There’s no shortage of “blackhat” methods on the market today to help you build backlinks to your website. Unfortunately, those blackhat methods could earn you a nasty penalty from Google and other search engines. Search engines, like Google, publish “Webmaster Guidelines“. Those guidelines are meant to keep people from manipulating the search engine results pages. If you’re caught manipulating the search results, you could be banned from the search engine. Now, Google does want you to build backlinks to your website. They just want you to do it in a merit-based fashion.
Guest posting is one of the oldest legitimate ways to build backlinks to your site. A guest post is exactly what it sounds like. You put up a post on another person’s website as a “guest.” In exchange, the person hosting your post offers you a backlink or two for your efforts. The site owner benefits from additional quality content on his site while you get the obvious: so-called link juice.
Guest posting arrangements can build strong relationships with bloggers in your niche. Once these relationships are formed, you have an unbeatable method of building backlinks that look good in the eyes of the search engines. The links are merit-based, because the site owner has to approve them. it’s not like those questionable “linkwheel” arrangements either since the site owner may only be allowing you and a couple of other people to post content on his site.
Email links are links found inside emails. These links are often part of an autoresponder or followup sequence. While these links might not help you in the search engines, they do help in another important way. Website owners with large email lists send out many emails every month to their list. If the list owner has built any kind of rapport with his list, then his emails will be well-received.
Some list owners sell advertisements in the form of a simple text link. The lowly text link can help you build your own customer base. In some ways, this method of link building is better than building links for the search engine because you aren’t relying on an outside company’s “black box” algorithm to bring traffic to your site.
As a bonus, some webmasters do actually publish back issues of email newsletters on the web. If you’re fortunate enough to be doing business with such a person, then you will gain the additional benefit of link juice flowing to your website.
Badges are small icons that you put on your website that are “clickable.” If other websites put these kinds of links on their website, then you can take advantage of these badges as a way to build links to your website. Why would a webmaster want to link to you like that? Simple. Let’s say that you run a contest for the best information-driven insurance website on the web. Let’s also assume your website is primarily a sales-oriented insurance website. You choose a winner, and offer them a badge. The badge is essentially an award for being the most authoritative insurance website on the web.
Embedded in the badge is a link back to your website. The link is legitimate because you’re the one sponsoring the contest. This works if you’re a legitimate business selling a legitimate product or service. Many companies, and even many bloggers, would love to be rewarded for being an authoritative site. It lends credibility to their site, and establishes them as a real authority, even if they haven’t won any other awards.
Value-added links are backlinks that you build that help your competitors out in some way. Search for old 404 pages in search engines. Take the page and drop it into the “way back machine.” See what comes up. What you want to find is good information with high-quality sites pointing to the page. These 404 pages are pages that used to be well maintained but are no longer kept up, and you can take advantage of that.
Do a little research and find out who is still linking to these dead pages. Contact the website owner and offer better quality information than what he’s currently linking to (or used to be linking to). By offering value to the site owner, he’ll be happy that you found a dead link and that you’re offering real value for his visitors.