This is my ultimate guide to building an awesome backlink profile and dominating Google search results!
For as long as I can remember backlinks have been pretty much the Holy Grail for any websites SEO success.
A backlink gives Google and other search engines the signal that your website is so good that other websites are willing to link to your website, send traffic to your website and promote your website cost free.
Think of each backlink as like a vote of confidence from other sites to yours.
Of course, all the different factors of SEO add up to create a great campaign but nailing your backlink strategy should still be number 1 on your to do list.
What the f*** is a backlink..?
See this hyperlinked text that's a backlink. That's really all a backlink is just when some text is linked to your website from another. Take this page for example where I link "Download Microsoft Security Essentials X64" to the relevant Microsoft downloads page...
Hyperlink text will generally be bold, underlined or a different colour. There will be loads of hyperlinks within this article pointing to awesome resources you can use for your SEO, content writing and backlinks.
Initially, when it was realised that backlinks are so important the strategy implemented was to link exact keywords back to the website. For example, if you wanted to rank high for the keyword "facebook marketing" you would try to get facebook marketing to as the hyperlink text.
Now as always Google has made changes to their algorithm linking exact keyword terms wont work as well. Google would much rather see more natural looking backlinks so maybe something like "The facebook marketing expert who can help your business".
Building good quality backlinks should be a huge part of your off-page optimisation plan and still the part of your SEO plan you budget the most for.
You can use small seo tools backlink checker to check the backlinks your website already has. Don't forget the absolute best backlinks for your SEO are from other relevant websites.
Quantity isn't quality...
In link building quantity isn't quality, think of link building as this: 1 link from a BBC article (bbc.co.uk being a top 10 global website) would be more valuable and powerful for your ranking than 10,000 backlinks from small unknown sites.
So how can you get a backlink from bbc.co.uk..? You really can't or at least it's very unlikely to happen. The point really is to not think about how many links you can get but more the quality, so when you are searching for potential links take your time and focus on quality.
If you're not sure how to suss out if a website is "quality" or not you can run it quickly through worth of web see how much traffic they get and determine for yourself if they are worth pursuing for a link. (worthofweb.com/calculator)
Do-follow | No-follow backlinks...
There are 2 different types of backlinks you'll hear about do-follow and no-follow. Basically, a do-follow backlink is better for SEO but is harder to come by, no-follow backlink won't have as drastic an impact on rankings but you are just as well to have these too.
A do-follow is when the hyperlink code is left in its pure state and nothing else is added. When Googlebot reads do-follow it thinks ok this first site likes this other site and is passing on some mega props.
A no-follow is when the first site owner adds a little code to the link that lets Googlebot know although this site is good and relevant to the content on the page I don't really want to give them too much of a shout out.
If you look at my facebook and twitter links at the top right of this page these are both no-follow simply because these huge sites don't need my help and I don't want to pass any of the good work I do here onto them. Here's what that looks like:
Generally you would try to make sure all your outbound links are no-follow, If you have a WordPress based website you will need to install an additional plugin so when you add links to new pages you get the option to include the rel="nofollow".
Most websites would have all their external links set to no-follow unless specified otherwise. If you are running a WordPress website install the Title and Nofollow For Link plugin and the next time you add a link to your site you'll be able to easily add the no-follow code:
Get started on your backlink strategy today...
Ok, so you want to build some killer backlinks to your awesome website, let's go for it! Below I have laid out every reasonable source you can count on to help your SEO and get you ranked higher!
Easy to gain backlinks...
Let's start with some easy to gain backlinks these would be things like your social profiles, business registration pages and a few others I've got that you can use.
Social profiles and backlinks...
So social profiles are pretty obvious and you don't really need me to explain much more, on every social profile you will have a spot to add your website so go ahead and do it.
Social backlinks are good and also allow search engines to figure out what social profiles belong to your business but they won't do a huge amount to increase your ranking.
This is because social profiles and the backlinks they provide are easily available to everybody so backlinks could be easily exploited using twitter, facebook, Pinterest ETC by simply creating lots of seperate profiles. Therefore not much weight is carried over to your ranking but still important you have them in place.
