Building links should either come naturally, such as through social sharing or through a reputable SEO company that meticulously vets the websites and blogs that they use. Black hat SEO firms still use spammy tactics to obtain links back to their client’s websites, not caring in the link comes from an authoritative or quality website or blog. Google caught on and stopped some spammy practices, however, their sophisticated algorithm is not perfect. Some link building practices, while unethical, are creative, such as hacking high quality .edu websites and inserting a link back to a site that a university would never endorse. The spammers actually placed the link on the university’s website using the same color for the text and the site’s background so that the link was invisible. It just goes to show the lengths that some businesses will go through to get a backlink from an authority site.
Few new business owners can afford to wait until they earn links naturally if they want to make money and build brand awareness. Typical link building that website owners use include issuing press releases, forums, blog comments, interviews and ethical paid methods. Once a person starts a link building campaign, they begin to realize how time-consuming link selection is; the website must have authority, be relevant and website owners have to vary their anchor text so that every link does not point to the home page. Determining this content requires research to see what anchor text competitors who rank in the top of the search results use.
The best way to build links back to your website is to have amazing content, but if no one sees your content because your website is buried on page 10 of the search results, it is hard to naturally earn backlinks. There is nothing wrong with turning to an ethical SEO firm to get links back to your website, however, make certain that the firm uses ethical methods or you could incur a manual linkspam or a duplicate content penalty. Another unethical tactic used by unreliable SEO firms is to copy well-written articles, insert their clients link, and then repost the content on a blog that they maintain.
Back in 2011, JC Penny used an SEO firm that placed links with varying anchor text in the footer of unrelated websites. At first JC Penny ranked first on Google for important keywords but someone at the NY Times got wise and investigated how the company shot up in the search results. Someone was placing links for black dresses that lead back to JC Penny in the footer of tech websites and a variety of other websites that were not fashion-related. Google penalized JC Penny and the department store had to do a great deal of work to get back to where they were before the SEO firm started their link building campaign. The moral of this story is to find an SEO firm that believes in backlink acquisition transparency and to keep an eye on what they are doing in your name.