In the aftermath of Google’s infamous Panda and Penguin updates, webmasters are more hesitant than ever to build backlinks, fearing it could have a negative impact on their site’s search ranking. While certain off-site practices that violate Google’s webmaster guidelines may lower a site’s ranking, there are still plenty of safe and effective link building tactics.
One safe method for building backlinks is guest blogging. This involves writing and submitting posts to relevant blogs in exchange for a link point back to your own website or blog. The publishing website benefits from the free, unique content, while you (the author) benefits from the free backlink and additional exposure.
Many webmasters have come to fear the term “guest blogging” as well, after Google’s Matt Cutts declared it dead as method for link building. I believe Neil Patel of QuickSprout clarified this point of concern most accurately;
“Guest posting is a great way to drive traffic, increase sales, and grow your brand. Matt Cutts stated it himself. By no means is he trying to say that you shouldn’t guest post. Instead, he is stating that it is becoming spammy.”
“The reason guest posting won’t work the same way it used to is because companies are trying to guest post on irrelevant blogs. The content they are publishing isn’t high in quality either. In other words, they are trying to do the bare minimum to get a link.”
Guest blogging opportunities can be found through one of two different ways: you can use a third-party broker to do blog outreach and writing on your behalf, or you can seek out blogs manually. Assuming you choose the latter, try searching for the following keywords in Google to uncover guest blogging opportunities:
- “Guest bloggers needed”
- “Submit guest blog”
- “Write for us”
- “Blog for us”
- “Guest blogger sign in”
- “Guest blogger signup”
Not to be confused with guest blogging, blog commenting is another safe and effective way to build backlinks. Rather than writing posts for blogs, you simply comment on their existing posts. Most blogs use content management systems (CMS) that support the use of visitor comments, such as WordPress for instance. Typically, you can specify your website URL when submitting a comment, at which point your name will automatically become linked to your website.
Be warned, though: many spammers use automated programs and software to blast blogs with comments. Therefore, webmasters have implemented spam-detection safeguards to prevent manipulative link building behavior. If you’re going to comment on blogs for the purpose of attracting backlinks, only leave relevant, meaningful comments, and stick with your actual name or a pen name instead of a keyword.
A third link-building technique that’s not going to get you penalized is social media. Try to get into the habit of promoting any new pages you create on social media. Posting links to newly created pages on your Facebook, Twitter and Google+ account will send an initial burst of traffic to those pages while subsequently increasing its views and traffic in the process. Most social media networks use the nofollow attribute to devalue the SEO benefit of user links, but they are still highly effective at increasing views and boosting traffic.
These practices should be done as a regular part of your online marketing strategy to generate a steady stream of viewers and traffic. Sporadic posting, commenting and publishing is of little benefit.