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How to Build Backlinks that Work in 2016 and Beyond

If you want to learn how to push your website to the top of Google… but can’t tell your arse from your elbow when it comes to backlinks, this post is for you.

The Internet is full of conflicting information about backlinks. Google still ranks old link building guides on the first page even though they haven’t been updated in years.

google-penguin

Implementing outdated backlink strategies can lead to Penguin attacks.

So forget all those outdated tutorials you’ve been reading. This is whats working right now.

Here’s what you’re going to learn in the next 9 minutes:

  • White hat, grey hat and black hat links
  • How to rank your site fast & safely
  • Authority links and secondary links
  • Outreach
  • Trading Links
  • Buying & renting links
  • Private Blog Networks
  • Public Blog Networks
  • Press Releases
  • Directories
  • Image sharing
  • Infographics
  • Video Links
  • Social Signals
  • Web 2.0
  • Spam

 

This post should be really be called:

“How to Manipulate the Google Algorithm so Your Site gets Better Rankings”

Because that’s what you’re doing if your building backlinks.

Client side SEO’s tend to pussyfoot their way around the white hat/grey hat/black hat subject, and a lot lie to their clients about it, or at the very least mislead them.

Look, if you’re building links in an effort to raise your rankings (which you are) – you’re not white hat.

matt-cutts-seo

There’s a stupid taboo in the SEO community that makes people feel like they’re admitting they’re a sex offender if they openly admit they use grey hat techniques to rank websites.

It’s an algorithm. Get a grip!

If you want to be white hat and strictly obey the Google guidelines here’s what Google recommends:

Don’t build links to your own website.

Concentrate on other forms of marketing and let SEO magically happen in the background.

Produce amazing content and try to get as many people as possible to share it, blog about it and link to it.

Then cross your fingers and hope that your’re going to beat all of the sites using grey hat techniques.

THEN cross your toes and hope you’re not going to run out of money before this method works.

It may work for businesses in very social niches, but it’s just not a viable option for most small business owners or anyone else who’s customers don’t rant and rave about their products or services online, it can take an age to get a return on your investment, if any at all.

So, if you haven’t got money to burn along with oodles of patience, and you just want to get your site ranking as fast as possible and in the safest possible way, here’s what backlinks are working today…

 

1. Outreach

Outreach (AKA Link Begging) is the whitest of grey hat techniques. Outreach is simply messaging websites and asking them (or what can feel like begging) to publish your content which contains a link to your site.

Yep, this isn’t white hat all you white hats that think it is, you’re building links in order to manipulate the search results and increase your sites rankings. It’s against the guidelines of the Google thought police:

Google SEO Guidelines

Extract from the official Google SEO Guidelines

What’s defined as “spamming” can be debatable, but for this method to work you’re definitely going to need to do some “mass mailing”. Same difference.

Here’s the script:

  1. Generate a list of relevant authority sites in your niche.
  2. Mass mail them asking if you can write a guest post or publish some pre-written content which both contain a link to your site.
  3. After a lot of back and fourth emailing with webmasters you’ll eventually get links published and get higher rankings.
  4. Repeat until you’re at the top.

 

Positives

  • The safest way to manipulate your rankings.

 

Negatives

  • Very time consuming if you’re doing this yourself.
  • Very expensive if you’re paying someone skilled to do this for you.

 

 

2. Trading Links

Trading links is similar to Outreach in the sense that you’re mailing other websites in your niche with the intent of getting them to link to you.

But in this case – you’re offering a link in return.

It’s not as simple as “you link to me and I’ll link to you” though.

If two websites link directly to eachother, that creates a reciprocal link.

Google will cancel these links out as it’s pretty obvious that you’re trading links.

So to do this properly you need to build a secondary website in your niche, we’ll call this site your PBN.

You then use your PBN to link to other websites, then you get those sites to link to your money site in return.

Basically, it’s a three way link.

Here’s a diagram which shows you the linking structure:

Reverse-PBN

And here’s a detailed post on how to do this:

How to Build White Hat Competition Crushing Authority Links

 

 

 

3. Buying & Renting

Yes you can easily buy or rent your way to the top of Google.

Buy SEO Links

A link is a link, whether you earned a link on the homepage of a powerful site in your niche or you bought it, it’ll give your site the same big boost in rankings.

Buying links is the same as outreach but always delivers better results.

(offering to give people money is much more effective than begging for links)

Google doesn’t like you buying links so this is grey hat. If you’re going to buy links you’ve got to do it properly so you don’t trigger any algorithmic penalties.

