Link Building is so important to a successful SEO strategists’ campaign that we could devote dozens of articles to the subject. In fact, we’ve already talked about Link Building Authority and last week we dove into Part 1 of what we think is an extremely important aspect of Link Building: Increasing website visibility by understanding which websites are crucial for you to be building links with. This week’s guide to link building techniques goes deep into the trenches of some of the shadier, get-linked-quick type of Link Building strategies that may prove effective in the short term but are not what a Link Building campaign should be based on. It also offers some constructive steps that a marketer can take to build quality links with popular and useful websites, which ultimately offer extreme value for, and create long-term loyalty from, a customer. Plus, they don’t result in major penalties from Google, which can destroy all efforts into SEO.

Link Building is an important SEO skill, possibly the most important, and it’s a challenging one to perfect. With so many ways to go in this strategy, down several wrong turns and just as many pathways that lead to success, a marketer might feel at a loss as to where the next best move is – or the first one. As you’re creating a Link Building campaign, and accessing the many roads available to you, keep in mind that the gold is not always going to be shining in your face. What appears to be a fast track to building links and getting seen might just be a fool’s journey. The steps for proper SEO, which for a marketer need to be built on gaining trust while focusing on conversions, sometimes require a bit of time and delicate handling.

Let’s take a look at some of the common Link Building techniques that are available to you, whether you’re a travel brand, a lifestyle company, or any type of business. As we evaluate these strategies, we’ll discuss why some should be on your list of next SEO maneuvers and others should not.

Guide to Link Building Techniques: Black Hat SEO

At one time, building thousands of spammy links would get you ranked on the first page of Google and other search engines. The game has changed though, and this type of SEO approach is short lived and sometimes penalized by search engines. Black Hat SEO strategies aren’t very effective anymore because Google and its competitors place value on quality over quantity.

The search engines don’t look kindly on businesses that skip out on providing valuable information for Internet users, in favor of employing practices to get noticed that borderline on unethical. Spam links definitely aren’t considered of value, so they’re a type of Black Hat SEO you should stay away from. Other types of Black Hat SEO, like Cloaking (showing users a different result than you do the search engines) and using Old Domains (abandoned websites that only serve as a source of backlinks) are typically highly penalized by the search engines for their shady nature and they’re a no-go if you want to establish real trust and brand loyalty.

Guide to Link Building Techniques: The Somewhat Dark Side of SEO

Grey Hat SEO is leaning toward the dark side of Link Building, as it’s known to work but is of questionable ethics. Strategies like buying blog reviews, purchasing links, and spinning text to create content that’s nearly duplicate but not enough to be considered plagiarism are Grey Hat SEO techniques. These tactics aren’t the best choice of marketing strategy for a company with longevity on its mind.

Businesses that buy reviews, purchase links, and spin text are not creating value for their customers, and they’re at risk of getting penalties from the search engines. The investment put into these methods is essentially wasted, as is time and money put into Grey Hat strategies like buying social media followers.

Guide to Link Building Techniques: White Hat SEO

The goal of SEO is to be seen in front of people who are interested in the product or service you have to sell, or who might be interested. If you trick Internet users by prompting them to click a dubious link or view your website based on false pretenses, you set yourself up for a negative impression of your brand despite any immediate gain you might notice. White Hat SEO is all about providing real value and building relationships, with customers and potential customers, and with business partners you can create win-win scenarios with for years.

Engage with users and other companies in your industry organically by employing White Hat SEO strategies that fall within the search engines’ guidelines, and that are low-risk in terms of your company reputation and success. Create unique and informative content that sets you apart as a leader in your niche, and link to websites that can offer additional valuable content and strengthen your commitment to quality. Build bridges with businesses and customers in a genuine way, crafting a network of shared value that won’t be taken down or banished by Google because it violated any rules.

Implement White Hat SEO strategies, such as the Skyscraper Technique that take great content and build on it to make it better, by spending a bit more time to reach your goals in a way that offers significance. When achieved this way, those golden moments of success – like when you  get repeat customers and see great reviews after more great reviews – will be absolutely worth the effort put in.