Ways To Get Quality Backlinks – Blah!

Time for another Mitchell rant, and this time it’s on the topic of “quality backlinks”.

Here’s the deal. I understand that many people are looking to find ways to get backlinks, which to me means getting something for nothing. Yeah, that’s not quite fair, but I say that because I keep seeing post after post with titles like “5 Ways To Get Quality Backlinks” and every single one of them says almost the same thing.

Sugar Chain
Windell Oskay via Compfight

You know, Google has messed up again because they tell people that the thing they look at in ranking websites and blogs is backlinks to other sites of quality. To this I say “blah”. What they’ve done is once again set people up in doing all sorts of stupid stuff, just so in two or three years they can come out with the Wolverine update and slam all of those sites for once again doing what they told them to do, saying “you idiots, we didn’t mean for you to do it that way.” And they’ll be laughing at you when it happens.

I say “you” instead of me because if you’re doing all this stuff to get backlinks and that’s your only goal, you deserve to be laughed at. And I say that while having one blog that I actually allow people to write guest posts for, which gives them a backlink to their site. But really, who’s benefiting more from that, them or me?

What are these genius recommendations I keep seeing, that you’re also seeing over and over? Here they are:

1. Write guest posts
2. Comment on other blogs
3. Write in forums
4. Post links on social networks
5. Ask others to trade links with you

Oh yeah, the sidebar 6th is to make sure you do all of this on both similarly themed websites and high ranking websites. And I saw one that talked about making sure you have quality content; didn’t I address that topic once before?

Are there problems with these recommendations? Well, some of them anyway. Guest posts are great for gaining some publicity but just how many guest posts can you write, or have someone else write for you, that’s actually going to do you any good? How many comments can you or will you actually make in a forum that’s going to help you? And don’t you hate when someone you know asks you to trade links with you and that they’ll make sure your link will be on a PR2, 3 or 4 ranked site?

The other two?

Blog commenting is more about joining the community of bloggers and having people learn who you are rather than creating backlinks, although it’s probably a benefit if you comment often and are on dofollow blogs. But if that’s all you’re looking for you’re kind of shallow.

Posting your links to social media sites is smart, but not necessarily for backlinks. Once again, the idea is getting your link out to others who might be interested in what you have to say and share and be willing to come back to your site to read your content, and they might even stick around to read other content or even buy something.

Just so we’re clear, I’m not saying that backlinks won’t do you any good. What I will say is that the ways everyone else is telling you to do it makes no sense. Who has that kind of time? And is your motivation legitimate?

Of course, some of you now want to pin me down on this question; what would I recommend in getting backlinks if I’m saying it’s not a bad thing to have them? My recommendation; write well, and write something compelling.

I’m not using the term “high quality content” because who can really define that? Instead, I’m saying to write something that others will look at, read, possibly comment, and then might be intrigued enough to want to link to you in their content. Wow, what a novel idea!

How do you do that? It’s a combination of 3 things:

1. Write things that are entertaining and challenging that makes people think and gets them to want to share your stuff without you asking them to

2. Try linking back to someone else’s blog post or article every once in awhile to show how it’s done. People not only like returning the compliment but commenting on what someone else had to say shows you read the post, were touched by the post, and that maybe your own stuff is worth looking at. You don’t always have to agree by the way; if you’re a consistent reader of this blog you’ll see that I’m always pulling a link from someone else’s blog and commenting on it.

3. Go get people to come to your blog by commenting on their blogs (good comments, not drive by’s) and by sharing your links on social media. This is a combined effort, but you have to be diligent with it. I’ve made this recommendation before and I’ll make it again. If you don’t have lots of time, find 5 blogs that you like and only concentrate on those 5 for awhile. But put your links out everywhere you can think of, that you like, at least once.

That’s it. Do that stuff, keep doing that stuff, and you’ll build up more juice for your blog or website than you can imagine. You’ll get quality people coming to your blog and the search engines won’t penalize you; who can ask for anything better than that?

Well, maybe one more thing. In this video myself and the rest of the Hot Blog Tips Hangout group talked about finding motivation in blogging, and we broached the subject of this post as well; enjoy:


37 thoughts on “Ways To Get Quality Backlinks – Blah!”

  1. Building links is all about having a good fun in a rat race 🙂 Who is going to be higher in Google, who has more visitors and all this blah staff. I like doing SEO as I learn a lot and interact with lots of people that share my ideas. I simply have a great fun with SEO. Take care Mitch

      1. When you write you probably feel like a fish in the water, same with me, however when it comes to SEO I feel like a shark in the water.
        All that gives us benefits, so we got to do it!

  2. Hi Mitch,
    I have come to really appreciate the power of building backlinks as I have seen some great sales increase as a result of that. Especially in the commenting field, a lot of interesting activities take place which has resulted in getting customers in my marketing funnel.

