Backlinks: Does it still work?

Last Update: November 12, 2015

Without backlinks your website will never rank!!! (Just kidding LOL)

I got introduced to guest blogging a while ago after doing research on building backlinks to your website. It seems that for each question that got answered it just left me with more questions. I also know this question might ruffle some feathers ;)

Before google penalties

I know that backlinks (reffering domains) are not being taught here at WA at the moment, but was taught before the google updates. In those days WA taught how to use article directories such as Street Articles, but now as we all know, it is pretty useless right now.

The aftermath

The method that is being taught here at WA is to go for low hanging fruit where the amount of competition is relatively small and sometimes weak enough to rank for. Sometimes you rank and sometimes you don't. All you need to do is to use brute force to write hundreds of these articles targeting low hanging fruit to get enough traffic to your websites.

I do not claim to be an seo expert by any means, but I feel like I need some answers to my questions?

Does backlinks still work?

Going trough the training video on how to do keyword research within WA

https://my.wealthyaffiliate.com/training/keyword-c...

Please note that this training was created on Sep 16, 2014 which is after the major Google penguin and panda updates. One of the metrics that Jay told us to use is the amount of backlinks to the URL, which tells me that backlinks are still important in ranking articles.


I also see that if you enter a keyword such as "lose weight" into Long Tail Pro, you will see that the keyword is very competitive according to the amount of high link juice and page authority.

This tells me that for competitive keywords such as "lose weight", you need to have high quality links pointing to the url for that article.

Matt Cutts gave this video about backlinks (The link is below). The 2:00 mark he hits an important point.

Are there a right way to build backlinks?

First of all we need to know what to avoid. We all know that the big G hates an unnatural backlinks or spam links. For those that do not understand, it simply means that people are gaming the algorithm to get better rankings from Google.

Google wants good quality content to rank on the first page so that it does not lose its customers, but when a low quality article is ranking on page one because of manual link building, then Google throws a tantrum. This I fully understand.

But what if another blogger found your article very good and he or she decides to link to your article. I see nothing wrong with the idea that Google would like to give you better rankings because someone likes your article.

I know that Private Blog Networks and article marketing is out of the equation and does not work, but what about guest blogging.

I see nothing wrong with the idea that another blogger would not allow you to link to your own website if you write an article that will make William Shakespeare fall of his chair with admiration.

What must I do if I want to rank for a competitive keyword?

Here at WA we are taught that we should go for low hanging fruit keywords and write a ton of articles targeting those keywords. This is a brilliant idea and if you are new to seo, then this is the easiest way you should go. It also lowers your risk of losing traffic because if you lose ranking for 2-3 keywords, you will not feel the pain.

I know that it is hard to do white hat linking and that newbies should not waste their time with link building, but there will come a time when we will reach that experience level when we must ask the question on whether we must build backlinks and also how to do it the right way.

What should we do if we want to rank for a more competitive keyword and can we rank for that keyword without building backlinks the right way and will WA give more advanced training on how to promote our content so that people can find it and maybe link to it?

I hope we can all learn from this question?

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nathaniell Premium Plus
"What should we do if we want to rank for a more competitive keyword"

Why bother with competitive keywords? People get worried about getting huge traffic from good keywords, but you could just as easily get huge traffic from lots of low competition keywords.

Linking also doesn't guarantee rank. It's pretty impossible to say what works and what doesn't, so backlinking requires just as much faith as not backlinking. I find that I can outrank competitive sites without links, and sometimes cannot outrank stuff with links, so it's all kind of random (it seems).

Guest blogging can be good for brand exposure, but I would avoid doing it for SEO purposes. That was a specific update Google made a few months back, but I don't know how they know what's for SEO purposes and what's not.

I think if WA puts out an advanced training, it should be more about converting traffic to sales, and turning your website into a successful brand rather than backlinking. Google is always cracking down on this, so the future is sure to punish sites with any unnatural linking practices.
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Valie Premium
I agree. I just wish WA can include at least one training video inside the course that explains the effects and dangers of building backlinks and what to avoid.

This way people will not waste their time with researching outdated backlink building methods. There are so many rubbish outside WA regarding backlinks and people need to know that.
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nathaniell Premium Plus
I think this was a great post from Steve: Did you read it yet?
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Valie Premium
Thanks Nathaniell

Great article from Steve. I have also learned a lot from the comments posted in that thread.

Personally I would not try PBN, but I would rather build a large social following and share my content on social media.

That way I can get extra traffic, social shares (which is a ranking metric), branding and some natural links.

It is like hitting 4 flies with one shot.
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VinceP1 Premium
Some really good comments here on this thread

If you create great content that is shareable you will likely get backlinks.

There are many approaches when it comes to doing this.

As PJ mentioned generating backlinks using social media , including promoting your content through your niche's influencers works very well.

Yes, it takes time, but it is worthwhile.

I personally feel the more competitive your niche is, the more than likely your targeted keywords are going to be. ( at least some of them )

In this case promoting and doing outreach will help. Remember, gaining backlinks and shares will only come with content that is relevant, and worth reading. Is it detailed enough , is it image rich, etc.

