How to Get Readers for Your Hubs

If you're trying to make money online with your Hubs, one of the first things you learn is the importance of backlinks. Backlinks are simply links TO your Hub FROM other places on the internet.

Backlinks are essential for two reasons. One is that real people may click on them and arrive at your Hub. Bingo! You've gained a reader. However the more significant reason is that Google judges your Hub's value by the number of backlinks it has. Get enough backlinks and Google will place your Hub on page 1 of the search results - and bingo! you've gained not one, but thousands of readers!

So you need backlinks. And it won't take you much Googling to find all kinds of helpful people, eager to offer advice on how to get them, or even to arrange them for you (usually for a price...). But before you plunge in, there's something you need to know:

Google has declared war on "unnatural" backlinks

The result is that many of the backlinking advice and services currently available are outdated. They're not only ineffective, they can actually do you harm!

The practice of creating your own backlinks is now so widespread, most people think it's normal - but Google has always seen it as "rigging the election".

Why Does Google Hate Unnatural Backlinks?

Google's attitude is understandable really. The best way to explain it is with a simple analogy.

Say you're a candidate in an election. On election day, the people vote for the candidate they think is best for the job. The guy with the most votes wins.

Now say you're a crooked candidate. You pay lots of people to vote for you, and you vote several times yourself using fake ID's. The guy with the most votes - you - wins. But this time, it's not because the people thought you were the best. It's because you rigged the election.

Google sees backlinks as "votes", and the sites with the most votes win the "election" - i.e. get to the top of the search results. So naturally, they want the election to be free and fair. But webmasters discovered, long ago, that Google couldn't tell the difference between genuine votes and fake votes. So began a huge industry in ways to "rig the Google election" - by creating your own votes (backlinks).

The History of Backlinks - Directories and Social Bookmarking

The first way to create backlinks was in directories. These were just lists of websites, arranged in categories. Their original purpose was to help readers find blogs on subjects that interested them - but as search engines got better, few people used them. They became link farms - long lists of websites, submitted by webmasters to get a backlink. Eventually, Google realized that fact, and either de-indexed the directories (removed them from search results) or devalued the links. Directories went out of fashion as a backlinking source.

The "next big thing" was social bookmarking sites. The original purpose of these sites was as a place for readers to save and share links to outstanding web pages. The idea was that members wouldn't have to trawl through the search engines - they could find the cream of the internet on their social bookmarking site.

Before long, most of these sites were over-run with webmasters, bookmarking their own sites. The result today is that social bookmarking sites are no longer places to find "the cream of the internet" - few people join bookmarking sites today just for fun. And Google is well aware social bookmarking sites are primarily a place to self-promote these days, so they have now devalued the links. They're not totally worthless - but they're probably not worth the time it takes to create them.

Blog Networks and Social Networks

With social bookmarking losing its value, webmasters searched for another place to backlink. Google now placed more value on "contextual links" which are links in the middle of text, using a keyword. So for instance, using a link like Belly Dance Australia had more value than just using the website URL. So came the rise of the blog networks.

You would join the network (usually for a monthly fee) and then you could submit guest posts to all or any of the blogs on the network, and include a backlink to your website. That sounds like a fair and reasonable thing to do - like a press release, right? Not quite. For one thing, most of the blogs weren't real blogs - they were created purely to take promotional articles. As for the members, writing hundreds of articles was hard work - so they would either outsource to cheap writers, use software to create them, or steal them from other sites. Blog networks became stuffed with "splogs" (spam blogs). They contained nothing of interest to real readers, existing just to serve backlinks to please Google.

Social Networks

Alongside the blog networks came the rise of social networks. Google realized people weren't sharing links on bookmarking sites any more - they were sharing on Facebook and Twitter. So Google started giving more value to links on those sites (and launched their own Google+). In no time, people were offering to sell or trade Facebook Likes or +1's.

No, not that kind of Penguin!
No, not that kind of Penguin! | Source

The Google Empire Strikes Back

Unfortunately, Google has to rely on robots to check web pages, and they can't read. So even though these 'splogs' were full of garbage, the robots couldn't tell, and the backlinks worked for a long time.

Until early 2012. Google finally worked out a way to find the blogs on the big blog networks and de-index them. Overnight, webmasters lost hundreds of backlinks as the blogs disappeared, which meant their websites lost their position on the search engine results. It's a manual process, and Google is still working to identify more blog networks and take them down. Any network that advertises for members is a target - if you can find them, Google can find them. Only the few private networks, which recruit only by networking, run real blogs (not splogs) and set high content standards, are likely to survive.

You'll see many paid backlinking services still advertising - but to get value from a backlink, it needs to be there for the long haul. Why would you pay money to get backlinks that may last only a few months, until Google catches up with them?

But worse was to come: the Penguin update. Google had also worked out a way to identify if a website was creating "unnatural" (self-created) backlinks. The Penguin update removed the value of those links (which naturally reduced the ranking of the website they linked to). On top of that, sites which used such links heavily, were given a penalty.

Social Networking

So far, it appears that Facebook, Google+ and Twitter links aren't affected. Presumably Google hasn't yet worked out how to tell the difference between real and manufactured links. However, the practice is so blatantly advertised around the internet that Google must be aware of it - so how long will it be before they do find a way to differentiate?

Links created by other people are called "natural" or "organic" links.
Google calls links created by yourself, "manufactured" links. To identify and penalize those, Google looks for patterns of linking which could be "unnatural'.

What Are Unnatural Links?

