Gaining Backlinks For SEO

Gaining  backlinks is the most important factor that will increase your website’s rankings. In fact, the leading SEO experts agree that 70% of SEO efforts should be geared toward building backlinks. So focus less on tweaking title tags or page rank sculpting and direct resources to where you’ll get the most bang for your buck – building backlinks!

Link Directories: Easy, Bottom Of the Barrel Links

The easiest links to get are from link directories. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of these link directories provide little value when it comes to boosting your rankings. The only time where these links tend to carry weight is if the directory is locally focused.

Buying Links: Easy, Very Risky

Buying links violates Google’s webmaster guidelines, and could earn you a Google slap which manifests in a sudden rankings drop or delisting if you’re caught. With that said, there’s a thriving industry for buying links. If you have the stomach to defy the search engine gods, here’s an excellent link buying guide.

Article Directories: Low-to-Medium Value

Submitting articles is still a great way to gain backlinks! There are two schools of thought when it comes to article submission.

  • Go for volume, less on substance.  You churn out vacuous articles, and submit to as many directories as possible. The end goal is the author byline link in each article.
  • Go for substance, less volume. You deliberate, and write fewer articles that contain fresh ideas, or a unique perspective. The end goal is for this content to be picked up and syndicated on other websites, hopefully with the byline intact!

I might catch some flak for saying this, but I prefer the volume approach.  There are better options for exceptionally crafted content – examples in the next heading.

One last note on article submissions: The essential element to submitting articles is the author byline. Often byline links are not no-followed, meaning they will provide some rank juice . It’s important that these backlinks include your keyword phrase in the actual link text (a.k.a. anchor text).

Guest Articles & Blogging: Medium-to-High Value

This link building tactic is more difficult than article directory submission.  Content at this stage requires more effort, not only must it be unique it should rival journalistic writing. Your article will be vetted by a blogger or an editorial staff who are keen to provide high caliber content for their readers.

Links produced by these efforts tend to carry more weight. This is because you’re hitting the holy link trinity – relevance, context and neighborhood.

  • Relevance of the page to the topic in the anchor text.
  • The surrounding text gives the link contextual meaning.
  • The link is coming from a website in the same neighborhood.  This provides additional context to the link, giving it more weight.

Additional tips for guest blogging.  While some bloggers openly accept guest posts, the vast majority do not. If you find a relevant blogger in your niche who doesn’t accept guest posts, start building a relationship by commenting on their blog.  Broach the idea of a guest post after you’ve built trust.

Create A Widget:  Medium Value

People love to add widgets to their websites.  Again you could take the volume versus relevance approach with widgets. When you create a highly relevant widget (Web MD widget example) it’s bound to end up on contextually relevant, but fewer websites.

The downside  to widgets is that some webmasters may remove the link. One way to relieve their angst about sending traffic to your site is making the link open in a new tab using the target=_blank” attribute.

Creative Commons License For Content – Medium Value

People love to share and repurpose content on the web.  With a creative commons license you can state how you’d like to be attributed when people remix your original work.

All content, including video and pictures is fair game. I’ve had success providing old catalog photography to the Flickr community under a CC license.  The pictures have been used in a number blog posts,  and Photoshop tutorials.

Social Bookmarking: Low to Medium Value

Primarily, social bookmarking sites are better used for traffic generation, which requires an active base of followers. However, a number of these sites are do follow which make them good candidates for backlinks.

Do-follow social bookmarking sites:

Mister Won

Here’s a more comprehensive do-follow social bookmarking list.

Create Something Unique To Your Site – High Value

This might be pillar content or an online tool unique to your industry.  It should be so funny, thought-provoking or useful  that people feel compelled to link back. That’s the essence of linkbait.

Link Building Conclusion

Link building is critical to the success of an SEO campaign. Gaining the necessary backlinks is only limited by your imagination. As I test out new ideas I’ll keep adding additional link building tips to this list.  In the meantime, let me know what’s worked for you in the comments section!

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28 comments on “Gaining Backlinks For SEO
  1. M. Sullivan says:


    Thanks for the good info. As a newbie, this gives me an idea on where I should concentrate my efforts on increasing my websites rank in the search engines.

  2. I agree that back links tactics in link building is not an easy part to do. I appreciate that you have shared ideas on some effective link building techniques.

  3. Andrew says:

    The paid link building services is still a strange one to me. I see places selling 300 PR6+ links for $200 and so on.

    Not that I think they could deliver anyways, but I’m quite certain if a page recieved 300 pr6+ links in a week or 2 some red flags would go off down at google.

  4. That’s some great info. And I’ve found Propeller to be one of the best social bookmarking websites. My links from there are always indexed and when someone shares your link with a group you get another link from the site.

  5. I appreciate your input on guest blogging. I’ve written a couple of guest posts (I was approached, not the other way around), and I was debating the pros and cons of putting my fresh content on someone else’s site rather than mine.