The more backlinks you get, the higher authority you will get over time amongst other ranking factors.

Lastly, a more focused niche site, that operates with less competition may not require the domain authority of a site that is being created to be, say an authority site.

Good luck Valie
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Valie Premium
I have learned a lot from Brian Dean which is the owner of backlinko. He some very cool methods to get white hat links.

His motto is that you need to write the best content on a specific topic and then you need to promote your content.

If you do not promote it, it is just as good as throwing spaghetti against a wall and hoping it will stick.
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PjGermain Premium
Yep, Brian's site is a goldmine!
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Valie Premium
Sorry guys. I cannot post the link to the youtube video of Matt Cutts.
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IMc Premium
What Matt Cutts said proved that PBNs work. When Google advise against something or crack down on something it's because it works in increasing rankings.

However by just getting a fraction of people doing it. They're also saying, "This works but if you do it properly we can't catch you "
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PjGermain Premium
There is so much garbage out on the Internet about what Google does and does not do. I recently wrote an article on Google Ranking factors and the real VERIFIED truth about each. Each of these elements are vetted and NOT hearsay. They either came from Matt Cutts (like your video) or the Google Admin team or some other verified means.
http://pureresiduals.com/the-truth-about-google-ranking-factors/
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PjGermain Premium
Yep, I totally agree. Especially if your website is within a competitive niche market. All other things being somewhat equal with your site and the others - the site with the more powerful Backlinks is gonna win in the Rank race. Guest posting is 5X more powerful than article marketing. I just wrote a training piece on Guest posting here: Also, learn about "LinkJuice" and how cascading your links can be exponentially powerful.

VARY the backlinks to your homepage. But, also create "deep" backlinks. These are backlinks to your interior pages and blog posts.

And, for on-page linking.......
Use anchor text links and cross-link your blog posts.
Use anchor text links from your blog POSTS to PAGES.
Use anchor text links and cross-link your pages.
DON'T link from Pages to Posts. Not good for SEO.

Discover more about creating Anchor text here:
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Valie Premium
Is there any way that google might penalize your website because of links that comes from guest blogging?

I ask this because the article is posted on another guy's website where he could have just as well have written the article himself.

Does guest posting leave any footprints that will point back to you?
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IMc Premium
Make sure the article is well written & its on a site that would naturally link to yours.

If it's short or spun content or unoriginal and on a site that's totally unrelated to yours. Then it'll look suspicious.
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PjGermain Premium
Agreed..... and ANY backlink leaves a "footprint" in a way. Be sure to check the website that you intend to guest post with..... Do you want to be associated with that website? Is it spammy? Advertising too much? If so, move on. Develop a rapport with the intended website owner. This is relationship building. You're looking to network with the website owner and build authority. Be careful, but this is a very powerful way to set yourself apart, brand yourself or your website and gain access to readers from other very large and high-powered websites. It's not easy and takes considerable time. But, many six figure earner do this!
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IMc Premium
You'll find that pretty much all successful affiliate sites invest in building backlinks. Content can get you so far but for a niche site PBNs get the job done.
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Valie Premium
I heard that PBN are on the bad side of Google. Are there any way to do PBN the right way?
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IMc Premium
The only type that is strictly legit is when others link to your site out of their own validation.

Any type of backlink building, paid or free is against Google's terms.

Getting a friend to link their site to yours is against Google's terms.

So obviously all PBNs are also against Google's terms.
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PjGermain Premium
"Any type of backlink building, paid or free is against Google's term."

I respectfully disagree. Many authors post on major websites and invariably gain a link. Social Media Examiner, Kissmetrics, etc. They get a LOT of Google love.

Additionally, i have personally worked with Fortune 500 companies and PR and marketing. Press Releases are huge with these companies and it serves two purposes, promotion AND backlinks.

This is a backlink building strategy.

If done Whitehat and correctly, it's cool.
Now, if done wrong, yea, it's a big No No to Google and you will be penalized.

Perhaps it's semantics. But, I simply wanted to show the differences. So we all are on the same page. :-)
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IMc Premium
Yes But those are authority sites. The owners only allow top quality content that adds value and is of use to readers. They are editorially placed - which is fine. ( I could never get a link on a site like that.)

Google states : "creating links that weren’t editorially placed or vouched for by the site’s owner on a page, otherwise known as unnatural links, can be considered a violation of our guidelines.'
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PjGermain Premium
Agreed...except for the part that you could never do this yourself. I believe you can!

Guest posting is editorially placed. PBNs of course, as you mentioned are not. I would steer clear of those.
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Valie Premium
If you send your guest article as an html format, will it leave any footprints behind?

I thing the best way is to send your article as a word document, but then the owner of the blog has to copy everything over and upload the images.
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PjGermain Premium
nope! Just check the guidelines for each website owner, of course. The owner will request it in whichever format they prefer. Then, they may ask which anchor text you want links on and to Where to link them. They will handle the HTML stuff on their own.
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nathaniell Premium Plus
"all successful affiliate sites invest in building backlinks"...I don't :) Not any more anyway

Well, if you count creating link-worthy content counts as *investing time*, then I guess you're right.
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