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Link-building is a vital part of any SEO strategy. Whether right or wrong, Google factors in a website’s link profile when determining rankings for certain keywords. How one goes about making this part of Google’s search algorithm work for them, rather than against them, is one of the many debates among SEOs today. Often, the debate centers on an ethical discussion: Is it better to attempt to trick the Google algorithm for quick gains at all costs in order to show results for clients (and therefore get paid), or is it better to attempt to play “by Google’s rules” to get results which Google should not rescind, according to their own policies?

This fundamental ethical discussion is the foundation for the SEO jargon “black hat” and “white hat” SEO. Black Hat SEO is about trying to stay one step ahead of Google and gaming the system, while White Hat SEO is about attempting to have your website embody the spirit of what Google wants out of a high-quality relevant website. In a phrase: Black Hat SEO is Search Engine Manipulation; White Hat SEO is Search Engine Idealization.

At RevBuilders Marketing, we try hard to stay firmly in the “white hat” camp, because we have found, time and time again, that it creates lasting, positive results for our clients. As such, we have compiled here three approaches to link-building which are effective, without running the risk of a Google penalty.

Don’t Buy Links

This has always been something which Google looks out for and fights in every way that it knows how. While it’s true that you can sometimes sneak a paid link past Google, it is much, much safer to earn those links. An earned, natural backlink will only ever cause your site to be punished in one of two circumstances: (1) Google made an error in their algorithm (it’ll be fixed next update) or (2) Google has decided to upend all pretense of not being evil and is punishing you for not being a big enough company (at which point I have some confidence the company will no longer be providing good service to users anyway and a new search engine will emerge as the new standard).

Conversely, a paid link is almost guaranteed to eventually be punished by Google. They’ve gotten pretty good at sniffing these things out. Don’t buy links. They aren’t worth it.

Use Comment Sections to Build Authority, Not Links

It’s an age-old link-building practice to comment on other people’s blogs or on forums in order to harvest some free, easy backlinks by leaving a link to your site, either in the comment or in a specific field on the comment form. Chances are that if you allow comments on any section of your site, you have seen firsthand the kind of spam that people attempt to put on your site for the easy backlink. Don’t use this stupid tactic! All it does is annoy people with the burden of sifting through spam comments, looking for the rare “human.” Instead, offer your genuine insight and response to other bloggers. Don’t even mention the fact that you have a website, but leave it quietly in the appropriate form. You’ll get a free (though not very valuable) backlink, and an extremely valuable credibility boost in the eyes of anyone who follows that writer. Not to mention, your blog comment didn’t get blocked, so the backlink actually shows up in Google’s examination of your site.

Market Your Content on Social Media

When you get right down to it, link-building is content marketing for the World Wide Web. The idea is that the more people you can get referring to your article, blog, or web page, the more authority you are seen as having by search engines such as Google. Therefore, the best way to get people referring to your content is to make sure that it gets in front of as many people as is possible. This means talking about what you have written with anybody who cares, and broadcasting the update on social media networks is one efficient way of doing that. In short, don’t just write awesome content: Sell it. The reward will be more backlinks, which will give you more authority in Google, which will give you better page ranking, which gives you more traffic on your website. More traffic means a larger audience to sell to, and that’s what all businesses want: The opportunity to win new customers so that we can blow them away with how awesome we are.

Link-building is a lot of work: Too much work for the typical, already-overburdened CEO. Let RevBuilders Marketing help. We offer six SEO packages to help you dominate online, and link-building is included in all of them. Call us today to get started.

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Scot Small

Guided by one his favorite songs “The Impossible Dream” Scot is constantly reaching for the unreachable star. It’s this passion for success and achievement that drives him to create success for RevBuilders Marketing and its clients. Scot founded RevBuilders Marketing in 2002 and it provides an integrated approach to SEO, SEM, SMM, web design and marketing automation services. Scot currently serves on the advisory board of the Middleburg Bank. Find him at @scotsmall or @revbuilders