Black Hat SEO strategies have become so disgracefully over-used that in many people’s minds they are synonymous with SEO. In other words, these wrongful actions are what most people consider SEO to be, and for that reason they shy away from even the most compelling argument in support of the need for SEO.
Others rush head first to embrace the black hat methods, unaware that there are other ways to achieve the same goal.
The fortunate thing is that white hat SEO is not dead. It just requires careful thought and planning, which is in fact what makes it so unpopular with the rank-and-file Black Hat SEO engineer. They do not care much about the long term prosperity of your site, because that would impact on their business.
Their concern is purely with the short term. If it were not so, it would be impossible for these people to promise every client that they would get them to the number one spot in the search rankings, because there is only one number one spot for each search term. But if they can get you there until your payment has cleared, well then, mission accomplished.
It all actually does matter, because without links to your site, you simply won’t rank at all except on very obscure search terms. On the other hand, if your links are bad ones, Google will hit you very hard in a most unpleasant place to be hit by penalizing your website.
So the obvious thing to do is use white hat link building strategies. It’s a slower process and requires dedication and work. The upside is that it shouldn’t do you any harm, and helps to make the Web a more useful resource with great search results. Here are some of the best ways to build links to your site using white hat SEO methods:
1. Guest Blogging
This means writing free articles for other related sites, in exchange for a link back to your site. It is extremely important that the website you are guest blogging for is related to your website. If the site you are writing a post for is all about coffee and your article is only about shoes, it’s going to raise a red flag. The essential thing is not to abuse it. Write a guest article that will be used on one blog and only one blog.
2. Blog Commenting
Somewhat ironically, one of the most abused black hat SEO tactics is also one of the best white hat tactics. The key point is to be sincere in your comments, to genuinely add value to the post that you’re commenting on, and to be subtle. Again, the matter of posting comments only on blogs that are related to your own website topic is essential, and each comment must be 100% unique. The SEO results of blog commenting is not the same as it was a few years ago, but it can lead to a strong following of new viewers.
3. Editorial Links
These are links placed in editorial content, as part of the content. This of course means that the content where the links are placed must be related to something on your site and anybody following the link wouldn’t feel like they had wasted their time in doing so. Legit editorial links can take a lot of time and effort to secure but it is worth it if you land an editorial link with a top online influencer.
4. Substitution Links
There are articles all over the Web that discuss the very topic that your site does. Many of these articles feature links to other sites that no longer work. This is your opportunity to contact the author of the article and say “Hey, I noticed you wrote this article about plastic lawn flamingos and I just wanted to let you know
the link to Flamingos-R-Us doesn’t work any more. There’s another site called Flamingos-4-U that you could link to instead the URL is…..” It is very important to be organized when keeping track of substitution and other link building. Use an Excel spreadsheet or a third party tool to help you keep track of your efforts.
5. Make Something Useful
If you create something really good—a video, an infographic, an awesome photo—that people want to use, then you have a potentially high value piece of SEO content. Beware, however, that this is only true if people use your content in a relevant way and that they properly credit the source and provide a link to you. So make sure you provide a link to your website or blog when distributing this type of information and make it easy for websites to link to you.