It looks like the SEO world has finally come full circle.  The time of the past 3-6 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.

Here are some tips I have expanded on from an article I read recently in the Free SEO News newsletter.  I have also added an additional point about content writing.

Also see: Matt’s Awesome Blogging Tips!

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Backlinks in Forums and Forum Signatures

Backlinks which 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 a tool such as SEO Profiler.  They have a link monitoring tool now called “Link Disinfection” which we have had success with.

The solution is to find  a highly relevant forum  which 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.

Directories

dos-mac-cartoon

Old School – The IBM People wander into the MAC people’s turf.

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.  This means if you write one good article and post it 20 places, you will get the same transfer of authority as if you posted it once.  You may even get less or penalized in some cases.

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 print 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 backlins, 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 – Work Hard

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.