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Complete Guide to Backlinks – How to Acquire Quality Backlinks & How to Avoid Penalties

Build quality backlinks for better organic rankingsIt’s hard to imagine using the World Wide Web without the benefit of search engines, though there actually was a time when websites existed without the aid of Google and similar tools. During the dawn of the digital age, people discovered new online destinations via links. But even all these years later, at a time when Google generates billions of results pages daily, these backlinks still serve a purpose with regard to search engine optimization (SEO). But what is a backlink in SEO, and how do such links affect online businesses?


What Are Backlinks?

A backlink, also called an inbound link, refers to any link that points to a particular website and originates from a different domain. The term itself boils down to a matter of perspective. A link from a colleague’s website to your own would be considered an outbound link by your colleague, but it would be a backlink for you. The more backlinks that a site has, the better – as long as those links are legitimate.

In other words, the links should come from high-quality websites that are at least somewhat niche or industry-related.


Building backlinks requires patience


What’s So Great About Backlinks?

The number of authentic backlinks pointing to a site has a significant impact on the site’s authority in the eyes of search engines. And the more authority the site has, the higher it will rank on search results pages. That’s where SEO comes in. So how can business owners leverage this concept and boost their site’s visibility on the web?


The Basics of SEO Backlinking

Google and other search engines use backlinks to determine the value and popularity of a site. But it’s not just the quantity of backlinks that can elevate a site in search results. The quality of backlinks also plays a significant role. Depending upon factors such as the reputation of the referring source and the relevancy of the linking site to your own website, site rank stands to rise.

Having a wealth of backlinks pointing to your site is ideal, but what’s the best way to go about acquiring these links?


Quick Tips to Acquiring Backlinks

Here are a few things to keep in mind when building up backlinks:

  • Create awesome content that isn’t found elsewhere.

  • Send out press releases and offer to write guest posts for blogs in an industry.

  • Use tools like MajesticSEO and Open Site Explorer to identify potential backlink providers.

  • Build backlinks slowly over time to increase the site’s visibility.

  • Stay active on social networks by promoting new content.

  • Don’t pay for backlinks under any circumstances.


Learn how to build backlinks

1. Build Valuable Relationships Online

The best way to generate an impressive number of backlinks is by establishing strong relationships with webmasters who maintain sites with a significant level of authority as determined by Google. But even before beginning to develop these relationships, you’ll want to ensure that your site is in top form. In other words, your content should be well-organized, and your site’s structure should lend itself to intuitive navigation. By polishing your website prior to launching your backlink efforts, you’ll be more likely to persuade site owners to link to your URL while also boosting Google’s perception of your online presence.

2. Start Guest Blogging
When learning how to create backlinks, guest blogging is among the first tactics to learn. This technique involves writing articles for blogs other than your own and including a link to your website within the piece. This practice typically results in high-quality, authoritative backlinks, but only if Google trusts the site the article appears on. So spend some time researching the top blogs in your industry, and reach out to their webmasters to see if a partnership can be discussed.

3. Distribute Press Releases

In addition to writing blog posts, drafting press releases is another effective way to seed links to a site. Many online outlets are willing to publish legitimate press releases, and depending upon the newsworthiness of your latest exploits or innovations, the potential to go viral is a distinct possibility. This is due to the fact that many niche blogs and news websites peruse press releases for content relevant to their readers. Just be sure to include a catchy headline and a link to your site in every press release you issue.

4. Engage in Article Marketing

Another proven way to create backlinks is through article marketing. This form of advertising involves companies that write articles on your behalf before distributing them to a variety of publishing platforms. This avenue isn’t as effective as writing guest blogs, but as long as you limit article marketing to sites within your industry,  measurable results will be noticed. To keep rankings high, be sure to do research and only use services with stellar reputations.

5. Spruce Up Your Social Media Marketing

Social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram tend to carry a high degree of authority with Google and other search engines. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to include a link within the bio section of all social profiles. In addition, make sure to post backlinks to these articles and other content. Not only will this positively impact your page authority, but it may encourage others to link to this content as well.

6. Publish on Document Sharing Sites

An abundance of document-sharing sites exist online, and they can offer some valuable backlinks by uploading your articles, white papers, and e-books to such sites. Depending upon how many articles and press releases you’ve already written, this process shouldn’t take long. And since many document sharing sites are A-OK in Google’s eyes, such resources ought not to be overlooked.

