Welcome to the Beginners Guide To Building Links 2021 by Pete ‘The SEO Guy’ from Plymouth SEO Services.
So I’m going to talk about link building in this post, as there is a lot of misinformation out there and a fair amount of scare-mongering. A lot of people are nervous about creating links because they think it gets your site penalised by Google, but that only happens if you’re creating lots of spammy links that Google doesn’t approve of.
If you do it the right way, creating high-quality backlinks in a slow and natural way, the result will always be that your website gets higher in the search results and you get more visitors, enquiries, leads, sales and customers.
And to be totally honest, if you’re in any kind of competitive niche, the fact is you’re going to need links as they are the biggest Google ranking factor (What they use to decide where to put you in their search results).
Links (Backlinks) are the most important element of off-page SEO (Changes you make off your website, whilst on-page SEO are changes you make on your website) and it’s the most powerful signal for Google ranking (Where they decide to put you in their search results).
Link building is simply creating a link from another website that’s linking to your website. Links are built specifically for the purposes of increasing organic search ranking, so you could put a link on your Facebook profile, but that’s not really the same thing. Technically, that’s making a link, but what I’m going to be talking about is done specifically to increase Google ranking.
So why do we need links? Well, no matter what anyone tells you, they are simply the number one ranking factor for Google. Website content and on-page SEO are important as well (and you should never start building links until these are done properly first), but having links pointing to your site is what Google values the most.
Now, you could possibly rank for some very low competition keywords without backlinks, but for any medium/highly competitive keywords, you must use backlinks (Keywords are the search phrases people type into Google to find the service, product or information they are looking for).
So, some of the types of links I’m going to cover are citations, social media profiles, foundation links, guest post links, editorials, press releases and the most controversial of all: PBN links.
I’ll also talk about anchor text, which is the written text on the page that contains the link. So for example, if you write ‘click here’ and that links over to your site when someone clicks on it, the anchor text is ‘click here’ e.g Click here
This is a very important factor for ranking and it’s something you have to get right. It’s one of the things that I see most people getting wrong.
Different types of anchors include generic, which is like ‘click here’ or ‘learn more’. Branded, which is like the name of your business. URL, which is just the naked URL of your website e.g. https://plymouthseo.uk/.
So the first one is citations. These are not super important for organic SEO, but you should still build the major ones for local businesses, like Yelp etc. These are highly trusted sites and it establishes your website as a business and as a brand, but it’s really for local SEO.
Next are social media profiles and web foundation links. These are mostly no-follow links (no-follow just means no authority passes on to your site) from trusted authority domains and what you’re doing with these is signalling to Google that you have a real site, a real business and something they can trust.
You can put either the brand name or the keyword in the URL e.g. plymouthseoservices.weebly.com etc.
Social profiles are sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Youtube, Instagram and hundreds of others and the link in the profile itself linking to the home page of your website using naked URL anchor text in most cases.
Then the post you put on the profile itself can and should link to different places, so you can link to a map page or your about page or a blog post or just mix it up.
Some good social media sites to build blogs on are Tumblr, Weebly, WordPress.com, Wix etc. There are literally thousands of different ones. You can build them out to be like a mini-website and then you just put in a link to your website somewhere on them. I recommend using either a URL, generic or branded anchor text here.
These are low power links, but really important when starting a link building campaign for the first time, as you want to build things up slowly to get Google’s trust.
These links give you diversity, trust and credibility and a lot of times just this alone will get you up to page two if you’ve done your On-Page SEO correctly.
Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to start using the more powerful links.
A guest post is a post on a high authority blog that someone else owns. Now, you have to be careful here because some people will create a website and give it ranking and authority just for the purpose of selling links and that’s not truly a guest post.
That’s a PBN (Public Blog Network) and there’s nothing wrong with that, but just know the difference that a genuine guest post is on an actual blog that someone maintains and runs and posts to.
One thing to consider here is the site relevance. It doesn’t have to be the exact niche you’re in, but you ideally want it to be the same general category, but generic topis like Travel can also be very flexible and a good fit.
Bloggers have figured out that this is a better way for them to monetise their blog than say Google Ads or affiliate links, so just figure out how much it’s going to cost and if it’s a good fit for your budget, campaign and goals.
I like to use keyword anchors for these and link directly to the web page I’m trying to rank for.
Niche edits are very similar to guest posts, but it’s a link placed in an existing article.