All posts by SEO and Link Building Blog

Quality Backlinks in 2017: Let’s Look to the Future

quality backlinksWhere did the time go?

2017 is almost here, and it has some surprises in store for SEO. 2016 marked the latest Penguin update and reaffirmed the importance of building quality backlinks to your website. (Emphasis on the word “quality.”)

So what do you need and don’t need to build top notch backlinks?

Let’s explore the latest and greatest from Google and learn what you need to prioritize in 2017!

How Google Evaluates Your Website

To understand where backlinks are headed in 2017, it’s important to understand the ranking factors Google uses to evaluate your website.

Believe it or not, there are 200 different ranking factors! Instead of listing all 200, here are the top seven ranking factors most crucial to link building, according to a recent survey of leading SEO experts:

  • Trust level and domain authority  – 24%
  • Number of incoming backlinks, also known as link popularity – 22%
  • Anchor Text – 20%
  • SEO Keywords – 15%
  • Registration and Web Hosting – 7%
  • Incoming traffic and click-through rate – 6%
  • Social Media – 5%

As you can see, quality backlinks are the second most important ranking factor. Furthermore, important ranking factors such as trust level, anchor texts, and social media play a significant role in link building as well.

In order to maintain the integrity of their search results, Google periodically updates their algorithms to catch and weed out the bad apples. In doing so, it’s now a lot easier to get penalized if you’re not careful.

Google’s most recent algorithm update, Penguin 4.0, is particularly relevant to this conversation because it deals specifically with links.

Why Google Penguin is Important

No doubt, Google Penguin will have significant influence over backlink strategies come 2017. This particular update specifically targets low-quality backlinks. If you haven’t already, make sure to perform an SEO audit to remove or “no-follow” any questionable backlinks.

In short, Google Penguin will flag and penalize the following link building issues:

  • Building low-quality backlinks from websites irrelevant to your niche. Building a low-quality backlink profile too fast may be seen as manipulating search results.
  • Like Google’s Panda update, Penguin will also penalize you for keyword stuffing your content.
  • Optimizing your content with too much anchor text. Anchor text is a major ranking factor, but you want to include them in the most relevant way possible.
  • Using too many exact match anchor texts. Exact match anchor text used to be standard SEO practice. Not anymore! This now raises major flags.
  • Unnatural backlinks are also flagged and penalized. These are websites that google deems as “manipulating search results.”

So what backlink trends will you expect to see in 2017?

Diversify Your Quality Backlinks

Backlink diversity will be key in 2017.

With the Penguin 4.0 release, link practices are under more scrutiny. If the majority of your backlinks are coming from the same source, Penguin may flag and ultimately penalize you.

When building your backlink profile, consider a wide variety of the following sources:

  • High-authority blogs
  • Relevant .org websites
  • Editorial websites
  • Social media pages
  • Popular video sites like YouTube
  • Relevant websites with .edu and .gov extensions
  • Online guides
  • Whitepapers

Penguin may also penalize you if the majority of your backlinks come from the same “c-class” ISP address. Having too many may be viewed as spam.

Assess The Page and Domain Authority of Your Links

Knowing where your backlinks are coming from is crucial for staying penguin-friendly. That’s why when building your profile, you need to extensively research the backlinks you want to pursue.

In the old SEO days, Google’s PageRank was used to measure the authority of websites. However, since Google retired PageRank, other tools have risen to take its place.

One of the most popular methods for assessing websites is domain authority and page authority, otherwise known as your PA and DA scores.

PA and DA scores use a 0-100 ranking system. Therefore, the better the score, the more authority that site has with google. For example, Facebook has a score of 100 because it’s such a mega-popular network. When building your backlinks, try to aim for websites with reasonable scores of 30 and above.

2017 Is All About Intent

Forget the old ways of SEO. It’s no longer cool to target keywords and backlinks that have nothing to do with your niche. Remember, links and anchor text are supposed to help visitors engage more with the topic, not detour them completely.

For example, suppose you run a pet niche website. You find that a tire review website is linking to your article, “Top 7 Tips For Making Your Own Dog Food”, in their blog post on Luxury Car Rims. That backlink has nothing to do with the intent of the blog post, and in turn, that backlink could get flagged.

So what do you do in situations like this?

If the tire review website didn’t add a “no-follow” tag to your backlink, reach out directly to the website to remove it. You should also run a detailed SEO audit to identify troubling backlinks that need to be removed and work with your SEO consultant to purchase only relevant quality backlinks.

Build Contextual Quality Backlinks

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “content is king”, but this philosophy also extends right into your link building methods. Moving forward into 2017, backlinks within content will have more value than stand-alone links and those listed on sidebars. These are called contextual backlinks.

Remember, it’s all about intent!

When building your backlinks, make sure to focus on websites that produce substantial, well-formatted articles and blog posts. You also need to analyze how backlinks are used.

Ask yourself this:

  • Do their backlinks match the intent of the content?
  • Do they direct visitors to relevant, useful web pages?

One way to find quality backlinks is to perform backlink research on your competitors and the backlink websites you’re considering.

You can’t take any chances with Google in 2017, and the last thing you want is to waste time getting rid of bad backlinks.

To start the year off strong, receive an SEO audit to see where your backlinks stand, do away with outdated SEO practices, and speak with an SEO consultant to make sure you’re building quality backlinks the right way.

Backlink Builder for Local SEO: Link Building for a “Near Me” Search

backlink builderNeed some backlink builder tips for local SEO? We got you. Here’s what you need to build links that will help nearby customers find you when they need you.

These tips are tailored specifically for local businesses who are navigating their SEO strategy in a “post-Possum” Google age.

In case you missed the news, Google has changed their algorithm (again, yes) to better serve the “near me” search.

Not to worry–we’ve got all the backlink builder tips you need to get ranked in “near me” searches.

Let’s get into it!

Get in the news.

As the old saying goes, any press is good press when it comes to local link building.

You can easily reach out to local reporters and editors to offer expert perspective on current news items or to inform them of newsworthy developments at your company.

Most articles posted online are linked to the author’s contact information, or you can just call up the local newsroom.

