Many things change in the world of SEO and while Google has done a great job of increasing the importance of things like quality of content, length of content, and increasing the impact of good on-site SEO. In other words, they’ve been successful at getting closer to their stated goal of making the best content rise to the top. Backlinks have long been an imprecise way of helping to measure this, and while every year with new changes there are clickbait articles trumpeting the end of backlinks. Don’t fall for it – backlinks still matter and you still need them if you want to rank in your niche in the long run.
The good news is that if you’re just starting out, or feel like you need a boost with some reliable links, there are several sites that allow you to contribute freely and get a good backlink as a results. Read on for 5 sites I recommend for drawing out some good backlinks.
Quora’s links are technically no follow, but Google absolutely loves them and tends to index those links very quickly. A social site that has gone above and beyond what Yahoo Answers hoped to be, this is a place where you can build a profile, answer questions, and get not only a lot of links from answering questions that Google’s search console picks up, but live traffic.
You can sign up and give answers from day one.
Obviously this comes with some caveats. You need to approach Quora the right way. The answers need to be detailed, thorough, and really show you as an authority on the topic. Toss in some images or YouTube video links – and when you consistently offer really high quality, you can get away with putting in links to your posts, including interior posts.
Great way to get attention from Google to your pages, get a social boost, and even get some solid direct traffic. Many webmasters have used this strategy and found their great answers eventually led to picking up links from Quora users referencing the link on their own blog post or website.
Great traffic source that gives social proof and can give some serious long-term SEO juice.
If you have a cell phone to receive a confirmation text, you can set up to write on Medium.com. A major contributor based website that has built itself into a solid authority site, this is one of the most active communities online. You can write articles, create a portfolio, and mix them up between posts made public and those behind a pay wall (you can get paid for writing for Medium).
Medium is a general authority site that is widely respected for quality of content and has a lot of trust and page authority from Google. While this isn’t going to count as a top notch link from a contextual or niche standpoint, it’s a solid link from a respected trusted authority site. That’s a great addition for the backlink profile and once again, like Quora, Medium is a place where really good writing can get attention, followers, and direct traffic. All of that is only going to help further establish your online identity, as well.
If this site isn’t familiar to you, you’re not the only one. Kinja.com is a place where anyone can build a profile and build a blog where you can post on whatever topics you want. It’s best to stay within one niche or theme, and while Google definitely plays attention to individual blogs, the real upside here is that Kinja is where freelancers can submit posts to big time authority websites like LifeHacker, GizModo, The Root, DeadSpin, & Jezebel, among others.
In other words aside from being able to build a solid blog off of a respected network, working on some high quality Kinja posts can lead to being published on a serious authority site. At that point any link in the article or you bio reaching back to you is going to do some serious work.
There are plenty of people who make a living or gain a giant following off YouTube videos alone, but there’s plenty of YouTube SEO potential as well. Right away it’s important to note that YouTube has its own ranking algorithm based around the social and attention aspect of YouTube and then there’s how Google ranks YouTube videos in Google search results. This is an SEO article so we’re focusing on the second one.
Informational videos on YouTube can garner a lot of attention, especially if properly tagged and you take advantage of the giant amount of description space available. You get 5,000 characters’ worth of space, with the top 150 visible “above the fold.” This means you definitely want your most important information including your website/business name and URL in those first 150 characters.
But you want to use the rest of that space! YouTube is basically giving you the ability to add a 500 to 800 word article to your video. This gives text that Google’s search engine can crawl, find, and it loves to rank YouTube videos in Google search result. It’s very possible to drop your YouTube videos to the top of Google rankings in some niches without even ranking that highly within YouTube itself.
If you tend to be more social, better in verbal than written, make a bunch of YouTube videos, focus on quality, and pay a freelancer to give a supporting article that can become the description. This can be a powerful way to drive traffic and make that description URL a strong link for your website.
HubPages has been around for well over a decade, and at one point prior to the Panda and Penguin updates they were a juggernaut. Now the general HubPages web 2.0 setup lost most of its juice and it really wouldn’t be worth creating a ton of hubs nowadays. Not for its own income or traffic potential and certainly not for SEO purposes.
However, HubPages saw how Google was moving towards niches and has dozens upon dozens of niche specific versions of HubPages in multiple niches. Create a really amazing hub that stands out as being exceptional and you can apply to have it added to one of the “niche” HubPages sites. Those are fairly decent websites that get good traffic, are built more towards what Google wants, and that means any links on those back to your website actually become quality links.
As long as you get to the actual niche sites.
Getting the Most Out of Guest Posting
Whether you write at most of these sites, make videos on YouTube, or take a swing at traditional guest posting, the biggest thing to keep in mind is the days of creating a 300 or 500 word article of thin content offering nothing new and getting a backlink are over. Not only do those not help your rankings, but they can (and eventually will) bomb your rankings. Google doesn’t like that blatant ranking manipulation, and online visitors don’t want to see those posts.
The assumption that has to be made with all the sites listed here is that the articles you write need to be high quality, good writing, and provide excellent information. Provide an article that readers will love and not only do the guest posting and SEO doors open up, but you will get more traffic and more opportunities as a result, as well.
A Note on Article Directories
There was a time not so long ago when article directories were actually a very powerful tool when it came to getting backlinks. Problem is since anyone could do it on any topic, it was easy to spam them as well. Google smashed article directories back in 2012 with the original Panda Update and has stayed firmly on that course. Many Web 2.0 properties were hit soon after (though some have adapted and survived).
While article directories can seem like a good idea to a newbie, avoid them like the plague. This hasn’t been a viable link building strategy in nearly 10 years and Google’s Matt Cutts has come straight out and said it is a bad idea. Don’t go to any article directories for a link, ever.
If you start with a few links from each of the websites listed here, you won’t have to, and you’ll be in great shape with a base for all your future link building endeavors!