In this guide I will tell you exactly how to build links so that you can get more traffic from Google and more importantly, make your business more money online.
Chances are you know the value of links.
Links make up the largest ranking factor in the Google algorithm. Period.
Since Google first came on to the scene links have been the bedrock of their ranking algorithm. Not much has changed. They count just as much as they did back then. The only difference now is that you have to be a lot smarter about the way you acquire them.
Having enough of the right type of links can be the difference between ranking number 1 or not ranking at all.
The link building tactics I am going to show you will give you incredible results and allow you to get more traffic from Google.
What makes me qualified to provide link building coaching? Well I have been making money online for the past 10 years. Over this time I have made hundreds of thousands of dollars from content sites.
I have failed in every way imaginable, so i definitely know the pitfalls you have to avoid. I have also had my fair share of successes along the way.
Link building has been a crucial part of my success and in the following guide I will be telling you my exact link building strategy I use to rank for keywords that get as many as 500’000 searches a month in the online gambling industry (Super duper competitive keywords).
So if you are ready to get more traffic from Google and make more money online, just follow this guide.
All I need from you is a solid commitment to act on the information provided in this guide. Otherwise both mine and your effort is wasted.
Don’t be fooled by the price tag, although this guide is free, it’s incredibly valuable and contains the information needed to solve one piece of the internet marketing puzzle.
Good education on its own is not power. Applied education is power. So to get the most out of this guide, please make sure you take steps to actually implementing the advice given.
But first I want to talk about strategy. Strategy is incredibly important when it comes to link building. All the tactics in the world will not get you the results you want. You need a clear overall strategy, which is based on long-term sustainable growth and continuous results.
With a clear strategy comes clarity. With clarity comes massive action.
My SEO strategy is a simple one and it’s worked over the last 10 years with little change. Want to hear it?
That’s it folks! I provide masses of valuable content to the marketplace and I market it by getting links.
I know one thing is guaranteed. The more content and links I build, the more money I make.
The amount of content i put out and the amount of links i get is definitely the most correlated thing with revenue in my business.
Strip everything to its core. That is all that SEO comes down to. Content + Links.
Now enough, of the 50’000 foot view. Let’s get started with link building.
White vs Black vs Grey Hat Links
One thing that sets me apart from other SEO’s is that I have tested everything. I’m the guy who has the 1000 page white hat authority site, plus the guy who also registered EMD domains and spammed the hell out of them with blog network links and automated tools.
The only thing I haven’t engaged in is pure black hat tactics like hacking sites, simply because it’s illegal.
I think one of the main things an internet marketer needs to put in to consideration is the long-term viability of any strategy. Being able to delay gratification and work towards a long term goal instead of looking for a short term fix is incredibly important in anything, it is especially important in SEO.
It is essential that you get a big picture view of SEO and what you are trying to accomplish.
In short, the grey-hat, link spamming tactics I have used are great in the short run, but aren’t a great way to build a long term business. Your sites will suffer penalties. It will be a churn and burn strategy where you need to continuously bring out new sites to maintain or grow income.
I still make several thousand dollars a month with this strategy (So it’s definitely possible to make money).
That being said, I advise all of my visitors not to engage in these tactics. Granted in very competitive industries these tactics are rife, I argue that in the long term, 5 years from now, the work you do now spamming and aggressively ranking sites will not provide any long term value.
However, if you are going to engage in these tactics, be aware that they are short term and do not use them on large sites that you have invested lots of time and money building up.
Being able to look at the long term implications of any strategy is crucial. Also seeing the potential downside of any strategy is necessary.
If you want to go for a high risk, high reward strategy, by all means go for it. I don’t think it’s an ethical decision. I think it should just be a risk vs. reward decision. Just don’t come complaining to me when you lose 10 of your sites and $2000 a month worth of income.
For that reason I like to implement a white/grey hat strategy. In some niches you may be able to get away with a pure white hat strategy (Not violating the Google guidelines one bit), but in most cases, to get the best results you will want to operate in the grey areas.
My aim now is to tell you the areas of link building that provide the largest potential benefits for increased rankings, with the lowest amount of risk.
Minimizing Risk When Link Building
The main reason why people get penalized when building links are:
- Anchor text penalties: You get too many links with commercial or keyword related anchor texts. Exactly where the threshold is, I am not exactly sure. I think keeping your main keyword as being less than 10-20% of your total links keeps you in the safe zone. The more diversified your anchor text links are, the better.
- Unnatural links penalties: You get too many links from bad neighbourhoods (Spammy blog comments, blog networks that have been flagged, links from pages related to pornography, Viagra, gambling etc).
- Lack of topical links: It’s possible to get penalized if you have too many links from domains that are not related to your site.
- Link Velocity: If you get a large amount of low quality links over a small period of time, this can cause websites to get penalized or sandboxed in the case of new sites.