The following have been classified as "unnatural" by Google:

Links on unrelated pages

If a real blogger is going to recommend your Hub, or use it as a reference, it's going to be on a page about the same topic. You wouldn't expect someone writing about dog washing to refer to a Hub about feather dusters, for instance. So if Google finds a link on a page that has no relevance to yours, it suspects the link was arranged artificially.

Contextual Links (anchor text)

Conventional SEO wisdom says that when you write a Hub, you should work out what keywords you're targeting and make sure you use them in headings, sub-headings etc. Then when you write articles, comments, Tweet etc to promote it, you use the same keywords.

Google has realized that if real people are recommending your Hub, there's no way every single person would use exactly the same word or phrase to describe it. In fact, they're more likely to say, "To read more about this aspect of ballet, click here."

So if Google find lots of links to your Hub, all using nicely chosen "anchor text" - and especially if it's the same every time - they'll suspect you made them.

So far, it appears that Google won't penalize you for having a few unnatural links. There's an interesting analysis in this article by Microsite Masters, showing that you're only likely to be in trouble if more than half your links fall into these categories.

So How Do I Get Effective Backlinks?

The lesson from the history of backlinking is that an excess of anything never works. Inevitably, someone will spy a loophole in Google's new algorithms and that will become "the next big thing". History tells us that "the next big thing" is the next thing Google will target, so it won't last long. You could try riding the wave while it lasts - but with Google not just devaluing links but actively penalizing websites which have used them, that may backfire.

Unfortunately, if you don't create some backlinks yourself, your Hubs risk sinking into oblivion. And there are still some opportunities, they just take more work.

Three simple and effective options are writing sites, forums and other blogs on your topic.

Writing Sites

If you're a writer seeking an income, it's natural to write for a number of sites. If you're writing on the same topic across those sites, then it will often make sense to refer to an article on another site. So you could write an article on, for instance, that might refer to an article on HubPages, or vice versa. Or an article on that refers to an article on Infobarrel.

Think of it as creating a web of inter-connected content. Spreading your "brand" across the internet like this, especially if you're identified as an authority on a particular subject, is good marketing, too.


Join the forums, get to know people and participate helpfully. You may be able to add a link to your Hub or website in a forum signature, which is ideal - it means that every time you post, you get an automatic backlink. And there may be times when you can refer to a Hub in a forum post, if it's genuinely relevant (just don't overdo it and certainly don't do it until you're a well-known community member).

Forum links may sometimes be "no follow", which means they won't count with Google - but you're getting your link in front of readers who are interested in your topic, so they're likely to visit your Hub or blog. And if you've written good quality content, they may Facebook Like it, Tweet it or Pin it - all natural links which Google will like.

Other Blogs


Search for other blogs on your topic and leave comments. Don't try to leave a link IN your comment - it will just get deleted as spam. Instead, look for blogs where you're asked to fill in your name and website when you comment - your name will become a link to your site when the comment appears. Again, these may be no follow, but you're getting into a discussion with people who are interested in your subject.

Guest Posts

The most valuable backlinks are links in articles you contribute to other people's blogs (called guest posting).

In fact, they're so valuable that some businesses PAY blogs to accept their guest posts!

Finding guest posting opportunities can be tough, but the backlinks are so valuable, it's worth the effort. Look for blogs on your topic, write to the blog owner and offer to contribute a post. Suggest one or two intriguing titles to whet their appetite, and give some information on your credentials. Explain that all you want in return is a link to your own Hub or blog, either in the text of the guest post or in an author bio section.

Blogroll/Link Swapping

Sometimes you'll hear from a blogger who'd like to "swap links". If you accept, your link will be placed on their sidebar or on a Links page.

If the blog is relevant to your topic, it won't hurt to accept. However, Google recognizes these links as webmasters promoting each other, and doesn't give them much value. So it's definitely not worth putting any effort into finding link swaps.

If you notice someone has linked to your Hub or blog from their website, write and thank them. You never know what other opportunities you may discover by networking with related sites.

Other Opportunities

There's absolutely nothing wrong with sharing your Hubs or blogs on social bookmarking or social networking sites. It doesn't really matter which one you choose, so long as you join to genuinely use the service, and not just to self-promote (which might look unnatural).

For those who are ready to get a bit more sophisticated, I recommend this article.

More by this Author

Comments 125 comments

Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 6 days ago from Sydney Author

I think posting your Hubs on facebook would be a very bad idea, frankly. You can certainly share links to your Hubs on Facebook.

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 9 days ago from Hamilton, Alabama


I am here refreshing myself on your great tips on getting readers for hubs and I wondered what you think about my decision to start

posting my hubs on Facebook as well as HP.

Is this a plus or a negative move?

Thanks in advance.


Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 9 days ago from Sydney Author

I'm definitely not a self-promoter either, which is the main reason I gave up on the idea of making a living online! I find that articles on the niche sites get fairly good traffic without much promotion so that's the main thing to aim for.

Frances Metcalfe profile image

Frances Metcalfe 10 days ago from The Limousin, France

Another useful hub Marisa! Looking at forums now to join. I must say I find the marketing rather exhausting, I'm not a natural at self promotion. I'd like to earn a little if I can - we'll see....

Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 4 months ago from Sydney Author

Thanks Ken, I hope it helped.

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 4 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

Very organized; To-the-point; No wasted phrases and no flowery words which were my editor's touchy points.

Great information. Well-written.

And the lay-out was superb. Nothing to confuse my viewing of the text.

These are honest comments.

