At the start of web 2.0 (remember that?) back in say, 2007, people would link out to each others websites and not really think about what impact this would have on how other people’s sites ranked. Fast forward 12 years and the landscape has changed immeasurably. There are now almost 2 billion websites in the world, that’s a lot of content. And everyone is competing for the same set of eyeballs.

We often explore how links are still one of key ranking factors in competitive markets. Google don’t like telling people this because it encourages people (yes, people like us) to ‘game’ the system. So given the fact that the web is now a very crowded place, how can you build quality back links to your website?

Firstly, you could buy them. Our advice? Don’t. We’re firm believers in quality over quantity and if Google did get wind of the fact that you have been buying dodgy links this could lead to a manual penalty, and, potentially, a large drop in rankings. So, however tempting it might be (full disclosure, we’ve been tempted too), avoid it.

So, where do you start? A great tried and tested way to build links, for the uninitiated, is to scrape the web for sites that accept guest posts. A search could look something like this:

By trawling through the list of sites and checking their Domain Authority (the higher the better) you can then submit your guest post for submission and hope it gets published. Different blogs and sites will have different rules around what they will and won’t publish. So far, so good — this is pretty standard stuff. But, given the fact that there are now 2BN websites in the world, getting a site to rank using this method alone will take sometime.

If you don’t have that much time, and think you have something better to say than a round up of trends, cars, mops or cuddly toys you may want to consider a more ‘old school’ PR approach to building links.

The great thing about the web (as Reddit tells us) if you’re into something, there is probably someone in the world who is into it too.

If your business is in, or has a niche, the chances are there is probably a website out there which caters for your niche. Let’s continue looking into our spoon carving passion niche:

So here’s where the PR angle comes in. If you’re a spoon carving business, and have a story (most people we have met in business have a story) you can reach out to the blogger, or publication and share your story with them. Our advice would be to do you research and only pitch the blogger or journalist an idea which is going to add value to them and, crucially, their audience. Adopting this approach, we find, bears results.

Some friends of ours, This Creative, in Manchester build great websites. We often collaborate on digital projects, they’re great at building websites, and we’re good at marketing them. They asked us recently to look at their SEO. We noticed that they used to rank for the term ‘Creative website ideas‘. They had recently lost this term, and that’s a real shame. According to AHREFS, they would only need around seven links to this term to get them back in the top ten.

As they’re pretty awesome at building websites, it will be pretty easy for them to create a nice piece of content which they can then reach out to design blogs with and get some links to it.

There are plenty of websites out there, and there will only be more. It may seem like a challenge to get a website to rank but if you are:

  • Not buying links
  • Creating compelling, original and fresh content
  • Have a story that appeals to a niche

You can get a website to rank. It takes time, and effort, but the results are worth it.