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Friday, Jul. 27, 2012 at 4:27 pm

The Holistic Approach To Backlinking

By Mariel Bacci
July 27th, 2012

a begger with a sign, 'will work for backlinks'After our 5 part series about optimizing your site for SEO, we got a high demand for more information about backlinking.  We acknowledge why you want to know more about it- backlinks make your site look more popular to people, and therefore also more popular to search engines.  The reason we did not include it in our series is that backlinking is a form of offsite SEO, which should be your last priority when optimizing your site for visitors, search engines or otherwise.

In a perfect world, backlinking would come as naturally as onsite SEO should.  You would be making an effort to get your name out there on forums frequented by people that might be interested in what you are offering, you might have a video up on that helps make life easier for your potential clients or you might request a blogger review your product.  These are all strategies with a dual purpose- getting your name out there to people who might be interested is your product or service is your primary purpose, and backlinking comes as a natural perk of those efforts. To manage your time efficiently, we recommend you base your backlinking strategy on making an effort to connect with the people that will appreciate your product or service.

The Holistic approach to Backlinking

The way to get the best quality backlinks without wasting your time is to forget about getting backlinks at all.  By using effective online marketing and relationship building strategies you will build up backlinks naturally.  The following are four marketing and communication strategies that double as effective ways to get backlinks to your site.  We highly suggest you use them to get the eyes of qualified buyers onto your site and also improve your reputation to search engine crawlers.

Using Social Media Marketing

In it’s essence, social media marketing is the online way of calling a friend and telling them about something cool you saw in the online world.  When your company does something totally awesome, relevant, or interesting, you can share it with whoever might be a friend to your company.  When you post relevant and interesting content in your social media campaigns users will bookmark you and share your link with friends who they think might be interested.  The better your content is, the more people will share the link on social media platforms bringing more qualified guests back to your site. So, ask yourself what is ‘shareable’ information that you can offer every time you post something.

Search engines will look at the page everyone is linking to on your social media sites and think “wow, that page offers something great, I better give it a high ranking.”  Voila!  The key to this and all techniques in both the on and offline world is to make sure your products or services is worth talking about or that the content you feature that is somehow related to your products or services, is worth worth talking about.

Keep in mind that people don’t want to be “sold”. Offer the reader information they came searching for. This may mean that you actually don’t mention your products or services in your social media content at all. Find information that is related or relevant to what you have to offer, and that readers are interested in, and “talk” about those things. You may not drive readers to be interested in your products or services the first time they experience your social media content, but if you offer something worthwhile, you have just taken a baby step towards creating brand awareness with the reader, and the more likely they’ll come back to experience more of your content which will give you more opportunities to reach new customers.

So, hop to it!  If you have not already, make sure you create relevant profiles on popular social networking sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook. You will have to do a lot of footwork constantly uploading and updating relevant photos and videos on sites such as Flickr and YouTube in order to increase online presence.  The footwork will be worth it because you are not only creating backlinks, but creating relationships with people who are interested in your voice.

Forum Participation And Postings

You should already be involved in forums that cover topics related to your business.  This is a great strategy to stay in tune with your customers that you didn’t have the opportunity to harness before the Internet came around.  People who are involved in forums are usually the most active in your particular industry overall.  They are obviously interested in what you offer and use their computers as a resource.  Communicating with people in relevant forums about your product of service gives them the opportunity to ask questions and you the chance to know what your customers want on the ground level. This is awesome qualitative research!

If you are not involved in relevant forums yet, we can help you dip your toes in.  First, start a new thread on related forums or reply to already existing threads. Don’t push your links from the outset.  Actually, never push your links in forums because you will ruin your reputation.  If your product or service is relevant to a thread, then you can offer your link as a helpful resource.