Pitching yourself as a local expert can develop into an ongoing relationship with the local news teams!

Enter local contests.

Most cities nowadays have some version of an annual “Best of” contest.

Be sure you’re throwing your name in the hat for any categories your business is a fit for.

Not only does this build awareness among your local customers, you can turn a contest nomination into social media or blog content for the entire voting period. Bonus points if you’re able to snag a trophy!

No category for your business? Contact the contest organizers and pitch them on why your niche deserves recognition.

Organize a meet-up.

Thanks to social media and email lists, it’s easier than ever to organize regular meetups and get-togethers with like-minded locals.

This can be based on your business’s services or just a “pro-bono” hosting of a social group.

Here are a few ideas of free groups to host or organize:

  • Book club
  • Run/walk club
  • Bridge or bingo night
  • Networking group

Join community events.

Local governments, schools, and civic groups hold events throughout the year.

Contact your local institutions and learn how you can get involved with the next festival, fair or summit.

Be sure to ask about website listings and confirm your business’s links are listed on the event page.

Sponsor local groups or events.

Many local events or groups are in need of additional funding through sponsorships.

While this requires some of your marketing dollars,  sponsoring a local kids’ sports team or a beloved community event is not only great for your reputation among your community, it’s also a great way to get more links on local sites.

When negotiating your sponsorship package, make sure your request your links to be included in as much online collateral as possible.

Offer discounts.

Depending on your target demographics, can you offer a discount?

Student, teacher, first responders, military and senior discounts are not only very appreciated by those who can take advantage of the deals, but also give you the chance to be listed on local sites and deal round-ups.

This tip is especially effective if you have a college or university nearby.

Create a local resource.

Does your business have coveted tips and advice that your community needs? Why not condense it into a one-page resource or guide?

You’ll be positioning your business as the local expert on all things local and have the chance to pitch the resource to local sites and influencers as a valuable asset.

Get links from manufacturers or wholesalers.

If you sell any type of product that comes from a manufacturer or wholesale, check out your supplier’s website to see if you can be listed as a distributor.

Build relationships with local influencers.

This is going beyond your daily newspaper.

Again, depending on your target demographic, an influencer for your ideal customer might vary. Local influencers tend to be bloggers or even local social media stars. There might even be some hybrid blog/news/event sites that are frequented by your ideal customer.

Establish relationships with these key players to ensure you’re included in roundups or that your news/events are listed on their sites.

Make sure you’re listed in local directories.

This one tends to be so easy it’s overlooked.

Do you have a local business directory, online “phone book” or Yelp/TripAdvisor page that you should be included on? Make sure all of your information is up to date on these sites, as well as including up to date and working links.

Post open positions on job boards.

When you have a position open, be sure to include your relevant contact info and your website in your postings on job boards.

This can include places like Monster, Indeed, Craigslist, etc. If you don’t want your main contact info flooded with applicants, set up a specific email address and phone number for hiring purposes only.

Hire an intern.

Not ready to take on another paid employee? Internships are a great way to serve your community and get additional local links. The same tips apply as the previous tip for job boards, feel free to set up separate email and phone accounts for internship applicants.

With both of these tips, it’s important to remember that you can leave your openings up until you find the perfect person!

Exchange testimonials with other local businesses.

Do you regularly do business with another local business? We’re almost positive you do!

Reach out to your best local partners with a testimonial and see if they don’t mind linking your website along with your blurb.

You can easily add a “local favorites” tab to your own website to repay the favor and build community among other local business owners.

Testimonials are a great and FREE backlink builder for local businesses.

Offer free wifi and get listed.

You’re already paying the internet bill, why not get a return on your monthly investment? Offer free wifi to customers and get listed on free wifi directory sites.

Pitch guest posts to local blogs and publications.

Brainstorm some relevant topics for your local audience and pitch your ideas to local blogs or newspapers. These publications are often looking for fresh perspectives from local leaders, so why should you get your thoughts (and links!) out there?

Purchase affiliate link building packages to truly buff up your backlink builder strategy.

If you’re a small team strapped for time, one of the best and easiest ways to get your links topped up and rock the local SEO game is to invest in a link building package. With high-quality links and tens of thousands of websites to choose from, our services will help propel your local SEO strategy to the next level, without a single headache or worry for you.

Have questions about these backlink builder tips? Contact us today–we’re happy to answer any questions you might have.

Link Building Services: How Long to Boost Your Rankings?

link building servicesSo you’ve got a company and you need to increase its search engine rankings.

There are plenty of methods that you’re no doubt familiar with, like keyword lists or social media visibility.

You’ve considered purchasing backlinks but perhaps held off on pulling the trigger, thinking that Google’s recent algorithm tweak changed the effectiveness of that strategy.

Think again.

Using Link Building Services Effectively

Before, buying backlinks meant you’d purchase a bundle of links to tons of sites, effectively spamming the internet with your content.

Google adjusted for that, and who can blame them? What company wants to be associated with spam?

What really matters in the SEO field now is the quality of backlinks. Your company needs to be associated with high-ranked and valued pages.

That’s where purchasing quality backlinks really helps. Getting on reputable sites is key.

Now you’re ready to get on board and purchase backlinks but the real question is when will you see a return on your investment?

The short term answer? Up to 10 weeks.

The long term answer? Six months to a year.

If you think that sounds like a long time, you’re missing the point of growing your page’s visibility.

Let’s clarify and dig deeper into what’s needed to really boost your rankings.

Preparing The Most Effective Strategy

Every campaign needs a solid strategy. You can’t skimp on the crucial gestation period and you need to build it into your timetable.

What’s involved in realizing maximum results?

First, take a hard look at what your company offers and how you can make this into something web-friendly.

Bring your co-workers together to really brainstorm – you’d be surprised what you come up with.

Do you have definitive expertise in something? Writing an instructional blog post is one of the surefire ways to create a quality page.

Creating media like a video or an infographic is another great way to generate links organically but also create a unique post that grabs eyeballs.

To get the most out of link building services, you need to make sure you’ve got the material to present your company in the best light possible.

