6 Spam-Free Link Building Methods that Won’t Make Google Cry

crying*

This is a post written by the team of freelance-seo.co.uk with a few suggested changes by myself.

Earlier this year, the SEO world was shaken to its core by Google’s cry that guest blogging for SEO purposes is dead – to be lumped into the same category as link farms and article syndication sites as a “spammy practice”. Many of us wept and mourned the passing of our old friend – one that had endured years of solid implementation to eventually become one of the most reliable tools in our SEO arsenal. It seems that our link building options are becoming slimmer by the day.

Further reading into the article suggests that they weren’t necessarily broadly speaking about the practice as a whole – more the cheap and spammy links that are promised to us on a daily basis in poorly written emails. Any SEO who has brushed up on Google’s algorithms knew this all along, meaning those of us who use guest blogging in a legitimate and ethical way could breathe a sigh of relief.

However, will this method still prove to be as useful as it did, say, before the announcement in January? Or will It continue to decline in popularity with Google as more and more ‘cowboy’ SEOs latch on to the guest blogging bandwagon, condemning it to the depths of webspam hell? It’s difficult to tell.

For now, let’s take a look at six other methods with which to acquire links that (for now) are safe from Google’s wrath. Some of these you will be all too familiar with, but stay with me – you may learn something new!

Note: Before you can look to employ these techniques, you’ll first need to produce and upload some unique content to your site. Whether in the form of articles, news releases, videos or graphics, unique content is likely to capture the attention of your audience and drive traffic to your website – from wherever it may have been shared. Visitors are unlikely to follow a link to a basic poster or advert – they are far more likely to visit your website if you are offering them content that is engaging, interesting, useful or exciting. It is often good practice to search for gaps in content from your business niche, driving traffic away from your competitors by choosing a topic or development that they have not featured on their website.

Contact experts and key figures within your niche

There is no harm in sending a couple of short, concise emails or Tweets to professionals, webmasters and other figures of influence within your chosen industry. You can inform them of your website and the piece of content at hand, and ask them if they would consider sharing it or linking to it from their site, social networking profile or elsewhere. You may not always receive a response after your first message, but a bit of persistence can be beneficial – as long as it does not become excessive.

Researching and targeting key players using tools such as Followerwonk can be very useful indeed. Even one person tweeting or sharing your content can snowball and result in a lot of exposure depending on their following and influence.

Donate to a good cause

There are thousands upon thousands of charities and other good causes registered across the world, and many smaller organisations will be happy to provide a link to your website on their contributions page in exchange for your small donation. This is a win-win situation, as you’re likely to receive more traffic to your website, while the charitable organisation will receive much-needed funds. Personally, I would recommend Cottontails Rescue, because oh-my-god-those-bunnies-are-too-cute.

Give testimonials

Companies of all sizes are almost guaranteed to use services and products supplied by other businesses. From manufacturing to marketing and training to auditing, B2B services are utilised by everyone from the local start-up to the international corporation. You think Ronald McDonald would be where he is today without a little help from Mayor McCheese? The next time you’re arranging a purchase or deal, why not look for a testimonials page? If you can include your website link with a glowing testimonial, you’ve pleased your client whilst building a high quality backlink.

Fix broken links

The Internet is growing, moving and changing continuously, which can often lead to broken links. Unless a webmaster is to meticulously check their site every day, they’re more than likely going to have a few links to pages that have either moved, expired or been deleted altogether.

That’s where you come in. Say you find a site in a niche that you’re currently targeting. Maybe it’s got a link to one of your competitors and you want a piece of the pie. Why not do the webmaster a favour and point out any broken links they might have? Once upon a time this involved manually clicking on each link, but since then tools such as W3C Link Checker have emerged, saving us from a very arduous task.

Then, whilst you have their attention, subtly suggest that they throw in or, better yet, replace one of the broken links with a link to your site. Everyone’s a winner!

Recover brand mentions

This can be dependant on the size and popularity of yours/your clients site, but a quick Google of your brand name to scope out and contact any pages that might have mentioned you without providing a link back to the site can result in a quick and easy-to-obtain link.

Join organisations

Depending on the industry in which you operate, there may be a number of organisations or membership groups which are available for you to join. You will likely have to pay to join, but there will usually be advantages and benefits to doing so. One of these may be a member’s page – where all member organisations will be linked to, usually with a company logo. If such a page exists, it can be a valuable resource for driving high numbers of the right kinds of people to your website.

Do you use any of these white hat link building techniques, or do you have any other particular favourites for building quality, reputable backlinks?

* Creative Commons image by Daily Sunny