Building quality backlinks – best & worst techniques review of 2015

Link building tutorial 2015Look, Google doesn’t want to penalize you.

It works hard to deliver the best search results – for you and for others. Do you remember how frustrating it used to be back in 2009 to check longer phrases? Google either didn’t understand them, or processed each word separately. If you looked for gray round coffee table Shropshire, you got mix of results, from anything gray, to random round tables, and Shropshire council website. Annoying, right?

But, Google is changing. Thanks to 2013 Hummingbird update it can handle longer queries better.

Here’s why:

It aims to deliver most comprehensive answers – consequently websites offering valuable content will be rewarded with higher rankings. At the same time poor quality sites will be pushed down the page. Google does it to improve the service.

How can you score well?

By offering benefits – solving problems, delivering news or entertaining. If you do it better than competitors, you will rank higher.

So the backlinks are not important?

Since 2012 and Penguin update, we felt dubious about link building. That’s when Google started penalizing sites that attract low quality links. But the stress is on low quality – links that are paid for and not earned.

According to Matt Cutts, former head of the web spam at Google, high quality backlinks will never get penalized. He said:

“I think backlinks still have many, many years left in them”

They play major role when it comes to ranking high in search results.

2015 further endorsed a value of relevant links.

If you want to drive traffic and rank well, you need to specialize. Establish yourself as an expert in your field. When selling car parts, attract links from motoring related websites – there’s little use to have a link from London Zoo. While still a reputable source, it won’t build your authority as a car specialist.

Offer plenty of quality content – Google prefers longer pages (2000+ words). Infographics also gained popularity this year, beating videos in a climb to a top spot. Guest blogging is still doing great, but there are clouds on a horizon. We will examine it below.
Let’s begin our review of best link building strategies of 2015, followed by the ones to avoid.

 

best link building strategies 2015

 

1. News

News - that quality backlinks are crucial to SEO success

 

 

 

 

People love news and hunt for a fresh content. That also proved to be effective link building tactic in 2015. Are you familiar with the NEWS section in Google? When you type in a query and click on the tab, you get the latest updates on the subject, published anywhere on the web.

In the above example, we searched for coconut oil and found a press release by PR NewsWire about celebrity chef Carla Hall teaming with LouAna oils, announced a day earlier. If you are in a cookery business, it’s a gold dust.

How can you use it?

Timing is everything! Create a short article revealing the information and publish it on your web page. Share it on social media with a link. Anyone interested in the topic will gladly click it to learn more on your site!

 

 

2. Problem solving

We use internet to solve problems – learning to cook curry, to knit or find the best motor oil. It’s also a great marketing opportunity. Get to know your customers – perform a detailed market research. Social sites are perfect for it. What problems are they facing – what do they want to know? Read their posts and look for recurrent issues.

Write articles dealing with these matters.

They don’t even have to be related to your industry. Despite selling dresses, you can recommend the best family attractions in London. Create a short article on the subject and post it on social sites. There’s bound to be more people having the same question. They will gladly read the answer on your website and share with their friends.

That also strengthens your authority rank according to Google Hummingbird. Your site will be perceived as a comprehensive source, solving multiple issues for the same customer. Win-Win!

 

 

3. Testimonials

Gain link popularity by writing testimonials
This proved to be a powerful marketing tool in 2015. Still not widely used for SEO purposes, but is worth exploring. Number of back links you get would be very beneficial. Here’s how it works:

  1. Find a business in your niche with a testimonial page
  2. Make sure it allows a link in the review
  3. Use their service / buy a product
  4. Opt-in for a reference schedule
  5. Write unique honest opinion, including a link to your site
  6. Send it in – and you’re done!

Alternatively create a video testimonial on YouTube reviewing product you recently purchased. Say few words about a phone or a service you are using. Make sure it’s a product people are likely to search for (iPhone, latest movie, child safety lock etc.). Reveal a tip you discovered yourself and how it simplified your life. Upload it on YouTube, adding a link to your site in the description.

A mention on a second most popular website in the world is nothing to sneeze at!