Forums are also a really great place to offer discounts. For example, I participate in mountain bike forums to find out the best places to ride my bike.  At some point I needed new mountain bike tires so I started a thread asking which tires would be best for my needs, what experiences people have had with different brands, etc.  I got a lot of useful information from other forum members, and at some point one of them mentioned they sell mountain bike tires and offer a discount to forum members.  I was able to get a good deal and be sure I was getting the right tires at the same time.  I even sent the link to a friend sometime later who was looking at getting some racing tires.

Get involved in forums and other things your potential customers are involved in online.  The benefits of doing so are insightful and have the added perk of increasing back links and your search engine ranking.


Link baiting is the art of using incentives online. If you are offering something to enrich the lives of people on your site, expecting nothing in return…you are likely to get a lot of attention.  The key to link baiting holistically is to offer something relevant that will not hurt your bottom line.  In our industry, whitepapers are a good way to get people to share links.  If the information in the white paper is valuable to us, we are going to share that information that puts us ahead of our competition with our peers by sharing the link to the whitepaper with them.

Most common link baiting strategies include contests, provide something useful free of cost or talk about a controversial topic.  You can use anything that might help attract user attention and we recommend you use creativity and stay relevant.  You can always offer a free Ipod Nano on your mountain bike tires site for people who sign up for your newsletter.  A more effective strategy would be to offer a free set of tires, a ticket to a pre screening of a mountain biking film or a short synopsis of the injury and death rates of mountain bikers.   The main objective of link baiting is to provide something really unique and useful so as to motivate each and every user to naturally link back to the page where you offer the incentive.

You should ‘link bait’ every single time you share a link to your site.  Give people a reason to click on the link in the first place and make sure you satisfy whatever you promised them when they get there so they share the link with friends. That is not a strategy for back linking but for online marketing in general.  If you do it properly, back links will follow.


Having a blog on your site gives you way to show that your company continues to be relevant in your industry by producing new and fresh content regularly. Some people will come to trust you and might even subscribe to your blog.  If you do a really great job other sites and blogs will reference your posts and site in general as having information relevant in your industry. Your blog can also be a great place for your guests to give feedback and create a community with one another on a relevant topic.  You can promote your blog using RSS feeds will help achieve even better results since it will increase not only site traffic, but also the number of resulting backlinks.

You now know that the online marketing strategies you already have in play should be helping you to create backlinks naturally.  You should focus on these techniques and spend your resources wisely by creating backlinks while increasing the rapport surrounding your company in the online world.  For everyone that has unlimited time and resources, we will publish a backlinking cheat sheet for you soon.  The cheat sheet will include a long list of back linking strategies and relevant links- not all of which are safe or holistic.  In the meantime, what are your preferred backlinking strategies?  Do you need help ranking your site in search engines or optimizing your site for your guests?  If you are overwhelmed with all the work that needs to go into your site, we are here to help you prioritize and start converting.

Add Your Comments

Comments (61)

  1. Awesome insights for backlinks tips. I like the way you presented it. It makes me think that I’m going to revive my blog site.

  2. Out of all, I believe blog posting and forum posting will have better outputs. Its what I usually follow. Nice read.

  3. Wow,great tips for backlinking! This can be such a confusing area, but this article helped shed some light. Thanks

  4. Useful information, but if half-heartedly applied then your efforts may not be successful …

  5. I read this post three times, wonderfully written, hope to use the techniques discussed above to gain a few backlinks to my site

  6. Holistic indeed! I would prefer the most natural way of building links coz it’s algorithm proof for the many years to come.:)

  7. Nice guide to linking. I’ve found the most valuable strategy is guest posting on highly relevant authority sites in my niches, or closely related ones.

    The advantage is that you not only get a backlink from a highly ranked authority site, you get space to deliver real value; the kind that gets people actually clicking on your bio link and visiting your site.

    It’s a very nice two’fer. You get the substantial SEO benefits of authority site backlinks, and you expose your work to a new audience, some of which will visit and become subscribers, regular visitors, and followers.

  8. Looking at the current scenario, my preferences would be
    1. Guest Posting
    2. Commenting

  9. Marketing through social media is very creative and can play a vital role in building backlinks. More people gather online to transfer information because it is so easy. Blog posting and commenting are also good ways to interact and market online.

