Backlinks no longer have the same SEO value that they used to. Their weighting in Google’s algorithms has been significantly reduced, and poor quality backlinks can now even be detrimental to a website’s ranking. Building links is now just one part of the SEO process, and simply relying on links alone will not guarantee a good ranking, particularly as social media, branding, and user experience are all becoming so important. However, building some good quality backlinks to your website and individual pages that you’d like to nudge up the rankings is never a bad idea.

Although there are hundreds of different ways to build and encourage links, I’m just going to talk about  what I think are some of the most effective ways to actively build links.

Content and Outreach

If you’ve just written some great content for your blog, or you have a whole stream of it that you think could be really useful to people, then ask relevant people and influencers to perhaps link to you or share your stuff. Offer support in return and create a long-lasting relationship.

Guest Blogging

Writing an article for a relevant high quality website not only earns you a backlink to your own website, but it now earns you authorship points and increases your trust. As long as these are passionate guest posts on authoritative blogs that are going to get shared then it’s well worth the time. Junk guest posts are something that should always be avoided.

List Inclusions/Resources Pages

These links are perhaps not the most valuable but they could be easy to get and also potentially bring a good stream of traffic to your site. Look for trusted websites where people might be going to find out where to buy stuff, or where to get information on something. Contact the webmaster and suggest you have relevant products/information for them.


Blogging on your website has numerous benefits:

  • It creates fresh content; something Google particularly likes.
  • Each post could potentially act as a landing page for another set of searches which relate to that post.
  • It creates something worth sharing on social media.
  • Interesting, useful information on your blog attracts attention and links.

Social Media Pushes

Social media pushes can work well especially if you have something to announce, a new product launching, or just a useful piece of content that people would like to share.

Link Reclamation/Broken Link Building

Find websites that used to link to you or your competition but no longer do. Perhaps the backlink is broken. If so you should contact the webmaster and suggest your website as a suitable alternative for the broken backlink. Use Broken Link Index to find broken backlinks.

Competitor Backlink Analysis

Seeing who links to your competitors is a great way to find opportunities to get a link. Some of the links may not be easy to copy but there may be many that are an easy steal. Bear in mind that doing this alone isn’t enough – unique links are sometimes the best.  SEOmoz offers a good tool to get you started on identifying potential competitor backlinks that you could copy.

Brand Mentions

Look for brand mentions across the web using Mention or Fresh Web Explorer. Ask these people who mention you for a link if they haven’t already done so.

Stolen Images

You can check whether anyone has used your images on their own websites using ImageRaider. If they have then ask them for a link.

Links to Social Media Profiles

Check who links to your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube channels. You could ask these people to link to your website as well.

The number of ways to build links that pass SEO value has been reduced as Google fights for natural links and against artificial ones. Therefore we need to find ways to maximise the chances of natural links, and nudge real people into making links to you as these links will seem much less artificial than something like article and directory submissions. Keep building links but also remember links are only part of the ranking equation and may perhaps become even less important in the future.