In 2018, Google invented an artificial intelligence or AI-based spam-prevention system called SpamBrain; a system used for tracking down spammy links. A few years later, on December 14, 2022, it announced it would launch a system referred to as the December 2022 link spam update; a system aimed at effectively neutralizing spammy links.
This meant that site ranking would be reshuffled as spammy links or nullified, and all credibility accrued from such unnatural links would be lost. According to Google, this overhaul would affect all languages.
Many webmasters have, therefore, changed their link-building strategies. There is no longer an option to post hundreds of links using automatic “spam machines.” Google will penalize your website, going as far as deleting the website’s pages from search engine results pages (SERPs). So, the question is, which types of links are the most valuable and safe for your website ranking?
As you may know, in classic link building, there are only two techniques to get links: crowd link building and outreach link building.
Outreach link building offers a lot of useful types of links, such as guest posts, press releases, translations, product placement, main page links and many others. Without a shadow of a doubt, every type of outreach link has a massive value for website ranking, huge weight for search engine optimization (SEO) and the website’s ability to compete on the market.
So it seems that outreach is perfect as a link-building strategy, right? Well, it is. However, there is a great nuance – it costs a lot of money.
One post price can start at $50 and reach $5,000+. Add a price for content and your time to find a quality thematic website, webmaster outreach, article editing and you will find it costs a lot.
Of course, you can find free websites for guest posting. And there are a few but, it requires a brilliantly researched article, that has value and something new for the reader. Believe me, it is challenging to write at least five qualitative articles. What’s more, for a link building strategy that would work you need to get at least 25 links per month.
This is the reason why most businesses hire a professional guest posting service. It makes sense. The only thing you need is to choose a trustworthy guest post provider and choose the price plan and parameters that fit your needs. It may take much less time and money than fi you were to you do it yourself.
What about crowd link building? There are a lot of types of links in crowd link building, such as profiles, catalogs, job posts, social media posts, images, videos and bookmarks, and that’s not even half. One big advantage of this type of link building is that all links are 100% free.
But, there are disadvantages. The value and weight of these links simply can’t compare to outreach links, unless you know which links have more value than others. While 25 links per month will be enough for outreach, in link building you will need more than 150 links to get the same value.
Crowd link building is a sphere with a fast-updating environment; however, it is the most basic and classic way to get backlinks to your website. Surprisingly, not all marketers are aware of this link-building tool or use it to rank high on Google. On the other hand, all experienced SEO professionals use it on a daily basis. So, if you want to compete with the websites of SEO companies there is a lot of work to be done.
As mentioned before, not all crowd link types weigh the same. When it comes to the choice of link types, it should be based on the principle of equality i.e. “effort = result”.
When it comes to forums in crowd link building it always boils down to three things: profile authority, credence and content quality. It’s important to ensure your content is valuable to readers as this is what increases your favor in SEO. It’s, therefore, not advised to spam links on any forum if you’re serious about ranking high in Google search results. High-quality crowd link building involves searching forum threads that are relevant to your niche.
First of all, when it comes to forum links you should set parameters for websites and threads, as well. Here are some basic parameters you can use for your forum link-building:
Now, you can follow to the next step and write your forum reply.
Q&A or questions and answers is an easy link type with great potential. Most people underestimate the power of Q&A threads but it’s one of the best ways to get referral traffic and new customers. Just like in the forums, leveling up your profile is a very important part. For example, let’s consider the popular Q&A platform Reddit. The more answers and upvotes you have, the more trustworthy your profile is. It means more people would listen to your tips and follow your link’s recommendations. Moreover, with an upgraded account, you will have the possibility to post your answers in private groups with high-level moderation.
When it comes to Q&A there are the same recommendations as for forums. So, you can scroll up and read recommended parameters for posting. However, we have something interesting to share with you.
Besides common answers that you can post in different relevant threads, you can also create your groups and question threads. There are a couple of topics that can be useful for your business.
