Building Backlinks – The When and How

By | May 19, 2010

There’s no doubt that building links to your website is a key factor in ranking with SEO. In fact, there are few things more important and more powerful than a boatload of high quality, content relevant, high pagerank backlinks. However, if you’re not building links properly and steadily you’re not going to get the best results from the search engines. I’m going to write a little about the proper way to build backlinks, some tips on getting high quality backlinks, and also dispel some myths about link building.

The proper way to build backlinks:
Backlinks, as stated above, are an extremely important factor when it comes to SEO and getting your website to the top of the search engines for keywords. However, there are a lot of common mistakes made when it comes to building backlinks. The first most common mistake is that users get anxious to get traffic to their site and they build backlinks before their on-page SEO is finished. This doesn’t work well with Google at all because Google will get a bad impression of your site on its very first visit. It is important to make sure that all of your backlinks are done after your website is completely finished and ready to be presented to the world. I often use a robots.txt file to block all website spiders from coming to my site until my site is completely ready to be indexed by Google. This prevents Google from viewing your site until you are ready. Having a site completely finished and presentable to Google and other search engines is the best way to start off with Google.

It should be noted that Google likes backlinks to your website from websites that are related to your website. So, if you’re selling knives and you get a backlink from a car website it won’t be counted as highly as if you were to get a backlink from a cutlery or cooking website. Keep this in mind when you’re building links. Also, try to stay away from exchanging links with websites. Some link exchanges are okay, but a lot of link exchanges don’t help you much with ranking.

Another common mistake is that webmasters try to pay for backlinks or build a lot of backlinks in paid directories. There are only a few paid directories that really help you and are worth the money. Yahoo Directory and Best of the Web are a few worth mentioning. There are better ways to get backlinks than paying for them. However, some websites reach a point where paying for high quality backlinks makes sense. If you have exhausted other possibilities it might be smart to gain a competitive edge on the competition by paying for some backlinks. However, if your website is just starting you aren’t likely to have exhausted all possibilities. Usually it takes 2-3 years to exhaust the possibilities of backlinks.

1. Have your on-page SEO finished. There is no sense in building backlinks until your website is completely finished and presentable.
2. Start with a few backlinks and build backlinks slowly.
3. Work up to getting high PR backlinks by marketing your site via e-mail and contact forms.
4. Pay for backlinks with high PR Directories (only top 5 rated).
5. Pay for high PR backlinks from huge websites if you’re still not ranking where you want to be. (should be done only after years of building).

Tips on getting some high quality backlinks:
Some good ways to get high quality backlinks are to get into free directory listings. You can also e-mail websites related to your site, tell them a little about yourself and why your website is unique, and then ask them to put a link on their site back to your website. This is time consuming, but it definitely works and helps to get high quality, relevant backlinks. Doing blog comments can help a little with backlinks as long as you aren’t considered a spammer. Contact your manufacturers and try to get a backlink on their sites under their “recommended retailers” section. Most manufacturers have these pages and they can be great for picking up traffic and sales.

Myths about backlinks and link-building

Links from bad sites will hurt me in Google.
In my opinion, every link helps. Regardless if it is from a porn site or a high PR government website. All links help. No links can ever hurt you.

Only high Page Rank website links will help me
Wrong. All links help you. Page Rank is a factor that shows PAST results of Google. You might come across a page that offers you a backlink, but it has a 0 PR. Take the link. It is possible that when google updates the page could have a high PR. Remember that Page Rank shows a webpage’s past ranking. Some pages with 0 rankings could be highly ranked in the future.

I will just pay someone or use a program for automated backlinks
Horrible idea. Build each link by hand and make each one high quality and relevant to your website. Automated link building will get you results for the short-term, but they will not last and they could hurt you in the long-term. Also, Google does monitor the amount of backlinks you’re getting and how fast you’re getting them. If you get too many links too fast you could be penalized for spamming. It has happened and it is tough to get back in the good graces of Google after this happens. Don’t trust anyone that is trying to sell you quick SEO and backlinks.