It can’t be stressed enough how vital it is to take time crafting quality, linkable information and resources. Make sure you account for this time when you’re planning your SEO strategy.

Implementing The Strategy – What To Expect:

Once you’ve got your pages where you want them (high-quality, clickable content), your next step is to purchase the backlinks.

The benefit of a link building service like Backlinks is that we’ve got 10 years of experience to back us up, making us one of the most trustworthy and qualified companies.

You can even browse our inventory to see where your content is going – all you need to do is register for a free account.

Search for the specific keywords and categories that work best with your brand; Backlinks will provide you with plenty of trusted partners that will boost your SEO.

Once you’ve got it set up, this is where you should expect to see that initial bump in ratings in about 10 weeks.

You might think this is quite a while to wait but you need to start thinking long-term.

While things on the web seem to go fast – it’s so easy to get the latest video or click “like” on a post – in truth, brand-building takes some time.

And it’s completely worth it.

In fact, don’t just consider this waiting period “down time”; there are things you can do in the interim to improve your rankings even further.

What Happens Next: Investing In And Growing Your Brand

Your content is fine-tuned and flawless and you have your secret weapon (a trusted partnership with a link building service) in place.

While you could technically wait around to see what happens, you should use this time to supplement your strategy.

Ultimately, think of the reason your company created an online presence and purchased backlinks – you’re looking to connect with your audience.

Make it easy for them to find you and make sure they want to come back.

There are plenty of easy ways to reach out to your target demographic; make sure you use them all to your advantage.

First and foremost is reaching out on social media.

If you’ve ever visited a company’s social media account and found it hadn’t been updated for months, then you’ll know why it’s important.

Keep your pages – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, anything that you use – completely up to date.

Link to every post you create and keep posting. This is simply the easiest way to build a connection with your customers.

That being said, don’t spam your own site.

Don’t create posts just to create posts – remember how we talked about quality before?

Clickbait is definitely out – it’s been done to death.

Your company’s website should be all about what you have to offer – not about some random viral nonsense that has nothing to do with your brand.

It’s also vital to have a mobile version of your site.

Mobile site traffic has grown in leaps and bounds over the past few years. It’s probably the main way your target demographics reach you.

Remember – don’t just sit around during the downtime; if you want to be successful, use every resource available.

So, How Long Will It Really Take?

Again – remember that this is a long-term strategy and won’t yield instant gratification.

Expect to see a real difference in about six months to a year.

It’s not an automatic process and you can do things in the interim to help your rankings rise.

It boils down to the three crucial elements:

  • Crafting your perfect plan of attack – quality content and worthy partnerships are key.
  • Implementing your strategy  – here’s where you open the floodgates. You’ll see an initial bump at this stage.
  • Keeping the momentum going – While your backlinks are working for you, don’t forget to use this time to cultivate your online presence and build relationships

If you needed a reason to get started now, consider this your wake-up call.

It’s going to take a while to get to where you want to be with this strategy, but with all things in life that take time, it’s worth it.

So what are you waiting for? Put this plan in place and watch your rankings soar!

Here’s How Google Defines “High-Quality Backlinks”

High-quality backlinksIf you think that social media is replacing search engines as the primary way that visitors are being referred to sites, think again.

In fact, a study by Forrester found that 93 percent of all online experiences start with a visit to a search engine.

Another study found that when shopping online, 61 percent of consumers will use a search engine to research the product that they are looking for and make their decision.

If your site doesn’t rank well on Google, you’re missing out on the patronage of a large portion of these viewers.

While SEO practices are important for boosting your rankings, high-quality backlinks are the best way to help your site climb the Google rankings, and boost traffic to your website.

But if you don’t understand Google’s complicated screening process for backlinks, you likely aren’t creating high-quality ones, which may lead to your site getting flagged for spam.

What It Means to Backlink to Your Site

To understand how to create high-quality backlinks, you first need to understand what backlinks are and how they work.

Anytime a website contains a link to another site, this is considered a backlink. Backlinks, in the simplest terms, create links between sites.

But these backlinks do a number of other things as well.

First, they create referral traffic.

This traffic often isn’t large, but it is targeted. For instance, if a backlink is included on a niche blog, and links to another blog in the same niche, anyone who is already interested in that topic will find the link useful and may visit continue on to that other site.

But if someone is reading that blog and isn’t interested in the niche, they aren’t likely to click on that backlink.

Backlinks boost the rate at which your site is indexed by search engines.

This is important for all websites, but especially for new ones, as it will make it easier for your website to be found on search engines.

Finally, backlinks also increase your organic ranking.

As with improving the speed at which your site is indexed, this helps to boost where your site falls during a search through an engine like Google.

The Difference Between a High-Quality Backlink and a Poor Quality Backlink

Not all backlinks are created equal.

High-quality backlinks are links posted on relevant, high-quality sites. They link similar material in a natural way.

High-quality links have the ability to dramatically boost your site’s ranking on Google. Poor quality links do the opposite.

Links are considered low quality for a number of reasons. They may be posted on poor quality websites. Or they may be posted on sites that have nothing in common with the website that’s being linked to.

Think of spam comments on blogs and websites, ones that try to capture viewers attention with irrelevant posts or promises of services that have nothing to do with the topic of the article or blog that you were originally reading.

Google will flag these links, which will, in turn, hurt your site’s organic ranking.

Understanding Google’s Definition of a High-Quality Backlink

Even if you aren’t posting spam message-backlinks in comment sections of websites and blogs, your links could still get flagged.

Why? Google has a screening process that seeks to identify any links that could be unnatural.

They define unnatural links as any that are created with the sole intent of boosting a website’s search ranking. Google’s goal is to prevent poor quality websites from gaining a high search ranking by spreading poor quality backlinks all over the web.

Even having too many links obtained through an exchange, as in one blogger promising to link to another blog if that blog will also link to them, can get your site flagged by Google for having unnatural links.

How to Create High-Quality Backlinks

There are a number of ways to go about creating high-quality backlinks.

One way is by creating infographics.

Infographics are one of the most popular visual tools on the internet. Websites love to include them and are constantly on the lookout for relevant ones.

