At Louder Than Digital, we live for amplifying brands online through constant optimization; however, we emphasize taking time to do things the right way. We want you to know the best practices behind building healthy backlinks and highly engaged followers.

It can be tempting to click on those ads that shout about how they can boost your rankings or provide you with instant followers on Instagram.

We’ve all seen them: 

Google Search Result Ads
Google Search Results Ad - Buy Instagram Followers

These services seem like such good deals on the surface, offering 100% Real and Instant Followers and High Domain Authority.

But those aren’t real and can be harmful to your website, blog, vlog, and other content you’ve worked hard to create.

The Temptation is Real!

As a new content creator, whether it be for your business or just a hobby, building up followers and backlinks can be overwhelming. You have a million questions.

Shocked little boy with an open book surrounded by questions in blue and white text.

What is a backlink anyway?

How long does it take to build up backlinks and social followers?

How do these things affect my ranking in search results?

How do I grow my followers?

How long does it take to build up backlinks and social followers?

How do these things affect my ranking in search results?

How do I grow my followers?

Will I ever start to see my numbers grow?


Building an engaged following and healthy backlinks are vital to your content. It ensures you rank well, and your content gets in front of a broader audience. That said, it’s hard work.

You have to network with other content creators, reporters, and your preferred audience regularly to get your name out there and build strategic relationships. You are continually researching what people are looking for and finding the best way to add value and meet your customers’ needs. It’s easy to get burnt out on this journey, and companies who offer shortcuts look mighty tempting.

You may ask yourself, “Why should I spend months doing all this work to build up my social following or writing content as a guest blogger to get a healthy backlink when I can just pay someone to make thousands of backlinks and followers appear overnight?”

Well, the answer is simply because your content deserves the best.

Purchased backlinks and followers present a wide variety of issues hurting all of your efforts more than helping them in the long run. 

How can Instant Backlinks and Instant Subscribers possibly be dangerous?

It seems like such an easy way to amp up your online presence. Just pay a company or independent contractor and then see thousands of followers, and new backlinks show up the in days! Instant success!

Not really, though. 

The Dangers of Purchased Backlinks

Neil Patel, one of our favorite digital marketing experts, outlines the dangers of what is known as Black Hat SEO (yes – it’s as ominous as it sounds) in his article, How to Build High-Quality Backlinks When Nobody Knows Your Name. At a high-level, know that if you buy your links from a Black Hat SEO Company, your site is in trouble.

But why?

  • These links are often highly toxic, meaning they are unnatural links with characteristics similar to sites that Google has penalized or marked as spam.
  • They negatively impact your ranking in search engine results by decreasing your domain authority (Your site’s authority on a subject according to Google algorithms). 
  • They often come from unsavory sites you don’t want associated with your content.
  • Some of these links may be completely inactive.
  • They don’t possess authority on the topics your brand is related to, so they won’t increase your site’s authority, and therefore they won’t increase the ranking on topics you’re targeting.

The Dangers of Purchased Followers

Not all followers are created equal, and not all of them will be valuable to your brand. Ideally, you want to build up a following of real people who are genuinely interested in your brand and your content.

Purchased followers are the exact opposite.

  • They typically are against the terms of service for many providers, such as Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube, and will likely be purged – worse, this can lead to a platform banning you.
  • Purchased followers are generally not engaged followers, making them far less valuable than those gained organically.
  • These followers often aren’t real people; they’re bots, which often leads to inappropriate comments on your posts.
  • They open you up to a large number of spam posts, emails, etc.
  • They take away from your credibility as a content creator.

Our Top 3 Best Practices

Ok – so now what? You’re back to square one. The long road to healthy backlinks and engaged followers.

Consistently Create Valuable Content

Good SEO and audience building both stem from the same place: high-quality content. If your content is subpar and doesn’t fit what your target audience is looking for, you won’t get the followers, and you won’t get the backlinks.

Take the time to research and design your content strategically.

What is your audience interested in, and how can you provide a unique perspective on that topic?

