Most everyone who knows anything about SEO knows that link building (aka “off-page SEO”) is a crucial component of SEO success. However, off-page SEO is also a subject surrounded by confusion, and which has given way to lots of conflicting information circulating the internet…some of which is inaccurate. In this article, we’ll be covering five of the most popular link-building approaches and how they impact your SEO. With this information, you can focus your efforts only on the strategies which will produce the most favorable results for the least effort.

Method #1: One Way Linking

One-way linking is where you simply create a link coming from another site to your site. For example, you build a one-way link by posting an article about your product or services on a site like Ezine articles, and the article contains a link that directs the reader back to your site. This is the safest and most effective way to build links and it likely will always be, it’s also very easy. While article writing is one way of creating one-way links, you can also accomplish this with the following strategies:

  1. Website directory submission
  2. RSS directory submission
  3. Blog commenting
  4. Forum posting

Method #2: Two Way Linking

Two-way linking is also called “link exchanging” or “link swapping” and is executed by two websites linking to one another in an attempt to increase their backlink portfolio. For example, if you have a website about dog training in Tampa, you can link to someone else’s site whose them is dog training in New York in order to produce a link exchange The problem with two way linking is that the search engines no longer credit much “link juice” to these types of links.

Furthermore, if your off-page SEO strategy is based mainly on this approach, the search engines will see that you’re simply exchanging links simply in order to boost your SEO, a practice that is frowned upon by the search engines. If you’re going to do any two way linking, be sure it’s for the purpose of generating traffic and keep your amount of two-way links at 10% or less.  

Method #3: Three-Way Linking

Three-way linking is a bit more complicated than two way linking as it requires three sites:

  • Site A links to Site B
  • Site B links to Site C
  • Site C links to Site A

As you can see, site A gets the benefit of a one-way link from site C, site B gets the benefit of a one-way link from site  A and site C gets the benefit of a one-way link from site B. Notice that there are no two-way link exchanges involved here, and thus three-way linking “throws the search engines off the scent” of the link exchange strategy. While (at least at the time of this writing), three-way link exchanges are a safe and effective strategy for building backlinks, there are a few precautions you should take if using this strategy.

First, as the search engine companies become more advanced in their ability to monitor this type of activity, they are more likely to be able to penalize sites that are trying to fool the search engines using this approach. The second precaution is that three-way linking (because of its complexity) is usually only done through link services where each site owner agrees to participate in and benefit from the exchange. This usually means a monthly fee, and if you become involved in this kind of arrangement, you might lose your links if you decide to no longer participate.

Method #4: Social Networking and Content Sharing

Social networking and content sharing are where you build one-way links by doing one or more of the following things:

  1. Posting your videos on video sites like Youtube.
  2. Bookmarking your blog posts or articles on your site on social bookmarking sites like Delicious, Digg, Stumbleupon, Facebook, etc.
  3. Creating profiles on social bookmarking sites or forums which contain links back to your site (also known as “profile links”)

This type of link building has some pros and some cons which need to be considered if you’re going to use this strategy as a part of your off-page SEO.  First, a lot of social networking and content delivery sites now use “no follow tags,” which don’t carry nearly the link juice as “do follow” tags. However, if the site has a high page rank, it’s important to consider that even a “nofollow” might be better than a “dofollow” on a site that has no page rank.

Another thing to consider is that profile links aren’t always permanent. For example, some sites which allow you to create profiles and link back to your site will delete inactive profiles, thus destroying your one-way link.

For best results, only use the social networking and content delivery sites and social networks that you plan on using in your consistent traffic generation strategy.

Method #5: Link Bait Creation

This is the link-building strategy that is most graciously accepted by search engines. Linkbait creation is the practice of creating content on your site which is so high quality and which has such mass appeal that other site owners WANT to create links back to your site….without you even having to ask them. Matt Cutts of Google consistently encourages this method as it is the most organic approach to link creation and demonstrates that links to your site are 100% genuine “popularity votes” from other site owners.

Some good methods for creating link bait are:

  1. Writing about current events which are already generating a lot of attention
  2. Creating free downloadable software that can be accessed directly from your site
  3. Creating high-quality instructional content which other site owners will want THEIR visitors to benefit from.

The only downside to this method is that it can be more of a hit and miss, as you’re depending on other people deciding to link to you instead of being able to create the links at will. For best results, create a few good pieces of linkbait per month, see what produces the best results and duplicate that method as much as possible.


These link-building methods pretty much cover the wide range of possibilities for off-page SEO. For best results, choose the methods which are most favored by the search engines and use those to build your backlink portfolio.

 Other Articles On Off-Page SEO

Off-Page SEO: Link Building Basics

How Buying Links Can Effect Your Off-Page SEO

Practical Strategies for Building Quality Backlinks

Six Easy Ways to Build Backlinks