Anita Hasch profile image

Anita Hasch 7 months ago from Port Elizabeth

Thanks for the info Marisa. Will start some backlinks.

the rawspirit profile image

the rawspirit 18 months ago from Hutchinson Island, FL - Myrtle Beach, SC - Scottsdale AZ

Marisa, thank you, great hub and helpful information. I'm just getting started on Hubpages, and this type of advice is helping me to be a better hubber. This is one article I'll be back to and refer to periodically. I will definitely read your related articles on this topic! Thanks a million. Bobby

Dianemae profile image

Dianemae 19 months ago

Great info now I need to figure out how to use it.

FatBoyThin profile image

FatBoyThin 20 months ago from Kinneff, Scotland

It all sounds like a bit of a backlink minefield to me, so I guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens. Great Hub, voted up.

Jacobb9205 profile image

Jacobb9205 22 months ago from Gloucestershire

I try to create as many backlinks as possible whether it be on forums or social networking websites I try to get the most.

CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

Complete and easy to understand even if it is a bit disheartening. I have a blog and I will write a post on that blog on the same topic as my hub and then link to the hub (or vice versa). Is that a valid backlink? Does google automatically discount if the owner of the domains is the same?

There is so much to learn. Thank you for helping.

peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

great tips, i get my readers from tsu, and other social medias that i shared with. In addition, I leave comments in other articles which get back more viewers

Elaine Davenport profile image

Elaine Davenport 2 years ago from USA

Marisa, thank-you for this helpful information. I'm just getting started on Hubpages, and this type of advice will certainly come in handy. A good article to go back and refer to periodically. I will definitely read your related articles on this topic!

peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

great hub. I never expect that backlinks were essential until i started to use them. Yeah, it did bring traffic, just a handful but better than never

toknowinfo profile image

toknowinfo 2 years ago

Thanks for a well done hub and for validating some of the things I am doing. This was well put together and is full of great info.

Anne Harrison profile image

Anne Harrison 2 years ago from Australia

Thank you - I am slowly getting my head around this, but know I will refer back to this and other of your hubs as I try to establish myself. Thank you for the much needed help!

aesta1 profile image

aesta1 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Another excellent hub. Backlinks have always been a puzzle to me but you've made it very clear now. What Google wants is what will satisfy its customers, the ones who searches. I want to see articles that are worth reading and not those that just went up because they got a game going. I noticed before that my pages in my site got better ranked when I removed all the links to Squidoo so now I am cleaning up affiliate links as well to limit the number in each page. Is 2 to a page fine?

Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 2 years ago from Sydney Author

I can see why they don't. As I point out in the article, creating your own links is artificial - Google really wants genuine backlinks.

DREAM ON profile image

DREAM ON 2 years ago

Your hub cleared up some confusion about back linking.I don't understand why Hubpages and other places don't make it easier. Just a click of button and it's done. It's almost like they don't want you to succeed.Have a great day.

grand old lady profile image

grand old lady 2 years ago from Philippines

Very interesting information about backlinks and its history, what not to do and what you can do. Thank you very much! This is the clearest information about backlinks that I have ever read so far.

Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 2 years ago from Sydney Author

Bubblews is not a scam - there have been payment difficulties but not everyone has had trouble. I wouldn't recommend it as a long term strategy, but what it IS good for as a way to earn money from articles which won't get Google traffic (such as your opinion pieces), because it doesn't rely on Google. I'll PM you with an explanation of how you could make it work for you.

DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 2 years ago from Oakley, CA

Hmmmm..interesting. Although, most of my miscellaneous blog is more opinion essays, not snippets--like 'how to fix the government,' and are too long for what I understand about Bubblews... about which, by the way, I've heard very mixed reviews, and a charge by one author here on HP that it's an outright scam, accusing that you only get paid the first time, and that they then find a myriad of excuses to deny/delay further payments. **shrug**

Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 2 years ago from Sydney Author

Sorry MsLizzy, I thought you were using the HubPages widget. Yes, if it's showing only animals it should be OK. As for your miscellaneous blog - your "neglect" has NOTHING to do with its lack of traffic! A miscellaneous blog will never do well and isn't even worth the effort to write. If you have small snippets which you feel driven to share, put them on Bubblews - it won't earn much but it will do better than on your blog.

DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 2 years ago from Oakley, CA

The utility on Blogspot that allows the sidebar also lets you select the type/category of post, so on my Cat's blog, I've selected for any of my articles about animals to be shown, and not others.

That should be okay, right?

(And you're right--my miscellaneous blog attracts very little attention, partly because it's been rather neglected in favor of putting my efforts here. Everyone says "diversify," but I can't spread myself that thin. I have too much else on my plate with hubby's health issues.)

Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 2 years ago from Sydney Author

MsLizzy, it's not a good idea on your Cats blog because you're showing links to unrelated Hubs, which Google won't like. On your miscellaneous blog, it won't hurt - but I'm guessing your miscellaneous blog doesn't get many visitors anyway, because they generally do very badly, so it hardly matters. Your Tweetburner is fine, you're definitely not being spamacious (I like it!)

DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 2 years ago from Oakley, CA

Interesting--and a bit convoluted and perplexing of a process, I must say!

So, is this to say that on my miscellaneous blog and on my "cat's" blog, I should NOT have a sidebar promoting my latest HP articles (It's auto-feed, and the blogs are on Google's Blogspot...)

I also use the automatic "Tweetburner" which auto-posts all my new articles to both FB and Twitter, searching, I believe, at 1-hour intervals...But since I don't write new articles daily, there's unlikely to be a "spamacious" amount... (how do you like my new word??) LOL

Diana Grant profile image

Diana Grant 2 years ago from London

This is the first time I've read an article about backlinks which I have actually understood - you have written a very clear explanation, thanks.

Chinaimport profile image

Chinaimport 2 years ago from Guangzhou

Great article on backlinks. Your hub is still relevant even after 2 years, which is like a lifetime in the internet world.

