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Advanced Link Building Strategies

Alec Sharratt

by Alec Sharratt on 6th January 2012

Complex Link Wheel - smallI have covered link building in previous blog posts but this one aims to provide you with some more Advanced Link Building Strategies. These strategies will expand upon previously mentioned methods of attaining links as well as postulating entirely new mechanisms for delivering the much wanted link juice to your website.

What separates these strategies from other more basic techniques is primarily the planning or preliminary work involved. Most of these methods are more suited to larger websites in more competitive industries rather than say local businesses competing within a small geographical area.

I will begin with the least advanced link building strategies and work my way through to the more complicated strategies later on. This is not to say that the strategies are listed in order of effectiveness, rather in order of effort required to implement.

Advanced Searches

Starting with the easiest technique… Really this is used to help you identify places from which you can later make attempts to obtain links. Using certain code or words within your search term in Google will yield different results. For example type in “Advanced Link Building Strategies” into Google without the quotation marks and you get over 41,000,000 results… Type the same search into Google including the quotation marks and lo and behold you see different results (around 51,000).

The reason for this is because using quotation marks or other symbols or code changes the syntax or meaning of your search term. Below I have set out some advanced searches which can help you to identify websites relevant to your business.

“Intitle:” – Using the term “intitle:” means that the search results must contain the next succeeding phrases included within the title tag on the webpage. An example of using this is real life would be:

intitle:add+url

This would return results that contain both the words “Add” & “URL” within the title tag on web pages. This could be useful for finding directories to submit your website to. However if we expand on this we can do the following:

intitle:submit+site “keyword”

Here you can substitute “keyword” for any other word (keeping the quotation marks intact). This will deliver results with both “Add” & “URL” and / or your “keyword” in the title tag of the web page.

Link Bait

This is as old as link building itself but the oldies are often the best, this is a largely passive effort to encourage people to link to you. Depending on what you provide in terms of services or products will greatly affect the type of link bait used. That said there is always room for a lateral move, offer an app or a free tool for example that is connected with if not directly relevant to your industry.

Some fantastic examples of link bait or embedding links in bait can be seen all over the internet; one of my favourites is a website that offers free customizable PHP feedback forms. The form, the PHP script and use for both personal or commercial endeavour is free, but they ask that you keep the link on the form to the form’s creator. A brilliant way to get links and it’s at no expense to the people using the form.

Essentially creating something useful and often free for everyone to use is one of the best ways to generate lots of links which after the initial work requires very little to no additional effort.

Top Level Competition

Search Google and other search engines for your top keywords, using the quotation marks described above. This will yield a host of results all of them relevant to your specific keywords. The hard work comes in trying to get these sites to link to you. Getting on the phone and calling them is a great way to approach a company, it is direct, honest and pretty much guarantees a response on the spot.

But people often have better things to do than spend their time linking to other people’s websites, in order to circumvent this instinctual reaction it is always worth having something to offer the website that you approach. This will often very much depend on your industry, but a few popular and mutually beneficial ideas are:

  • Ask if you can write a guest blog post on their site
  • A link from another site you own
  • Free services or products
  • Review their site
  • Articles or other website contributions

This can be quite time consuming especially if as a result you have to write an 800 word blog post or compile quality relevant material to post on their site in order to get the link. The plus side though is that this will be a very relevant link, from a very relevant site and it will be hard for your competitors to copy.

 

Competitor Analysis

I covered this in much more depth in the blog post “SEO Competitor Analysis”. Essentially using various tools either free or professional you can analyse the link profile of your competitors and try to establish links form as many of the same locations that they have links from. This is usually an ongoing task with no end, unless of course you exhaust a specific competitor’s links entirely; in which case you should move on to the next biggest competitor.

Link Wheel

The Link Wheel is another age old, tried and tested strategy that can work beautifully when done properly. Essentially a content marketing strategy combined with social media, bookmarking and basic link building one creates a hierarchy of links in a circular pattern following certain rules.

As the image below illustrates, by interlinking web pages such as Squidoo Lenses, Wiki’s, social bookmarking etc, one can create a “link wheel”. The basic principles are that there should be no reciprocal links and that the multi-tiered structure of links should help to promote certain keywords.

Link Wheel

This has a number of advantages including being very hard to emulate or copy and being expandable. For example, as you get more content you can add to the wheel, either increasing the number of tiers of reinforcing the strength of existing links.

This is best used when trying to promote certain keywords / pages within the site or when you have a few strong existing links that you would like to give a boost to.

Variations of this can get a lot more complicated when adding more tiers in, for example in the image below there are multiple tiers.

Complex Link Wheel

Blog Networks

Blog networks are much more labour intensive and costly method for delivering links to websites. This technique is completely scalable depending on your requirements and as such both cost and workload are scalable.

