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How to build links yourself

This article is intended to give you an overview of how links are currently built in the masses and what Google writes in its guidelines in this regard.

Basically, a link is considered a positive signal for a website by Google. Conversely, this means that If a website is not good, nobody would link to it. The popularity and quality of a site can still be gauged by the number of backlinks it has. However, this no longer applies without restriction as it did in the early days. There are various reasons for this.

Artificial building of backlinks

Many website operators simply don’t have the time to wait for a backlink structure to develop organically. Moreover, in some industries there is a lack of potential for organic link building.

Typical examples of this are

  • Medical topics with potential
  • Sensitive financial aspects
  • B2B communication

For this reason, backlinks are often built up artificially. This so-called link building is a widespread method, but is not implemented by every agency or site operator. The decisive disadvantage is that it is often more about quantity than quality. A targeted search and creation of suitable backlinks therefore takes a lot of time.

Design anchor text flexibly

Google now increasingly takes the anchor text of backlinks into account. Take the example of a site for prefabricated houses. If this website has many backlinks with the anchor text “prefabricated house”, it will be found accordingly well for this. However, if a website is linked hundreds of times with the same anchor text – e.g. installment loan – Google will notice that this is not organic link building. Users who do the link building themselves therefore avoid such conspicuous anchor texts and solve the problem by using anchor texts that do not consist exclusively of the main search term (e.g. anchor text “an overview of all vacation home providers” if the search term “vacation home” is important). This strategy is less conspicuous.

This makes it clear to you that companies and site operators are striving for more variance in the links. This is to avoid algorithmic recognition by Google. Various links on the homepage, some on subpages, other anchor texts or even a link that contains no search term at all – all strategies to avoid negative search engine rankings.

Typical backlinks

You will find typical backlinks if you analyze the links of different websites (see table below). The typical locations listed in the table have a clear advantage when it comes to link building: you will practically always get a suitable link there without much effort. On the other hand, many websites look quite typical – with the familiar links to insurance comparisons, vacation homes, installment loans and the like.

1,000 or more links are quickly achieved in this way. The decisive disadvantage for you: The search engines will only give these links a very low rating. You cannot expect good rankings this way, but at best if you only use this artificial link building as a supplement to organic, good links. Google and Co. recognize that artificial link building undoubtedly requires a lot of hard work, but cannot be interpreted as a positive vote for your website.

SegmentTypical representativesNumber of possible sites
Social bookmarkingdelicious, …There are certainly well over 100 portals available, some of which are all based on the same software and look very similar.
Article, …There are probably a high double-digit number of pure article directories.
General directories , …There is certainly at least a three-digit number of general directories. However, if you become a little more selective and make certain qualitative demands on such a directory, you will probably be left with a maximum of 50 acceptable general directories.
B2B directories , …Some B2B directories, business search engines, company directories or supplier search engines are also useful for link building.
Business directories , …Depending on the industry
Free blogs (“Free Blogs”)xxx. , …You can set up free blogs on many German and international platforms. There is probably a high double-digit number of relevant platforms here. However, since you usually get your own subdomain for every free blog, you can in principle set up an infinite number of such blogs.
Free websitesexample name. examplename. , …There are a manageable number of providers of free websites – at least if you have certain quality criteria. There are probably a low double-digit number of good providers where you can usually get a subdomain and then set up a free website there.
Blog commentsThere are only very few blogs that still offer dofollow links in their comments(see illustration above). Above all, comments are usually moderated, so that you can still build good backlinks on a broad basis here – not to mention the fact that Google can easily recognize blog comments as such.
Guest booksSome small websites still offer an unmoderated guestbook, where you can quickly find comments on all kinds of familiar topics.

Measures for independent link building

There are many measures for independent and high-quality link building. The most important ones are listed here:

  • Publication of own studies
  • Use of specially produced infographics
  • Attractive content or tools (e.g. an advertising agency cost calculator)
  • Competitions in which others can participate by reporting on them and posting a corresponding link
  • Further tips: Search engine optimization

However, these measures do not yet appear to be widespread. One of the reasons for this is that link building is often outsourced to agencies. Due to time constraints or because they are not so familiar with the topic of the page, the agency itself often only takes on the task of quick and unsophisticated link building. Well thought-out and intensive link building is practically impossible for external agencies without the help of the client.

But economic reasons also play a role. As long as a backlink can be bought, many do without more elaborate measures, the success of which can hardly be predicted. Incidentally, many of the measures mentioned do not work equally effectively in all sectors. In the case of topics with potential for shame, e.g. loans without Schufa, or in B2B communication, there is often not enough potential to build an effective organic linking structure.

Google has seen through artificial link building

If you look at Google’s formula for calculating PageRank, for example, you will only read about Pagerank distributions. Every website is able to pass on PageRank through a link. So if you register in 100 social bookmarking directories such as or, you can quickly build up 100 backlinks and accumulate PageRank according to the Google formula.

Google itself has long since seen through the strategy of artificial link building using appropriate tools and has reacted. They can even be bought on eBay, as the world’s largest search engine operator has recognized. Google is constantly working on its algorithms for evaluating backlinks.

Special platforms for buying links

If you are looking for quick ways to build links, you will come across the following providers, for example:

Although the sites differ slightly, their actual task is the same: to sell links. These are often delivered from blog posts. Some of these “marketplaces” are accessible to the public, others only through Netw

Link marketplaces all not Google-compliant

Each of these link marketplaces violates Google’s guidelines (see and especially Google writes about this in its online help(
“Buying or selling links that pass PageRanks is a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, which has a negative impact on the ranking of a website in the search results.”

Nevertheless, Google also informs users about the possibility of acquiring links by legitimate means (e.g. with some high-quality B2B directories such as “Wer liefert was?”). In addition, you are offered many gray areas where you pay for an advertising opportunity and receive a link in return – voluntarily or not.

Another option: Swap links

If you are the operator of a website, you are probably familiar with the situation: you regularly receive offers to exchange links in emails. This method is also frequently used to build up a backlink structure. Google writes about this in its guidelines(

“However, there are webmasters who resort to link exchange programs and create partner sites for the sole purpose of linking websites, without paying attention to the quality of the links, their sources or the long-term effects on their own websites.”

This means above all:

“Excessive link exchange and excessive mutual networking”

To avoid negative ratings by Google, links are rarely exchanged directly. A tried and tested method, however, is the so-called triangular link swap (1 -> 3, 4 -> 1 or 1 -> 3, 4 -> 2). In this case, the backlink is made via a third-party website. In practice, however, there is often an imbalance, as website 4 usually does not have the same “link quality”.

Link building remains a game of cat and mouse

You can twist and turn it however you like. Link building will continue to be a game of cat and mouse, at least to a certain extent. As search engines are becoming more and more sophisticated, many strategies of previous years are no longer effective. Google and its competitors have long been able to distinguish between good and bad backlinks.

If you as a company invest in link building, you should consider this a well-thought-out strategic decision. Do you absolutely have to be at the forefront and thereby expose yourself to the risk of being penalized by Google? Or are you risking a temporary disadvantage compared to the competition because you are forgoing certain tactics for the time being?

Always be aware that optimal and effective link building is a real art. You must actively participate, even if you use the support of external service providers. Because Google recognizes everything that is standard. And what Google doesn’t recognize today, it probably will tomorrow at the latest.