So much has changed as google diminished the value of anchor text, guest posts, blog post, forum comments and other methods for gaining backlinks. In my opinion, SEO has reduced to producing useful content and making website that is easy for robots to crawl and index.

Once again, thanks for compiling, writing and sharing this hub which would serve as a guide for those who seek to learn about promoting their articles.

Pico Triano profile image

Pico Triano 2 years ago from New Brunswick, Canada

Helpful information. I've bookmarked this temporarily so I can make use of your advice.

Jasmeetk profile image

Jasmeetk 2 years ago from India

Voted up!! Really very interesting and helpful as I am still looking for how to get real backlinks...

snerfu profile image

snerfu 2 years ago from Madurai, India

Great work Marisa, this article really tells a lot about backlinking. I am now clearer about this subject.

Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 2 years ago from Sydney Author

Yes I know! If you want to make a living by writing online, it's about 10% writing and 90% "other stuff", unfortunately.

sassypiehole profile image

sassypiehole 2 years ago from the ATL

I have so much to learn... *Sigh* I wish it could be as simple as writing & running! Between HubPages, Bubblews, my website and social media, it just seems like there's not enough time in the day ––probably because there isn't! ;-)

Alphadogg16 profile image

Alphadogg16 2 years ago from Texas

Marisa this was a very helpful & informative hub. There was a lot I was still unaware of. I was using stumble upon but stopped. Voted up on your hub.

Shar-0n17 profile image

Shar-0n17 2 years ago from Perth

Thanks for a great helpful hub, They sure have made it harder now without the old backlinks

Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 3 years ago from Sydney Author

Yes, Stumbleupon is basically an artificial link site. It can generate traffic spikes but those visitors rarely click on ads and don't stay long, which can make your bounce rate look bad.

cam8510 profile image

cam8510 3 years ago from Colorado Springs, CO until the end of March

Marisa, thanks for this helpful information. I'd be interested to know how StumbleUpon fits into this picture. It's beginning to sound like one of the artificial back link sites. Great hub. Thanks for the help.

Cre8tor profile image

Cre8tor 3 years ago from Ohio

Thank you for sharing this and helping me down the path I'm on.

Martin VK profile image

Martin VK 3 years ago from Copenhagen, Denmark

Thanks for this great advice. You're explaining some complicated stuff in a simple way. Keep it up!

Earl Noah Bernsby profile image

Earl Noah Bernsby 3 years ago from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

This certainly clarifies a lot, Marisa Wright! It's interesting to read up on the eternal struggle between webmasters and Google programmers!

Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 3 years ago from Sydney Author

Yes you did, Jess, and I'm sure that Hubber will be most grateful!

JessBraz profile image

JessBraz 3 years ago from Canada

Holy Moly! This was so informational and helpful! Well done! I honestly had no idea there was sooo much to how Google chooses to place people I their search engine results.. It's kind of mind boggling when you really stop and think about it.

It's funny because I actually 'back linked' another hubber just today, without even realizing that's what I was doing. lol. Someone made a comment on one of my hubs, which naturally lead me to check out their profile and found that they had posted a few really great hubs on a subject relevant to a hub I just posted.. I left him a comment and asked if he wouldn't mind if I referenced his profile/hubs.. I thought it would be a great way to give my readers a chance to get more information about a particular topic (first aid)... I guess that means I provided a back link for another Hubber? ... A natural back link? lol... I'm still trying to grasp the Google lingo.

Very very helpful hub! Fantastic job!


Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 3 years ago from Sydney Author

@Suzanne, I don't write much these days so I don't backlink much either. However, people who do this for a living tell me that backlinks can still make a huge difference (unfortunately), so if you have an article that's doing well without links, it would be doing even better with them!

Most of my backlinks are the type which attract real readers - e.g. I'm active on some forums where I'm known as someone who offers good advice, and those people come and read my Hubs and blog posts and recommend them to others. Which I think is what you're talking about, basically.

Suzanne Day profile image

Suzanne Day 3 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Hi Marisa, great article and I liked the history of the backlinking issues. I liked someone's idea about writing groups of hubs in a niche area, and to some degree, have been following that and it does seem to help. I have given up on backlinking myself due to too much work for too little return, preferring instead just to write more articles and have fun!

I do think that choosing a useful topic for readers is the right way to go, and I believe that whatever is trendy for backlinks will be outdated soon enough, so why bother working for nothing? Conversely, some of my "random" articles where I just put some stuff out there without any thought to keywords or backlinks in the past has done pretty well for itself. The key was obviously quality and reader engagement.

I know if I read an outstanding hub, I'd want to comment and link with it, even if it was the 10th one on Google's search results. But I will never engage with articles that look terrible or are hard to read. Therefore going forward I suggest that it might be wise to rewrite or check anything which doesn't engage readers if you want to improve traffic (over time). It's better to have one convinced and outspoken reader who'll want to make it viral than 10 people who land on the page and leave without looking at it at all. Google will eliminate all these eventually anyway.

PS - can't wait for the day when Google will fix the copying of hubs by identifying the original owner with either a date stamp or patent gateway for online scribblings...

Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 3 years ago from South Carolina

Congratulations on winning "Most Helpful Hubber Award." I believe it's hubs like this one that inspired so many to vote for you.

lifelovemystery profile image

lifelovemystery 3 years ago from Houston, TX

I wish there was a way to 'Favorite' hubs. This would definitely be included! Well done, and thank you for breaking this information into a non-technical format. Voted up!

