How to generate backlinks and improve your ranking – 13 tips
What are backlinks? Are backlinks still relevant for Google? And if so, how do you get backlinks on your website? We have compiled the most promising methods.
What are backlinks?
Backlinks are references to your website that appear on an external website.
Let’s assume that you are a watchmaker and have published an interesting article about a specific watch repair on your company website. A blogger writing a text about watch repair uses your article and adds a link to your website in his blog.
Are backlinks still important for Google ranking?
When Google was launched in 1999, backlinks were the search engine’s most important factor. The idea was simple: The more link referrals a website has, the more important it is.
But webmasters quickly made good use of it. They built and bought backlinks for their pages. Google soon became aware of this practice and threw these pages out of the index as spam. This was also a consequence of the Penguin-Update in 2012. Since then, some webmasters and SEO managers think that backlinks are obsolete. But that is not quite accurate.
Backlinks are still relevant
The importance of backlinks has declined significantly, but they remain one of the many criteria that Google uses to assess the relevance and reliability of content. This is one reason why Wikipedia is always at the top of search results in many search queries. The online encyclopedia is linked to many pages, because it provides information about basically every topic.
Backlinks not only contribute to a better ranking, they also directly bring more traffic. If your page is mentioned elsewhere, the chances are that visitors will click on this link and access your website.
How does backlink building work?
Now the big question is: How can I get backlinks?
There are many ways of getting them. Some are complex and tedious, others bear fruit very quickly. Unfortunately, Google often dislikes these “fast fruit bearers”. If you are unlucky, your page may be thrown out of the index. We therefore recommend the slow paths, which have long-term advantages.
13 backlink building tips
6 risky backlink building methods
Note: These methods may lead to Google penalties. However, we will mention them so that you are not taken in by false advice from dubious SEO “gurus”.
1. Link building tools
Automatic link building tools create messages with backlinks. The tools place these messages in the comment fields of blogs, for example. Most comments have to be approved by the blog operator, but some bloggers automatically approve each comment and your backlink appears on a third party website. Of course, Google quickly realizes that the content of the blog has nothing to do with your “comment”, even if some tools try to adapt the comments according to topic. It is therefore extremely probable that this method will backfire.
. Purchase expired domains
Another method is to buy old domains that have already ranked successfully, but whose owners no longer want to operate them. If you own such a domain, you can set up the site again and refer to your website with the contents. But there are many things to keep in mind, such as a different imprint, different web hosts, different WordPress themes, etc. However, Google usually puts rehashed pages in a kind of sandbox. Its links will only influence the ranking when the site has rebuilt its reputation. This procedure is intended to prevent old domains from being bought for the purpose of creating backlinks.
If you use this method, your site will probably not be penalized, but you end up spending a lot of money on an old domain without getting anything out of it. You can of course put in a lot of time and work to rebuild the old domain and add backlinks.
3. Build a link wheel
A link wheel is a collection of web pages that have been built to refer to a specific page. You create many blogs, insert articles and link these to your actual website. However, you must make sure that there is no other connection from these pages to your site, otherwise Google will get suspicious. The probability that a link wheel is discovered is quite high. In addition, it is extremely complex to fill and operate these other pages with high-quality content.
4. Purchase or rent backlinks
Google cannot know whether you bought or rented a backlink from another site. That is why this method usually brings the desired success quickly. However, you cannot be sure what the site you bought the link from is doing. If it is busted for some reason, for instance, because many other sites have bought links there, then Google can penalize this site. This also affects your Internet presence. In addition, many websites only offer the option of renting a backlink. If you stop paying the rent, the link to your page will be removed.
5. Tiered link building
With tiered link building backlinks are produced at different levels. The lowest level uses many typical spam pages that anyone can place a backlink on. These backlinks then refer to pages that are a bit more serious; from these pages you go to even more serious pages, and then to the actual target page. This procedure is very complicated, but the algorithms used by Google and co. are increasingly able to recognize these systems. Therefore you ought to abstain from using this method.
