How to Build Links & Boost SERP Rankings

In my last post I provided the THEORY into link building and how it can boost or hinder your SERP Ranking.  As promised this post is a PRACTICAL follow up!  We will investigate some tried and tested practical link building methods.  By the end of this post I will cover:

  • Co-citation
  • Guest posting
  • Article marketing

Let’s not waste anymore time and dive right in 😊

Build Links & Boost SERP Rankings 101!

In my last post I provided the THEORY into link building and how it can boost or hinder your SERP Ranking. As promised this post is a PRACTICAL follow up! We will investigate some tried and tested practical link building methods. By the end of this post I will cover: Co-citation Guest posting Article marketing. #LinkBuilding #IncreaseTraffic #BloggingTips

Co-citation and Co-occurrence

I am holding my hands up on this one … I’m kind of a “noob” to the co-citation concept!  I considered not discussing this topic at all as I am not well versed in its application.  But my research indicates that co-citation and co-occurrence are essential parts of a solid link building strategy.  Plus it can be a great boost for your SERP Rankings!  Woooo!

So instead I thought why not make life incredibly difficult and START with this premise.  Thanks BRAIN.  Great job BRAIN. Why can’t you let anything drop in the pursuit of accurate information BRAIN.

This may explain why it took me the best part of 5 days on and off to finalize this post!!  #RelatableBloggingProblems…

What is Co-citation?  

Co-citation is when one website or brand is mentioned by two different sources. I’m going to break out the classic co-citation diagram to illustrate this further.

In my last post I provided the THEORY into link building and how it can boost or hinder your SERP Ranking. As promised this post is a PRACTICAL follow up! We will investigate some tried and tested practical link building methods. By the end of this post I will cover: Co-citation Guest posting Article marketing #LinkBuilding #IncreaseTraffic #BloggingTips

Phew.  My brain hurts. Let’s call in the experts shall we!

Neil Patel gives clear guidance about what constitutes a co-citation relationship in his post.  I have cited this here for you ease!

“A co-citation relationship for your site occurs when two other websites:

  • Share a common mention of your site. There does not have to be a link.
  • Discuss a similar topic to your site. There does not have to be shared keywords.”

I think it bares repeating that co-citation is not when your site is linked but when your site/brand is mentioned… holy mother of…this means that co-citation is a stand-alone SEO tactic.

Although from what I have read it is a rare occurrence that co-citation happens in its pure form.  Co-citation commonly occurs in the sphere of traditional link building.  AKA with the inclusion of actual links.  

What is Co-occurrence?

Co-citation and co-occurrence seem to be interchangeable terms.  But there is a key difference.  According to Shane Barker in his post for SEMrush  co-occurrence is:

…the frequency and proximity of keywords appearing on a website as well as the relationship between them.

In short rather than associating two sites together because of a mention, co-occurrence builds relationships based on content e.g. similar keywords/phrases/search terms.

In the next section, I will be using co-citation as a descriptor that encompasses co-occurrence also.  Although both terms are often used interchangeably, I think it is important to note their differences avoid confusion.  Especially if you choose to research this topic further!

How can Co-citation Boost SERP Rankings?

When co-citation occurs, this signals to the search engine that your site is important.  It’s kind of like a free boost in a racing game!  You are propelled through the search engines along with the other two sites.  The search engine also assumes that your content is similar or relevant … even if it is not. 

Therefor it is vital that other links / mentions on the website that mentions you, are related to the services and or content that you provide.  If you write beauty product reviews for example, there is no point being deemed relevant to a site that sells power tools.  These are completely different niches! 

If by some miracle, you gain incoming traffic from this co-citation, these visitors will soon leave again.  This will hurt your bounce rate and eventually your SERP rankings.

When you seek to actively exchange links with other websites, make sure that your link is on a page that lists other related links.  The whole website doesn’t have to mirror your content.  But relevant links from third party sites are important.  For example, it’s OK if the other website has a single category page dedicated to your niche and your link is placed there.  

Avoid co-citation from bad link pages.  If you are listed on a website that is linked to total garbage (think gambling/viagra sites) then you could fall foul by association.  Not only are these sites potentially disreputable, you will be deemed as relevant to these kinds of sites rather than your actual niche.  In a nutshell, this isn’t great for your search engine rankings. 

If you take away anything from this post, please let it be this…

DO NOT spend your time actively pursuing these kinds of links.  If they list your links, you should get them removed.

For guidance on identifying low quality / high quality links, please refer to my previous post.  You can access it by clicking the image below!

Links to your website are one of THE MOST important factors for high search engine rankings. You will never achieve high rankings on Google, Bing/Yahoo or other major search engines without having good links. Furthermore, Google will ONLY list your website in their search results if they find at least one other website that links to your site. Scary stuff! Let’s do a quick rundown of how backlinks work to influence your search engine success!

How to Remove Harmful Links 

I did start to get a little panicky when I realised the potential negative impact co-citation could have on site rankings.  Especially since someone linking to your page is kind of out of your control.  But there are other checks and balances in place!  In fact, Google  use over 200 signals to determine the relevancy of your site in relation to others. Phew!

According to Google:

Google works very hard to make sure that actions on third-party sites do not negatively affect a website. In some circumstances, incoming links can affect Google’s opinion of a page or site.

But in the instance that a garbage backlink or co-citation flags up as an issue … there are ways to request their removal.  Phew!

Yoast (the eternal life savers) have a great post discussing harmful links and how to remove them.  Their first suggestion is to reach out to the owner of the harmful site that has mentioned or linked to you.  Find their contact details via their website and ask politely if they would remove it. 