Side note here, if you're a small business and are struggling to keep up with all your socials do yourself a favour and stick at 1 or 2 that you enjoy most and can do a really good job on building your audience.
Some additional social profiles you can use for backlinks:
Business listing pages...
There are thousands upon thousands of business listing websites for you to choose from and pretty much every single one will allow you to create a backlink to your website.
Similar to social profiles this means business listing sites are easily exploitable for backlinks so not a huge improvement in rank can be expected but for sure a little if you use the right tactics.
Try to choose your preferred 2 or 3 business listing sites, we use Google and Yell. As well as using these 2 for our backlinks we also encourage our customers to leave reviews for us on one or the other. Reviews are huge for local SEO so it's well worth focusing internal recourses on gaining plenty of 5-star reviews.
Of course, business listing website aren't only good for backlinks, this is also where potential customers can find you. So with that said it's a good idea go ahead and utilise a few others for the backlinks and potential new business enquiries.
You do not want to add your business to every single one you can find, you would find if you added your business to a million listing sites all with backlinks Google would likely penalise your website.
Here's a solid list of business listing sites all with backlink opportunities, if you run a small business with a small website use up to 5 in total including the 2 or 3 you will use for reviews. You can add another 5 a few months down the line for even more backlinks.
One really good site you can use for a quality do-follow backlink as well as possibly winning new business is bark.com. At bark.com once you have created your profile and assigned a category to your business you will be alerted to site users who request your services.
If you see a job you're interested in pitching for you can load up your account with some money and contact the potential customer. (It works out at about 10 pounds per time to directly contact the buyer email and phone)
Getting your direct competitors backlinks...
Spying on your direct competitors seeing what backlinks they have and seeing if you can get the same if one of the best things you can do for your SEO. SEO's all over the world use this tactic daily to out rank the competition.
You can visit and use (backlink checker URL) type in your top competitor's website and you'll be returned a list of their backlinks. Visit each page one by one find the backlink (shouldn't be hard to find) and see if you can get the same type of link.
Most times you will probably find yourself on a business directories so they will be easy to copy but you will also find paid backlinks (so up to you if you want to pay for the same link) and you should also find some guest posts so you can contact the site owners and ask if you can also make a guest contribution in return for a backlink and some promotion.
I recently started to play with this new site megaindex.com which is a bit more of an advanced tool for spying on your competitors. You would need the paid version to see all your competitors' links but recently I used the free version to scan a hand full of competitors each time gaining 4 backlink ideas (the most per site allowed in free version), compiled a list of about 15 in total and spent a couple hours working on getting the links for myself.
The most popular and widely used tool for this is ahrefs.com, you would need to pay for this service but used properly you can keep an eye on ranking movements, track keywords and spy on all your competitions backlinks to always be a step ahead.
The guest post...
Guest posting is the most tedious and time-consuming thing you can do to get backlinks BUT it's also the best thing you can do to improve your ranking and get tons of relevant free traffic.
Guest posting or guest blogging is really the only way to get your backlinks in the main text part of other sites pages (not below the comments line). Of course in an ideal world we would all have snazzy brands that bloggers wanted to write about but in the real world, we have to seek out these opportunities.
Not only do you have to find relevant websites that will actually allow you to guest post but of course you also have to write a killer post that will hopefully get some attention.
The process for guest posting is manual and slow, literally scrolling through website after website contacting the owners and asking if you can write for them. Some will say no, some yes and others will want you to pay.
Most website will have guidelines on any posts you want to submit of course the content you write will have to be 100% original, it will also likely need to be around 1000 words.
I know this all sounds super time-consuming at the moment but that's kind of what makes it a major ranking factor and this is really where a good SEO earns his money. Get your content in front of the right eyes and you can see a massive jump in relevant traffic and new life long customers for your business.
Find the biggest and best blogging sites for your industry (you'll be surprised how many accept guest posts). For example, I could Google "SEO blog guest post" instantly I find the site https://seo-hacker.com which is accepting guest posts. I then run the URL (seo-hacker.com) through some free online tools to discover that the site has about 200,000 visits per month this would be the type of site I would think is worthwhile me spending a few days writing a really nice article to submit.