  10. I like the point= “Don’t waste time to build backlinks, they will build natually”. Yes in present scenario, Social Media Promotions are playing their their in promoting one’s blog/website.

  11. Hi Mariel,

    Great post as usual. I totally agree with you and I think you hit the nail on the head with this line “…In a perfect world, back linking would come as naturally as onsite SEO should.”
    Sadly, we don’t live in a perfect world and people are using the term building backlinks to spamming the hell out of social media, article directories, forums and so on with the hope of getting a stupid link out of these tactics.
    I hope this article will change something.

    Best wishes,

  12. It’s a very nice two’fer. You get the substantial SEO benefits of authority site backlinks, and you expose your work to a new audience, some of which will visit and become subscribers, regular visitors, and followers.

  13. I agree with Vignat, guest posting and commenting are the great tool for getting backlinks.

  14. Came back again to check on updates and follow-up comments, nice discussion going on here.

  15. I agree with what has been said here. My actual goal is to improve my writing skills ads develop my own blog- that’s why i come here to read your posts, I’m learning.

  16. Thanks, great article. Guest posting is a really good way for getting backlinks.

  17. Though my favorites are the forums, you must be careful about picking the right keywords (signatures) ….. I try to create links with keywords 50% and 50% only with web address.

  18. Nice read, going to bookmark this!

  19. I already engage in forum discussion to give exposure to my site. Commenting is one of the few good ways to build a community of your readers.

  20. I think Search engine marketing and social media marketing is very creative and can play a vital role in building backlinks.

  21. This is a great list. I will say that I think having a blog is the most valuable thing a business can do. Not only does it help with SEO but it can be a customer service tool. It’s becoming a must have just to remain competitive.

  22. Hey Mariel,
    I think that link building is really starting to reach the point that it almost doesn’t calculate trying to attain them yourself but instead people should focus on providing good material for others and getting people to link to you themselves. Those natural links are typically much more valuable and will focusing on content creation is definitely more of a long term strategy. Cheers

  23. These days I heard a lot about backlinking. I have been neglecting baclinking aspect during my initial blogging days.After reading this post I am now focussing more on backlinking too. Thanks for your post. Could you please tell the names of some websites that give good backlinks ?

  24. Strategy of backlinking has moved a bit due to changes of Google. Now people have to build real links, involving themselves in Social or Bloguing. Harder but better :)

  25. very good post with lots of ideas for me to think about, i’m completely new to back linking and finding it difficult after reading this it has given me some ideas and simplifies the process

  26. If you are writing unique and useful content for your group of visitors, people will start do backlinks to your content. You have to stay close to social media and wait your content become viral. :D

  27. Thanks, great article. Guest posting is a really good way for getting backlinks….

  28. Hi I read your post a few days ago and decided to start writing some blogs relating to my industry. thanks for the tips, how can you tell if a forum is a no follow or dofollow link

  29. Backlinks are essential but you need to be careful linking to other sites. Don’t just keep building links to non related sites. It can harm you and get you into spamming. You should build less but good and related links from authority sites intead. This is the best way to achieve ranking though it will take time but you will genuinely get ranking in a safer way.

  30. Very nice information for backlink construction and seo optimization, is true when you talk about forum participation and comments, thanks for vital information for seo marketers

  31. I think there are more better ways to build links, every blogger should use commentluv plugin in his wordpress site to get quality backlinks and traffic…there are many other methods too

  32. Valid points, especially the one about blogging on your website… there are few better ways to communicate directly with your customers.

  33. It seems the Internet changes so quickly and the best way to backlink changes with it. But two ways that I always like are blog commenting and forum posting. That way I can learn and get to know people at the same time. If someone likes what I write they may read my blog. I don’t know how much it actually helps search-engine wise, but it’s good anyways.