6. Link exchange
Sounds good. You write to another website and offer to add their link to your site in exchange for a backlink. This can work if the pages are relevant to each other. If this is not the case, Google will become aware of it very quickly and react accordingly.
7 recommended methods for backlink building
1. High-quality content
We are almost ashamed to say that “high-quality content” can be very helpful for building backlinks. But we have noticed that many websites still work according to “the main thing is that we publish something every week”. “Something” will not help get backlinks, though. However, if your articles are well researched, clearly structured and have real added value for the reader, then other authors will notice this as well. They will mention your page as info source and you have a backlink already.
In order to obtain high-quality content, use your personal knowledge and experience or the knowledge from your company. Real expert knowledge is in demand on the Internet. And who has more knowledge than someone who deals with the topics on a daily basis? If you have problems bringing your content across clearly, there are a lot of service providers, such as clickworker, who can help you.
Another method is to read the best ranking article on a keyword. Ask yourself what is missing in this article. Then write your own text on the topic and fill in the gaps you noticed in the other article. (Please never simply copy and add the article! Google doesn’t like that at all.)
2. Infographics, photos and videos
These points actually belong to the “high-quality content” item; but we want to mention them again separately.
Pictures often say more than words. Other websites often make use of infographics, which simply explain complicated facts. Allow the use of your graphics expressly under the condition that your page is named as the source. In doing so, you have generated a backlink.
This also works with photos or videos. They can be illustrative as well as explanatory.
3. Broken links
Everyone is familiar with broken links. A word is linked in the text, you click on it and an error message appears because the link leads you nowhere. This is unpleasant for the user and unpleasant for the website operator who does not want to send visitors into the void. And Google doesn’t appreciate it either. This is what you can take advantage of. Search for broken links on websites that thematically match your website. If you have found one, check whether a contribution on your homepage would match this broken link and offer to use this contribution as link or source.
Text in article: “This icing recipe shows you how easy it is to make a pink icing.”
Actually, “this icing recipe” should be linked. However, the link is no longer active. You are a confectioner with a website, on which you present exactly the same type of recipe. So you write to the webmaster or author of the article and inform him that the current link is dead, but that you would like to give him your recipe as a link.
Since authors and webmasters usually have little time to look for new sources, they will gratefully accept your offer.
Tooltip to find broken links:„Check My Links Chrome extension“ finds broken links on every website with one click.
Interviews with experts or other persons of interest not only enhance the content of your website, they also provide backlinks. Why? The person you interviewed will most likely refer to the interview on your website on their own homepage.
5. Guest article
A guest article is also a great way of earning a backlink. Invite a thematically related website to write an article about XY for you. Of course, you can refer to your page in it. If the article is published by the other website, you can be sure of a backlink.
But please don’t exaggerate the references to your website. The guest article should offer real added value and not be self-promotion.
6. Regional web and business directories
This tip only applies to companies that are active regionally. It is worthwhile to use appropriate web and business directories and to publish the URL of your website there. However, you should beware of paid directories. Why? You can register your business free of charge with Google My Business and your business will be searched for by means of Google. So why spend money on something that the biggest provider offers free of charge?
7. Advertising and social media
Advertising on Google, Facebook or other networks is not wrong. It draws attention to your page and increases the chance that it will be seen and mentioned by others.
You should also be active on social networks such as Instagram, Xing, LinkedIn or Twitter. If your website appears in a post or comment, it has earned itself another backlink.
There are many ways to obtain backlinks
Backlinks continue to tell Google whether your site is relevant to a particular topic or not. But you should avoid buying links, link building tools and other obscure methods when setting up backlinks. These always lead to a Google ranking crash if they are applied incorrectly (and the chance of misapplication is very high).
Guest articles, interviews, infographics and high-quality content, on the other hand, are excellent ways to generate genuine and permanently useful backlinks. Here you usually have to invest more time, but in the long run it is worth it.