 

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Generate a list of authority sites in your niche. The bigger the better.
  2. Mass mail all of those sites asking if you can buy a link, preferably a contextual link on the home page of the site.
  3. Barter with those that reply saying yes. Be persuasive and get a good price. Get the link published. Get a boost in rankings.
  4. Only buy links on quality websites.
  5. Avoid buying sidebar and footer links. Contextual links only.
  6. Keep buying your way to the top.

 

Positives

  • If you’ve got the money to splash out upfront this is the fastest way to rank. Ever.
  • Can be incredibly safe if you only buy link contextual placements on real websites. Be selective and avoid obvious link farms.

 

Negatives

  • Google doesn’t like you buying links so this is grey hat, if you get a penalty you could have a lot of work on your hands getting those links and penalty removed.
  • Expensive in the long run if you’re renting links.

 

4. Private Blog Networks

Commonly referred to as a PBN, it’s a network of blogs owned by one person or business built solely for the purpose of ranking other websites, normally their own.

PBN’s are grey hat because they are against the Google Guidelines but aren’t black hat because they are not classed as spam.

private-blog-network

The blogs are normally built on expired domains which have been bought because of their current strong backlink profiles, you’re basically buying authority domains and using them to link to yourself.

 

Here’s How it Goes:

  1. Buy and register an expired domain which already has a ton of good links pointing to it, and preferably used to be a website in the same niche as your own (so the anchor text of the current backlink profile will be relevant).
  2. Host the domain and build a relevant website/blog on it.
  3. Make the site look real. If you’ve got a good domain you can build a real site on it which gets traffic and can produce a profit on it’s own.
  4. Add a link to your own website. If the domain is strong this will be a very powerful link.
  5. Your website gets a big boost in rankings.
  6. Repeat this process until you get #1 Rankings.
  7. The more blogs you build – the bigger and more powerful your network will be.
  8. Don’t host multiple blogs on the same server. Mix up the IP’s so you don’t leave a footprint.

 

Positives

  • You own the powerful links that are propping your website up in the rankings and nobody but yourself can remove them. All backlinks are basically props which hold your site up in the rankings, some backlinks hold you up a lot higher than others, when they get removed your rankings drop, big drops or little drops depending on the power of the link that was lost, owning your own backlinks means you own your own rankings.
  • You can use the same blog network to rank multiple sites in the same niche, so you save money in the long run.
  • Building a PBN is a lot cheaper in the long run compared to renting links.

 

Negatives

  • Upfront cost.
  • Can result in a Google penalty if done incorrectly. But on the flip side, if you get slapped with a penguin penalty for your banklinks, you can remove them with ease, along with the penalty. If you bought the links or built spam links you’d have to go through a lengthy and sometimes impossible process to remove those links.

 

 

 

5. Public Blog Networks

A public blog network is a network of powerful blogs, just like the PBN’s you read about earlier.

These networks are openly advertised to the public, rather than used to rank the owners websites.

Public blog networks took a hammering from Google a few years back. Why? Because they work. Really, really well.

Public blog networks are prone to being infiltrated by Google so they’re a risky business these days.

But if you’re not worried about your long term rankings and just want to make some quick money from your site, here’s what to do:

  1. The best place to find public blog networks is in the buy/sell sections of SEO forums, here’s a few to get you started:
    • blackhatworld.com
    • warriorforum.com
    • trafficplanet.com
    • digitalpoint.com
  2. Find a blog network which has been recently posted (check the post date) to avoid buying links on sites which Google may already have infiltrated and deindexed.
  3. Check the most recent reviews on the last pages on the thread.
  4. If there’s no negatives feedback go ahead and buy as many posts as you can afford.
  5. Wait for your links to be published and watch your rankings go up.

 

Positives

  • Quick and effective rankings.
  • Good for throw away affiliate sites.

 

Negatives

  • Risky business.
  • Hard to remove links if you need to.

 

 

6. Directory Listings

Local business directories are the bread and butter of maps rankings, but let’s not forget the blog directories and niche web directories that are beneficial for organic rankings too.

Directory listings are pretty easy to get and most are free. Some are paid but it’s debatable whether that money could be spent on better links.

Here’s how to get directory links:

  1. Generate a list of directories by searching for things like:
    • “niche directory”
    • “niche website directory”
    • “niche blog directory”
    • “local business directory”
    • “your town business directory”
  2. Obviously replace “niche” with your niche.
  3. You can also use Whitespark to reverse engineer your competitions directory sources.
  4. Avoid obvious SEO directories, eg – “seolinkdirectory.com”
  5. Add your website to each directory.
  6. Get a boost in rankings.