- Blogroll/footer/site wide links: If you have too many links from the “boiler plate” sections of a website you can get penalized.
For this reason I recommend the following tactics:
- Pillowing: Pillowing is the process of building links with a wide variety of anchor texts. People often think that Google is an all-seeing computer God. That is not the case; it is simply a computer algorithm. You can avoid a lot of Google penalties by building large quantities of links with a diverse selection of anchors. I would concentrate on URL related anchors (Domainname.com), brand related anchors (Your Site Name), and generic keyword anchors (Click here, Read more etc).
- High Trust and Authority Links: In the next section I will be talking about how not all links are created equal. A couple of very high quality links from relevant domains will do wonders for your rankings and provide you with trust to avoid penalties.
- Consistency: Nothing screams spam like a spike in low quality links. Google has algorithms to tell the difference between when something goes viral and when something is being spammed to death. Good link building is consistent in nature.
Not All Links are Created Equal
The first thing you need to know about building links is that not all links are created equal. One good link could be worth several thousand low quality links.
The two main factors that make up a good link are:
- Domain and page relevancy.
- PageRank/authority of the linking page.
The holy grail of links would be a link from an authoritative, high PageRank niche relevant page, on a high PageRank niche relevant domain, containing the exact anchor text you want to rank for, within a blog post or article.
When starting a website you want to get as many links of this kind as possible (Whilst varying anchor text).
Personally I work in the iGaming space (Gambling, casinos, poker and other “shady” stuff like that). In this industry you basically have to buy these links, and they are not cheap.
How to Spot High Quality Links
I use a number of different metrics to spot high quality link sources from low quality link sources.
These are the metrics I use:
- Domain topic: Browse the website, is it related to my site? Is it in the same industry? Does it look like a good site? Does it have good content?
- Toolbar PageRank: Use the Google toolbar to check the PageRank of the page.
- SEOMoz Authority: Use open site explorer (Free tool) to see the domain and page authority of a site. This tool is free. As a rule of thumb, pages/domains with an authority of 35+ are what I would consider decent value providing links. The Holy Grail links I talk about though are links from PA/DA of 50+ and a PageRank of 4+.
Below is a list of ways that you can get high PageRank, relevant links:
High Quality Content
If you are in a niche that is not as competitive as gambling, chances are there are a linkerati. The linkerati are what I call a selection of people who wield link power within a niche. These can be hobby site owners, bloggers, journalists or business owners.
If you solve a problem that your visitors have, or provide exceptional value with your content, chances are people will be willing to link to it.
If your content is remarkable you should get links without doing any active link building.
This is called content marketing. Now I understand this is called “The ultimate guide to link building” and creating content isn’t exactly link building. However I wouldn’t feel comfortable putting out this guide without writing a decent amount on content marketing.
If you are going to do this half heartedly, there is no point whatsoever because if your content isn’t remarkable you will not get free links. That being said, if you want to throw yourself in to this fully, I suggest you do detailed research in to your niche market and figure out:
- What are your audience’s biggest problems?
- How can you best solve these problems?
- What is the largest value adding contribution you can give to the market?
- What does your audience crave an answer to?
- What are your visitor’s biggest fears?
- What are your audience’s biggest wants and needs?
When you figure these things out, you will be in a better position to provide real value to your audience and get natural links over time.
Now I am not going to say that you can’t make money online without doing these things. It just makes things a lot easier. Aside from link building, doing the above will help you develop a USP (Unique selling proposition) and convert visitors better/provide real tangible value to the marketplace.
I must note that these links won’t come overnight. Often they will take many years. I do however feel this tactic is incredibly important.
Content is basically an asset on the web. Good content is timeless. It attracts links. It provides value. It makes people subscribe to your e-mail list and makes them convert in to customers. It gets you extra traffic through likes, tweets and word of mouth. In short, if you are not convinced about creating high quality content for SEO reasons, do so for business reasons.
Asides from that, Google is clearly heading in the direction of rewarding high quality content. They are collecting data via various sources (Chrome browser, Google toolbar, Analytics, SERP CTR etc) and in the future will use this to decide whether users respond well to your content or do not.
If they don’t, don’t expect to rank.
The role of an SEO has been seriously upgraded from just link building. You need to provide pages that perform will with users because this is the clear direction Google is going. Conversely links in general will become slightly less important in the long run.
The writing is on the wall. Poorly performing pages will be gone. Panda was Google’s first attempt at this. Future attempts will only get more successful at weeding out poorly performing pages.
Creating a great library of evergreen, high quality content is one of the best ways you can future proof your SEO.
Some ideas of content that will get you natural links include:
- “The Ultimate Guide to [insert topic]”.
- Unique tools that your audience will find valuable. This is known as widget bait.
