Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has changed forever. Less than a year ago, most webmasters were using an array of automated tools to build hundreds, thousands, even hundreds of thousands of backlinks to their website. Today, some still do. Those webmasters have a very short-term view on SEO. They want to rank as quickly as possible, with minimum effort, and will worry about the next Google algorithm change when it happens. Readers of my site know that I do things differently. I am not interested in what works today, I am interested in what will still be working in 10 years time. OK; I’ll confess I don’t have a crystal ball, but I do have common sense.
In this article, I want to tell you how I am doing my backlinking and hopefully persuade you to stay away from the dark side.
I’ll hold my hands up…. When Google introduced Penguin, I had to change my own backlinking strategy, but not a lot.
You see, for any site that I care about, I have always concentrated on building quality links, rather than quantity of links.
NOTE: I actually care about all of my sites, but many are used for testing so I don’t expect them to stay afloat when Google make sweeping changes like we saw in 2011-2012.
I wanted to think of a short phrase I could give you that encompasses my 2013 & Beyond backlinking strategy (I can see that may be a title for a new Kindle book). I wanted it to be something that you could easily remember and repeat, every time you are about to drop a backlink to you site. This phrase must be something that you can use to evaluate whether or not you should be leaving that backlink. Here it is:
Don’t build backlinks, Build Authority
OK, so what does that mean?
First and foremost, I know what some of you are thinking.
Backlinks build authority, right? Therefore, just build lots of backlinks using whatever automated tools ….. STOP!
This is what has caused many websites to be penalized in Google during the last dozen or so Google Updates.
Get one thing straight. Backlinks DO NOT equal authority.
Let me show you an example of what I mean:
There is a backlink to a website selling a popular male (mostly) product. Does this link give the site that it links to any authority?
To decide that, ask yourself what a person would think if they saw this webpage.
It’s pure spam.
So what does it say about the site it links to? Absolutely nothing positive. How can links like this build authority?
So why did the webmaster put this link on a page that is nothing more than mixed up words?
The answer is simply because this strategy USE TO work to help web pages get ranked higher in Google. This strategy no longer works (thanks to Google) and will instead get your site dumped out of Google.
So what kind of links can build authority?
Links on pages that show your website in a good (or great) light.
e.g. if you have a website on educational kids toys, how about writing a really good “related” article about an educational game you play with your kids. Describe how that game helps them learn the letters of the alphabet, or whatever. Instead of posting that article on your site (which has a slightly different focus, but is still relevant), post it on a site with good authority ( I showed you how to find sites like this in newsletter #317. Ironically, that article is right beneath another article on SEO Link Robot – a tool for automated backlinking which I no longer use or recommend). Include a resource box, or better still, a paragraph in the article explaining that you have a website on educational kids toys, and link to it using the name of your website, or just the URL of your website as anchor text. That will give you a backlink that adds authority to your site.
Doesn’t this take a lot longer to build links?
Yes. But don’t you want your sites to last a lot longer?
By building quality backlinks like this, you not only build “search engine authority” for your website, you also build personal authority as an expert in the eyes of your visitors as they read your articles on other websites and click through to your site to see what else you have to offer.
A dictionary definition for authority is:
An accepted source of expert information or advice
That is how your visitors will see YOU and your site as they get more and more exposure to your content around the web.
Funny thing is, Google sees it the same way. Next time you think about building a backlink to your site, repeat the mantra:
Don’t build backlinks, Build Authority
Do you still want to add that backlink?
If you want to read more about backlinking, and SEO in general, check out my Amazon Kindle book – “SEO 2013 & Beyond”. That gives you a little more advice on anchor texts, sources of backlinks, etc.
I’d also recommend you read my article on Internal Linking & SEO, as this type of backlink is also very powerful and I show you an example from one of my sites.
If you have any comments or thoughts on this article, please leave a comment below.