Let’s talk about search engine optimization (SEO) for a bit…or rather, one sliver of it. Did you know that the links you add to your website leading to your social media are an example of good back links? Did you also know that adding your website to every single directory online is actually a bad example of link building?

Link building is not only essential to get your website noticed by search engines, but also this process is a big part of white-hat SEO that shouldn’t be ignored. A back link is a link connecting to your website, usually found in online directories such as Yelp, Yellow Pages, and even Facebook to name a few. Incidentally, Yelp and Facebook are places where you need a back link to your website, otherwise how will people find you online? (The answer is they won’t.)

That being said, we have seen examples of black-hat tactics involving link building that have backfired against a website. The actions have even damaged their online reputation! The best way to not hurt how you’re perceived online is prevention, and white-hat SEO, including back link building, is the key. Let’s go over some more examples of black-hat and white-hat back links together.

First, Some Basics

Without proper link building, Google would crumble without it. Back links are search engines’ #1 ranking factor, connecting you to valuable content and information throughout the worldwide web. To try and rank without any links on your website is really, really tough to do in this day and age.

One important thing to bear in mind is that not all links are created equal. “The more, the merrier” is not a saying that applies to back links, because odds are those 100+ back links are connecting to a low-quality, useless web page. Too many of these kinds of links can result in a penalty from Google, leading to a severe drop in organic traffic to your website.

Rather than applying your link building to this saying, a better one to bear in mind is “quality over quantity.” The best thing your website can have is, in fact, only a few links that connect to high-quality content.

Black-hat Back Link Examples

For the record, we do NOT encourage you to do any of the following when it comes to back links:

Buying Links. Buying a mass amount of links that are of low quality and distributing them everywhere can result in your website being deindexed by Google as well as severe damage done to your online reputation.

Adding Your Website to EVERY Directory. Like links, not all directories are created equal. Some directories are basically spammed lists bought by other people looking to make a quick buck. The worst thing about these websites is once your website link is on them, removing the link is impossible.

Spamming Comment Sections. Nobody, we repeat, nobody likes spam. That same feeling applies to leaving a comment linking to your website on every single comment section imaginable. Again, once the link has been attached in your comment, it will be impossible to remove. Many of these types of websites are not actually being moderated as well as you think they are.

Attribute Links to Thin, Duplicate, or No Content. Literally one of the worst things you can find online is a web page with thin or no content, period. Setting up duplicate pages with identical content and linking back to them is also a big no-no.

White-hat Back Link Examples

In contrast, here is what we highly recommend you do to build better back links to your website:

Trustworthy directories. Only sign up for a few directories that are trustworthy and meaningful to your business’s specific niche or industry. For example, everyone can benefit from having a Google+ and Yelp profile, and as we mentioned before signing up for and being active on social media will only reap in benefits. Angie’s List is also a great directory to add your business to.

Comments. You should only submit comments to the website blogs you follow and genuinely like to read. If you’re a part of the specific blog’s industry and have something meaningful to say, say it. Always be professional and courteous when writing your comments too—follow the Golden Rule and you’ll be fine!

High-quality content. The content you link back to your website, whether sharing one of your blog posts on social media or even guest blogging (if you’re interested) should always be of high quality and created for readers, not for search engines. Having a blog is an excellent means of creating unique and high-quality content for social media posts, e-newsletters, and yes, even back links.

Infographics. If you have a knack for graphic design and the statistical data you have on a topic in your industry is vitally important to your readers, make an infographic. Share and promote this infographic the way you would a regular blog post and include an annotation requesting credit be given to you, the creator, so that people will link it back to your website. If you have the time, patience, and skill to make infographics, this would be an excellent means of building white-hat back links.

Building solid back links will take time, but when done properly the white-hat ones will help you be perceived as trustworthy on Google and valuable to your website readers and visitors.

At V3 Media, we wear the white hat when it comes to link building and SEO. If you need assistance with either or both, contact us today!