“What do you think about…” topic. It is the best topic to reach out to your customers and attract a new audience to your business. For example, let’s again imagine that we are owners of mountain equipment online/offline shops in Canada. Our brand is named “Mountany” (why not?). We can create a group or thread with the question “Hey, folks. What do you think about Mountany equipment? Is it worth attention?”
This call-to-action question would have a lot of organic answers from your customers who bought something from your shop. You would see your advantages and disadvantages, get real review comments and increase your brand authority. Pages like this easily ranked as top 1 pages for searches like “Mountany equipment”, “Mountany review”, “Mountany Reddit/ Quora /any other Q&A platform”, etc. If you want to go for more black hat techniques (which is risky) then you can even wind up a couple of comments.
What about the new customers? They can still find this thread/group. Most customers rely on review comments and scores before buying something in a new place for them. Thread on popular Q&A platforms has a great value for customer choice experience. If you don’t believe me, where would you rather buy something – in the shop with the huge number of reviews or the shop with only two review comments? That’s the point.
Take a look at these screenshots to know how it exactly works.
Great results for the group, and many of the “Mountain Equipment” customers and newcomers that participate in this group probably saw this post.
The second topic that would come in handy is “Recommend me, please”. This topic is a great option for businesses that have a couple of brands in the same market. For example, we have not only the “Mountany” brand, but also “Hiking Folk” and “Highlands”. You can create the next thread in your group: “Please, recommend me some awesome mountain gear shops. I usually buy from Mountany, Hiking Folk and Highlands. These shops are great, but maybe you know other shops?”
What would you get from this? First of all, you recommend all of your brands at the beginning of the thread. All of the visitors will read it. Second of all, you will attract customers who would agree with your opinion “these shops are great”. It is the positive review we discussed earlier. And as a cherry on top, you would increase brand awareness and attract new customers who would come to the thread to get the same recommendations.
In the screenshot below, is the first link we have already seen. But the second one is what the “recommendation” topic looks like.
This person said that brands are bad, and most of the replies disagree with that opinion. As a result, we have a “hot” discussion and a lot of views.
3RD Blogs, which are sometimes called Web 2.0, are somehow similar to guest posts. But there is a key difference. When it comes to guest posts, you should contact the webmaster, write an informative long article and sometimes pay for it. The 3RD blog is free and requires a short or medium size article. The main point is that you need to register an account and create a page with an article by yourself. However, mostly you would have no-follow links from such posts. The most popular websites, which we can call 3RD blog Medium, Steemit, Blogspot, etc.
When it comes to 3RD Blogs there are quite similar recommendations as for forums, but they still differ. Recommendations that fit this type of link are number 1 (Low spam score), number 2 (Relevant country traffic) and number 7 (DR, DA, and Traffic indicators).
Here are some more tips for parameter choosing.
Now you see, that link-building world has something to offer. Well, the guest post links have more value and weight for SEO, but forums, Q&A and 3RD Blogs can perform well if used correctly. Let’s sum up.
Forums with a score of 7/10 are a great choice for all niches. It is one of the easiest types of crowd links that gain weight on your website. Forums will be useful for both commercial websites and informational websites. Mostly recommended using forum links for niches such as technology, gaming and finance. But it would also be useful for the educational, tourism, restaurant business and medical niches.
Q&A with a score of 8/10 would come in handy for websites that offer products or services. It is the best type of link to get referral traffic and new customers. Easy to make and get results. Q&A links are particularly useful for niches such as education, health and technology. Also, it can be used for casinos, gambling and finance niches.
3RD Blogs with a score of 6.5/10 are a great option for informational, product and local websites. 3RD Blogs would help you find new readers and reach out to your target audience. This type of link can be used as a review of the new products and features on your website. Also, it is a good way to get backlinks to your informational website. Third-party blog links are useful for niches such as travel, food and lifestyle. Moreover, it would be good for technology, educational and Saas niches.