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Kerry43 3 years ago

Hi Marisa, just cruising a few more of your hubs. I have been away for several months, and it doesn't take long to miss out on valuable information, or simply forget how things need to be done. I do need to get that domain name too, now that I am back on blogger -in reference to a response you made to my earlier comment on your other hub. Thanks for the prompt.

Say g'day to good old Sydney for me, I spent so much time there as a child and have fond memories.

Take care,


Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 3 years ago from Sydney Author

Good to hear from someone who finds interlinking works. I think it's a great opportunity for Hubbers who have unFeatured Hubs to move them to other rev-sharing sites and interlink them.

Bobski606 profile image

Bobski606 3 years ago from U.K

This is a really useful article and I learned some new aspects of backlinking that I hadn't even thought about before. I love linking my articles together across the different platforms that I use and I have found that it's a great way to get my readers to my other articles where they can get related information. Voted up and thanks again :-)

srsddn profile image

srsddn 3 years ago from Dehra Dun, India

marisawright, thanks for posting such a valuable information specially for newbies. I agree with you that back linking done in a natural way will be more paying rather than using unfair/outdated means. Voted up.

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 3 years ago from USA

You've got a lot of good advice here. To be honest, I am ready to forget about Google. It brings a lot of traffic, but you can't totally rely on it. I'm going to start working on other avenues, which may help my Google traffic too. Thanks for all of your advice.

sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 3 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

Great explanation on back links. Your analogy of "votes" in your explanation is the best I have ever heard! It's nice to know "the rules of the game" that we have to play with Google. I know Google is doing things for the benefit of their readers, but it is confusing to know how to promote our hubs with things changing all the time. I really found this very useful. Voted up, useful, interesting and sharing. Thank you!

NateB11 profile image

NateB11 3 years ago from California, United States of America

This was good clarification on backlinks, how Google treats them, and why Google de-values some. Also, good information on how to get valuable backlinks.

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Jennifer Suchey 3 years ago

Great article with in depth insight and advice. I wouldn't expect anything less from you. In regard to back links with "real articles", I actually like that a writer has to "write quality content" to back link and promote their sites. After all, we are "writers" right?! ;)

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Beth37 3 years ago

Good info, thanks Marissa. :)

jericho911 profile image

jericho911 3 years ago from Ohio

Thanks for the awesome hub. I learned a lot more about backlinks. I actually was tempted to look into the people advertising to give me "likes". I'll do the work myself and natural.

Ceres Schwarz profile image

Ceres Schwarz 3 years ago

Thanks for such an informative hub on backlinking that's easy to understand. You've really explained things well. Backlinking can be such a confusing topic. But you've managed to explain a lot of things about it, including its history and what not to do regarding backlinks.

Joseph Muendo profile image

Joseph Muendo 3 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

Thanks for the informative hub. voted up.

ceejay1980 profile image

ceejay1980 3 years ago

Very informative. I think the best way to get traffic is to write 'naturally', without stuffing keywords left, right, and center! I initially fell for the trap of 'automatic back-linking' through software programs, but I now know better! Thanks for this well-researched article.

travelingmum profile image

travelingmum 3 years ago

Great backlink tips! Thanks!

Thelma Alberts profile image

Thelma Alberts 4 years ago from Germany

Great hub with a lot of informations. Thanks for sharing them to us. It´s a great help for me. Voted up and more.

Felipe717 profile image

Felipe717 4 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

Great Hub Marisa! I love how you put examples of backlinks directly in your Hub.

Missy Mac profile image

Missy Mac 4 years ago from Illinois

Wonderful! I was wondering about back links and social network connections. Thanks for the great tips! I have learned much about Google changes. I started writing as the changes started.

Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 4 years ago from Sydney Author

@Chris, I don't think authority is worth worrying about. You can waste a lot of time trying to get high-ranking sites to accept your post. They don't need your help so they're less likely to be responsive.

It can be easier to get guest posts accepted by sites that are new and not ranking so well. While your posts may not get in front of as many real readers, they still count as backlinks - and as those sites rise in the rankings, their value will improve.

Anna Sternfeldt profile image

Anna Sternfeldt 4 years ago from Svenljunga, Sweden

Marisa and Everyday Miracles - you are just great!! Thank you so much for sharing all this experienced knowledge. It is so helpful.

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chrisinhawaii 4 years ago

Great article Marisa. Relevance is the key to creating effective backlinks.

But I was expecting you to mention not only the relevance, but also the authority of those link sources as well. Do you find that if makes much difference -- whether the links you get are from established sites on page 1 of Google search -- as compared to newer sites that don't rank as well?

I apologize if you've already addressed that in the comments above. I didn't read them all yet.

Thanks =)

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Marisa Wright 4 years ago from Sydney Author

Hi, EverydayMiracles, long time no see! Great comment, can't add a thing to it.

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greencha 4 years ago from UK

That's very interesting .thankyou.

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Everyday Miracles 4 years ago from Indiana, USA

Anna, one thing to think about is the fact that when you're writing, you should be working on building a niche (or niches -- plural) about which you write multiple articles. Obviously there are some people who follow trends, but this is easy enough to do when you're working on creating "evergreen" content. As an example, I have multiple articles about the topics The Hunger Games and The Sims 3, plus I write book reviews and write about reviewing books.

These are all topics about which it is very easy for me to build an overall niche, writing on Hubpages, Squidoo, Zujava, Wizzley and my own personal blogs (of which there are several). Careful linking from one page to another (on a different platform) guides users through the different pages, where they can buy a product that they're interested in or learn more about the thing I'm writing about.

As far as I've discovered, this is the single easiest way to create back links. There are other methods, but they are trickier, considering how easy it is for bloggers to delete inappropriate comments (link-dropping) or for forums to delete users who use the forums as a means to spam their links. In this way, you're totally in control of your own link content, and it works not only for the search engines, but also for guiding readers through your content.