If you create these infographics, then other websites and blogs will use them and will include a link leading back to your site.

In the same way that infographics will get shared often, creating high quality, interesting content will also help ensure that backlinks are being created to your site on other websites and blogs.

You should also be creating internal links on your websites.

These redirect your readers to other pages on your site that contain useful information.

These links also count towards boosting your SEO.

You can also invite guest bloggers and writers to submit articles or posts to your site.

While this may seem counterintuitive (because those writers are going to create links to their own site in their posts) they are also likely to post links to the article that they write on your site on their own website, thus creating a high-quality link for you.

They also may provide an interesting new take on the subject that you specialize in, which can result in interesting content that will drive even more viewers to your site. Interview-style articles with experts in the field are a great way to achieve this.

While these methods are all effective, getting a large number of high-quality backlinks entirely on your own will take a very long time and a whole lot of hard work.

To shorten the process, you might consider purchasing affiliate links with link building packages.

Choosing a reliable company to produce these links is important. The last thing that you want to do is pay for poor quality links.

An experienced, professional company will allow you to browse the pages that you’d like your links to appear on, which will help ensure that your links are natural and relevant.

With Google constantly changing and adjusting their algorithms, it’s also important that you hire a company that stays up to date on what Google is doing, and adapts quickly to these changes.

Get in touch with us. We can help.

Penguin 4 Update: Has Your Site Recovered?

Did your site get hit by the Penguin 4 update? Are you wondering why it hasn’t recovered?

After almost two years of waiting, the Penguin 4 update finally rolled out at the end of September. Different from previous updates, Penguin 4 is a real-time update. This means websites are now being evaluated in real-time and will increase or decrease in rankings in real-time.

This is good news if your site was hit during the roll-out because you can make changes and get out of your Penguin penalty now. If your site hasn’t recovered yet, read on to learn more about Penguin 4 and what you can do to get your site rankings back up.

If your site hasn’t recovered yet, read on to learn more about Penguin 4 and what you can do to get your site rankings back up.

What You Need to Know About Penguin 4

From specific words on websites to your region and the freshness of content, Google’s filtering process relies on over 200 unique signals to find the search item you’re looking for. One of these signals is called Penguin.

Google detects sites that are spamming the search results. The Penguin filter has been run periodically since 2012 to capture those sites that are getting past the regular spamming systems. In the past when Penguin caught a spammy site, the site would remain penalized no matter how they changed until the next time Penguin ran.

Before Penguin 4, there hadn’t been a Penguin update since October 17, 2014. Every site hit then had to wait until this recent update of Penguin 4 to become unpenalized.

Now, site owners won’t have to wait months to be recognized in the search rankings by Google. Penguin 4 is real-time, so as Google constantly reindexes pages, the Penguin filter is constantly assessing those pages. Penguin with catch and free sites in this ongoing process.

The Penguin 4 update also made the filter more granular. It now adjusts ranking based on spam signals, rather than affecting the ranking of the wholepenguin 4 website.

This means that it is no longer only a sitewide penalty. Penguin can impact specific pages on a site as well as sections or wide swaths of a site. But the whole site isn’t affected, and some pages may be fine.

Why Your Site Hasn’t Recovered from Penguin 4

Even though Google has claimed that the Penguin 4 update is real-time, some sites still haven’t recovered from previous penalties. Here are a few possibilities for why your site hasn’t recovered yet?

1. The update is still rolling out.

Penguin 4 is quite different from the previous versions. Rather than being an actual update, it replaces the previous versions and works differently than they did.

Penguin 4 has been rolled out in a couple phases. The new code went live around September 23 when Google announced it. But for the new code to completely take effect, it had to wait for the entire link graph to be refreshed, which can take some time for deeper links.

Because of that, it may have taken a few days for the initial roll-out to fully take effect.

Google also rolled back previous Penguin penalties after the new code launched. Google announced on Twitter that the Penguin roll-out was in the final stage on October 7, still removing demotions over the next few days.

It is possible that not all Penguin demotions have been removed yet. Your site may be one of the unlucky few. Monitor your keyword rankings instead of traffic to see if your site is improving.

2. You still have too many broken links.

While you may be trying to hold on to as many links as possible, bad links may be keeping your site down in the Google rankings.

Bad links can come in several forms. When you delete a linked page, insert an incorrect URL in a text link or change a URL address without correctly updating the URL, you get a broken link.

One of the ways Google’s algorithms rank websites is by crawling their links. If your site has broken links, these algorithms stop from crawling and indexing it.

Google aims to avoid directing users to sites that have these broken links. If you still have too bad links lurking on your site, it is likely affecting your ranking with Google.

Even though Google claims not to be penalizing the whole site, bad links could still be causing the issue. Other algorithms could be catching these bad links and keeping your site low in the rankings. Continuing to clean up bad links could help get your site back up in Google.

3. You don’t have enough links anymore.

Perhaps you got so carried away with taking out bad links that your site doesn’t have any links left. It’s possible that your Penguin penalty was lifted when you removed the bad links, but if you don’t have enough good links left then your site still won’t rank well with Google.

Backlinks are important for ranking in Google. They may account for as much as 80 percent of the weight that search engine ranking algorithms give websites. Without backlinks at all, your site doesn’t stand a chance.

Instead of focusing on taking out all the bad links, turn your efforts to getting more quality and authoritative backlinks in your content. Since Penguin 4 is real-time, implementing backlinks now can have a positive impact and get your site back up in the rankings quicker.

4. Your site has other issues that don’t involve Penguin.

Penguin is only one of more than 200 signals that Google uses to determine site rankings. There could be a slew of other catches taking place that have nothing to do with Penguin. Your site could have been suppressed by Panda or one of Google’s Quality Algorithms.

You may be having other technical SEO issues that don’t have to do with bad links. If your site hasn’t recovered from Penguin, it’s worth digging deeper than just fixing your links.

If your site hasn’t recovered from Penguin 4, keep waiting a short while as the update is still rolling out. But don’t hesitate to disavow those bad links or add some high-quality backlinks. Most sites are experiencing improvements from the update, and yours should be right up there with them.

