Backlinks can be rather confusing. There are a lot of outdated methods that were once effective, but now are completely useless. Are you still stuck in the past, or are you building your links effectively? Let’s take a look at the do’s and don’ts of backlinks.

THE DO’S

1. Weigh the link’s potential. Besides from how much the link can contribute to your search engine ranking, consider what value the link is able to provide. Will it be bringing you traffic? Does it attract relevant visitors? Does it establish your reputation or authority?

2. Involve local listings. Getting listed on local listings may seem like an outdated strategy, but the truth is it is still very effective for your business. Google algorithms often take it into consideration when evaluating whether your business truly is where it says it is. However, local listings often aren’t indexed by Google.

Something you can do instead of getting your site directly linked on Moz Local or Yext is build a page on your website that states where your business can be found online. That page, in turn, should be linked to your local listings. Google is much more likely to index that.

3. Ask to be linked in brand mentions. Another great way to get a free link is by looking for any instances of your brand being mentioned online where you aren’t linked. If a review site publishes an article that mentions one of your products, you can simply reach out to them and ask them to add a link back to your website.

4. Update broken links. By updating broken links, you can recover some links that you lost without too much effort. Let’s say that a certain company mentioned and linked you some time ago, but you have since changed or deleted that page of your website that was linked. As a result, when people click the link, they are led to an error page. Reach out and ask them to change the link to whatever you are currently doing so that it actually leads somewhere.

5. Sponsor a noble cause. I’m sure you’ve run across a charity or a nonprofit that’s doing great work. They could use your support, and you could use their platform. Whether it’s a big amount or a small amount, a sponsorship can get you a link on their site.

6. Ask people and businesses you know. Though this is one of the lower response options, it may just get you a few more links. Try to contact people or business that already know about you and will probably be more willing to put a link to your site somewhere on their website. You won’t lose anything by trying, right?

7. Create great content. You’ve probably heard the typical SEO anthem, saying “Content is king”. Though that is true, there’s more to link building than just having great content. Oftentimes, you’ll find that a good combination of building links and earning your links will give you the greatest advantage.

THE DON’TS

1. Request specific anchor text. Though many SEO companies insist that specific anchor text can make a difference, the truth is many people find it spammy and unnatural. By giving the other website the freedom of linking your website however they see fit, chances are your link will look a lot more natural. Google’s algorithms will therefore see it as more organic, and the link source will be of better use to you in the long run.

2. Use hidden links. Unless you’re a sleep-starved college student trying to reach the word count on a report due the next morning, avoid adding in white text on white backgrounds, or anything of the sort. It may not be visible to the human eye, but it’ll certainly be visible to Google’s algorithms, lowering your reputability.

3. Get backlink’s in low-quality directories. Search engines are now able to tell whether the sources of your links are of good quality or poor quality. You don’t want to end up on directories with a bunch of text with a couple links thrown in for good measure. Go for quality.

4. Get linked site-wide. Whether your link ends up in a header, a footer, or a navigation bar, chances are it isn’t going to do you much good. These site-wide links often come off as spammy, and people are even less likely to click through.

5. Publish comments with over-the-top anchor links. Just as everything else, this looks spammy. Pass.

6. Doing way too many guest posts. Sure, doing guest posts will get you a link. It’s certainly a valuable tool, when used correctly. It’s a wonderful way to provide valuable information to the community, as well. That being said, don’t make it your main source of links.

7. Be involved in link schemes, private link networks, or private blog networks. Just as many of the others, these are incredibly spammy. Furthermore, if you get caught, you may very well be completely taken off the search engine index. Don’t risk it.

8. Link for a link. Instagram may be a platform where you can do follows for follows or likes for likes. This is ineffective for websites. Not only will you be getting lower quality links, but there are so many other ways for you to build links organically while increasing your brand reputability.

At Ranked, we provide affordable SEO that's powered by artificial intelligence - are you looking for someone to handle all the SEO for you? Then we're the perfect partner! Start your free trial today.