 

 

4. Entertainment

Entertainment brings lots of link building strategies

 

 

People browse internet to have fun. According to Ruder Finn Intent Index it’s a second most popular motive, right after a research. As much as 82% people want to be entertained online. Look at the popularity of sites like BuzzFeed or InspireMore. People browse their sites during lunch break to have a bit of a laugh.

HubSpot adds that amusing customers will humanize your brand and make it more loveable. Why not add a lighter content and show your personality? Your customers will appreciate it and stay on your site for longer.

Here are few ideas you can try:

  • Celebrity knowledge quiz
  • 10 things you missed in Harry Potter
  • List of funniest Google Earth images
  • Contests & competitions
  • Poll – vote for a favorite coffee brand
  • Video of things we miss about 90s

As you can see, the possibilities are there – if you are not sure which one to choose, do a research and see what your clients are already sharing online. Take inspiration and create a similar post – they are likely to tell their friends as well.

 

 

5. Relationship building

It’s not what you know – it’s who you know.
That’s been truer than ever in 2015. Connecting with other businesses can bring rewards and help you build more quality and authoritative backlinks to your website.

Don’t just pound content right left and center without regard for anyone else. People will soon ignore you. Don’t overdo it and post every 10 minutes.

Instead, focus on others in your niche

Read, share and comment on their posts. Check their blog and link to a content your customers will find useful.

With my last clothing website, I followed local photographers on Facebook and Twitter. I shared their posts and wrote articles mentioning their site. Although we were in the same niche, our businesses didn’t compete with each other. Furthermore, the varied posts refreshed my content and added great structure to the mix.

After exchanging favor, I gained quality backlinks coming from their sites, building my authority in that industry. Perfect!

 

 

6. Interviews

(seo) of link building tactics 2015 - interview and expert

 

This one is easy – think of an expert in your field. If you run a coffee shop, focus on a maker of an organic coffee or almond biscuits you are selling. Ask a distributor for their contact details, or look up online. Drop them an email introducing yourself and ask for an interview for your newsletter / blog. They will be tickled pink to share their knowledge with you!

Now, a quiz time.

Stuck for ideas? Try this list of favorite interview questions.

Pick ones relevant to your expert. Don’t be afraid to get personal – but refer to their character and not a family life. People keep private things private for a reason. Have an edge and focus on their personality, as well as career – your readers will love it. Revealing people behind the brands was a growing trend in 2015 – just look at the Asda and Co-op adverts!

Email the questions and ask for submission before a certain date – it’s not rude, just shows you treat your business seriously. Once received, polish the interview and send a script for approval. Agree on an image to go with it and publish the content online.
That is also effective backlink building strategy.

Seo link building tips, tactics & strategies

Here’s why:

Ask the expert to mention the interview on their website linking to yours. Send it in your monthly newsletter. Use blurbs as ‘quote of the day’ – like Forbes above – and share on social media. Be creative and entertaining. You will be getting the most relevant links possible while building your authority!

 

 

7. Infographics

Infographics

 

 

This image rich media took 2015 by storm, beating videos in popularity. Infographics are easily digested, explaining complex issues in fun, creative way. They are trendy on Pinterest, an image sharing platform.

You can design your own via Canva.

According to Noah Kagan, infographics are second most shared content online, right after list posts. They’re also a perfect link building tool. Once you pick a layout, customize a code to include a link to your website – consider upgrading to a paid account to implement it. Whenever someone shares the project, they will link to your site. Perfect!

 

 

8. Videos

YouTube is a powerful marketing tool. It delivers 3-dimensional message – through video, audio and images. It connects better than a written text.

This is also a popular search engine and a community platform. It attracts 1140 searches per second, according to Social Media Today. It doesn’t just offer funny videos. People use it like Google – type in the query and look through the results. Many prefer watching videos than reading lengthy text – I often do it myself – play clips in the background while getting ready in the morning.

Remember:

Don’t pitch on YouTube – people won’t be interested. The most popular videos offer advice and solve problems. We covered this topic in point 2 – once you know what your customers are looking for, you can tailor your message. Offer a valuable and useful content to build trust and expertise.