7. Take Your Time

If you’ve recently written an awesome blog post that’s not yet appearing on search engine results pages, it may seem like a good idea to immediately start spreading the word about the article far and wide. After all, generating those highly-coveted backlinks is the goal, right? This approach could backfire, though, as Google might view a rapid rise in backlinks as a red flag rather than an overwhelming endorsement. It’s better to wait for Google to crawl the site and index a new article before focusing on backlinks.


How to Check Backlinks

There are numerous applications on the internet that can help users discover which sites are linking to which digital domains. And while every application is different, any of them is bound to help when starting from scratch. But with dozens of tools available to use, how are you to know which one is best? Unfortunately, you’re likely to find lots of inconsistencies by comparing statistics gathered from any two competitors. And depending upon how important website traffic is to your business, it might not be worth it to shell out some cash for a tool that may not provide full value. That’s why it’s a good idea to start by using a free backlink checker tool, such as the one offered by Google.


Google’s Search Console (formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools) makes it easy to download a list of backlinks at no charge. Simply set up a free account with the service if you don’t already have one. Then, from the dashboard, click Search Traffic and then Links to Your Site. Click the word More from under Who links the most, and the option to download a file that lists your most recent and relevant backlinks will appear.


How to Identify Bad Links

Once the list of backlinks has been downloded, go through the list to make sure all inbound links are from upstanding sites that offer at least some degree of authority. A random inbound link from an ugly website that has nothing to do with personal content isn’t likely to do any good. In fact, it could even be hurting you. That’s why it’s best to identify any suspicious links to your site and either:

1. Contact the website to remove them.

2. Disavow them yourself.

Although there are a handful of free and paid bad link checkers that claim to identify bad links, there’s truly no quick way to determine which inbound links might be malicious. This is because Google and other search engines don’t make their lists of offensive sites publicly available. So it’s up to you to go through your downloaded list of links one by one and carefully consider each URL. Depending on how many links are there, it could take a while to go through them all. As each link is visited, make a note of which ones seem spammy or suspicious in any way.


How to Disavow Bad Links

Once a list of possible offenders has been compiled, it’s time to decide which ones to disavow, meaning which ones to eliminate or renounce so they no longer factor into search engines’ evaluation of the site. But because there’s no way to know with certainty which backlinks may be causing a disadvantage, don’t start disavowing sites willy-nilly. Rather, do some research on SEO forums and seek advice about which links are likely dragging everything down. In general, sites that offer very little value to the visitor can be considered corrupt candidates.


If there’s  absolute certainty that an inbound link is doing more harm than good, try contacting the webmaster of that site and asking them to remove it. This is the most effective route, but not always the most realistic. If the website owner is unreachable, consider taking matters into your own hands. When that becomes the case, Google’s Disavow Links tool can be used to remove bad links from link profiles and improves your overall ranking. Sometimes, you just have to roll up your sleeves and do the dirty work yourself.


One thing to keep in mind about this tool, though, is you’re simply asking for Google to devalue the link, but the company is under no obligation to actually do so.

What to Do After Facing a Google Penalty

Google is constantly updating their algorithms to account for black-hat (i.e. unscrupulous) linking practices. Maybe you’ve heard of the infamous “Penguin” algorithm updates. Originally launched by Google in April 2012, Penguin specifically seeks out and penalizes sites that are believed to be engaging in spammy linking practices. These practices may include buying links or creating large numbers of low-quality backlinks.



What Can Fashionistas Do Online

After enjoying much success online, ventured into print media in 2012. Like many magazines in the print publishing world, however, the endeavor was difficult to sustain. The magazine announced in late 2014 that it would cease its print production altogether at the end of the year, reverting to an exclusively online publication.