Get Creative and Get More Backlinks: 7 Off the Beaten Path Strategies

get backlinksIf there's a single question that most commonly keeps SEOs up at night, it's probably: "how do I get backlinks?"

Most other activities in SEO are pretty straightforward. You perform keyword research. You include your keywords in your post content and in all the relevant meta tags.

But to get backlinks, more brain-wracking is involved.

Link-building can seem to depend on factors outside of your control. What if you spend hours upon hours doing email outreach only to come up empty-handed?

Trying to get backlinks to no avail is stressful enough when you're working on your own money sites. It's not even an option when you're working on others' sites.

If you're doing SEO for clients, you need ways to get backlinks that are scalable.

Fortunately, there are plenty of creative ways to grow your backlink profile that go beyond simple email outreach.

By using these off the beaten path strategies, you will get more backlinks and move your sites up the rankings. You'll also have more fun.

Give Your Product to Reviewers

Reaching out to reviewers is a simple way to get backlinks for your website.

Remember, there are bloggers out there who make a living reviewing products and services. All you have to do is search online for the ones who cover your industry.

Once you've found them, create a list of emails of those you will contact.

To save time, create a template to which you can adjust the name upon sending each email.

When someone says he's interested in reviewing what you have to offer, send your product over!

In order for product reviews to be worth your while, you need to make sure the reviewer does one important thing: add a link to your website in his post!

Placing a backlink to your site should be a given. It's how readers will learn more about the reviewed product. But if you don't see one, don't be afraid to gently remind them.

Review outreach is a fantastic strategy to get backlinks because it also gets readers pumped about your product (assuming the review is favorable) and gives you good traffic.

Interview and Be Interviewed

Want to experience being a hard-hitting journalist? Or do you dream of being the star subject of 60 Minutes?

You can get backlinks through interviewing and being interviewed by others.

To get backlinks by interviewing interesting people in your industry, ask your interview subjects to provide a link back to your post on their website.

For extra SEO kick, set up interviews with university professors. The link juice from .edu sites is powerful.

You can also get backlinks by being interviewed. When the interviewer posts the write-up or recording on his blog, he'll naturally include a link back to your website, scoring you some more SEO points.

Write Regular Statistics Posts

As you know, part of good on-page SEO including outbound leaks to authority sites within your content.

With every blogger on the internet freely handing out links in this way, wouldn't it be awesome to get a slice of the pie?

You can--and it isn't as complicated as you might think!

All it takes to get backlinks from bloggers is to write statistics posts.

Think about it: the content most writers link out to is statistics backing up the points they make.

So if you want them to give you a backlink, all you have to do is provide them with the stats they can use as a source.

Research the industry-relevant stats that bloggers in your niche often rely on. Write a post that incorporates all these juicy numbers.

Optimize your post for SEO. When you're done, share your work!

Send a link t bloggers already using stats and ask them to consider using yours instead. And reach out to bloggers who may find your statistics useful in the future.

Not only will this method get you backlinks; it will also establish you as a credible authority in your field!

Write Testimonials

When you write testimonials, you probably feel like you're doing the person you review a favor. You are, but you can also turn it into a huge opportunity for your own business.

By simply ask the company you review to include a link to your website along with your testimonial. Because they're happy you took the time to write kind words (and they want to keep customers happy), they will almost always oblige.

It's a super clever way to get backlinks!

Do Something Newsworthy

Journalists are always looking for news to report. If you can catch the attention of someone who writes for a news organization, that can be an effective way to get backlinks.

It's best to start on a smaller scale and work your way up. Build relationships with the journalists who work for the local papers.

Come up with something interesting and out of the ordinary, you can do to for publicity. Hold a charity event. Or an outrageous prank.

When you're written up, the backlinks from news publications are some of the best you can get.

Get Backlinks with HARO

Most people know about Help a Reporter Out, or HARO. Sometimes you reply to query after query to no avail.

But there's a much better way to get backlinks from HARO than by sending out individual emails.

If your site has an Alexa Rating of more than 1 million, you can submit a query as a reporter.

Use this to gather responses for roundup posts. Bloggers will respond happily in the hopes of getting backlinks.

Once you have your roundup post ready, publish it and promote. The collective sharing from all the people included in your article will bring massive traffic and backlinks.

Speak at Events

Participating in events is a great way to build your reputation as an authority. It's also a great way to get backlinks.

When you are scheduled to appear somewhere, make sure you are listed on the event's website and that there is a link to your site. This will give you some extra link mojo.

Conclusion

There are lots of creative ways to get backlinks. Using a variety helps you diversify your link profile for long-lasting SERP results.

SEO Magic: You Can Build Backlinks By Using Broken Pages

build backlinksIf you’ve done any research on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for your website, you already know how important it is to build backlinks. You’ve even likely seen tips online warning you to steer clear of linking to broken pages.

But did you know that there’s a widely untapped strategy you can use to build quality backlinks that will help your SEO ranking using broken 404 pages?

It sounds crazy, right? Once your customer clicks the link and comes across a 404 page, isn’t it bound to make the customer turn away from your website or business?

Not if you use the broken pages as an opportunity to build value for your own business by pointing it out to your competitors and get them to link to your website instead.

That’s right. By using your competitors’ 404 pages, you can speed up the process of link building, generate more traffic for your website, and provide value to your customers.

If you’re interested in making your link building more efficient and more powerful, then keep reading to find out how!

How to Build Backlinks with 404 Pages

There are many SEO agencies and experts that use the broken link building strategy to create quality one-way backlinks.

It comes down to an unconventional strategy to get competitor website to link back to you that could pay off even more than traditional backlinks.

1. Make a List of Five of Your Top Competitors

First, make a short list of competitors in your industry niche. This involves searching Google for other businesses in your industry or searching the keywords you’re targeting and finding websites that are above you in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).

List your competitors in a spreadsheet with their SERP position and the date you found their site.

2. Find Your Competitors’ 404 Pages

Next, you could check all the links manually, but this is extremely time-consuming, and one of the main goals of this strategy is to save you time.

