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How to Find High Quality Backlinks

Just having a large number of links pointing at your site does not guarantee success. You need several quality backlinks in order to rise to the first page of results.

Getting good links is a lengthy process and can take several months, unless you want to utilize PayPerClick (Google's AdWords) and then it can achieve almost immediate results but those results will end as soon as you quit paying so it's a good idea to gather links at the same time.

The two main things Google looks for is the quality of the content on your site (is it in-depth and cover the topic completely), and also the user experience (i.e., do people find it hard to navigate your site or order your products or services). Google also looks at the age of your site, how many backlinks are pointing at your site, if you are active in social networking, along with 200+ other factors.

If very few websites advertise the products or services you offer then you may not need very many backlinks to rank high in the search engines but your traffic may still be minimal because of your site being so specialized. In that case diversify and add more information.

Your backlinks also need to be replenished each year because some websites along with their links to your site go offline (or are taken down by Google's algorithm). Your competitors may be more aggressive in seeking links than you so you should check your rank occasionally.

Best Linking Practices

An occasional, relevant link trade is ok and having to buy a link in a relevant directory that is human reviewed, where you have to pay for the review (and not the submission) is OK. Google prefers that others promote your site and not yourself, so anything you do to try and manipulate your rank in Google can draw a red flag and your site could be banned, penalized or have your keyword rank filtered out, i.e., you won't be able to rank for anything no matter what you do.

Providing information that is useful to your visitors, that other people will link to without your asking, is the best method to gather links because they will often mention your content with a link to your website on their website or blog. If you sell auto parts offer tech tips on how to fix autos, if you sell furniture offer free building plans, if you provide a service write up a FAQ about your service, etc.

The Kind of Links You Don't Want:

Google recently changed it's algorighym so that if there is an excess of traded links, an in-balance of links from directories, blogs or forums, obvious purchased links, or if you get involved in triangular linking schemes, or buy hundreds or thousands of links, then it will draw a red flag for Google which may then apply it's Penguin penalty to your site to prevent it from ranking well.

Anything in excess can cause problems with your ranking in Google because they can tell when you gathered the links yourself vs others linking to your website. Google also keeps a record of your link profile which affects your trust rank so if you have bought a lot of links in the past your trust rank may never improve.

Google is having to do this due to dishonest marketers finding some new trick that helps their keyword rank (like hidden text) and then everyone else follows suit and then Google has to clamp down on that practice, until next time someone comes up with a "bright idea" to boost their ranking.

The Best Backlinks For Your Website

  • Find friends, businesses associates, individuals, or organizations who are willing to link to your website as soon as it's online, then you won't need to submit to search engines because the search engines can find your link on a site they have indexed already.
  • Within Content Try and get links from within content and not on a link page as Google has dropped rank from pages that contain only links.
  • Quality Content The other site needs to be considered a quality site by Google or the links the point at your site won't help any.
  • Authority The other sites needs to be considered an authority in your niche.
  • Relevant Links: Look for websites on your niche but with a different focus and submit original articles (but not to article directories that spread them to multiple other sites).
  • Directories in Your Own Niche Submit to relevant directories in your own niche, i.e., for cabinet makers look for authoritative woodworking sites.
  • Competitors Links: Run your competitors through a link quality program to see where they are getting their quality links and try and submit your website there.
  • Submit to Local Directories This mostly applies if you only serve customers locally. These likely won't provide a followed link but they always list your site name (citation or mention) and these help ranking a little bit.
  • Using Brand Name vs Keywords Since Google launched it's Penguin Algorithm, it has been penalizing sites for over-optimized backlinks, i.e., using keywords in the anchor text for a majority of links, instead of the brand name or domain name.
  • Submit Press Releases Only submit press releases when you have a valid reason for one, like important developments on your site or an original focus with your products that customers on the press release site will be interested in.
  • Blogging Post messages in relevant blogs related to the topic of your site with a link to your website within the post or profile where appropriate. Try to get links that are NOT "no followed", however, even those will help your rank a little due to your site being mentioned.
  • Participate in Forums Find forums related to your website's focus and post often so you will get noticed and build up trust so people will click on the link in your profile or signature and possibly link to your site from their own site or in other forums showing where they found valuable information. Most forums put nofollow on all outgoing links so this may not benefit you with ranking but may bring some traffic and provide citations.
  • Internal Linking Google also consideres links from one of your pages to another of your pages as a valid link, but only if it's within the content of your pages (not the menu, sidebar or footer).
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Lori Eldridge
Copyright © 7-5-01, updated 11-26-17
All rights reserved.

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Keyword Strategies
Maximize the Title Tag
How to Get Good Backlinks
Submitting websites to Search Engines and Directories
How Long Does It take to Rank in Google

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