A good article on a site with 200,000 monthly visits is going to be amazing for my ranking but also send me thousands of unique visitors over the next couple of years.
Write amazing content...
Perhaps even better than guest posting is to simply write off the charts amazing content for your own website, make your content super useful to stand the best chance of having your visitors organically share with friends across their social media.
When writing your own blog posts just like the rules to submitting guest posts you should aim to write at least 1000 words.
Next time you sit down to update your own blog or page on your site just have a think about whether or not what your writing is really useful. Try to give a little to hopefully gain a lot!
I am spending hours working on this page, researching other sites and backlink things other SEO's have written to hopefully provide you with some of the best online content to do with backlinks and how to get them. All I am hoping for is that a few people start to share the content and Google will reward my efforts.
Write about what people really want to know...
A really great way to go about writing your next blog post is to first seek out the questions that are being asked.
Wouldn't that be cool if you could actually know the question people were googling within your industry then write an epic piece of content about it and actually stand a chance of ranking #1 for all the questions..?
I got you! You can use wordtracker.com to search any keyword or phrase and actually group the results into most asked questions.
Once you have the most searched for questions in your industry you can write a really good unique blog post or a new page for your site that lists out the questions and answers them in detail.
These are the type of content opportunities you can work on that are way more likely to get shared than bland, uninspired blog posts that we all are guilty of doing just to keep our blog looking active.
Full warning wordtracker.com is $27 /month for full details but you can use it for free and just about get away with working out what the most asked questions would be.
Directly buying backlinks...
Once you start running out of free backlink ideas it's always temping to buy backlinks and with so many places offering cheap links these services can be very convincing, cheap and enticing.
Buying backlinks however is generally not a good idea. If you search you will see statements as outlandish as "50,000 do-follow backlinks 24.99" & "X amount backlinks from high PR .gov and .edu domains"
Do not be fooled into thinking cheap, quick and massive amounts of backlinks will help your SEO. Google is well equipped to spotting these spammy techniques! Going down this road can lead to your site getting thousands of bad backlinks that can take years to clean up. Work on getting fewer but the highest quality links you can find.
You should NEVER be tempted into buying backlink so matter how convincing the promotion is. These services are simply just people exploiting the type of sites we have already discussed free backlinks and in mass. Services like this will only cause harm to your site and Google will potentially penalise your website which can take years to recover from.
You might also see promotion on facebook for backlinks on "private blog networks" this is a kind of scummy backlink tactic that worked really well for several years.
However with time Google and other search engines become wise to these underhanded strategies, Google has now mostly shut down these private blog networks (huge networks of sites that all link together).
Some of the wording on these facebook ads really makes you feel like you need to get in and quick but honestly it's not worth it. You can end up with hundreds of bad links which can take years to clean up.
Avoid buying links at all costs no matter how convincing the sale patter is! Again quantity is NOT quality.
Leaving blog comments...
Leaving blog comments is a great way to build quality relevant links and gain new free traffic at the same time.
I would say 75% of blogs use some sort of additional comment software and on these sites you won't be able to gain a backlink. That's not to say that if you come across a good article you shouldn't join in the discussion even if the website is using facebook comments or anything else.
What you're looking for to gain a backlink is the typical WordPress style comment form that includes the option for your website URL like this:
Tip - The website address in the comment form will link the text in the name field to your website. So rather than just writing your name you can also add your company name so I could write "William Brook - Farnham SEO" in the name field. Then my name and keywords would link back to my site.
Now like most backlink strategies Google have been onto comment spam for a long time, some would even say comment backlinks are now bad for your SEO.
This however isn't true if you can take the time to approach it in the right way, this means you should find an article you have really enjoyed, read it and then leave a comment with substance or if there are already a load of comments join in with the discussion.
If you Google a big search term let's say "business blogs" globally that gets searched over 8 - 10 thousand searches per month, start going through the first page of Google and find those that accept comment links.
The sites listed on page 1 of Google for "business blogs" are likely to be some of the biggest business blog sites alive. What's so good about this isn't just the backlink but the amount of free traffic you can generate from a few good and engaging comments.
Using Quora for backlinks and massive traffic...
