, and all of these things done in moderation and blended well are going to help you (i.e. link diversity).
So don’t ever think:
I’ve got a $500 budget, $400 is going to niche edits. And I can only get so many other links.
Just switch it up next month to keep things being a guess. If you do that you’re going to have a lot more luck keeping things moving up and keeping longevity for your target site(s).
Keep Analyzing & Building Quality Backlinks
A lot of people get to a position where they sort of fear taking any step because they fear that they could all lead in the wrong direction.
Again, just trust that rank graph (and its ranking factors). Start experimenting with things. There are legitimate backlinks suppliers all over the place, including us, that care about our products and have had success with them.
Keep building and monitoring what your graph is doing. Use a monitor tool like Google Analytics to track the progress of a page, post, or all your sites. Based on that and keeping backlink randomness in mind, make a rational decision on how to take your next steps for getting backlinks pointing to your site.
Use helpful SEO tools like Ahrefs (great for checking backlinks), Google Analytics, or Keywords Everywhere (keyword research directly in the Google SERPs). Understand what type of referring domains you are getting quality backlinks from and see if you can engage other websites that are like your most authoritative referring domains (domain comparison and content exploration tools).
Also, remember that there are more hacks or strategies for moving, fixing things, or getting more links. These include techniques such as 301 redirects that link to your site, tiered link building, broken link building, unlinked mentions, guest posting, brand mentions, search engine features or just starting off with an aged domain altogether and building off of it. There are a lot of different ways to use these techniques blended in along with quality monthly link building.
Anyhow, I think I probably went on one too many rants on how to get backlinks to link back to your website for a while. Honestly, I am just kind of free-balling this thing. But I hope that this guide on how to get backlinks for SEO was informative and it helps a little bit with your link building (without bothering you too much with our mentioning of products and services). We do honestly believe this is the best way to build high-quality backlinks for SEO.
If you have any comments or questions, leave them below!
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Hey I'm Nick, the Founder/Director here at SirLinksalot. I have a passion for building online businesses and taking websites to the next level with the help of my amazing link building team.
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