3 Link Building Alternatives You Can Use to Avoid a Google Penalty

Despite being one of the most widely used long-term SEO strategies in the past, link building has earned a negative reputation among web masters and SEO practitioners over the last couple of years. And just recently, on its webmaster blog, Google Portugal has advised site owners and online marketers to avoid buying, selling, exchanging, or asking for links to avoid being penalised by the tech giant.

Despite its reputation, many still consider link building as an effective SEO strategy. As long as you do it correctly and you don’t use underhanded strategies, you can make your website rank on Google and at the same time, avoid a penalty. But if you’re reluctant to build offsite links to minimise your risk of being penalised by the tech giant, here are alternative strategies to link building that you can use to improve your site’s search rankings.

1. Brand Mentions
According to Jayson DeMers, founder and CEO of AudienceBloom, brand mentions are perhaps the most similar to link building. And if you’re going to believe reports about Google’s algorithm being able to detect mentions of your brand name and associate that mentions with your site, it is also perhaps one of the most effective. If you’re going to use this strategy, Jayson said the best way to do this is through guest blog posts as it is easier and more natural to mention your brand in an article or any piece of content.

2. Social Shares
Another way to make your brand or business more visible online is to use the power of social media. A number of correlations studies have shown that getting increased social media attention can lead to higher search engine rankings. As such, to get better search engine rankings, you should create good content and share them on social media as often as you can.

3. Third-Party Reviews
Any marketing expert would agree that word of mouth is one of the best and most reliable ways to promote your brand. Because other people are vouching for your products or services, you’ll get instant credibility. As such, you should encourage your customers to review your business. Not only will it help improve your reputation, it can also boost your search rankings.

According to Jayson, Google uses review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor to identify the brands that seem to attract the greatest number of good reviews compared to bad reviews. And the more good reviews your business has on these sites, the higher your profile will rank for branded queries both for Google and for those review sites.

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