Instead, you can use one of the many free tools online to automatically search for broken links on sites you visit.

Google Chrome has an extension called “Check My Links” that will run all the links on a website and show you all the broken links highlighted in red. If you’re looking for more advanced options, you can try the free Screaming Frog SEO Spider Tool.

But if you really want to speed up and automate the process, there are lots of services willing to build quality backlinks for your website for a small fee. They’ll also take care of researching your competitors and contacting them if need be.

If you just want to do a quick search for yourself, try checking your competitors’ “links” or “resources” pages, as these are the most common places for broken links to pop up.

3. Request a Link from the Webmasters

This is the main linchpin of the Broken Backlink strategy. 404 pages on someone’s website are bad for SEO page rankings. Webmasters hate finding 404 pages on their sites because it could mean that their SERP position may have been leeched by dead links for weeks or months.

So they appreciate when outside website visitors inform them of undetected broken backlinks. Your goal here is to convince the webmaster to replace their broken links with your website URL.

  • Draft an email to the webmaster informing them of the broken link or links you’ve found on their website and suggest your site as an alternative resource. Make sure to explain the benefits of your website and why you’re an authoritative source.
  • Inform them of your position at your website or business, but be sure to frame your request on the benefits provided to them rather than on your own business’s SEO goals.
  • If you worry that they may not want to help a rival business, you can also just present yourself as a fan of their site and neglect to mention your connection with your own site.
  • Write a personalized email to each of the webmasters, rather than using a template form letter and risk looking like spam. Try to find the name of the webmaster and understand the goals of their business.

Understand that a lot of webmasters will elect to not use your site as a replacement backlink because you’re an industry competitor. Don’t pester them if they refuse or if they neglect to reply back to you at all.

The Path to Success

Use your competitor list to cast a wide net with this strategy. You should only expect a reply from around 30% of competitors, and only around 10% will add your backlink.

1. Don’t give up.

If the webmaster isn’t doing frequent checks for broken backlinks, then it’s likely they won’t fully consider the downsides to linking to a competitor. They also may not want to take the time to hunt down alternative quality links and accept the links you provide them to save time.

2. Tweak Your Approach

When you do receive replies, make sure to take everything they say into consideration, even if they ultimately refuse to link to your site. This will help you to figure out what didn’t work in your proposal email and what you can change or adjust to best convince your next prospect that your backlink is valuable to them.

Get Creative!

This is an unconventional strategy to build backlinks, so it requires some finesse and creativity on your part. Your focus in your proposal email should be on explaining how replacing their dead backlink with your website as a resource is beneficial to them.

Nobody is going to be incentivized to help out a competitor unless it looks like it’s going to be equally or more beneficial to themselves.

Make sure to explain why dead backlinks negatively affect the user experience. If you want to seem less pushy, provide a few alternatives rather than just your own site, but be sure to paint your site as the most authoritative and effective.

Of course, your first priority should be to create a quality authoritative website in the first place, so if you’ve done that then you should have far less trouble convincing your competitor that you’re an authority in the industry.

What “magic” SEO hacks have you picked up over the years?

link building tools

Link Building Tools: Your Guide to Knowing a Quality Backlink

Your SEO strategy is almost there, but you’re missing a crucial piece of the puzzle. You need link building tools to help you find websites that will direct back to your site.

Websites that link back to your site are called backlinks, and search engines have strict requirements for them.

If your backlinks are low quality, then your website will be penalized. This means plummeting in SERPS or even having your entire website deindexed altogether.

And if you think you can bypass backlinking, think again.

According to industry experts, backlink-generated web traffic comes second to the power of search. In fact, backlinks may even hold 80% of the ranking weight as organic search engine traffic.

Yes, backlinks are a big deal. But not any backlink will do. It’s crucial that your backlinks are high-quality. Otherwise, search engines will penalize you for quality problems.

But don’t worry, it’s not going to come to that.

Because today, you’re going to learn how to spot those quality backlinks!

So let’s breakdown what you need to know to start building a high-quality backlink profile.

Use Link Building Tools to Find Relevant Backlinks

Imagine this all too common scenario: You start reading an article on content marketing, but want to check out a few more sources. Great! Your article is peppered with anchor text backlinking to more information.

Except, when you click, you’re directed to spammy web pages that are totally irrelevant to content marketing.

Not only are you annoyed as a reader, but ultimately, that website will be dinged for bad backlinking practices.

Don’t let this happen to you.

Years ago, webmasters got away with this when SEO was still fresh, but search engines have definitely caught on.

With every Google update, comes an even greater pressure for backlink relevancy. That’s why it’s crucial to analyze and research every backlink you seek.

But isn’t that a time-consuming process?

It’s used to be, but now you have link building tools to help you with the following:

  • Scour the web for websites in your niche.
  • Measure MOZ domain authority (DA) to gauge the overall authority level of that site.
  • Find expired domains similar to yours.
  • Crawl backlinks of similar sites, competitors, and similar expired domains to reveal more relevant backlink opportunities.
  • Check the quality of your own backlinks.
  • Check how many backlinks you currently have, have lost, or recently gained.

Remember, it’s all about the quality, so don’t rush it.

If you want to save time, an experienced SEO team can build your backlink portfolio for you. This way, you never have to worry about low-quality backlinks slipping in.

Your Backlinks Should Be High-Authority Websites

What do you think of when you hear the word “authority?”

Maybe teachers, leaders, scholars, or corporate bosses come to mind?

In SEO, “authority” is a big deal, but it’s websites, not people, who have authority. And the more authoritative the website, the better the backlink.

Online, authority websites are your trusted sources for the following:

  • Industry topics: For example, popular marketing blogs like QuickSprout.com or Copyblogger.com
  • Breaking news sites like CNN or MSNBC
  • Editorial websites like the Huffington Post or Washington Post
  • Government websites like state.gov or dhs.gov
  • Popular personal blogs.
  • Official websites for universities and research institutions. Always look out for websites with .gov and .edu extensions. They make fantastic backlinks!