- Infographics: Creating an image that will be shared and linked to. Have an embed code for it.
- Interview an expert and ask for them to link to it.
- Compare multiple products and provide solutions that help your audience.
- Unique research: Create product reviews or unique research that provides value adding information other websites or affiliates do not have.
Greasing the Wheels – Buying Links
The single easiest way to get links from high PageRank, high authority pages is to buy them.
Things I have done in the past are:
- Paid sidebar (Blogroll) links.
- Paid reviews.
- Paid links contextually integrated in to blog posts or articles.
- Building your own high PageRank blog network.
Links you will want to avoid on high PageRank pages are footer links. These have been spammed to death (By template sponsorship) and are mass devalued nowadays. Buying these will not only waste your money, they could get you penalized also.
Ways to find these links include:
- Reverse engineering your competitor’s backlinks: Use backlink checker tools such as Open Site Explorer, Ahrefs or Majestic SEO to see the backlinks of your competitors. Start by buying the most powerful relevant backlinks. Also, just seeing what backlinks the highest ranking pages in your niche have, goes a long way to finding out what works. So study their links and attempt to get the same (or similar) links.
- Find related blogs: Do searches within your niche in Google like “Niche name + Blog”. Find all the people within your industry with blogs and figure out what it would take for them to link to your site. In some cases, the sites will be run by hobby bloggers and they would be happy to link to your site because it provides something people in your industry are interested in. Other times you will have to grease the wheels and provide payment for the link. The key though is finding a win-win situation that will allow you to get a link on these websites.
- Find somewhat related sites: As some of you know, I operate in the online bingo niche. Getting links from bingo related websites is somewhat hard because most of the sites on the internet are my direct competitors and they will not link to me for any reasonable price. To get around this I started getting links from somewhat related pages. For example, online flash games can be considered related. Other related links come from other gambling related sites, or links from “mom blogs” which are the primary audience of my niche.
- Build a blog network: It’s possible to build your own private blog network. Basically my strategy involves buying expired domains with a high PageRank and re-purposing them as niche relevant blogs. I will cover this strategy in detail at a later point, but for now, just know that it is an incredibly effective way to rank for tough search terms.
I would generally avoid buying links on homepage blog networks. These are basically high PR links from unrelated pages. A popular network right now is Sape (A Russian network). These networks are generally on Google’s radar and if caught you will not only lose all your increased rankings, but potentially lose your site from the index.
These networks do work however, so again, it is kind of a risk vs. reward proposition. Personally I would never point these links at a site with more than 20 pages of hand crafted high quality content. Because in the long run, I know these sites are going to get penalized.
Generally speaking, if you purchase a handful of high quality links, from high quality sites, on pages that don’t look like paid links (Generally go for contextual links within blog posts), the chances of you getting a penalty are slim to none.
There is no point doing press releases if you do not have anything special to offer. Most of the sites that syndicate press releases automatically provide absolutely trashy links that will get devalued (Even if they do appear authoritative).
That being said, how much would the value of a link from the BBC, the Huffington Post or the Guardian be worth? In some cases, the value of such links is worth several thousand dollars and countless more in terms of traffic and endorsement leverage (It’s very valuable to say you have been featured in a big publication).
Press releases should communicate the unique value you offer the marketplace.
Apart from press releases you can also try and get media coverage by getting in contact with editors of online publications.
You do however need to look at it from their perspective, what would be a win-win for both of you? How do you help them? You really need to look at it from this side instead of how they can help you.
Popular press release syndication services include PR Web. Check out the marketplace section on several SEO forums to find better deals for mass press release distribution.
Guest Posting and Joint Ventures
A lot of people do guest posting for link building purposes. I argue that this is the wrong way to look at it. If you can figure out a way to getting your content on an authority site/blog within your niche, the benefits of such go way further than the link value. These are:
- Ability to use the endorsement as social proof (Put the logo of the well known site on your blog).
- Ability to get targeted traffic and turn people on to your brand.
In order to get placement on these sites you need to do whatever possible. You need to look at it from the site owner’s perspective. What can you offer them? What benefits them and their audience?
Often this is providing incredible value. If you just want to throw up a 500 or even 1000 word generic guest post that says nothing unique, provides no valuable insight etc, what is in it for them?
Arguably, you want to be using your absolute best content for this purpose because you are introducing new people to your brand. They need to be wowed by what you have to offer. Creating remarkable content is your best strategy.
You need to think a little bit out of the box in terms of getting an industry maven to allow you to guest post on their website or provide a link to your content via their social media profiles. Ways to do this include:
- Strategic partnerships: You promote me, I promote you. Look for win-win opportunities. If you sell a product, give them all the upside (100% of sales) and you make money on the backend. Quite simply, make them an irresistible offer.
- Grease the wheels: Nothing speaks louder than money.