Hubpages is good, and I make more money here than I do on any other site, but by itself it's not enough to do everything that I want to accomplish as a writer (author, and book reviewer).

Plus I've noticed that some topics do better on one platform than on another. I sell more books through Hubpages than through Squidoo (which is a platform people go to specifically to purchase things!), but find that longer, more interactive pieces do better on Squidoo or Wizzley than on Hubpages and Zujava. If I want feedback and to be conversational with readers, I go to my blog.

The important thing is to know your audience, know what does well on what platform(s) and then write, cross linking from one page to another without link-loading. For example, Hubpages allows two links per domain. I tend to only use one of them, then spread things out from there. Link a hub to a lens and both back to my blog, which links out to everything, since the blog is my own personal Internet real-estate.

Not sure if that made any sense, but that's how I do it.

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Marisa Wright 4 years ago from Sydney Author

Anna, most people don't spread their articles - but they should, for several reasons.

One is for backlinking - you need backlinks, and although links between articles on the same site is good, they're not backlinks. You will get more Google traffic with articles interlinked on different sites, than from articles interlinked on the same site.

Two - It's dangerous to put all your eggs in one basket, unless you own the basket. I've seen several writing sites fold, or change for the worst. was sold to people who didn't want the content, only the name, so they closed it down and all members lost their work overnight without notification. Excerptz was a victim of spammers. Factoidz defrauded its writers. There have been others.

There's no advantage to putting all your work on one revenue-sharing site, because readers visiting sites like HubPages rarely notice who wrote the article. They're far, far more likely to read articles by other members on the same topic, than to visit your profile and read your other work. If you want to build your image as a writer, you need a blog - but remember a generalist blog doesn't work.

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Anna Sternfeldt 4 years ago from Svenljunga, Sweden

I have been pondering on the content here for a while and I have a question that may not be completely relevant for the "link" subject discussed here, but I ask and see what you say. Marisa, you write that we could refer to articles we have on other writing sites, like Zuvaja, Wissley and Infobarre, but as a newbie on Hubpages I wonder if people usually "spread" their articles and why? Well, I can I understand the purpose getting a wider audience, but couldn't it also be a point with having your work in one place, and instead trying to spread your hubs and your profile link to forums and others in the way you describe here? But maybe that depends on how much you write and how many different subjects you cover. Would be glad to hear some short feedback on my wonders on this... You need to ask stupid questions to learn :-)

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greencha 4 years ago from UK

Marisa,, Thankyou,......x

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Anna Sternfeldt 4 years ago from Svenljunga, Sweden

Great stuff! I have learned a lot by reading this hub and I am sure it will be of huge help for a lot of people, including me :-)

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Marisa Wright 4 years ago from Sydney Author

Glad to help Greencha. Not that genius - remember I've been doing this for over 5 years, and there used to be a heap of real geniuses here on HubPages, who taught me everything I know!

By "mixing up keywords", I mean thinking of all the different words or phrases people might use to find your article, and using them all rather than repeating the same keyword all the time.

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greencha 4 years ago from UK

Marisa, Your a genious ,(non-patronising here). Gosh sound like Google could do with you on their board! Very helpful-- but will have to re-read. Could you kindly clarify what you mean when you mix up the key words? Thanks Ms genious.

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dwelburn 4 years ago from Chesterfield, UK

This is the clearest, most useful article on backlinking I have ever read. Thanks for clarifying this whole thing so well. Also good to know I don't need to worry about social bookmarking sites too.

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Rebecca E. 4 years ago from Canada

marisa-- sorry I didn't get around to reading this earlier- but it has helped me understand a lot more about what works, and what doesn't work these days when it comes to backlinks-- and you are correct getting a reader (a real reader) is hard work!

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Marisa Wright 4 years ago from Sydney Author

Glad my Hubbing Hubs were helpful - it is a big learning curve when you first start online!

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Monis Mas 4 years ago

I can honestly say this is by far THE BEST article I could find on backlinks! Finally somebody explained it the right way - simple and easy to understand. Thanks a lot!!

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Sophia Angelique 4 years ago

Excellent article.

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Marisa Wright 4 years ago from Sydney Author

Shai, unfortunately you're part right and part wrong. Some kinds of "cheating" are still very effective, which is why you see spammy sites at the top of search engine results! However, Google does eventually catch up to the latest scam and close down the loophole, and those site owners have to start all over again. So in the long run, it's a whole lot easier to do the right thing!

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HoneyBB 4 years ago from Illinois

Marisa, Thank you for clarifying backlinks for me. It seems that all my hubs automatically get one backlink but I have no clue how to figure out who is linking to them. Other than that I don't get any other backlinks and it's probably because I need to do many of the things you suggested. I will definitely look into what you have said and hopefully I can figure it out. Thanks for sharing. Voted +++

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shai77 4 years ago

That is complex but it makes sense. Seems it just doesn't pay to find a loophole or "cheat" because it's just going to keep bringing changes. Good advice, thanks! VU & Useful

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toknowinfo 4 years ago

Thank you for this excellent and clear cut explanation about back links. I learned a lot and appreciate your knowledge on this subject.

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Gina145 4 years ago from South Africa

Thanks. This has cleared up some things I'd heard of but never really understood.

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Annette R. Smith 4 years ago from Grand Island, Florida

Thank you for this useful hub, Marisa. I'm trying to develop an effective backlinking strategy, and your advice gives me a lot to think about regarding safe and effective backlinks after the Google changes.

