There are many types of backlinks, but only some of them will have a positive impact on your search engine rankings. A few years ago, link building was simple. In the last years, Google’s search algorithm has become smarter and harder to manipulate.
The Penguin update has decreased the rankings for hundreds of thousands of websites that were trying to game the algorithm. Certainly, Google will continue to release similar algorithm updates that will penalize sites that have bad and unnatural backlinks.
So, how do you build or earn backlinks that will help you get more traffic from search engines, without risking to get a penalty? And how do you know what backlinks are bad and you should avoid? You can’t just publish content and pray to get results. It will get you nowhere.
In this article, I’ll show you 4 of my favorite ways to build backlinks. I’ll also talk about identifying your best and worst links.
#1. Replicate the best backlinks of your competitors
I assume you already know who your most important competitors are. If you don’t know them yet, search for your main keywords in Google, and check who is ranking on the top results. It can’t get any simpler.
In most cases, if your competitors are ranking higher than you, they must have done something better, in terms of building or earning backlinks. By spying their backlinks profile, you have the advantage of knowing how and what links helped them achieve better SEO results.
It’s extremely important to understand that not all of your competitor’s backlinks are good, even if they are ranking higher than you.
When a site gets popular, and it starts to gain backlinks naturally, it will automatically attract some links that are not so good. Hence why, you should always consider analyzing the backlinks of your competitors, before trying to replicate them. Some are worth getting while you should avoid the other ones.
To get a list with all your competitor’s backlinks, you can head over to the Monitor Backlinks SEO Tool. When connecting your domain, you’ll be asked to add your main competitors. Unlike other tools, Monitor Backlinks will automatically recheck your competitor’s links, every ten days, and send you the ones they have built or earned recently.
Replicating competitor’s best links is an ongoing process that never ends. If you are serious about getting good SEO results, you can never say, “I’m done optimizing my site!”. You have to keep up with your competition, or they will rank higher than you, forever.
Here’s a quick look at the competitors section from Monitor Backlinks.
Notice how the link from the last row is green?
That’s because my website already has a backlink from that domain, showing me that I don’t need to spend more time replicating a link from that site. So how about the rest of the links? How can I tell if they will help me get better at SEO? You’ll have the use the SEO metrics available, and also your common sense. These are the best ways to determine the quality of a website, in less than two minutes:
- If the site has a Domain Authority higher than 20, it might be a good find. The higher the Domain Authority, the better, but don’t rely just on this metric; investigate the other ones as well.
- Check how they are linking to third party sites. Only dofollow links will have an impact on your SEO. Nofollow links can be good for sending traffic, and get your website name in front of new readers.
- TLD and IP location can tell you what’s the country they are targeting. If you want to rank higher for Google Australia, most of your links should come from Australian sites. Nonetheless, generic TLDs can have a good impact as well.
- Ask yourself these questions: Does the site look legit and trustworthy? Do they provide anything new and useful to their readers? Does the site have a good engagement with the users (social sharing activity or blog comments)? Would you be proud to have a link from that site?
- If you are hesitant answering these questions, move on the next opportunity and don’t waste your time building backlinks that might hurt your rankings.
Ok, so you’ve found a good backlink by spying your competitors. Is there a button that can automatically replicate that link? No, there’s no such thing! (don’t laugh, I’ve been asked this question many times)
To replicate a backlink, you first have to understand how the competitor has got that link. Is it a sponsored product review or a blogger liked their website so much that they decided to link to it? Or maybe your competitor is a guest contributor on that site.
If you think that your site is worth being mentioned on the same page as a good resource, you can reach out to the webmaster and take your chance. When building backlinks you have to be smart and creative.
#2. Recover backlinks that were removed or not linking correctly
Just as a site can naturally earn backlinks, it can also lose them. Sometimes it will be by accident or in some cases, the webmaster can decide that your site is no longer relevant. Recovering a good backlink, it’s just as important as building or earning a new one.
So how do you find which of your backlinks were removed and the ones that are linking to pages on your site that no longer exist. You can do that with Monitor Backlinks.
From the backlinks page, you can filter your links and choose to see all the links to “pages with errors/redirects”.
Once identified those links, remove the filter and choose to see the ones with the status “backlink not found.”
If your website already has a decent amount of links, surely you’ll have some links that were removed, and you can recover them. Whether it’s a guest article or a product review, reach out to the website owner and ask them if it’s possible to replace or fix your backlink.
#3. Find the best blogs in your niche
Whether you are in the food industry or interior design, there are bloggers for every industry you can imagine. These days, to build backlinks you need to outreach bloggers to build quality backlinks.
You can find the most popular blogs in your industry by searching in google “best [industry keyword] blogs”.
You might ask how do you get these bloggers to link to you? These are several ways:
- Guest Blogging
- Bloggers Reviews
- Broken Link Building Method
- Reach Out and show them your best piece of content
#4. Write testimonials
You’ve seen it everywhere. Sites that sell services or products love to show the customer’s feedback. If you’ve purchased an ebook or using a service, send them a testimonial and also the URL of your website. There’s no need to ask them to link back to you. Most of them will do this, to prove that you are a real person. How to find your current bad and good backlinks
One of the most common SEO mistakes it that website owners build a link and then forget about it. Or even worse, they never check the new links they are getting and they end up being a victim of negative SEO or get penalized for having too many bad links.
You have to monitor your existing backlinks, and remove the ones that are bad, on a weekly or monthly basis.
That’s it. SEO is not rocket science so don’t get discouraged if you do not see results quickly. It takes time. But if you do it right, and you get quality backlinks, you’ll conquer the rankings, sooner or later.