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Google optimization is based on the premise that the more people that like to your website, the more valuable it must be and the higher ranking it deserves in search results.
And almost two decades since it was devised, beneath the sophisticated mathematics, the hordes of MIT grads swallowed into the research and development department, and hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue lies a simple principle: Google optimization works. Popularity is a pretty good indicator of a website’s value.
But what constitutes popularity online? From a search engine’s perspective, backlinks from another site pointing to yours is a meaningful vote of confidence.
We’re not talking here about links you put on your own website, although those “internal links” are indeed important and often underutilized. Let’s focus on how to build backlinks other people use to point attention toward your website via blogs, articles, social media sites, and so on. For example, “Here is my review of the best restaurant in New York (link pointing to your business).” And while tweets, likes, and +1’s are now becoming important ranking factors alongside links, having websites link back to you is very much still a basic requirement for getting search engine fueled website traffic.
There are an infinite number of places you could conceivably build backlinks for your website, and the vastness of the task can be paralyzing. But you have to start Google optimization some where. You shouldn’t wait passively for people to finally decide to link to you. So over the last few weeks my agency has dug up this list of easy-to-build backlinks you can get for any website. These will help get the popularity ball rolling, and even if your site has been around a while, you should go back and make sure you have these link sources covered.
14 Easy Places to Build Backlinks
Why haven’t you heard of these link sources before? You have. But you’ve probably been told they are a waste of time by your Web developer, who claims these big, popular sites aren’t useful for Google optimization.
The reason is that most powerhouse social media sites like Facebook and YouTube put a small piece of code called ‘the no follow’ tag into most areas of their site. As the name implies, the ‘no follow’ tells search engines: if someone tries to build backlinks to their site from here, don’t follow it. Instead, ignore it.
This was and is done to prevent spammers. If you didn’t have the ‘no-follow’ tag, spammers would create thousands of Facebook profiles, LinkedIn profiles, and YouTube accounts just to link those sites back to their website. The ‘no-follow’ breaks the connection you are trying to make between one website and the next, defeating the purpose of a link from the perspective of Google optimization (people can of course still click the link and visit your site directly).
But it’ s a fallacy that all social media sites have no-follows. In fact, many sites provide juicy link opportunities. You just need to find them. And we did.
These are all real links, and are entirely legitimate and approved for optimization by Google.
We recommend creating profiles for key employees and founders. Be sure to add custom links with anchor text (“anchor text” is the actual words that comprise the link. You want these to be search terms for which you want to be found, not your name or company name. This anchor text helps Google determine what other sites think your site is about) . Your profile link on Google Profiles will be devoid of a no – follow and you can add much additional information along with the link including videos and photos. These profiles are especially important now that Google Plus has launched.
Create a local business listing for all of your offices. Use target keywords in the profile and description fields. This is a great source that is devoid of no – follows and has high visibility in the search results. A Powerful, easy, and effective place to build backlinks.
Build a company profile, as well as individual profiles for key employees and founders. Select “Other” when setting your first web site link to create custom anchor text. Also take advantage of the two additional links available, but no custom anchor text is allowed.
Digg is great for traffic generation, and while not the powerhouse it once was, is still a large community. Plus, you can submit articles you want to promote, and links to those articles are followed by search engines.
Even if you’re not a check-in maniac, you should set up Foursquare profiles, as the link you associate with your account is followed.
An article submission site in the Digg vein. Very active with highly engaged users. The links you submit will be devoid of the no – follow attribute .
Create as many Squidoo “lenses” as you like, about any topic. A lens typically consists of a blog post-esque article, with links to other recommended sources.
An article discovery site that’s exceedingly busy and popular. Drives significant eyeballs all around the Web. Submitted links are followed.
Even if you don’t know a burger from a baba ganoush, create a profile on Yelp. The link in your profile is followed. Links in comments, however, are no-follow.
This local business portal allows you to create a profile for your business and is devoid of the no – follow attribute. Use target keywords in the profile and description fields, and anchor text if possible.
Create a custom YouTube channel for your company . While comments and any links you include in your description will have the rel=”nofollow” attribute, YouTube gives you a link in your profile that is devoid of no – follow.
Article submission is becoming a bit dated in terms of Google optimization and building backlinks. Large content repositories like this and Hubpages (below) may have been devalued somewhat in Google’s most recent “Panda” overhaul of its algorithm. But you can use this site to recycle blog posts that you have published elsewhere, and pick up an additional link.
Write articles on topics of your choosing, with custom links and anchor text . Significant link potential here. Devalued a bit in Google’s new Panda update.
Also in the Digg and Reddit category. You get a link in your profile , and you can submit news stories and articles. All article links are followed.
When You Build Backlinks Be Complete
When it comes to Google Places, Local Listings, LinkedIn and basically all your social pages and profiles, a complete profile is much more powerful than an incomplete one. It’s just more information that search engines can use to figure out what you and your website are about. So fill out all the details and include your main keywords in those profiles (for example, ‘we are a landscape company from Dallas specializing in large commercial and educational institution projects’).
All of this takes a bit of time and grunt work, but if you do it Google will have a richer collection of sites pointing back to yours in a consistent, powerful way.
Got a juicy link opportunity we missed? Put it in the comments.
In the meantime, check out Jay’s comprehensive look at the rise of social SEO and Google Plus.
Guest post by Nicole Sorochan, a multi-media creative vagabond and co-founder of Victoria, BC based One Net Marketing, a direct response digital marketing agency specializing in search, social and display advertising.