    1. Elizabeth, I’m not denigrating backlinks. I’m putting down the process of sending emails to people asking them to trade links with you, and basing it all on PR and other stupid factors. Frankly, I don’t have that kind of time, and Google’s starting to penalize websites that either have that sort of thing on their sites or have themselves linked on other people’s sites in what they consider unnatural ways. I’m tired of those emails and the people doing it, who are calling themselves SEO professionals, just need to stop and find other ways.

  3. Here is great solution for newbies which want to know how we can make our rank higher and get more visitors.
    I do blogging and forum commenting it works very good for me for having quality back links.social media is also a very good option.

  4. Hey Mitch,
    My name is Don Page and I love reading your blogs. It is so true that everyone wants something for nothing. Nobody wants to work for anything. Enjoyed reading

    1. Thanks Don. Actually, if “easy” worked we’d all be doing it. But it doesn’t always work, it’s irritating sometimes, and online it’s starting to penalize some people.

  5. For sure there are two approaches passive and active – passive to write high quality content or hot topics and expect others to link and active to get every possible one way link. I think everybody should try to execute both strategies. Link is a link, low or high quality nobody can be really sure, because the there is always next algorithm update.

      1. It is good that you’ve mentioned this point, even the algorithm is not perfect, I think it have hit most companies that are selling and buying links. I also dislike this method and have never apply to any of my projects.

  6. Mitch Mitchell,
    You are right. Google has now changed its policies of rankings. I really appreciate you by giving me so nice info about Google page ranking. I hope to find more information from your corner in future. Thanks

  7. Its quite frightening the direction SEO is taking this days, I had always believe google is more ” profit oriented” than “search engine oriented”.

    1. Same here Jim. The thing is most of us need to find ways to bring traffic to our sites and blogs without relying on Google or any other search engine. Google’s shown a great abuse of power if you ask me, although they would say they’re under no obligation to have to be fair to anyone. That’s why social media will work better and this thing about grabbing for backlinks will go away; I hope.

  8. I think people come to blogging for the love of writing, yes one needs to be aggressive to make a sale but I really do think that if you put out good quality content, make sure you respond to your readers comments etc then people will learn to trust you and your professionalism will show that when the time comes you’ll “deliver the goods”.

    1. Thanks for your comment Andres. Yes, it all starts with good content, and of course becoming part of the blogging community helps build up traffic and loyal readers. Proper SEO helps but some of the other stuff at all cost… not so much.

  9. Backlinking. A tough and very controversial topic because as you offered, Google tells us backlinks=good. But neglects to offer the best tried and true means of keeping your backlinks active. I agree it starts with you. Writing great peices shooting interesting video is the foundation. And I hate it when someone stops by and says “great post” for the sake of their backlink. Uhm, click, click deleted lazy bones.

    I love my commenters but I won’t let my hard work on my site and the genuine interest from my visitors be disrespected by someone just lookin to benefit. Offer value or please just move along.

    1. Exactly Mys; you’ve nailed this one to the wall. I’ll delete a comment in a heartbeat if it looks like it’s not addressing the article because it offers nothing to the conversation, which I’m big on. I have some posts where the commenters talk to each other and that’s always a cool thing to see. That only happens with good comments, and of coruse that’s the kind of thing that can drive people to your site. Thanks!

  10. Building links is a very difficult job, Mitch. Trust me, I’ve been trying for a long time now. Although, I get enough backlinks and I see myself growing each day, i still desire for more. Human tendency, I suppose. But thanks to your post, some of them were really new to me. I’ll be soon applying them in my future projects and hope to get success.

    1. Thanks Chetan. Working too hard for almost anything that doesn’t directly help you doesn’t always work. I’m betting that all the top ranked websites haven’t had to work that hard; there’s a lesson in there somewhere.

  11. Hi Mitch, you are obviously a very conscientious blogger and writer. Your points are well taken. I have to admit that although I have been in the internet stratosphere for 8 years now I did not realize the importance of backlinks until the past year. I merrily went on my way doing my own thing and not really doing much to create a community in my specialized niche. Now that I am “looking around” a bit more I am not only building backlinks, I am LEARNING a lot. Thank you, Suzanne

    1. Suzanne, it’s all about building a community and being part of one as well. For instance, I just went to your site because you’re new to me and I see my buddy Sire has left a comment on your post. See how easy that is, and now both of you have created backlinks in the best way possible. 🙂

  12. Hey Mitch,

    I work on the principle you raised in your first point: write content that others will want to link to and/or share.

    Unfortunately I can still see a load of people thinking that a big link love post will get everyone on the list to share it around. And it does seem to work. However, those posts only work if you take the time to share decent links.