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Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica

I stop trying to do the back link thing. After Penguin I had to remove all my outgoing links even the amazon capsules and redo them. I just post to FB, Twitter and Google+ nothing more. I don't even trust Redgage and certainly not SocialMonkee anymore. This is very informative, really appreciate the info.

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ken blair 4 years ago

This is hub really very timely as a lot of us have been affected with Google updates. Thanks for explaining things well here.

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girishpuri 4 years ago from NCR , INDIA

useful hub, thanks

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Marisa Wright 4 years ago from Sydney Author

Sounds like a good book, Rock! Until very recently, the advice was to pick one or two keywords and use them as anchor text all the time - and you will still see that advice on many sites and in many older books. Google is now on the lookout for that pattern, so mixing it up is the new way to go.

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Rock_nj 4 years ago from New Jersey

Thanks for this useful information. I am just learning about SEO, and this helps a lot. One of the SEO books I read emphasized the need to do anchor text backlinks using the targeted keywords, but they also mentioned that it needs to be mixed up and some should be entered as "click here" to make it all appear natural.

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Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia

Hello Marisa, I must bookmark your article. It is so packed with information that I want to be able to refer to it again. Thanks so much for the fantastic information. I've been seriously working at this for over a year now and I'm still getting frustrated often, mainly because I'm often pulled from devoting the time I need to devote to my articles.

You've explained it all so succinctly - knowledge is queen and obviously you have the crown. Thanks for the info.

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usafashionstoday 4 years ago

For a small website owner learning that the date of April 24th 2012 when the first penguin was released answers the questions that I had been asking my self. On April 24tn I went to bed a happy camper with my back links and all, on April 25th I weak up to find out 75% of my links along with 75% of my visitors had disappeared. Now I know why.

Now I know where to take it from here.

Thank you.

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Online-Russian 4 years ago from Former Soviet Union

Google has a big hand in its own problem.

If it weren't for Adsense (and the make-money programs it inspired), there would be far less MFA and garbage sites on the internet. The owners of these sites are the major culprits in SEO gaming, scraping, and outsourcing their content to word sweatshops in non-English-speaking countries.

If Google led the way by requiring sites be vetted before being able to use Adsense (and penalized sites that used third-party advertising without -or with poor-quality -vetting), the problem would be cleared up overnight. But, of course, they won't. They like the revenue.

Additionally, Google plays a game with linking that privileges authority sites. It's fine to set up an algorithm that rewards truly organic links and that encourages outbound linking to other sites, but if a webmaster wants to make an outbound link on his/her page, which website will be the target: a great site with no PR or a high PR site? The blogger with readers/content at heart will link to the great site; the blogger who has been writing for six months and has less traffic than a restaurant selling half-eaten hamburgers will be tempted to link to the high PR site.

It seems like the system is set up to consolidate the authority of the big sites and to keep the small sites small.

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Marisa Wright 4 years ago from Sydney Author

Thanks for answering, aalite! Great response.

Google loves Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook right now, so you wouldn't be penalized for using those.

As for other sites - if you're a member of a site where genuine sharing goes on, that's worth it for real readers (you never know when something might go viral). If, however, it's just a site where writers go to promote their work, there isn't much interaction and it's just a sea of links to websites with a short blurb - Google pays very little attention to those.

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Bard of Ely 4 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

Thanks for your response, aa lite! I never make anything at Redgage anyway, so think I'll stop adding links just to be on the safe side!

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aa lite 4 years ago from London

Bard of Ely, I don't think sharing on social media will upset Google, for one thing links on Facebook and twitter are nofollow, so nobody trying to artificially build backlinks would bother with them. For another thing, it's completely legitimate to tell all your facebook friends, followers about your new hub, even Matt Cutts always tells people that they should make an effort to promote their work.

What Google doesn't like is links that you specifically make for the sole reason of ranking better in SERPs, putting a link where a lot of people will click on it does not fall under that definition, it is a legitimate way of getting traffic to your site. Not sure about RedGage, my feeling is Google will not penalise links there, but it might not consider them when ranking a site.

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Bard of Ely 4 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

A lot of very valuable info there, Marisa, and I have voted up! I may have been my own worst enemy because I have been promoting my new hubs when I finish them by sharing the links on other sites thinking this was a recommended means of getting traffic. The question needs to be asked though: why does HubPages still offer a share option? Surely this encourages people to do this? What about sites like RedGage? I have loads of links to my hubs posted on there. Should I delete them all if I can?

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Marisa Wright 4 years ago from Sydney Author

Thanks aa lite - I agree with you completely. Wouldn't it be great if Google could get it completely right? Unfortunately there will always be ways to game the system and people will keep finding them, I think.

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aa lite 4 years ago from London

Very clear and sensible hub. I have also heard the argument that Penguin didn't look at backlinking directly, the sites that lost rank after Penguin because of bad backlinks, did so because the sites that linked to them lost rank, or where de-indexed. However, even the person making that argument admitted that Google was dealing with unnatural backlinks in other algorithm changes.

You can't really blame Google, they are using backlinks as a measure of how good a site is, but this is rendered pretty meaningless when every webmaster is on a major mission to create backlinks to their sites. Personally there is nothing I would like more than for Google to succeed completely, then we could all forget about developing 'backlinking strategies' and just concentrate on writing. The problem is that Google will never succeed completely, and if everybody else is manufacturing links to their sites, you have to join in or you get left behind.

When I first decided to try online writing, earlier this year, I was horrified reading hubs, about how you had to buy expensive programs that would spin an article into hundreds of copies and submit them to masses of directories, to actually get readers. If Google algorithm changes can put stops to these kind of practices, I'm all for them. The problem is, as you mention, the collateral damage.