Whether its fashion that’s up for discussion or for sale, a growing number of style-related publications are going online. While this may be bad news for big magazines, it actually offers a beacon of hope for fashion designers and other style enthusiasts who want to get into the world of fashion. If you’re looking to make a splash in the fashion scene, here’s where you can find (and attract) all those fashionistas who are going online:

Fashion Blogs

Fashion blogs are an easy, free way to get your feet wet in the world of fashion. Daily blog posts that show off what you’re wearing, and link to the sites where your followers can purchase the same items, will gain you followers. You can build meaningful relationships with other fashion bloggers, sharing each other’s posts and even guest blogging on one another’s sites. Discuss your thoughts on the latest trends, give tips to readers, and start to build a name for yourself – all with the help of a fashion website builder that won’t cost you anything up front. The key to blogging is commitment, so keep the content coming.

eCommerce Sites

Once you have created a name for yourself in the online style world, you may find that readers are interested in buying your designs. T-shirts, sweatshirts, scarves, jewelry, and more can be sold through your own website. With just a few clicks of a mouse, your faithful followers can begin to purchase your custom designs. Best of all, creating a website to sell fashion is made pretty easy with the help of fashion designer website templates. You can easily add pictures and descriptions of the items for sale and create an attractive layout that makes it easy to navigate around the site. In other words, you don’t need to be a web developer to get your own eCommerce site up and running.

Social Media

Once you have used a website builder to create your fashion website, social media becomes an important part of your marketing strategy. Embed social media icons linking to your Instagram and Facebook profile to your fashion blog website template, making it easy for fans and buyers to find you on social media. You should also showcase your personal style and items for sale on Pinterest. Creating a board for the items you have up for sale allows your site to quickly be disseminated across a wide audience. Best of all, social media users can link directly back to your fashion website and start shopping.

Whether you want to display your spring collection, begin selling your designs directly to consumers, or just share ideas about style, fashion is going online, so you need to be there. Online blogs and social media are the way to grab the attention of potential buyers and followers, gaining popularity for your style brand.


Read This Before Attempting to Build Your Own Website

You’re awesome. And of course, you want a truly awesome website because no business or idea is complete without an online presence.

Well, you’re definitely on the right track. The fact that you’re reading this already means that you’re motivated to create a stunning website, or are interested in giving your current one a facelift.

But First, Take a Step Back

Many founders, business owners, or employees are truly incredible at what they do. A common mistake however, is that they often try and translate this into building their own websites. They think that the fact that they’re good at what they do means they’ll be good at yet another thing—building websites. They may be, but it’s rare. The amount of knowledge, time and effort that goes into building a professional looking website—a website that will attract customers and show off the best of yourself and your business—is easily and often underestimated. It’s worth weighing up carefully the time you would spend on creating your website to get it perfect and exactly as you want it, against the time you could be spending adding value in other ways to your business, team, or brand.

Get Your Website Built as You Want it

Today, there are a ton of cheap (and sometimes even free) tools out there that are able to help you create a great website. Unfortunately, too many people fall for these “too good to be true” offers, and end up sliding down a rabbit hole of wasted time, effort, and even more serious, money—as often there is a fee to actually publish the “free” site you’ve been working on.

Even worse, after spending hours, and even days on the site, the end result is often tacky, nothing like you first envisioned, and quickly judged unfavorably by users as they bounce off your page in droves.

But hey, it’s not all doom and gloom. You can save the time and effort you would put into building a mediocre site you’re not thrilled with, and enlist the help of the professionals. It’s never been more convenient to have a professional build your website for you.

Once exorbitant and prohibitive, costs have since been made lower and much more affordable. Plus, the investment in your site is going to pay for itself, many times over. Top experts, such as those at our team, provide clients with all the skills and experience they have developed, creating websites that impress visitors and become a key part of any business strategy. All one has to do, whether it’s you or anyone else, is decide on a desired look-and-feel (where they can give you guidance as well), finalize a budget, and that is it—the team takes over from there.

Your job? Sit back and wait for your masterpiece of a website to be delivered.

Taking it Up a Notch

Once you have your website, there is a whole lot more you can do enhance your web presence, and improve your business results. There are add-ons and features aplenty, and an experienced developer will be able to integrate these for you. Depending on what you’re looking for and what you want to spend, there is certain to be a set of features that suits you, your needs, and your budget.

Once you have your website and its many features in place, it’s time to get the customers. Without potential customers being able to find you, you are nowhere. Your website has to be easily discoverable by the big search engines, which means that your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy has to be fully integrated with your website itself. Your website and SEO strategy cannot exist in isolation of one another, as the search engines “crawl” the internet, and might miss key details or keywords from your site if it is not correctly optimized.

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