But, don’t leave them hanging – include a call to action. Ask them to like the video, subscribe and click to your website. Give them a reason to click as well – say “find more detailed info on our site”. Don’t forget to include your keyword and company name (if possible) in the title, as well as description.

YouTube presence was one of the most successful link building strategies in 2015.

 

 

9. Social media

Are social media crucial to SEO success? Not according to Matt Cutts, Google webspam team, who declares that social signals are not yet taken into consideration. Different vision however shares Bing. Their representative announced these sites build your social rank, as well as authority.

We also learn that anything posted on sites like Twitter and Facebook is crawled by search engine bots. However, despite being widespread they don’t carry great importance in the world of SEO.

Should you be active on social sites?

Absolutely! They are dominant search engines bringing tons of quality backlinks. Pay attention to your followers – are they experts in your industry? If so, that will most boost your authority.

Social shares will increase your appearance in searches, leading to more traffic to your site.
We must also remember that SEO changes rapidly – things of little importance now can be a critical factor after next Google update.

 

 

10. Share buttons

In the previous post we proved social shares from experts attract quality backlinks and build authority. In order to attract more links, tell others to share your content. Make the process easy and transparent too. Create simple plugins on your site, design attractive Infographics (see point 7) or custom social share buttons.
The more attractive the design, the more people are likely to share it.

 

 

11. Images

You can also build more quality backlinks to your blog by creating images

Bloggers everywhere are struggling to find catchy images for their posts. To avoid paying for stock photos, they ‘borrow’ images found on the web. Tut, tut…

Some call it stealing, I prefer link building opportunity.
Yes, take advantage of this trend and turn it into backlink earning potential.

How?

If you have a creative skills, design few images and banners using site like Canva. Inspirational quotes are particularly loved and shared.
Group them into a gallery on your site – don’t forget to hotlink the images, to avoid paying for extra bandwidth once someone decides to borrow them. Optimize them with alt tags and search queries.

Sit tight and wait. Every few weeks do a research where your images are being used. Armed with the info, contact the site owner asking for attribution link, if they haven’t done it yet.
Easy peazy linking squeeze.

 

 

12. Enter a blogging contest

Yes, guest blog for money! You not only help your business build an online presence but also drive traffic with the relevant backlinks. Did I mention a cash prize?

Focus on great engaging content. Infographics are often a winner, as well as list posts. Read the guidelines on a site hosting a contest, are they looking for a particular subject? Who is their target audience? These are important factors if you want to get published.

Check when are the results announced? If it’s just before Christmas, festive theme will be preferred. Make sure to write in that subject. Be savvy and outsmart the competition.

 

 

13. Create a survey

How to build quality backlinks - surveys
It’s a fact of life – we love talking about ourselves. It’s a favorite topic (admit, you love it too).
So if someone asks for our opinion, we feel important and appreciated, right?

That’s the power of survey.

People love to be acknowledged. Turn it to your advantage. Create a survey and publish on your website. Write a short description stating number of questions – people prefer to know that before taking part. They have a better idea how long it’s going to take. Aim for 10 questions or less. Make them clear, fun and easy to understand.

Add your logo and customize the thank you page to take customers to your website, once they’re done.

Share it!

Share it on social media, in a newsletter and your blog. You can also offer a small prize as an incentive. Why stop there? Take a step further and ask for contact details and newsletter subscription – two birds and all that.

 

 

14. Host a competition

I love this idea. Competitions worked for me each time I wanted to build a subscribers’ list or get more followers to my blog. The basic idea is to giveaway freebie in return for said follow / like / subscribe – you name it. You share it on major competition sites and the rest is done for you.
This method is no longer favored as a valued link building tactic.

But, 2015 discovered new twist to it.

Let’s say you run a dog grooming service. Ask your subscribers (customers active online) to take part in a blogging competition. All they need is to write a short post on their blog reviewing your service and linking to your website. The prize? A free grooming session or a goodie bag for their pooches.
You gain quality backlinks (from people recommending you) and engage with your customers.
Perfect business mix.

