White hat link building is the preferred type of link building for most webmasters. White hat basically means you are doing your best to follow Google’s guidelines. When you stick to white hat SEO methods you are giving your site the best chance to stay in good graces with Google and not risk any penalties or problems with Google’s algorithm.
Although using white hat link building methods will usually lead to better long-term rankings, gaining links through white hat methods is much harder and slower than with black hat methods. This is because with white hat methods we are focusing more on quality than quantity. If you plan to have your website as a long-term asset than I highly recommend white hat link building over black hat link building even though the road ahead is tougher. It’s a much safer way to gain backlinks and the results will be more long-lasting.
In this tutorial we’ll go over different ways to gain high quality, white hat links that will help your site rank higher for a long time to come!
My first step when it comes to building links for any new site is what I call the “branding” stage. This is where I utilize different free websites to help build my brand. Any new business that is worth anything would, of course, have a social media presence. So I would create a Facebook page, Twitter page, Instagram Page, Pinterest etc… Anything that other reputable businesses would have, in doing so I get to place links back to my website.
I’d also go and spread the word on as many free sites as I could. For example maybe a Google business page and any other free business listing sites I could find. I would find sites that have listings for startup sites or sites newly launching. If I have accounts on forums I change my signature to link back to my website. I think you’re seeing where I’m going here.
Branding is basically getting the word out online about your new business. There are many free websites out there that you can get your brand mentioned in a way that looks natural to Google. I think you’d also be surprised at how powerful this simple step is. Many times just after branding I’ll see my site start popping up in the top 100 for keywords that I’d like to rank for. Branding starts your backlink relationship with Google. It puts you on their radar and gets your site crawled more often.
This is the age-old, tried and true method of white hat link building. Guest posting is when you write articles for other websites and in exchange get a link back to your own website. Guest posting can be extremely powerful but also time-consuming.
These days most sites you’d actually want a guest post on require long, in-depth, original articles that may require a good amount of time to create. If you love writing and are passionate about your topic then guest posting may be the perfect way to gain links for your site. For others, the effort needed to create guest posts and find opportunities might not be worth it.
Finding guest post opportunities is fairly simple actually. Just search Google with your topic and some phrases that sites allowing guest posting use. For example:
- dog training “write for us”
- dog training “guest post”
- dog training “submit blog post”
- dog training “submit article”
There are tons of different combinations you can use but those are some of the ones I’ve had the best luck with. Many sites will have their own specific requirements for guest posts, so make sure you read through the requirements before submitting any request. Guest posting not only can give you a great link but can also lead to referral traffic from the website as well. That’s a nice win-win!
Of course one of the best ways to gain links is by having people share your content naturally. This sounds obvious but is harder than you may think. Some industries will have a tough time ever having people share their content and site link. If you own an auto body shop, it’s gonna much more difficult to have people naturally sharing your content on the web, whereas if you have a news site it may be much easier. So depending on what your site is about, this type of link building may be easier for some than for others.
Now by natural sharing, I don’t mean just sit back and hope people share your content. In order to get people interested in sharing your content, you need to make them compelled to do so. Creating great, insightful content is, of course, the first step. You may also want to add infographics and fun videos to your content to make it a bit more share worth.
Also get creative! I have a friend in the fitness industry who created a really fun article about the “Game of Thrones Diet” right before the start of season 5 of the show. It was funny, and actually a decent diet. She posted it on Facebook and within minutes her friends were sharing it, then their friends were sharing it and on and on. This is an example of using pop culture events to get interest in your content and your site. There are loads of opportunities like this if you think outside the box a bit.
Press releases are something most major businesses do fairly regularly. For our purposes, it’s not something you need to do more than once but it can help get your site noticed. I usually find a press release service when I launch a new site. I have them put together a press release about the launch of my site and a little bit about it.
Press releases usually are mostly nofollow links, so most of the time there won’t be big link juice gains but they are still very worthwhile. Many big, reputable news sites will syndicate press releases and I’ve had my press release show up in Google news for a few search terms.
This has helped build a small amount of traffic for my sites when starting out and has lead to other links from people who have found my site through the release and shared my site. It’s definitely worth doing and usually an inexpensive way to help get the word out.
Blog commenting has gotten a bad name in recent years mainly due to how easy it became to spam the comment section of websites with links. Programs like Scrapebox and GSA search engine ranker made it incredibly easy to link spam with blog comments. This, however, is not the type of blog commenting I am referring to here. High quality, white hat blog commenting can still be an extremely powerful link building method.
This requires finding real websites in your niche that allow comments and adding quality, relevant responses to the conversation. When you do this you are usually allowed to add your name and link to your website in the comment section. Keep in mind, when doing this for white hat link building you want to make sure the sites are reputable and not spammed.
A great way to find good blog commenting opportunities in your niche is to just search Google for topics in your niche and flip through the results. You should see some blogs and many of them will accept comments. Read the article, see if you can add something relevant to the conversation and comment away! There are still a lot of blogs that will make your comment dofollow if it’s something worthwhile, so you’ll get a nice mix of dofollow and nofollow links this way.
Site Mentions & Link Requests
There are plenty of times people will mention your website on their site but not link back to it. This is a great opportunity to try and get a link back. You can find their contact page and try contacting the website owner to see if they’ll turn your mention into a link.
Keep in mind the old saying “you catch more flies with honey”. If you approach them by telling them how much you enjoy their blog/website and are polite you’ll be surprised at how many people will have no problem doing that for you.
Broken Link Building
Have you ever come across a website in your niche that has a link pointing to a site that no longer exists or a page that is no longer there? This presents a great opportunity for you to get that link replaced with your link! If your site doesn’t have content that fits appropriately, maybe think of creating some content that will.
So just like with site mentions, if you contact the website owner and tell them that the link is broken and you have some great content that can replace it, you may be able to get a free link out of the deal!
Giveaway, Charities, Scholarships etc…
These methods I am about to describe are not only great for web businesses but are also great for brick and mortar businesses trying to get some links to their websites. Let’s go back to that auto body shop example. If you create a giveaway or contest sponsored by your business, let’s say free baseball bats for kids, a charity donation, or a small scholarship setup from your business you are bound to get some links.
Things like schools, little league websites, local newspapers etc.. may all start linking back to you. These can be some pretty powerful links as all of these things are the types of sites google trusts very much. Although the setup time on something like this may be a bit more it could reap huge backlink and ranking rewards in the end.
What We Learned
In this tutorial, we have learned some great ways to build white hat backlinks that Google will love. Lets recap some of the methods and ideas discussed.
- White hat link building is the preferred link building method to help ensure long-term rankings
- Branding your website by getting links on social websites and free business listing sites is a great place to start
- Guest posting is a great tried and true method of getting high-quality white hat links and also referral traffic
- Try and make your content share-worthy
- Do a press release round letting people know about your website
- When focused on quality, blog comments can be a great way to gain backlinks
- Don’t let your site mentions go to waste. Try and request a hyperlink instead.
- Take advantage of broken links within your niche.
- Giveaways, charities, and scholarships are great ways to get your local area talking and linking to you