Before April 2012, one could easily buy their rankings way up to the first page of Google. All you had to do was find the right websites and directories that would be willing to back link to your site. Well, that time is long gone. The Google Penguin Spam Filter is now part of Google’s Core Algorithm and has been cutting down on websites that still believe in black hat SEO practices. That is, tactics that attempt to trick Google into thinking that their websites garner traffic and engagement without considering whether or not users will find their website useful.

How can you avoid Google Penguin penalties, when it seems like unnatural links are everywhere? Our Internet Marketing Agency in Toronto is providing 5 tips for quality backlinking in 2017.

If you’ve ever been the victim of a Google penalty, you know how difficult it can be to bounce back and find a way to recover. Even if you’ve been penalty-free for many years, the threat of getting penalized again is at the top of every internet marketer and brand with an online presence’s mind. But how can you avoid it, when it seems like unnatural links are everywhere? Our Internet Marketing Agency has come up with 5 tips for quality backlinking in 2017.

1. Ask Someone

One legitimate way to get a backlink in 2017 is to ask people. That is, people you do business with, websites your customers frequently visit, the websites of your customers etc. People might argue, “Wait, this is not considered natural linkbuilding because you actually have to ask somebody to get it.” But if somebody is willing to become the “brand ambassador” for your website and link to your website and you’re not paying them to do it, then that actually is a good backlink from Google’s perspective.

2. Start a Blog

This endeavor could work as either an on-site or offsite blog. Blogging is a long term commitment that requires frequent updates and constant effort on the part of internet marketers and business owners. If you make a blog with one post and one backlink to your site, you are wasting your time and creating risky links to your website that Google will end up penalizing.

When deciding on possible topics to write about, focus on your industry and on your client’s needs! In time, it will most likely gain authority. Make sure that your content is relevant, useful and well-structured too. This is the only way to ensure that the world will want to link to it again and again and share the posts on their social media channels. That’s how you get great back links; you earn them with your blood, sweat and tears!

3. Directories

There are many online directories that provide no real value to Internet users and Google has excluded them from its search results. You don’t want your website to be listed on such pages. But not all online directories are bad. A directory that not only gives you the chance to post a link to your website, but also provides useful information for your potential customers is a directory you want to be part of. You can start with Dmoz – Open Directory Project, the largest and the most comprehensive, human-edited directory on the World Wide Web.

4. Replace Wikipedia Dead Links with Your Own

Did you ever think of using Wikipedia’s dead links as way to get backlinks? Google finds Wikipedia to be one of the most trustworthy sites on the web. You can find dead or broken links there and forward or replace them with those of your own. A good tool to help you with this endeavour is Wikigrabber. The tool helps you search for keywords and get the webpages that need citations on Wikipedia or have dead links on them. As well, thousands of researchers and journalists frequent the Wikipedia webpages looking for basic information for their own research. If they find something they like, it would only seem natural for them to source the info and that source may be you.

5. Spy on Competitors

Identify the common backlinks which competitors are using; preferably those who have been continuously ranked on the first pages of Google. Analyze these backlinks and identify the most useful which can be used for your own website. Moz’s Open Site Explorer is a good place to start.
Since the early years, link building and SEO have been inseparable – you cannot do one without the other. Quality backlinks tell search engines that people think your site is relevant and valuable enough to endorse to their audience. That means manual link building campaigns are still important for your digital marketing. The good news is that if you produce good content and approach link building subtly and professionally, your efforts will pay off with more quality links and higher search rankings.