What are the best keywords for you to use to ensure they reach the right people?

Where does your target audience spend their time online? How will you promote your new content?

If you consider all of this when developing your content, you are sure to create something that your audience finds relevant and useful. In turn, they will share it on their blogs and social media, thus creating healthy backlinks and giving your site some authority.

Amp Up Your Public Relations

Don’t be afraid to network! Other content creators, reporters, and even your followers are excellent tools for not only promoting your content, but building those relationships will create great backlink building opportunities.

How do you build up this network? There are quite a few things you can do to get started:

  1. Sign up for HARO (Help A Reporter Out). This free service allows you to respond to reporter’s queries on the topics you’re an expert in!
  2. Interact with Other Content Creators. Find other blogs, vlogs, social media accounts related to your specific industry and start interacting. Leave insightful comments that encourage conversation, offer to collaborate on something. Just put yourself out there!
  3. Submit your brand or company to various directories and awards. This gets your name in the places your audience may be searching and will help build up your reputation as well. It doesn’t hurt; it leads to good backlinks as well!

There are a million ways to work on building these relationships, and by extension, building your backlinks and followers. The examples listed above are only a few ways to build backlinks; they are easy, jumping-off points to get you started.

Take it Slow

Building your backlinks and followers takes time. Don’t be tempted to take any short cuts to sit back and enjoy the ride.

Develop new, high-quality content on a regular basis.

Keep your ear to the ground and pay attention to any new trends popping up within your industry.

Build those strategic relationships – who knows; you may wind up with some new friends as well!

It will seem slow and tedious, but if you stick with it, you will start to see your site climb in ranking, and your engaged follower numbers will start growing. The slow, steady path is worth the results.

What to look for in an SEO or Content Marketing Partner

You may decide that you want a partner to help you build up your backlinks and develop your content for more engaged followers. That’s a good option, especially if you’re overwhelmed with running the rest of your business! Just be sure to pick your partner carefully.

These are the four traits we believe are important to look for in an SEO or Content Marketing Partner:

1. A willingness to communicate and educate throughout the process.

Experts in SEO and Content Management generally feel they have nothing to hide and understand if you don’t spend a lot of time in these fields, it all looks like wizardry, or it feels like everything is happening at a snail’s pace. They will want you to understand what’s going on to help ensure you have the tools you need. They will provide you with regular reporting and be more than happy to answer questions on what specific metrics mean, why you should pursue certain strategies, and how they plan to help you achieve your goals.

2. A firm belief, to be done correctly, SEO and Content Management Strategies take time.

A true SEO or Content Management expert thinks about the long-game for their backlink and audience building strategies. They look to establish your brand’s legitimacy through high-quality content, strategic networking, and organic growth that fits your brand. They will not look for shortcuts and will actively discourage you from purchasing followers or backlinks.

3. An emphasis on building relationships and taking time to network.

The fostering of strategic relationships builds high-quality backlinks and highly-engaged audiences. SEO and Content Management experts emphasize building and maintaining strategic relationships with other content creators and reporters for several reasons: 

  • Gain a better understanding of what content their audience finds valuable.
  • Build opportunities for features on prominent, authoritative sites by positioning themselves as the go-to expert for their partners.
  • Develop opportunities for quid pro quo backlinking that is relevant to the target audience and generates healthy backlinks for all parties involved.

4. A genuine interest in your goals and mission.

It often is hard to find a vendor who has your best interests in mind. It can feel like you are nothing more than another fee for them to take in. When talking with a new potential partner, please pay attention to the questions they ask and their actions. Are they asking about your goals? Are they trying to learn more about your industry and your needs? When they discuss their products, are they just running through a general presentation, or are they trying to relate it to your specific business?

When meeting with potential new partners, don’t be afraid to ask them about these things. You’ve worked hard to build up your website, your content, and your following. It deserves to be treated with dignity. It deserves to be built up and optimized in a way that guarantees long-term success. 

To see how well your backlinks and audience stack up, sign up for a Digital Transformation Assessment from Louder Than Digital!

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