Link Building Hacks

Here are some final thoughts and tips on link building before we talking about ads and social media…

Don’t just build backlinks to your homepage. Backlink to any page you want to rank and see benefits.

You don’t only have to chase links to your homepage/domain. Getting internal links can be just as good, especially if they deliver traffic directly to a relevant page.

If you have a strong internal linking setup (see “Breadcrumbs, Categories, and Tags” above) then the internal pages that receive “Link Juice” from other sites will pass some of that juice onto the pages it is linked to.

Don’t stuff backlinks with keywords. Keyword backlinks are high value, but too many is unnatural.

If you are in a situation where the person/site linking to you is asking you what you would like the link text to be, I’d be inclined to say that you are on shaky ground anyway as that doesn’t sound a lot like an “organic” link.

If you do find yourself in this place, however, don’t be tempted to cram that backlink text with keywords. It’s a clear sign of a spammy link.

The most organic looking link will be to your site’s name or brand name. 

If you were going to recommend your friend Mike the Plumber to somebody, you would say “Try calling Mike” or “Try calling Mike’s Pipes” not “Try calling Best and Cheapest Plumber in Cardiff Swansea Cardiff”.

Take link building offline. A phone call goes much further than an email or a tweet when link building

Most people running websites understand the value of a backlink. If you’re not giving them something (like some great content for their site) then you’re asking them for something valuable. There’s nothing wrong with that at all, but you may find you are more successful if you reach out to them in real life (or “IRL” as the kids say).

Don’t use comments to link build but do use comments to network. Take part in your community

One of the oldest and most maligned of link building “hacks” is to post comments on other peoples’ websites that include your website address. It’s a process that has been heavily automated by evil SEO types and is the bane of many a blog and website. If you allow users to comment on your website, you’ve probably found spam comments posted there.

I don’t have a special method to make this work for you. Just don’t do it.

You should, however, make a conscious effort to take part and contribute to communities and groups online that contain other people working in your industry/niche/vertical. There’s a reason that it’s called the internet. It’s a network, and you can use it to network.

Just like your own content, your comments should be as useful, unique, and timely as possible. Build up a positive reputation and support others and you will find organic links appear more readily to your own content.

Sites may link to sites but those links are built by people – and people link to other people.

Most online directories are worthless, but seek out those relevant to your industry, niche, and location

The importance of links created something of a “gold rush” back in the old days of the Internet from which I come… 

It was in a time before social media, when people ate food without taking a picture of it, a “Facebook” was something that serial killers probably had in their basement, and people were building internet directories by the bucket-load…

The most venerable of these sites were places like Yahoo!, DMoz, and Lycos. These sites provided long lists of categorised links to other sites, like an Internet Yellow Pages. There was even a time when you could buy a hardcopy directory of the web, printed and bound in an actual book. Dark times indeed.

Still, directory bred directory bred directory and the dustier corners of the web are still occupied by these things. Most of them are worthless – they have low SEO value themselves, low traffic, and won’t amount to much of anything if you do get a link from them.

The only directories now worth looking at in terms of backlinking are the well organised, large directories (like the actual Yellow Pages, which in the UK now calls itself “Yell”) or very niche directories maintained enthusiastically by, well, enthusiasts.

Most of the enthusiasts have moved to social media now, leaving the big directories as the only game in town. If you’re in the right kind of industry then these are worth looking at but if you’re not doing the sort of thing people would normally look in the Yellow Page for – there’s no good reason to be in the Yellow Pages.

Nobody advertises pork chops in a vegan cookery magazine.

One Response

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