Yes, there’s Bing and Yahoo! but let’s face it: Google controls the majority of the search engine market. That’s why every entrepreneur with a web presence buzzes when Google comes out with a new algorithm update, as we’ve discussed here before. It’s also why we would never recommend trying to sneak around Google’s ethics system. It’s a losing battle.

Case in point: Rap Genius. This is a popular site for those in search of rap lyrics, songs, albums, etc. It’s also a website that was penalized by Google at Christmastime this year because of allegedly unethical link building practices. Talk about being on the naughty list!

Now, Rap Genius has slipped in rankings and the company could be subject to further disciplinary action. To the business’s credit, Rap Genius has admitted to making mistakes and has publicly stated its intent to clear up the mess. But there are important lessons all bloggers and webmasters can learn from this example.


Ethics matter, especially when link-building

The moral of this story? Don’t try to work against Google. Instead, work with the system that Google has in place by using ethical link building practices.

Below, I’ve taken the time to list out the most reliable and ethical ways to build a stronger backlink profile. By following strategies such as these, you can increase your brand’s authority and possibly rank higher in Google without risking penalization.

Be a guest blogger or request guest bloggers. This is a terrific way to spread your message without having to worry about getting flagged by Google. Plus, it gives you the opportunity to mix and mingle with new audiences, which is always helpful to spreading brand awareness and earning organic links.

Include social buttons. Whenever you write a post, offer your readers the chance to link to that post via their Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram and other social media accounts. These links have been shown to be increasingly important in getting better rankings and higher authority in Google’s eyes – especially if you use Google+. They’ll also expose you to more people who may be interested in your products or services.

Add some videos to your website. Videos offer an opportunity to get higher SERPs rankings, especially if you can get a lot of followers. Because Google has taken to displaying mixed media results, your video may stand a higher chance of ranking than a normal webpage featuring written content on a similar subject. And don’t forget, while it’s okay to ask friends and family to Like your videos, strive to get organic clicks and Likes on them too.

Offer to be interviewed as an expert in your field. This is another extremely effective method for getting the word out about your website through natural links. There are sites like HARO that actively search for interviewees in every industry from the educational system to the banking sector, and it takes very little time for you to offer your services in this way.

For example, if you worked for an organization like Montessori schools you could offer to be interviewed for another website and simply request that a link to your organization be included in the resulting post or article. The other website gets fresh content and you get to build up your backlink profile. Both parties win and everybody is happy.

Start commenting on popular blog and article posts. If you have something to say that’s within your field of expertise, why not share it with the world? Many sites allow you to include a link to your website when you use their commenting features so add your comment and include a related link from your site.

Many of these sites apply the Nofollow tag to prevent link juice from being transmitted to your site. However, including such links can attract more people to your website, who may, in turn, provide you with an organic link or two in the future. Just be certain that you stay on topic with your comments, otherwise you could be flagged as a spammer.

Honestly, there isn’t any reason to subject your website to the possibility of negative consequences because of poor link building practices. Sure, organic and ethical link building takes time but the results of ethical link building are much more long lasting and beneficial in the end.


  1. Sudipto


    Hey Katie,
    Great content and Yes, guest posting is really very important as it helps in making relations with other and also helps in promoting our business. Social media also plays very important role. Thanks for sharing these tips.

  2. Reply

    Hi Matt,
    Very nice sharing, we all know Google have few campaign tp clear numbers of website due to their Search engines. I have no idea why they have to be that strict but we have to be more carefully.
    thanks for your informative article.




    Hi Katie,
    Thanks for the great post on just doing what going wants – quality content no cheating! Have a great 2014

  4. Prince Bhatia


    I totally agree with you that ethical link building will last longer. It also save us from penalties by google. One should not concentrate only on link building but also on producing quality content and share it on various social media channels and also guest blogging is quite good if you post your article on quality blogs with quality content.

  5. Reply

    Hi Matt!

    Google dominates search engines… The one that really stick on quality! They put all in organize and mannerly.

    So we have to abide with their rules of you want to have good juices 😀

  6. Pau


    Thank you for all the ideas. I do most of these, but for some reason I still haven’t got around to including social buttons on my blogs. I keep reading how important it is, so I should take note and make it next on my to do list!

    • Katie Elizabeth


      Hi Pau!

      I’m glad you enjoyed my post! And yes – you should definitely include social buttons on your blogs. The good news is that once you do, you’ll likely start seeing even more traffic and user engagement on your sites than you do now!

      Good luck!


  7. Zaib Abbasi


    thank you so much for sharing this article with us.
    I don’t why google is becoming very strict day by day ?

  8. Reply

    I’ve long known that being an interview subject was an excellent way to build backlinks. But I never knew of dedicated sites that helped you become one. So thanks for mentioning HARO. Will definitely look into it.

    • Katie Elizabeth


      Hi Matt!

      I’m glad you found my post helpful. I hope using HARO will help you get some great interviews and backlinks in the future!


  9. Reply

    Hi Katie,

    Google is major player on online industry like it or not. With all the modality it has, it will take long time for competitor to beat Google.

    For us bloggers, it is best to follow the safe guideline if we still like to have the link juice from google.

    Thanks for this post and Happy new year!

  10. Sam


    Thanks for sharing these reminders Katie! Noted all the points.

    It’s always good to keep to Google’s guidelines as regards link building. Not worth risking at all

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