    I think there will always be people who take advice too literally. “Comment on blogs” = flood every blog in existence with a generic comment. And add a comment to every post a blogger submits, not just the ones you actually enjoyed. “Write guest posts” = contact every A-list blogger with a request to submit a guest post. Sadly some of the guest posts do get accepted; many (though not all) of the “top 5 tips” posts you mention are actually guest posts.

    When I write a post that says something as straightforward as “Blogging is writing” and I get comments saying “yeah but SEO is also important” it reminds me that not everyone views blogging in the same way. I’m aware of SEO but hate over-optimisation.

    As an aside, although +1s do seem to influence search results (to a point), when Google mentions plain old backlinks, I feel it’s a little short-sighted. Consider how many people may tweet or like a post but don’t actually link to it from their blog. Do those count as backlinks? I don’t believe so (although feel free to correct me if I’m wrong). Surely a tweet from a top influencer should carry a certain amount of weight? Or does it already do that?

    1. Great stuff Ben, and some intriguing questions as well.

      There are people who take some things too literally because they haven’t taken any extra time to know just what that stuff means. Kind of like the hit and run commenting we both experience, and many others experience, where comments mean nothing and don’t add any value to the conversation. I always wonder “what’s the point” when I know the answer is backlinks, especially since not all that many people will delete those links as I do.

      The thing about SEO and blogging is an interesting one as well. I don’t go out of my way to do SEO while writing, but I do use All In One SEO. I have some posts that generate tons of visits because of the search engines but I didn’t optimize them as much as found something to write about that I knew someone would value and need the information from that no one else wrote about. That’s where I say that people need to try to be more original because when everything sounds the same search engines have no idea which idea is most important so they’ll automatically send a person to the highest ranked site, whereas originality will help separate you from the pack.

      As to the +1 stuff… I feel like it’s still too early to evaluate it all. Same with retweet shares of links by “influential” people. What I tend to believe is that Google and other search engines track traffic, not necessarily a Twitter or +1 link, and if lots of people visit the sites anointed by others traffic goes up. There’s the symbiosis, and yet I still would never specifically write someone of influence and ask them to share a link of mine if I didn’t know them already or unless it was for a really good cause that had little to do with me; haven’t had any of those creep into my life yet. lol

      Thanks Ben; I love when a comment makes me think like this. 🙂

  13. Yeah, I’ve seen those posts, heck, I’ve probably written versions of them myself. 😀

    I used to do a lot of blog commenting, not so much now, and that seemed to work pretty well but perhaps the Google updates have stuffed up how they work these days. Still, even if you don’t get the backlinks they’re still pretty good for some extra traffic.

    1. Sire, truthfully I didn’t set out to do lots of commenting for backlinks. I did do it initially hoping to help drive traffic to my blogs, which has helped, but I found that I had a lot to say and comment on because, well, sometimes I just can’t keep my fingers from expressing an opinion. lol But the overall quest for backlinks by trading and any other nefarious methods… ugh!

      1. I’m pretty sure I’ve never traded links as such. At least I’ve never asked someone to trade links with me although heaps have asked me and I still get emails from people wanting to exchange links. I just send them to my link directory.

        I can vouch for good comments increasing traffic though because my traffic dropped ever since I cut back on my commenting.

      2. Sire, years ago I signed up with this service through the same folks that make Site Build It where they’d sent you requests from people who supposedly were in the same niche as you, since we had to list what we did. I was in it for about 2 years and maybe traded links with 4 or 5 people. There was tons of junk; I can’t remember if I ended it or if the service just up and ended. That’s the closest for me.

  14. Mitch, you know how I feel about the whole topic, so I’m just going to type the standard here:

    “Great post!”

    This rant had me laughing. You really let off some steam!



  15. Actually the previous 5 ways of getting backlinks are not that bad if you know what are you doing and if you can maximize your time / return ratio.

    1. Radu, it’s not so much that they won’t offer any benefit. The point is that everyone that writes on the subject says the same thing in almost the same exact way in almost the same exact order. And almost none of them give any detail or other information; in essence, it all looks copied. And frankly, chasing after links is unappealing and, well, Penguin kind of hints at that, although one shouldn’t put too much stock into that either.

  16. Hey mitch. I think you hit the nail on the head when you mentioned quality content. In order to build an audience, garbage content just won’t cut it, no matter how many back links you build. I have been building niche sites for a few years now, and have found that automating back links from services like fiverr etc. can actually damage your site. The thing is you really have no control when you hire someone else to build back links for you. When they blast out 5000 back links to pages not related to your niche, it just isn’t helping much. I now like to keep control of my back links and do things manually to make things as natural as possible. This way future algorithm updates should not penalize you, for natural lookin back links.

    1. Thanks for sharing Ryan. You’re right, giving someone $5 to do something like that for you basically says “kill my website now”. I still won’t go chasing after backlinks, but if I get them through my normal course of, well, whatever it is I do, I’ll take it.

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