Backlinking is probably the most important tool in the SEO toolbox these days. Sure, optimising everything you publish on your own site helps you get found, but having other quality sites link to yours: well that’s what Google really loves.

These days Google’s algorithm is clever enough to sniff out sites using cheap SEO tactics that worked a couple of years ago. Using these tactics (Frankly we don’t even like to say them out loud anymore) will not go unnoticed. Google will penalise you. Your blog or web site will go down in the rankings or disappear from Google search altogether.  Tactics to avoid include posting content (news releases, articles, offers, anything) on many free newswire sites or blog directories. Almost all of these have low authority.

Tactics to encourage are blazingly simple. Just create lots and lots of awesome content then get influencers talking about it. This, together with some essential hygiene factors, like making sure your site is frequently indexed, is the backlinking strategy that Google wants you to adopt. Alternative approaches are available, but if they don’t cost you dearly today, they will come back to bite you tomorrow. Here are the highlights to our blazingly simple backlinking strategy.

1. Do the hygiene stuff first

We said earlier that Google isn’t keen on free newswire distribution sites and blog directories, but there are some aggregators in every industry worth having a presence on.  Register your business and blog on respected feeds that you know are trusted. Doing this won’t set your site alight with new traffic, but it will make the most of the free valuable opportunities that won’t potentially harm your ranking potential in the future (don’t know which feeds or directories to trust? click here).

2. Do everything you can internally to help SEO

Principally this is about encouraging work colleagues (salespeople, marketers,senior staff) to link from their social network profiles to somewhere on your site. There’s a trick to this: some social networks tag hyperlinks as NO FOLLOW link (that means that Google will disregards the link to your site). Others like Google+ or Linkedin don’t. If you’re not sure which social networks will help kick-start your backlinking programme, download our blazingly simple guide.

3. Develop relationships

The key to success is developing relationships with high-authority sites. There are no shortcuts here. A personal approach is required and trust must be developed.  Success here will set your site alight with new traffic, but it takes time. You’ll need to pinpoint the authority sites in your industry then develop unique content partnership strategies with these media properties. Not sure which high authority websites you should be targeting? No sweat, our blazingly simple guide has collated the best of them for you.

4. Make personal bloggers feel special

Give the leading bloggers in your industry some personal TLC. Personal blogs from your industry’s leading lights are always difficult to influence. They won’t be sold to but they can be won over by flattery. Start mentioning/quoting these people in the blogs you write yourself. Hyperlink to them in references and take the time to comment on the debates they create. When they see that you are engaged in what they do, their next move is to make sure they know what you do. Need a hotlist of the personal bloggers worth engaging with in your space, here’s one we made already.

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