Quora is a question and answer website bit of a kind of beefed up much nicer to use version of Yahoo answers. If you download the app the first thing you can do is to customise your profile and in your profile description, you are free to add a link to your website (backlink #1).
Assign the topics you are interested in and interested in answering questions about this can be any topic from SEO to The Walking Dead series 8. You don't have to just focus on answering questions about your business topic go ahead and add in anything you like.
Once you're done you can answer and ask your own questions as much as you would like. If you are answering a question and its relevant to your business or website go ahead and add a backlink to the relevant page that will help the user and any other user that might read your answer.
I have heard some stories of people using Quora to write super detailed and helpful answers and have been rewarded with thousands referred of visitors per month.
If I'm honest I have generally only written fairly short answers when I have used Quora but I have still had almost 17,000 answer views in 6 months and that's probably from spending on average 5 minutes a week
I haven't used Quora to its absolute best for SEO and traffic but you can hopefully see just how you could if answering people questions about your industry is up your street.
Promotion & voucher codes...
If you have monthly promotions with discount codes you can take advantage of the many coupon websites and gain backlinks from them. This is better for online shops but you can also utilise this tactic if you're in service industry too.
Simply sign up as a merchant and add your discount offering making sure to write a really good description and of course adding a link to your site.
Start with groupon.co.uk the leading coupon code site and go from there. There are tons to choose from but loads of them are just affiliate sites so you can't actually add your store. I have listed out the best highest authority coupon sites I could find:
Do you accept bitcoin...
I am defiantly not going to get into what bitcoin is, if you have been hearing about bitcoin and the rocket high price and want to know more feel free to drop me an email and I'll do my best to explain it.
Anyway backlinks and bitcoin, if you accept bitcoin and other crypto coins as a payment method you can turn this niche into backlinks for your site.
Like with the business directory listings there are loads of "bitcoin accepted store" websites you can visit, sign up and add your website.
Listings will be checked manually so it's a good idea to have the bitcoin accepted logo or at least some mention about accepting bitcoin as payment. Here's a list of some bitcoin accepted sites you can add your site too:
If you're selling items on eBay you can create a backlink to your website within the description of whatever it is your selling. If you're selling random items from around the house then not a great idea to backlink to your business website that is totally irrelevant to the item!
If however, you are using eBay as part of your business (online shop or selling a service on eBay) then for sure add in a link to your website and you will have another link from a global top 10 site.
Article directories are still a thing...
Something that's been around for as long as I have been obsessed with SEO is article directories. Over the years article directories have been massively spammed by people trying to get quick cheap backlinks but there are still a few good ones that manually check articles for quality and can be used in your backlink strategy.
Again as with most good backlink techniques, this means settling in and writing good quality unique content to submit.
Try Ezine articles (the most trusted) to get started, when you have inserted your article content you will get the chance to add your link to the profile. Article dashboard is another trusted site you may wish to try.
What you should not do...
Remember that Google as a business what's to deliver to its customers the best possible search results.
While working on your backlink profile is still the best thing you can do to dominate Google your website itself needs to be worth the ranking boost. If your backlinking to your website heavily but the site doesn't really deserve the boost in rankings you probably won't get it!
Content is still king! Write great content for the best results and don't be afraid to give a little to receive a lot of shares and links.
Website - make sure you are happy with your website, the look, the feel, the usability and write some really good content that's helpful and you think users might be keen to share.
Do not - build backlinks too fast, this will seem unnatural if you go from 20 - 1000 backlinks in a day or 2. Take your time to seek out the best most authoritative domains in each category above and build up your backlink profile with a few new links each week.
Offers - do not be tempted into ridiculous offers you see on the web or eBay for thousands of backlinks in a matter of days that will be "good for your SEO". These services use spam techniques and automatic software to get links on as many social directories and comment forms as possible.
The exchange - 10 years ago site owners would exchange links with one and other. Link exchanges have now mostly disappeared as Google was quick to pick up on this and changed its algorithm accordingly.
Use your words - If your number 1 keyword is "facebook marketing" for example do not focus on only linking that single keyword. The backlinks you create should be natural. Linking your exact match keyword can be ok a couple times but your better to focus longer phrases that incorporate your main keywords.