Unless you’re trying to rank for non competitive terms like “how to do a bum potato” or “buy left handed hammers”, directory listings alone are not enough to get top rankings, but they’re still an important part of your link profile.

 

bum-potato-seo-rankings

 

If you’re building directory links in order to rank in the maps results, AKA citations, make sure your business name, address and phone number are consistent. Citations are another post entirely.

 

Positives

  • Easy to get and a good foundation for your link profile.
  • Essential for Maps rankings.

 

Negatives

  • Not enough to get top rankings on their own.
  • Could very well be the most boring, repetitive, monotonous task in SEO.
  • May lead to suicidal behavior.

 

 

 

 

7. Press Releases

A newsworthy or viral press release can result in a lot of backlinks, from other news sites republishing the story, or bloggers writing about it, or people sharing it on social networks.

Press Release SEO

It’s good link building strategy but works better for websites in more social niches.

Here’s how to release your press:

  1. Brainstorm a story to write about. It could be a new product launch, an event happening in your company or you could simply write about some recent news in your niche.
  2. Press releases usually have an author bio at the bottom, use this space to drop a link and encourage people to click through to your website. Give them a good reason to – a free offer works best.
  3. Use an eye catching image to increase the click through rate of your piece – memes work well here.
  4. Submit your press release using a submission service like PRMWire.
  5. Set up a Google Alert for a specific sentence in your press release and you’ll be able to find all of the sites which publish your content.
  6. Wait for the backlinks to come in, watch your rankings.

 

Positives

  • Works well in celeb, political, humor, property, music, events, culture, lifestyle and charity niches (any popular topic on news sites).
  • Good for launching new products or services.
  • News articles can get short term first page rankings (for the news article, not your site).
  • Best way to get mass exposure for your business.

 

Negatives

  • Harder to make work for a local business. How many stories do you read in the news about plumbers, roofers, bridal shops or salons?
  • Press release links aren’t as powerful as they used to be. This may be due to the fact that if a press release is republished 100 times you may get 100 backlinks from unique sites but it’s all duplicate content, and links from duplicate content aren’t as powerful as links from unique content.

 

 

 

8. Image Sharing

Pinterest, Flickr, Imgur, Flickr, etc, all sites where you can share images and drop links.

image-sharing-links-for-seo

These links don’t tend to be contextual but are good for diversifying your link profile and making it appear natural.

Here’s a quick run through on how it’s done:

  1.  Get 5 images related to your business.
  2. Rename them on your computer using your keywords.
  3. If you’re trying to rank a local site in the Maps results, use a service like geoimgr to geo-tag your photo with your businesses location co-ordinates.
  4. Create accounts on these sites:
    • flickr.com
    • instagram.com
    • pinterest.com
    • panoramio.com
    • jalbum.net
    • photobucket.com
    • deviantart.com
    • smugmug.com
    • imageshack.us
    • keepandshare.com
    • snapfish.com
    • imgur.com
    • tinypic.com
    • 500px.com
    • shutterfly.com
    • fotolog.com
    • pixabay.com
    • yfrog.com
    • pixlr.com
    • befunky.com
    • fotki.com
    • 23hq.com
    • woophy.com
    • imagebam.com
    • imageshack.com
    • imageevent.com
    • dayviews.com
    • lafango.com
    • imagevenue.com
    • dropshots.com
    • pict.com
  5. Upload your images, add keyword rich tags and descriptions, drop links wherever you can.
  6. If you’re ranking a local business use your NAP (name, address phone number) in the description if you can. This counts as a citation.
  7. Get a boost in rankings.

 

Positives

  • Image sharing links give your link profile a lot of diversity and are a technique that your competition are most likely not using.

 

Negatives

  • Not very powerful links.

 

 

9. Infographics

Infographics are images which contain information, here’s an example:


Infographics-forSEO

 

They make information easy to digest and are responded to better than plain text.