The process involves setting up a series of domains with blogs on them; content should then be added to these blogs over time, for this there are a number of options and delivery methods. At the cheaper spammier end of the spectrum some people will circulate the same blog posts or spun variations to each site… At the other end of the spectrum unique quality content will be added regularly to each blog.

Each blog / domain will link in a wheel pattern to the other blogs much like in the basic link wheel image above. The primary difference with using a blog network to a link wheel is that a blog network will be used to link to a host of websites. Often this is used by SEO agencies rather than a company looking to promote their one website. And this is a very effective method for getting guaranteed strong anchor text links to client websites quickly.

The image below demonstrates how this can work on a basic level, though bear in mind that this can be scaled up to include any number of blogs and that each blog should undergo its own link building to promote it.

Blog Network

Alec Sharratt

Alec Sharratt

Alec Sharratt will be writing about his passion; the technical aspects of search. Well experienced within the IT industry, Alec has bags of knowledge on everything technical from simple spreadsheets that will save you hours right up to news and tips to make search that little bit easier.

6 Comments

  • Kris Roadruck 7th January 2012

    None of this is advanced and the “linkbait” thing isn’t even labeled right. Thats widgets not linkbait. linkbegging (your “top level competition” thing) is what damned near ever junior linkbuilders starts off with. Linkwheels? Really? FFS This is why I don’t pay much attention to the SEO bloggerati. You guys are so far out of touch its not even amusing.

    Reply to this comment

  • Mike Essex

    Mike 9th January 2012

    Hi Kris,

    Thanks for leaving a reply and we’re sorry that the post didn’t reach the levels you required. “Advanced” concepts are always tricky to pitch at the right level as some people may expect a new strategy that they have never seen before, whilst others may expect something a step up from directory submissions. I think Alec has presented several out of the box ideas, which go beyond normal link building so that’s why we chose to label it as “advanced”. For those who know the topics already, we hope it serves as a good refresher of the ideas.

    To counter your specific points widgets are just one of the topics used for linkbait and if used right linkwheels can be effective (and are used by many of the competitors we face with clients so even if not using them it’s important to be aware of their use as a competitor tactic).

    To help us better write more advanced topics, which ideas would you like to see us discuss in the future?

    Reply to this comment

  • Laura Phillips 10th January 2012

    I think what is considered advanced depends on the level you are at and will vary greatly depending on individual experience.

    SEO is a constant learning process and posts like these are useful to those perhaps new to the business or those trying to do their own SEO who are finding other ways to build links beyond directory submissions, and who may consider it more advanced.

    Reply to this comment

  • Levi 10th January 2012

    I found this article really helpful!
    Thanks Alec!!

    Reply to this comment

  • meti 1st February 2012

    Hi Alec.

    Very interested topic, thank you very much. You know why?
    Because on last few weeks, i started an concept with microblogging, and started createing hubs.
    For example:

    1. I created 6 websites on websites like:

    Posterous
    Tumblr
    Blogger
    Typepad
    Etc..

    THan i published an article on user.posterous.com
    this article contain one outband link to user.tumblr.com
    and on user.tumblr.com exist an outband link to my website.

    I am doing this constantly, with more than 50 websites, i am not sure if it works, i am not spaming, but i am writing interested topics, and than publishing those topics on press release and article websites too like deep link, like: user.tumblr.com/how-koozai-bla-bla

    What do you think about?

    and the last question is, if you create lot of blogs, and than to use for your clients, what we must avoid on the process? interlinking?or different ip? or different domain owner? or niche? thanks

    Reply to this comment

  • Alec Sharratt

    Alec Sharratt 2nd February 2012

    Hi Meti,

    Thank you very much for your comment. It looks like what you are doing is good, it sounds like you are creating a large link wheel by linking a to b and b to c, etc. There is no reason why you could not also link a to c and b to d as well, ensuring that you do not create two way links.

    If you are creating a blog network I would try to avoid doing all of the following:

    Sharing the same IP on more than a few sites
    Having all sites registered to the same name or company
    Duplicating content

    Interlinking is ok so long as you are not creating reciprocal links between the sites, link them in a wheel formation or link them up so that no site links back to a site linking to it! Then link out from these blogs / sites to client sites or your own projects with nice keyword rich anchor text links from relevant pages. If you are managing 50 sites and the content for each one, I would suggest outsourcing the content creation unless you have an in-house team… Spinning content can work if it is done well, but managing this much content on your own is untenable. Creating new content for these sites will help to improve their authority and relevance, so it is vital that this aspect is handled properly.

    I hope this answers your question, if you would any further clarification please post another comment and I will be more than happy to help.

    Take care
    Alec

    Reply to this comment

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