  6. jitkasem says:

    I’d ever bought one way backlink with PR6 and PR5 for a long time ago but they didn’t improve my website pagerank yet. My website is sill in the PR3 since last year. I don’t know why or google have other factors for calculate the pagerank other than High PR incoming link to the site. I know that if I have a backlink to my site from PR6 website then my pagerank should be PR4 , is this true???


  7. Buying links is realy very risky, one i lost a lot of money due to that 🙁

  8. I do not plan use a link building service, ever. It can destroy your brand image. I encountered some problems with guest blogging, however. I operate in a very niche market and I realized the there are not much blogs talking about my field of expertise. Also how do I recognize whether a blog accepts a guest blogger? Thanks

  9. Great information. It’s nice to see that people still take the time to write about fields that they are interested in and have knowledge about to help people in learning more about this subject! Feel free to follow us on Twitter :: Twitter

  10. I think that submitting your articles and press releases to directories has high value in relation to directories & blogs. They provide you with anchor text link and good ones have PR of 6.

  11. Nice post. I try to make some linkbuilding to my blog, and i am sure this post tips, can help me a lot. I think the linkbuilding part of SEO is the most annoying.

    (Sorry cause of my bad english – i am Danish)

  12. psoeasy says:

    I agree that most of the hard work is focused on your link campaign, but it is not the most important!
    In paragraph 1, you state that building backlinks is the most important. That can be misleading. If you pick wrong keywords or do not optimize your site correctly, your link campaign efforts will simply not be effective.
    It’s like building a good motor for a 10000lb car. I would beat you with my roller blades.

  13. Gaining backlinks are very important for gaining popularity in both Google and for different users.

  14. Ankit Batra says:

    Getting Backlinks is most important and the best way is commenting to do-follow blogs and writing guest posts..Guest posts provide for quality link building…Buying links never seems worth the risk but thanks for the link..Maybe i ll check it out.

  15. Joey Davila says:

    Nice post, I really spend my time reading your post at it help me a lot on how to become good in SEO.

  16. whoops i had no idea that there was such danger with backlinks! thanks for the heads up

  17. laina says:

    Spammy backlinks are worthless and has no any effect. Nowadays I get only some high quality backlinks and that’s it.

  18. Mike says:

    You got some great ideas here. I enjoyed checking out the widget site, and I’m going to look into article directories more. Thanks

  19. Daniel White says:

    On the paid links part, Google doesn’t always penalize for paid links.

    They clearly state they understand buying/selling links is part of the economy, but they will only penalize if such links are used to manipulate rankings.

  20. Church says:

    I actually had to read this article twice because it was so good. Directory links really are easy to get, but not much help either (just like Jesse said), while other forms of link building are better but more difficult (manual/targeted blog commenting)?

  21. brindes says:

    Agree with Ankit Batra, i think one of the best and easier ways to build quality back links is comment on do-follow blogs. However is kinda hard to find those 😉

  22. MM Craig says:

    Good advice! Link building is vital! Very Very true!

    But without good keyword rich content then your website is floating in never never land!
    Just wanted to point that out too for newbies!

    Only problem is SEO’ing takes time! I find it so boring! Has to be done tho!

    And as they say! “rome wasn’t built in a day” HAHA

    nice work!

    MM- Craig.

  23. edatassol says:

    Still Backlinks is one of most important task for SEO.. it would be remain valuable in new SEO trend 2012?

  24. White Hailey says:

    Hey Jesse,
    I agree with your rating systems of the back links from different mediums. But there is one thing that is very crucial about the back links is that you can not have too much back links from from a low quality site. If you do so your site can be penalized for that. Also avoid using a single anchor text for getting back links. Try to use variety of anchor text for getting back links for your site. Also try to get back links from lots of different sites belonging in to the space of your site. Hope these tips will help you to get your site ranking top in SERP’s.

  25. Haley says:

    Yes, Back Links and Do Follow both are very much important for the website, and it is one of the main building blocks for a SEO.And one more thing needs to remember, there is no weight at all of Back Links with No Follow.
    Thank you for posting a beautiful article. Wish you a happy posting.

  26. Samantha says:

    I am new to SEO and learning how to do it and what are the different techniques for Search Engine Optimization. Your blog is definitely good food for me, I learnt many things regarding SEO with the help of this particular article. These tips for link building are awesome. Thanks for sharing.

  27. Some of the ideas you put are unique and very helpful. Some are old school and are considered basic, but I am willing to know how you devise a strategy regarding a particular website which prohibits any linking method which can be risky? I had customers categorically denying me to perform certain tasks or linking, frustrating. Anyway thank you all the way for this really helpful article and effective suggestions.

  28. I really thank you for your expert tips. Being new to SEO, I really found this informative. These techniques for Search Engine Optimization are superb. This blog is awesome and will definitely be helpful for new SEO professionals.

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