Here’s  how to get backlinks from infographics:

  1. First you need the information. Top 10 lists are the easiest place to start.The more effort you put into this part the better your results will be.
  2. Get your infographic made, try Ninja Creative.
  3. Share your infographic on your social media profiles.
  4. Submit it to the image sharing sites mentioned earlier plus these directories:
    • visual.ly
    • slideshare.net
    • infographicsshowcase.com
    • infographicsarchive.com
    • reddit.com/r/Infographics
    • nerdgraph.com
    • loveinfographics.com
    • submitinfographics.com
    • infographixdirectory.com
    • infographicsite.com
    • infographaholic.tumblr.com
    • infographicpost.com
    • infographicsonly.com
    • dailystatistic.com
    • bestinfographics.info
    • omginfographics.com
    • nfogfx.com
    • infographicjournal.com
  5. Drop links wherever you can.
  6. Rank higher.

 

Positives

  • Easy to do.
  • Great for branding.
  • Potential to go viral from a low investment.

 

Negatives

  • Make sure you get your facts straight before promoting an infographic. Nothing dies on the Internet – including your own stupidity.

 

 

10. Video Sharing

Not only are videos a great source of backlinks, but they can also be ranked on the first page of Google quite quickly, but that’s another post.

video-backlinks

Here’s how to get video backlinks:

  1. First, you’re obviously gonna need a video. If you’re short on camera equipment and studio space head over to Animoto and use one of their templates to create a slideshow video.
  2. Create accounts on relevant video sites, here’s a few to get you started:
    • youtube.com
    • vimeo.com
    • rumble.com
    • picturepush.com
    • photobucket.com
    • 4shared.com
    • tinypic.com
    • youmaker.com
    • vid.me
  3. Upload your video, add keyword rich tags and descriptions, drop a link.
  4. Get ranking.

 

Positives

  • You competition are not likely doing this so jump on it and beat them to it.
  • You can rank your videos for the same keywords you’re targeting, giving you two listings on the first page.
  • If you put the effort into making great videos which get’s lots of real views you’ll end up with a really powerful link. When you get lot’s of video views here’s what happens:
    • Your video gets featured on the “most viewed” pages of the video sites.
    • Those pages pass a lot of link juice through to the page which your video and link is on, making the backlink to your site more powerful.
    • Lot’s of websites scrape the most viewed pages and repost those videos onto their own sites, resulting in more views and links.
    • People share your video on social networks, giving you even more links.

 

Negatives

  • There’s nothing negative I can say about video links.

 

 

 

11. Social Signals

Links from sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are known as social shares.

You get social shares by….. wait for it…. getting people to share your stuff on social sites.

Tese links have became increasingly more powerful over the years and in 2016 they’re an essential ranking factor in most niches.

Here’s how you’re meant to do it:

  1. Write awe inspiring viral content.
  2. Publish it to your website.
  3. Share it on your social profiles.
  4. Pump money into Facebook and Twitter ads so other people share it too.

But if you’re a plumber and you’re struggling to convince your loyal social media fanbase to share your new post on force flushing immovable bowel brownies round U-bends, or any other unsociable niche – here’s a few services which will help you out:

  1. PBN Butler
  2. Social Llama
  3. SERP Champion

 

Positives

  • It’s an important ranking factor and works great in most niches.
  • Can bring real traffic to your site. More browsers than buyers though.

 

Negatives

  • None if you do it right, just don’t go crazy and only use reputable vendors, avoid Fiverr gigs.

 

 

 

12. Web 2.0 Blogs

Web 2.0’s in SEO are like iPhone 2’s in tech.

They’re old fashioned with an outdated name, but hey they still work.

Web 2.0 SEO Links

Back in the wild wild west days of SEO, websites like WordPress and Blogspot which allowed you to build your own blog were an evolutionary step for the internet.

You were no longer constricted to publishing content on your own domain, you could now publish content on other domains, some of them very powerful.

Contextual links on high authority domains. For free.

Amazeballs!

So obviously every SEO on the planet started using this method to build backlinks, and it worked.

It worked so well that things got a little crazy, thousands of people using proxies, spun content and link building software running 24/7 on virtual machines literally spam bombed these sites back to the stone age.

And as with any spam technique, the power from these links were devalued by Google.

But the good news is, it’s 2016 and these links still work! As long as you do it right that is.

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Open some accounts on blogging platforms like:
    • WordPress
    • Blogspot
    • Tumblr
    • Weebly
    • Typepad
    • Webs.com
  2. Brand the blogs either in your businesses name or a general niche name.
  3. Put some effort into them so they pass moderator review. Create a good header, add unique content, create contact & about pages, add banner ads etc.
  4. Follow and interact with other blogs on the platform you’re using.
  5. Give yourself a nice contextual backlink within a relevant post.
  6. Rinse and repeat, get rankings.

