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How to build backlinks without being punished by Google

If you ask SEO experts most of them agree: Backlinks play the biggest role in search engine ranking. Backlinks are difficult to manipulate and therefore an excellent index for search engines to find out how popular a website really is. The more links lead to a website, the more important it is for search engines.

In this article I will tell you what is important with backlinks and how to build good backlinks.

Why Backlink is not equal to Backlink

Google loves backlinks. But not all backlinks. Because pretty soon when it became known that Google sorted search results by number of backlinks, there were people who deliberately abused that. Search engine optimizers created artificial links and started a manipulation business. There were so-called link farms, where cheap workers posted masses of links in forums. Over time, the links were automatically created and published in blog networks.

But Google was not stupid. They adapted their algorithms in 2011 (Google Panda) and 2012 (Google Penguin), thus destroying the work of the link farms. Individual websites like BuildmyRank were completely de-indexed by Google and lost their business model overnight. Today, Google pays close attention to the quality of external links and punishes websites that buy links.

Of course, this can't always be proven, but in the long run it's just a matter of time before Google produces an even smarter algorithm. So it's not worth working against Google; you'd better go for good backlinks.

5 indicators for good backlinks

1. relevance

The relevance of a backlink is determined on the one hand by the content of the linked page and on the other hand by the content of the anchor text. An Anchor text is nothing more than the red marked words in this blog post. These anchor texts help search engines find out what the link is relevant for and what it should be found for.

When different people link to, they also use different anchor texts. E.g. "good backlink tips" or "Sam's great backlink strategy".  Actually a great system, because these descriptions (anchor texts) are written by real people and do this relatively uninfluenced. That's why your links should never be "click here".

2. local popularity

If you're not a giant corporation, most of your website visitors come from a particular region. And that's how it should look with the links: Links from the same country and to the same topic are more credible for Google than purchased links from e.g. India, which have absolutely nothing to do with your industry.

3. trusting pages

It is assumed that up to 60% of all pages on the Internet are spam. In order to fish out the relevant content, search engines measure the backlinks to trustworthy sites. Sites like universities, government websites, and NGOs are particularly trustworthy sites. Links from such sites increase the so-called trust rank of your website.

4. topicality

The more up-to-date your backlinks are, the better. However, it is quite natural that even popular websites receive fewer links after a while. For search engines, this is a sign that the site does not offer up-to-date content. It is therefore necessary that you regularly add new content to your website. Many people use a blog because it is quite easy to update.

5. social media

Although search engines rate links from social media platforms differently than links from websites, they are still included in the ranking. So it pays to link to social media on your website. We have had our best experience with blog posts on Twitter and LinkedIn.

How to build good backlinks

First you should check how many links you currently have. If you use HubSpot, you can easily find this information in your dashboard under Reports Home > Links. A free alternative is the Majestic Backlink Checker.

Make a note of the number of backlinks and set yourself a goal. For example: "I want to have 100 new backlinks this year." (As you can see, good backlinks take time). Then use the following tactics.

Backlinks from friends and business partners

The first and easiest way to get backlinks is to ask friends or business partners if you set a backlink. However, you should be careful to only consider trustworthy sites (see above). Too often you should not link each other. Google notices this quite fast and then there are penalties.

An optimal example: An enthusiastic customer writes a blog post about your company and links to your website. In return, you put a testimonial on your website, which links to the customer.

Video: What you should pay attention to with backlinks from friends and business partners

Backlinks from Local Listings

Google loves websites that are regionally oriented. As mentioned above, these links give credibility to your business and improve your search engine ranking. 

Tip: Check whether your company already appears in the usual directories such as Herold, FirmenABC and Google Locations. Here is a list of over 50 Online Local Business Listings.

Find not yet linked mentions

It is quite possible that your company and your products already appear in articles or press releases without linking to your website. You should therefore look for mentions of your company.

Tip: Create alerts on Google Alerts. Every time your company is mentioned on the web, you'll receive an email notification. 

Blog regularly

Every time you publish something new on your website, search engines notice it. Google's mission is to provide visitors with the latest and greatest information. If you regularly write high quality articles, Google will send you a lot of traffic. A well-written blog post will also encourage many readers to set a backlink with a reading recommendation.

If you write a blog article, you should also link to other relevant articles from your industry. Best of all on websites with high authority. If you are lucky, these pages will link back to your website.

These blog posts are especially good for building backlinks:

  • Create a Best Of List from your industry
  • Conduct an interview with a thought leader in your industry
  • Create crowdsourced content such as a survey

Write on other platforms and blogs

Search for other high quality websites in your industry where you can publish a guest article. You should know the website well so that you can write for the readers. Include useful links to your website in your guest article.

Tip: Join forces with another blog and write guest posts for each other. You will both benefit from a new audience. And from some backlinks :)


Building good backlinks takes time. Even though there are many ways to get backlinks, you should never buy backlinks. However, if you take the trouble and put high quality content on your website, you will be rewarded by Google and get a lot of traffic. And backlinks.