- Providing insane value: If you craft a 5000 word ultimate guide on something related to your mavens blog. Chances are you are adding something of value to his business. All blogs need content. Remarkable content speaks for itself.
- Relationship building and ego bait: You will get much more success if your offer isn’t cold. If you comment on their blog, re-tweet their stuff and generally participate in their community you will generally get a warmer response than a cold email. Always be sincere and quick to praise. Everybody likes to be told they are doing a good job.
- Ego Bait 2: Build “top lists” or best lists and feature some well known folks in your industry. Then reach out to them and ask them if they would be interested in linking to the post from their Twitter, Facebook or blog. Sometimes you will get a bite, and even if you don’t, you have still created an awesome piece of content for your site. In my niche I have seen this done with awards. Many of the sites that win awards link back to the site that gave them the award.
- Ego Bait 3: Interview someone influential in your niche. Chances are they will promote the post on their Facebook, Twitter, Email list or Blog.
A great way to find sites to guest post on is search your competitor’s bylines in Google and look for all the posts they have done.
Link Exchanges and Partnerships
Link exchanges and partnerships provide some link value. Reciprocal links have been devalued slightly. But if you have a massive authority site, it definitely helps if you can get links from other similar sites.
If your site is new, you will struggled to develop these partnerships, simply because you have less to offer than you have to gain.
Generally speaking, if you run a blog, there is a lot of value in developing relationships and contacts with people with similar size blogs and doing guest posts/linking to each other’s posts sometimes from within your posts.
Most niches will have up and coming bloggers. You won’t be able to develop relationships with bloggers who are on the A-list straight away.
Start with people who are trying to accomplish what you are doing and are slightly further down the road than you.
A-list bloggers will have dozens of webmasters on their d*ck all of the time trying to get partnerships. Someone who is a c-list blogger will feel extremely flattered if you reach out to them and they are more likely to form a partnership/help you out.
If you own multiple sites, it could be beneficial to do 3-way linking because reciprocal linking is algorithmically devalued. This is simply you linking to one of their other sites from your main site, and then they link to one of your other sites from their main site.
Chapter 1 Summary
Now we have finished the first chapter, I just want to summarize and clarify some details so that you get the absolute maximum value from this.
I cannot stress this enough – high quality, niche relevant links are the most valuable links you can get.
PageRank and relevance is still the key to ranking in Google.
Being able to think outside the box helps loads when trying to get these. The main ways to get them are:
- Buying them: Do so intelligently, hand select the best sites, try to get contextual links, buy niche relevant links only.
- Get them free: Do so by creating remarkable, value adding content. Do something notable, get press, be awesome. Do real company shit, not just link spam. E-mail hobby site owners, journalists and bloggers, ask for free links.
- Guest post/joint venture: Solicit them. Provide something of value to the site you want to guest post on. This could be money. This could be awesome content. Cultivate relationships and look for mutually beneficial agreements.
- Trade them: Build relationships and provide link love to each other’s sites.
Hopefully you can see the full power of content marketing, relationship building and good old fashioned bribing. Remember, the above types of links are the most valuable, so you should spend the bulk of your time trying to acquire these links. Apart from just link value, many of the above tactics will get your business increased targeted traffic, provide you with valuable endorsements and just generally help your business in general
Chapter 2 – The Ultimate List Of Links
In the following chapter I will talk about ways to build links to your website easily. I will go in to detail the perceived value of such links, the risks associated with these links and how to best acquire these links. These are commonly the link is will build when I talk about “pillowing”. But first, here are a quick summary:
- Link directory links: You submit your link to the directory (You may have to pay a listing fee) and then the link directory owner reviews your site and approves/denies your submission.
- Article directory links: You write a unique article (Or spun article, more on this later) and submit it to article directories. The owner then reviews your article and if it is deemed suitable will be approved and a link will be given to your site.
- Video marketing: You upload a video to sites like Youtube. You then provide a link back to your website from within the description.
- Document sharing sites/PDF distribution: You create a PDF document and submit it to the site. In turn they provide a link back to your site.
- Software distribution sites: You upload a piece of software to their website. In turn you get a link back.
- Social bookmarking: You submit your link and a snippet about it. The link either is automatically approved or manually approved at a later date.
- Manual blog commenting: You provide an insightful, value adding comment on a blog; the owner approves your comment, which links back to your site.
- Forum signature-links: You contribute value to a forum and engage in the community. In turn you get a signature link pointing back at your website.
- Forum profile links: Same as above but the link appears in your profile.
- Web 2.0 Links: You create a blog/post on web 2.0 sites like Blogspot.com or WordPress.com and then link back to your website from this domain.
- Wiki Links: Submit articles to wiki sites with a link back to your site.
- Design Portals: There are many online design portals that will list your site if it looks great.