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woothie 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Wow! Lots of useful info. Thank you.

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Daughter Of Maat 4 years ago from Rural Central Florida

Great hub Marisa. Thanks for making this so easy to understand!

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RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

Thanks very much for sharing your clear, helpful information!

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innerspin 4 years ago from uk

All very interesting to me as a new hubber. I'll have to read through that again to get my head round it. Thanks

for the info.

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naimishika 4 years ago from India

Backlinks are the backbone of website, I think. Good and informative article. thanks

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Bedbugabscond 4 years ago from United States

Yeah, I remember reading on forums where open and closed linking networks went down hard at the same time penguin came in to effect. I was so glad I did not use those services. Knowing how to get backlinks safely is VERY relevant.

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Marisa Wright 4 years ago from Sydney Author

@weekend, I find the debate about Penguin and backlinks interesting.

Some people say Penguin was nothing to do with "dubious" backlinking practices, and that it was a completely separate update (at around the same time). As far as I can see, it doesn't really matter which update it was or what it was called, it's the effect that matters.

Some people say it's all a myth, it's all about on-page optimization. is one example of this camp. I'm not convinced.

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Lwelch 4 years ago from USA

Well then I am likely safe. My things went down after that. But I guess, it could be it as well. I guess time will tell.

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weekend 4 years ago

But backlinks and penguin have nothing to do with one another. Do you know what you're talking about?

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Marisa Wright 4 years ago from Sydney Author

The first Penguin release was 24th April 2012

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Lwelch 4 years ago from USA

When did penguin go in effect? I think summer is why I see a drop in hits but curious if it was penguin. I don't worry about backlinking though, so if I dropped it was due to other stuff. Facebook, networked blogs, pinterest, are all I use. A few then get posted in the support group that started my writing.

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Bedbugabscond 4 years ago from United States

Thanks for sharing this. Before I started my hub I did a great deal of research, then penguin comes alone and all that seemed for not. I got scared, and even have nightmares of penguins! This information is very useful!

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ktrapp 4 years ago from Illinois

I am so glad to read this Hub. It supports what I have suspected myself for some time and what prompted me to also write a Hub about effective backlinks recently. Personally, I have never jumped on the "get backlinks at all cost" strategy. The most effective backlink strategy, I believe, is to focus on content and the reader, thereby encouraging natural/organic backlinks. One thing that is really great when that happens is that the contextual link will contain anchor text that perhaps is a long-tail keyword or phrase. Thanks for all the information and I'm so glad to see a backlink Hub that is right on the money. Voted up, useful and interesting.

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teutophile 4 years ago

This is very valuable advice. I will be looking at links a lot more carefully now since I'm convinced my drop in Google rankings was because I didn't have enough links. Cute penguin, too. But not as cute as a rockhopper.

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Healthy Pursuits 4 years ago from Oregon

Thanks for the update, Marisa. As usual, you give very useful information. I'm setting up my first blog now, and will definitely be using your tips.

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allpurposeguru 4 years ago from North Carolina

I think Penguin has probably made all the advice I've been collecting about backlinks obsolete. Thanks for providing such a useful summary of what will still work.

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jessicaseo 4 years ago from INDIA


Useful researched content and information shared! After the Penguin update by Google I am really worried with new strategies that I could develop. Though I haven't been affected because from the beginning itself I used to follow quality work. Thanks for sharing!



Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 4 years ago from Sydney Author

Writing "link worthy content" is the fundamental thing, whether you backlink or not. Since it's no longer possible to create hundreds of backlinks artificially, it's important to get maximum mileage out of the ones you can get - which means, real people who click on those backlinks need to be so impressed, they then share it with others, who share it with others, and so on.

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Everyday Miracles 4 years ago from Indiana, USA

I've always felt like the best way to get links is to create link worthy content that other authors want to link to. This has worked well for one of my blogs but not for the majority of my individual pages on sites like Hubpages. I'm almost certain that's because it's not a collection of pages but rather a single, one off article on a niche subject.

In some ways it seems like Google has declared war on sites like Hubpages or Squidoo, which thrive on the practice of inorganic backlinking.

Panda didn't affect me and so far I'm doing well with Penguin too, so I'm not overly worried.

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Karanda 4 years ago from Australia

Great information in this Hub Marisa. It's all beyond me though, I prefer to write what I want, when I want and leave it at that but I do that on a few different sites. I'm sure anyone wanting to learn about backlinking will get a lot of help from your article. Looking forward to seeing what you have on the site.

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Marisa Wright 4 years ago from Sydney Author

Thanks guys. You're right, Kieran, some webmasters are scratching their heads because they've been hit despite never having used "unnatural" linking methods. So clearly there's been some collateral damage, as seems to be usual with any Google update.

I saw a great quote the other day, along the lines that every time Google tries to get rid of the weeds in its garden, it ends up gouging a chunk out of the flower beds and uprooting half the vegetables in the process.

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nightbear 4 years ago from Michiagn, USA

I had only just heard about the penguin update. This was an interesting tidbit on that. the entire article is excellent and easy to understand. thank you for keeping on top of things.

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rjsadowski 4 years ago

A lot of useful information. I am not quite certain how to make the best use of it at this time, but knowledge is power.

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Kieran Gracie 4 years ago

Thank you, Marisa, for a useful and interesting Hub. Voted accordingly, and shared. You have explained the latest war on backlinks by Google very well. Unfortunately it seems that the 'baby has been washed away with the bathwater' for many webmasters, and all we can do is sit this out until Google finds another target. I will heed your advice about using natural-looking anchor text.

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