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Oliver Ewbank

Aggressive Link Building – Can You Over Do It?

25th May 2011 SEO, Link Building 2 minutes to read

Aggressive link building is a buzz word constantly thrown around the industry, but what does it mean and what is deemed too aggressive?

In truth there is no real definition for ‘aggressive link building’ but in general it can be split into two separate meanings.

1.       Proactively building a variety of links to a specific page using a string of techniques.  This exercise will be high in volume with a range of different strategies.

2.       Building high volume links to the same URL using the same technique and the same anchor text (over and over). Buying links would also fall into this category.

In my opinion there is a huge difference between the first definition and the second. The main being that search engines frown upon the second strategy and can sometimes penalise your rankings if you adopt this approach.

Below are some tips to avoid being over aggressive with your link building.

Anchor Text

Building links back to your site with appropriate anchor text can definitely aid your search engine rankings. However, over do it and it can easily look spammy and unnatural (in the eyes of the search engines).  As a general rule I would keep to the ‘anchor text sweet spot’ which is 30% exact match and 70% brand name or phrase variation.

For example, if you wanted to target the term ‘Personal Trainer London’ you would only build 30% of your links with this anchor text. The other 70% would reference variations like ‘Personal Fitness Trainer London’ and your brand name.


‘Variety is the spice of life’ and the spice of link building. Don’t rely on one source to build your links. If 30% of your links come from an article site, blog or forum then this will look unnatural. You also run the risk of losing a high percentage of links if Google has an algorithm update. Websites that relied solely on Ezine articles to push their search engine rankings are a classic example of being a victim to the recent panda update.

If you spread your bets you have a better chance of maintaining a healthy link profile. Don’t rely on one source. My advice would be to use the scatter gun approach: links from forums, articles, blogs, press releases, social media, bookmarking and hubs will ensure you sustain a variety of sources.

Buying Links

SEO is all about opinion and mine is to not use this strategy. This aggressive approach can get you thousands of links with minimum effort in a very short space of time. The downside is it looks extremely unnatural if you adopt a load of new links overnight. Google can heavily penalise a domain if they suspect any links have been bought.

This is a tempting strategy and there are many high profile sites that have run the risk (some successfully, others less so). There is no doubt buying links can have quick gains but with quick gains come massive consequences. If you’re after sustainable rankings I would definitely avoid this approach.


In short, there is a thin line between aggressive link building and foolish link building. Controlled aggression would be a constant flow of links from a variety of reputable sources (and varied anchor text). Buying links or relying on the same site and ‘exact’ anchor text leaves you running the risk of being too aggressive.


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Oliver Ewbank
About the author

Oliver Ewbank

Working in new media for over 8 years, Oliver has worked for a range of brands including eBay and SportBusiness.com on SEO, PPC and Social Media Management. He has won awards for his SEO work and been featured in a number of publications, including Virgin online.


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