 

Positives

  • You own the links.
  • Can be built into a valuable asset with 2nd tier links.
  • You can rank these sites along with your own for multiple first page positions.

 

Negatives

  • Not very powerful unless you build 2nd tier links.
  • If you don’t put the effort in the creation process they could be deleted by moderators, resulting in link loss.

 

 

 

 

13. SAPE Links

SAPE is a network of Russian hackers who hack websites and sell link placements on the sites strong pages.

Really naughty stuff. Very black hat.

If you’re trying to rank a real business avoid SAPE like the plague.

But if you want to venture into the dark side, here’s how:

  1. Google it

 

Positives

  • Cheap way to get powerful 2nd tier links.

 

Negatives

  • Generally sidebar or footer links so don’t pack the same punch as a contextual link.
  • Your links may end up on some very irrelevant/illegal websites.
  • May result in bad rankings. And bad karma.

 

 

 

14. Automated Tools

9 out of 10 people who use automated tools use them for spam.

(I just made that statistic up but I’m confident that few SEO’s will disagree.)

Spam links are black hat, they used to work very well, and even though they’re not as powerful today they still work for short term rankings.

So if you’re trying to rank a throw away affiliate site or web 2.0 blogs then these links will undoubtedly make you money, if done correctly.

Blog comments, web 2.0’s, wiki links, PDF, Video and profile links can all be automated using tools like Senuke, Scrapebox, Ultimate Demon, Xrummer etc.

 

 

Positives

  • Easy to automate tiered link building.
  • Can quickly dilute an over-optimized anchor text profile if you’ve had bad SEO done in the past.

 

Negatives

  • You may be able to build lot’s of links quickly but those links have a low stick rate and will result in an eternally declining link profile.

 

 

 

15. Backlink Indexing

It doesn’t matter how many backlinks you build – they won’t affect your rankings until Google finds them.

The Internet is called the World Wide Web because of the way all sites are linked to each other, creating a pattern resembling a spiders web.

(If you actually drew the pattern of links the theoretical spider is clearly on psychedelics)

Google then send out their spider bots to crawl the web, index all the content they find and present it to you in the most relevant way.

If you’re building links on web 2.0 blogs or websites which don’t get crawled regularly and you’re not building backlinks to those pages you just created, how are Google’s spiders going to find your new links?

Backlink indexers solve this problem by building the second tier links for you, hand free.

Here’s two tools which will I’ve used with great results, there are many more out there but I can’t recommend what I’ve not used:

 

 

 

Next Steps

Google doesn’t want you building backlinks.

Think about it – if you pay someone like me to get your site to the top of Google, you’ll make money, I’ll make money, Google makes nothing. So tight on Google 🙁

Google make their money from PPC ads. It’s in their best interest to make SEO as difficult as possible.

The harder it is to rank a website the more people will give in and jump on their PPC program.

The more fear they pump into SEO the more money they make from PPC.

Although PPC has it’s benefits and can work very well if you do it right, SEO is much more profitable in the long run.

And if you do your backlinks correctly you have a very low chance of getting slapped by Google.

From my 8+ years experience I can honestly say that grey hat SEO is the most reliable, effective and profitable SEO method you can use.

And I hope that by the headache you’ve now got from learning all that info (and that’s just backlinks) makes you realise that your websites SEO is better left in the hands of someone who knows what they’re doing. Me, for example 🙂 While you concentrate on running your business.

So if you need a hand get in touch and let’s get you ranking.

Thanks for reading.

If you’ve got something to say, say it below!

7 Responses so far.

  1. Zack says:

    What are you currently using for PBN content? I used to write it all myself which is a complete waste of time and pretty much impossible with a large network now. I have tried hiring off odesk which is the best quality for your dollar, however, between dealing with writers, their insane wait times, all their excuses — cat died, hurricane, power outage, in hospital, etc — nothing ever seems to get done with them.

  2. ღ Nαν ღ says:

    This post deserve to be more popular. what i liked most in this article you have given positives as well as negative for all techniques 🙂

  3. Rigo says:

    @zack – yeah building handmade articles is a pain in the *** that is why we need a good service. Problems come when the network become large. PBN cost too much and there is no guarantee it will help your website rank.

  4. Keith says:

    Wow, this was a TON of useful information. Almost overwhelming. Seems like there is a lot that goes into getting a website to rank.

  5. embung says:

    Do You have any tutorial video to support this..? thanks

  6. One of the best backlink articles I have read. You did a great job.