If they refuse or ask for a fee you can disavow the site.  It sounds a lot more dramatic than it is …By doing this you are informing Google that you’d prefer these links not to be considered when assessing your site.

Full instructions of how to disavow bad links can be found here

What is Guest Posting?

If you have been blogging for a while you may have come across the concept of Guest Posting.  I’m not going to delve too deeply into this, as there is SO much content out there already on this subject.  But it can be an amazing technique to improve your SERP Rankings!  I couldn’t not include it!!

The basic premise is to write a post that will be published on an external website.  You can include a link back to your own website within or at the end of the post. 

On the surface it may seem counterproductive to create content for another blogger.  Especially when your time is so precious!  But not only is this great for general networking purposes, it can also help to increase your SERP (search engine results pages) ranking. 

As the title suggests Guest blogging is a form of link building.  So, the usual rules apply.  Aim to post for another blogger in your niche.  Or you could ask them to post for you! The more relevant the better!

Finding Guest Posting Opportunities

If you want to do a guest post, don’t be shy, you will need to approach your fellow bloggers.  Once again, it’s best to stick to content creators within your niche.  The concept of a bad link applies here too.

You will want to do some ground work before approaching people.  You could think of titles etc. thus reducing the workload for your potential host!  Bare in mind that bloggers aren’t obliged to say yes.  Be polite!  If you don’t fit in with their personal brand, they have every right to say no. 

It may feel like you should approach anyone and everyone to get your first guest post, but quality always surpasses quantity.  Check my last post for a full breakdown of what to avoid.

As always it is imperative to create original and solid content.  Someone has been gracious enough to invite you into their virtual abode…don’t make them regret it.

Something I have discovered recently is that it is possible to find top blogs by their geographical location!  Woo!  This is great if you have a specific target audience in mind! 

You can use the free SERP tool from to perform this function.  Simply add your keywords and select a desired location.  Voila!

To close off this section let’s give a round of applause for the folks at Solvid for putting together THIS list of 180 and sites that accept guest posts! 

What is Article Marketing?

Article Marketing is kind of like guest posting.  The key difference being that you must submit your content for approval via an article hub.  As a result, submission rules tend to be slightly stricter than that of guest posting.  The same rules of good links / bad links apply, but so long as you find a reputable site you are good!

A separate resource box (including bio/byline) is usually provided so that you can submit your website along with a basic description at the end of your article.  In some cases, you can hyperlink your site within the article itself, but this tends to be discouraged as a general rule. 

Your content should be optimized for search engines in the usual way.  If you are unsure of how to achieve this, check out my previous post for guidance.  Just click the image below!

This post is aimed at both new and more established bloggers who have heard the term SEO thrown around but don’t know what it is, and or/how to implement it! Let's GO!


How can Article Marketing Boost your SERP Rankings?

There are two main reasons why people use article marketing online.  They are:  

  • The SEO used in the articles can attract a potential customer who will click on the link
  • They establish links to your site and raise your status in the search engine results pages.

Even if (as per this post) your sole objective is to increase your SERP rankings with backlinks, you still have the potential to attract readers to your site via article referrals.  It’s a win win baby!

Some General Rules for Article Submission

As mentioned earlier, each article hub has their own set of rules to adhere to.  But I have included some general rules that tend to be included on most hubs.

The articles that you submit must be original content.  I like to think that the integrity levels of those that read my posts are high.  But it does bare repeating … do not steal articles from others.  Article hubs have a check system to account for this.  So it won’t go unnoticed.  This includes posting the same article across multiple article hubs.

Articles must be informative NOT promotional. Some websites will allow product reviews, but always read the individual rules listed in each hub.  If you submit a product review it must be completely impartial.

Articles are designed to inform the public about a product / service NOT sell it to people. I would avoid affiliate links unless you are experienced enough to make them seem less salesy. Remember the focus of this exercise is to build quality links. #LinkBuilding #IncreaseTraffic #BloggingTips

I recently conducted a Twitter poll regarding poor spelling / grammar within blog posts.  Out of 51 votes 47% thought that mistakes of this nature were acceptable “within reason” whilst 39% voted “heck NO.”

Can I get a heck NO?  In the case of an article submission you MUST make sure that your spelling and grammar is on point.  You don’t have to be the Shakespeare of article submission, but you should aim for solid quality.  Correct grammar and spelling being the bare minimum.

If your article gets rejected the first time around, learn from this and try again. Most hubs will supply feedback, so you can improve for the next submission.

I would recommend working on the general readability of your content before submission.   I have a previous post covering this!  Click the link below.

It is vital that you don’t discourage readers because your posts are difficult to read! You could be the most amazing writer in the world; the Shakespeare of blogging if you will. But if no one can make it past the first sentence because of poor formatting…who cares? Not only will an illegible blog post discourage readers from sticking around, they won’t bother coming back.

Where to Find Article Hubs

There are many article hubs online that will offer you a chance to put your article online for free.  You can find a list of free article marketing sites by going online and doing a search for them through Google

But because I’m a good egg I’ve put together a small list to get you started:

Signing Off!

As always I hope this content has been useful and informative!  If you take away anything from this post let it be the word RELEVANT.  If you are working hard to rise through the SERP ranks, you need to protect your personal brand fiercely!   Become accustomed to what good and back links are in relation to your site, and move forwards with confidence!

Until next time


If you found this post useful or I have missed anything you feel is important let me know in the comments below 🙂  Also I am happy to answer any questions.

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