It looks like the SEO world has finally come full circle.  The time of the past half doze years for generating thousands of backlinks with all the old tricks is “officially” over. Google penalties are being handed out like pizza flyers and “spammy” listing and directory services have been marginalized including PBNs, SEO Crop Circles, and all kinds of crazy SEO tricks.

With the modern use of Natural Language Processing in machine learning, you don’t need to spam your article or website with every variation of a keyword. Google, Bing, Yep, Duck-Duck-Go, and other search engines understand natural language. Write for people, not for bots.

And don’t use a bot to write for a bot. 🙂

AI content is easily detected by NLP processors. Websites that use a lot of machine-generated content are getting slapped down left and right.

Backlinks in Forums and Forum Signatures

Backlinks that are created automatically in your forum signatures or posting endless forum backlinks anywhere you can will set you up for a penalty in the SERPs from Google.  If you know that you have been penalized for bad forum links from the past, you can use the Google Disavow Links Tool.

WARNING: Before using the Disavow Tool, make sure you are SURE that you have been penalized for such an issue.  If you want help finding possible sources of bad backlinks, we suggest using an SEO tool.

The solution is to find a highly relevant forum that has targeted information about your website’s topic.  The transfer of Authority from a link from that forum can improve your ranking for all the pages on your website for that subject on the search engine results. Consider Reddit groups, FB groups, podcasts, and other authority rich markets for your content.

Directories

Finding niche directories with strict submission guidelines are good backlinks for your website. They produce high authority links which Google and other search engines love. Raw directory submission to directories that will take any links do not transfer any real authority and can sometimes be considered “spammy” depending on the directory.

Guest blogging

Writing an article and posting it across several blogs is not going to help you.  At a basic level, Google splits authority between duplicate content but only on the same website. Google will know which article is the original and which are copies. This means if you write one good article and post it 20 places, you will get more authority than if you posted it once.  You may even get less or penalized in some cases. You can even write on industry sites, Medium, find article submissions, etc.

Focus on writing an excellent article and properly promoting it. Give them extra exposure and you can focus your efforts.  Also, when you promote for others, the improved traffic and visibility for them will often give them the initiative to return the favor and promote you and your site.

Link Pages on Your Website

When you are going to link out to other pages from your site, ensure they are related.  The more relevant, the better.  Linking to your cousins’ vacation photo site isn’t going to help much if you make toy trucks for a living, but linking to truck manufacturers and toy stores that carry your product will give you a boost.

Write For Your Audience

People don’t pick up a magazine such as Runner’s World to read endless articles about how Nike makes cool shoes.  They are looking for interesting, well-researched, thoughtful and thought-provoking information about running.  They want to read about runners, training methods, upcoming races, stories about athletes, fitness, and health.

Nike is advertising in those magazines because their readers are in their target demographic for their product.  If you can determine who your target audience is (and that is for another post) and you can write to their interests, then you will have their attention. Encouraging readers to follow your website and social media by entertaining and/or informing them, will allow them to discover new content which you provide.

Readers who find your content engaging will share it with others which in turn can provide both backlinks, social shares, discussion, and traffic.  All of which can help improve your ranks in the search engines.

Buying Links, Followers, Likes, or Comments

Don’t do it.  Ever. 

Conclusion – Do The Work

Writing engaging content, solid guest blog posts, promoting those, and managing your link strategy is definitely hard work.  In the end, it will be worth it. Your website will gain in reach and authority, which in turn will give you better search results and higher traffic and engagement.  The black and grey-hat tricks of the past are behind us.  If you want to protect your site against future search algorithm updates, penalties, and other search-related issues, hard work is the only real solution.