 

 

15. Rankings

essential link building tips - Rankings
Don’t we love rankings? Top 10, best & worst, this blog post…
It is a link magnet. Score best iPhone Apps or steak marinades. Tailor it to your audience, and you will get the right attention. Your customers will be happy to share it on social media and link from their blog.

 

 

16. Guest blogging

While only on 16th place, guest blogging still played a big role for SEO in 2015. To make it work, be picky with your pitching.
Don’t contact low quality content sites, publishing any mix of articles. Link coming from them will do little for your ranking. Instead, focus on blogs in your niche. Search blogging communities for blogs in your industry accepting articles. You’ll be getting the most relevant link possible if done this way.

Follow this extensive guide by Peter Attia to get started.

Content is all that matters.

Write long articles (800+ words), optimized for the search engines. Include relevant links – bloggers love inbound links pointing to their site. Link also to few external sources.

But, don’t focus your link building strategy around it. Guest blogging is likely to be devalued by Google and sites using it penalized, according to Brian Dean of Backlinko.  Hence we don’t analyze it in much detail in our review.

 

 

17. Articles

Ways to Build Quality Backlinks Without Guest Posting

Similar to guest blogging, but articles you create are written on commission for other businesses. If played right, it can attract quality backlinks crucial to SEO success.

How do you start?

Join freelance sites like UpWork or Elance. Create a basic profile, picking a set of skills and specialty, such as writing for a web. It’s free to register and pitch for the jobs.

Create quality articles on UpWork to attract backlinks

Next, search for projects.

First, select categories fitting your skills – you can pick up to 10. Based on that, you will see available jobs in each category. Click on the one you like and submit a proposal to apply. Bear in mind there’s many applicants, so you have to be persistent.

When you get picked, the person hiring will give you article guidelines (number of words, subject, deadline etc.). Equipped with that, you create required content.

Now the important part.

Always include links to relevant sources. Base your content on the research, and support the claims by connecting to the original texts. Here is a golden opportunity to add backlink to your website. Link a minor fact in an article with your own content. Make sure it flows naturally with the text and there’s a genuine call for the reference. Don’t overdo it, one link will be sufficient.

Wherever the content is now published, it will link back to your site. Result!

 

 

18. Competitor analysis

Wise people say:

“don’t reinvent the wheel”.

If something works well, copy it!

Do you know how many backlinks point to your competitor? It’s time to find out.
There are sites charging silly money for a simple backlink check, but I’ll show you how to do it for free.

Seo link building tips, tactics & strategies - backlink checker
How to build quality backlinks? Check where your competitors is linking from

Type in Google link:{competitor’s url} – and press enter. You’ll get a complete list of backlinks pointing to this domain. Voila!

Go through each of them to examine the content. Can you get a link from them too? Some will be tricky – news updates, personal websites etc. But with others you can strike lucky. Best are: rankings, niche directories or reviews. Contact the site owner to check if they’ are willing to link to your site. Every little helps!

 

 

19. Forums / comments

Last in our ranking for a reason. Edging on a spam, if done incorrectly, is least recommended link building tactic in 2015. While it still carries weight – but only when building relationships in your niche (see point 5). Express your thoughts, complement the author or add a constructive comment – without shoving your link.

Use this method to build a trust and authority in your field.

 

 

Bottom feeders:

Link builting tactics still working, but of no major significance:

  • Business directories
  • Email signatures
  • Press releases
  • White papers

 

 

worst link building strategies

backlinks article10

How about the strategies likely to get you penalized? Read below to find the worst link building techniques of 2015:

  • Guest blogging (on the verge)
  • Links from random sites (link baiting)
  • Nonspecific anchor text (here / this as a link)
  • Buying social shares (6,000 tweets? Hmmm…)
  • Not ditching bad links (prune them out!)

 

 


 

Here we go – a complete summary of 2015 trends in growing quality backlinks – from best to worst. Do you use them yourself? Which work for you, and which are crossed of your list? Comment below, like and share!

 

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Building quality backlinks – best & worst techniques review of 2015