  34. This is a good approach to backlinking, but people should explore other methods such as keywordluv blogs etc

  35. I agree with the holistic approach… Actually making innovative, unique and relevant content is all most people need to do to get a stable flow of good backlinks. It’s not always as easy as it sounds though!

  36. Hi Richard ,
    You can use SEOquake toolbar to show dofollow and nofollow link…

  37. Excellent info on gaining backlinks the natural way for natural seo results. I will add a blog to my site now I can see the benefits.

    Well written. Clear and concise information regarding seo.

  38. yea – interesting article.
    I need to try harder to build my backlinks :)

  39. Thanks for the Excellent info on gaining backlinks, it is very useful to increase the Pr.

  40. A lot of social media is really only good for short traffic boosts however because the links tends to be no follow but great for PR

  41. I agree that the best way to build up links is organically. However, it can be beneficial to have a broad Google compliant linking strategy to kick it along and all the options that you have mentioned here are definitely worthwhile.

  42. This is a great list. I will say that I think having a blog is the most valuable thing a business can do. Not only does it help with SEO but it can be a customer service tool.

  43. Thanks, Mariel – great post for the marketing of my business

  44. I had never imagined that getting back links is so simple yet apparently effective. But it sounds quite time-consuming. Then again, it does take time to build a reputation, online too like anywhere else. I usually fish out the email addresses of the high ranked website owners, and request them to link back to my site in exchange for me linking back to theirs. Most of the optimizers out there do the same. It’s faster along with being effective if you are ready to compromise on repute.

  45. Great post! Agreed, one shouldn’t waste time building backlinks, because if you offer quality content, they’ll eventually build themselves. Thanks for sharing this!

  46. This is a good approach to backlinking, but people should explore other methods such as keywordluv blogs etc…

  47. Thanks very much for the useful info on backlinking, Mariel. It’s something I’m just getting into and there is so much to learn it can be confusing, and as you say overwhelming. You’ve explained things in a way that is easy to understand.

    All the best,

  48. The best link building techniques are forum and blog posting because the traffic we receive is highly qualified.

  49. I find link building time consuming. You need to search for hours for sites to post backlink. After that it’s not even sure if the backlink will be approved. That’s why right now I only practice article marketing and Web 2.0 sites

  50. It is true that blogging is a great way of building backlinks. However there are more spam comments than genuine. Thus making the blog rank low in PR.

  51. backlinks takes time, energy and alot of patience and work. Dont get on these sites like so many have on this one because it’s a dofollow with a decent rank and write “great blog intresting, informative” that’s BS.

  52. After Penguin update link building is treated as a spamming so i think every one should avoid link building.

  53. Great tips! I never realized shared links on social media contributed to back links. Why don’t these links tend to show in seo analysis tools?

  54. For a newcomer, seo is proving to be the wild west when getting recommendations. Thank you for clearing a few things up with this article.

  55. Came here from your SEO Cheatsheet…and realized that linking your own articles or blog posts together can be helpful as well, when it comes to encouraging visitors and time on site! :) Thanks again for the ideas.

  56. Great points! Been trying to find the right approach to link building, but its difficult to figure out which one is the right. Nobody really knows anything when it comes to SEO.

    Thanks anyway

  57. Great post!
    Approaching backlinks include too many ways but getting quality links are possible through only some ways like Guest posting, Blog commenting.

  58. The recent Google algo updates even made the link building as spamming. Over link building also leads to decrease in traffic. So, we should no do any work overly.

  59. I totally agree with you we must not overdo it. Let’s make our backlinking way as natural as possible and we can make it by being honest to ourselves not just spamming sites just for a backlinks that we can get.

  60. I’ve tried to find backlinks in many ways. The number of backlinks that we get is the second issue, the more important is the pagerank of each backlink.

    A webpage with twenty thousands low pagerank backlinks can be defeated by a webpage with 1000 high pagerank backlinks

  61. I’ll tweet about this :) your viewpoint is awesome: “Don’t waste time to build backlinks, they will build natually”

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Mariel is a GA certified analyst at FutureNow, Inc.

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