Moreover, authority websites rank high in google, receive a healthy amount of monthly traffic, and also share these additional traits in common:

  • Relevancy: Authority websites never contain content that’s irrelevant to their topic or niche.
  • Updates: These websites frequently update with fresh, original content, increasing their ranking power in search engines. Remember: Google now uses “content freshness” as a ranking signal.
  • High level of user engagement: Authority websites typically have engaged readers who frequently comment and share content, creating even more ranking signals for search algorithms.
  • Quality over quantity: An authority website will typically have just a few quality backlinks on a page. A high number of low-quality backlinks only waters down website quality.

Your Backlinks Should Be Active on Social Media

Ranking in Google is all about creating signals for those picky algorithms.

Every time your content is shared, that sends a positive signal. The more positive signals you collect, the higher you rank.

That’s why it’s important for your backlinks to have an active presence on social media.

In fact, according to a study by Shareaholic.com, social media is responsible for over 30% of referral website traffic!

You learned earlier that heavy user engagement is a hallmark of an authority website, and that engagement is only multiplied with social media.

Every Facebook like, tweet, Pinterest pin, Linkedin share, and Google one up counts. So when researching backlinks to pursue, make sure to analyze the overall amount and quality of their comments, likes, and content.

You also want to analyze the backlink’s overall social media strategy in general.

For example, let’s say you’re pursuing a quality backlink from a high-authority marketing blogger. Their social media strategy should include some of the following:

  • Daily tweets and facebook posts, with an additional presence on Linkedin, Google Plus, or Pinterest if relevant to the niche.
  • Uses relevant, trending hashtags in their posts
  • A healthy number of likes and reshares
  • Valuable user engagement that adds substance to the post.
  • Regularly promotes content. You want that high-authority source to share your guest post on social media!
  • Diversifies social media pages with video, images, contests, listicles, behind-the-scenes action, and unique content.
  • Has an email subscriber list and sends regular email newsletters.

You Need to Use These Linkbuilding Tools

As you can see, it’s important to develop relationships with your backlink sources. A healthy social media presence helps you stay in touch and track your backlinks. With such large audiences to promote to, you don’t want to lose those connections, right?

Stay connected with your backlinks by developing positive relationships. Follow them on social media to reshare relevant content you like. You can also join the conversation by adding valuable comments to posts as well.

The more you engage with your quality backlinks, the more you grow your own authority online.

So what are you waiting for?

You have the SEO goods. Now, you just need strong backlinks to take you to that next level. Consult with an expert today to start building that portfolio now.

get backlinks

Get Backlinks (and other SEO Strategies) for Startups

Are you the brains behind a startup that’s struggling to get backlinks?

Don’t worry– Startups are hard. Creating a successful brand is hard. Getting people to share your hard work is (you guessed it) hard.

For any website owner, business, or brand, mastering the digital art of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an important step is gaining success.

Getting backlinks is just one of many aspects of SEO and digital marketing.

But what exactly are backlinks? How does one get backlinks, and how do they help a business or website grow?

Let’s go over the facts and then jump right into some tried and tested strategies for improving SEO and acquiring backlinks.

What Are Backlinks?

Backlinks are incoming hyperlinks from one website to another website.

Say you own a food and drink website.

An affiliate, such as another food and drink website (or a totally different website), will reference content from your website in a blog post.

If this affiliate is popular, there’s a good chance that many people will see this link, click on it, and be brought to your website.

This simple act of linking to your website brings in an audience that could become a potential customer or fan.

The more backlinks that point back to your site, the more traffic you will get. The concept is very simple.

However, getting those backlinks is not always so simple. Luckily, we put together a list of tips, tricks, and strategies to help you get those backlinks and maximize the reach your website will have.

Top Strategies For SEO And To Get Backlinks

Let’s get right into the strategies! Building a creative and effective strategy for maximizing traffic to your website is the first step to building a successful brand.

Let’s get into it, shall we?

Have a Mobile Version Of Your Website

In 2016, there are more mobile internet users than desktop users. Who thought we’d see the day? Nearly 75% of U.S. smartphone users alone access the internet via their mobile device over their desktop or laptop.

Because of this, your website absolutely must be formatted for mobile use.

Google’s mobile algorithm also punishes websites that are poorly formatted for user-friendly mobile use. This harms your traffic, and it harms your SEO.

Seek Out Affiliates

The biggest part of getting backlinks is to find affiliates.

Try writing content for a bigger publication, partnering with similar (though not competing) websites, or pitch your content during industry interviews. Look into services that can show you who is linking to your brand’s competitors.

This will give you a leg up in blasting past the competition.

Try Guest Posting

Building a relationship with an affiliate doesn’t just mean they will help you out with free linking.

Offer to guest post or guest blog for an affiliate website.

The symbiotic relationships will allow both you are your affiliate to benefit from mutual backlinks.

Purchase Affiliate Links With Link Building Packages

Link building packages are another option, and there are plenty of reputable businesses that are experienced in link building that can help you.

Consider Hiring A Content Pro

The most basic SEO strategy involves updating your website with informative and interesting content that is both fact-checked and spell-checked.

This can be difficult to manage if you’re just one person trying to make your website or brand your job.

Consider hiring a sort of “influencer” to write your website’s content, research subjects, pitch topics, and be an expert in the ever-changing stream of what is popular today.

Paying someone to work for you may seem daunting, especially when part of the appeal of being self-employed is not needing to rely on anyone else. However, your website will gain much more exposure when the content is written by a professional writer or social media expert.

Become A Social Media Master

There is absolutely no option to go without a social media presence if you wish to market your brand or website. Social media marketing can be a pain, we know!

However, getting into the habit of updating Twitter, Facebook, and other relevant social media networks with interesting and attention-grabbing content can increase your chances of your content being shared. Shared content = potential backlinks.

Have A Social Media Strategy

Simply updating your website and social media accounts with content isn’t enough to get that traffic.

If your posts are poorly written, boring, or not visually attention-grabbing, you may be wasting your time.

If your posts are poorly timed, don’t appeal to your target audience, or don’t have a call to action, you may also be wasting your time.

