Farmer, Penguin, Panda… Google updates can be scary. Regardless of your SEO strategy, one thing is for certain — natural linksare the ultimate way to increase rankings. You’re at no risk of a penalty, the links drive real traffic, your website gains exposure, and your rankings increase with little effort.

Below are 10 Ultimate ways to build natural backlinks.

Social Media

Have you ever noticed that the top of every pin on Pinterest contains a link back to the original site? Bloggers flock to Pinterest to find new content for their blogs. Top “pins” often pull hundredsof links from dozens of referring domains. Some of the most viral pieces of content consistently gain dozens of natural, high quality links per day.

Most high level Twitter users also maintain a blog to correspond with their social media presence. Simply building your Twitter presence will place you at a much higher chance of negotiating a link with these bloggers. Outreach is key. Follow them first, get to know their blog, build credibility.

Use Facebook to promote contests. Consider giving away something. E-books, graphics, reports… Free anything usually means you’ll earn a few free links in the process.

Infographics

Infographics areinherentlyviral. There are dozens of infographic distributions sites that allow you to post your graphic, giving you a do-follow backlink to correspond with your graphic. In addition to hundereds of smaller websites that find and post infographics, they spread among their respective niches like wildfire.

They work for everyone. If you run a finance blog, consider creating a visual representation of the stock market over time. Show who made money with the Facebook IPO, or compile interestingstatisticsin a visual format.

If you’re website doesn’t have a niche that can be represented graphically, consider the target audience. If you want to gain more college aged users, make an infographic about the top party schools.

Guest Blogging

Everyone knows that content is key. Sometimes bloggers get lazy, often times they are too busy to maintain their blog on a regular basis. Guest blogging is a win-win situation. In exchange for free content, they give you a backlink in the byline. Establishing yourself as a Google+ author means your overall authorship score increases. Not to mention, many blogs accepting guest posts get read by thousands of natural readers.

Some services and forums allow for easy guest posting, but manual outreach is a great way to go.

Webmaster Outreach

Make a list of sites you want a link from. Message the webmaster. Offer to do a service in exchange for a link. If you’re great at graphic design, tell them you will make them a new logo. If you know how to do SEO, offer to give them advice.

Directory Submissions

Directories serve as a great way to build a large number of links in a short amount of time. There are many types of directories out there, so you must do you duediligencebefore opting to submit your site. Remember, just because a directory costs money to submit to, doesn’t necessarily mean its extremely valuable. Some directories we recommend are: Best of The Web, Yahoo Directory, andBusiness.com. If you don’t have the extra dough to spend, and you are looking for some free directories try DMOZ (althoughthe selection process is a bit tough).

This article was written by Jesse Leimgruber – Jesse is studying Computer Science at Stanford University. He is the CEO of Rank Executives, an internet marketing company based out of Palo Alto CA.

5 Clever Ways to Earn Natural Backlinks