Sit down and plan a strategy for content marketing that works for your brand or product. Sticking to this plan with make marketing less stressful and will also help you gain more success.

Keep Those URLs Short And Sweet

SEO-friendly URLs are short URLs.

Google has even said that the first three to five words in a URL are the most important. Long, annoying links are never appealing. Also, remember to keep your top keywords in your URLs.

Avoid Click Bait Content

That probably sounds crazy.

However, studies have concluded that interesting, practical, and informative content triumphs over clickbait.

If you’re banking on going viral, your best bet is to avoid click bait and garbage content. Audiences are far more likely to share something insightful and original.

It’s All About HTTPS

The old days of simple “HTTP” are over. “HTTPS” stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol over SSL (Secure Socket Layer). Essentially, the “S” means “security”.

Switching your website to HTTPS will make your website more secure, and users will be more likely to visit a secure site.

Google also gives a ranking boost to websites that are secure. That means more traffic and better SEO for your website.

Go Schema

Schema.org is a popular markup that your can put into your website’s code.

Schema.org essentially allows you to notify Google of which content goes where. Your logos, reviews, videos, location, and more can be properly arranged in Google searches using this markup.

Schema.org is recommended by many SEO professionals and for good reason.

Did any of these strategies help you with mastering backlinks? We’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Google Penguin 4.0: The Penguin, The Possum, and Your Rankings

google penguin 4.0Unless you’ve been offline for the past few weeks, you know Google finally updated its Penguin algorithm. The search giant is once again shaking up the SEO world with a new approach for qualifying links.

If you’re like us and have been riding the previous Penguin update for the past 700+ days, listen up:

Ignoring the nuances of Google Penguin 4.0 means missing out on Google’s 40,000 search queries per second. That’s 144,000,000 queries per hour.

If even a tenth of a percent of those searches were tailored towards your product, you’d have 14,400 opportunities per hour to promote your brand. Don’t let sloppy link building cost you that many potential eyes.

In addition to Google Penguin 4.0, Google also added another update in early September that you might have missed. SEO experts are calling it Possum, because of the way it has made Google My Business profiles play “possum,” or dead.

Possum focused on revamping Google’s local filter for businesses. If you woke up one early September morning and found your businesses’ rank plummeted, Possum is why.

We’re going to take you through a short introduction of Possum and Google Penguin 4.0 so you can stay in the know about Google’s ever-changing ideas on search rankings.

Remember, by the time you’re done reading this, something in the SEO world will change, so take your research beyond this article.

Google Penguin 4.0

The Google Penguin 4.0 update focused on refining the process to check for quality links. We’re actually really excited about the potential this update holds.

The first major change is that Google Penguin 4.0 is real-time. That means updates roll out continuously instead of in intervals. This is fantastic for a few reasons.

Google is now able to monitor sites trying to use questionable linking practices in real-time. Shoddy linking techniques used to hide out between updates with no problems. Google can now identify and penalize those techniques as they develop.

This means honest link building services (like us) don’t have to compete with garbage flying under the radar.

On the flip side, websites who inadvertently used a bad strategy or less than quality links won’t have to wait for another update to see penalties lifted. This gives more wiggle room for innovation.

The second part of the Google Penguin 4.0 update is a restructuring of how Google handles link penalties. Search rank demotion will now target specific web pages within a website. This means your “red dresses” web page can take a hit while your “blue dresses” page won’t see any penalty.

What Google Penguin 4.0 really boils down to is Google playing hardball, but in a friendly way. Poor link building is harder to get away with, but it’s easier than ever to make amends.

Possum

Possum came about abruptly and shrouded in more mystery than Penguin 4.0.

In early September the MozCast temperature skyrocketed to levels not seen in quite some time. No official word from Google left many of us scratching our heads.

What we noticed was a change in how local businesses were ranked.

Businesses just outside of a defined area (like a city or town) traditionally gained little from adding a local identifier to their keyword list. For instance, “home painters Rochester” wouldn’t help, and could even hurt, a business just outside Rochester’s city limits.

The update completely reversed this.

Joy Hawkins, a product consultant at Imprezzio Marketing, saw a client located just outside of the Sarasota city limits jump from #31 to #10 for the search term “Home Inspector Sarasota” after the update.

For local businesses, this means good things for targeting nearby metro areas.

The physical location of the Google searcher also comes into play more than before. Someone searching in Houston will see different search results for the same keywords as someone in Boston.

A business with branches in Boston and Houston will still rank for “Boston doctor” in Houston, though it will rank much lower than their Houston location.

Perhaps the biggest change is Google’s decision to start filtering 3-pack results based on address and affiliation. Previously only phone numbers and domain names were taken into account.

This will come as a shock to any business with multiple branches, contractors, or affiliated websites. The new Possum algorithm filters out pages that are deemed “too closely linked.”

Two lawyers from the same law firm probably won’t show up in the same 3-pack results. They share an address, an affiliation, and are possibly linked under the law firm’s GMB.

Further, if the law firm owns two locations in town, chances are they won’t return together in the results. It’s kind of unnerving at first, but Google has more knowledge than we first suspected about who owns what companies.

The last piece to the local filter puzzle is its new ability to return affiliated pages based on keywords. In our law firm example “best lawyer” might return the law firm while “best auto lawyer” will return a specific individual.

As a whole, Possum seems focused on the user experience.

It certainly will change how we view affiliated websites and their ability to return in the SERPs. The days of dominating the 3-pack seem long gone.

This all seems like information that makes it harder on businesses to dominate search rankings. And yeah, it kind of is. Though we need to remember that users are the primary reason we bother with SEO in the first place.

Some of these changes will no doubt benefit on our end as well. More focused search results could lead to more trust in your business when it does appear in the SERPs.

If you’re looking for a quality link building service, get in contact with us. We have programs for both link buyers and link sellers that can help improve your websites SEO.

We strive to provide only high-quality links that boost your page rank where other services failed. We’re also always watching new Google algorithm trends and are always ready to discuss any questions you might have about SEO.

Also be sure to check back to our blog, where we’ll continue to dissect the ever evolving world of SEO.