Google still loves links; that much is undisputed. However, the question of how to build links or whether to “build” any links at all is always debatable.
For example, I have never “built” a single link to NichePursuits.com; however, I have thousands of links pointing to my site. All of the links have come naturally because others linked to the site on their own based on the quality of my content or for other reasons. This is what I recommend doing for a true long term “Authority” site that you might be working on.
However, when building a niche site, like the one in my Niche Site Project, I most certainly build links. The purpose of my niche sites is to perform exceptional keyword research, provide valuable and useful content to readers, and then to rank in Google. Picking a good theme for the site also helps user experience. This usually requires some link building.
The purpose of this post is not to discuss whether or not you should manually go out and build links to your niche site. I am just going to assume that you have made the decision to add some link juice to your site. If so, this post will lay out my exact plan for building links to my new niche site (best, survival, knife guide (.) com – not linking from here to keep the experiment valuable).
How to Build Links
First of all, I've written a ton of link building posts in the past, so you can always check what I've said previously right here.
So, the purpose of this post is to specifically cover how I will be building links for my niche site and can be used as a blueprint for your own niche sites if you want. Also, I'm going to say this out loud again, “I'm not a link building expert!” I make no claims to be the pro link builder that others sometimes do; however, I've ranked many sites at number 1 in Google over my years. I credit my #1 rankings to excellent keyword research (which I DO claim to be an expert in 🙂 ), and a little bit of link building.
If you are looking for a link building expert, then I recommend taking a look at Point Blank SEO here. I've gone through Jon Cooper's course there, and its given me TONS of ideas, and I highly recommend it.
100 Base Links
I often find one of the traps that people fall into when building links is that they think they need TONS of links right away. After all, you can go to Fiverr and get 1000 Links for only $5…shouldn't you do that? Of course not (unless you want a Google penalty). You know better! (There may good Fiverr gigs out there, just avoid spamming).
My point in mentioning 100 links is simply to specify that you don't need a ton of links; not necessarily an exact number that I will follow.
My initial plan is to get 100 or so total links from 10 different types of link sources. Types of sources are things like: blog comments, web directories, article directories, profile links, video sharing sites, guest posts, and more. By diversifying the source of links and types of links, this provides a much better link profile that is more natural looking.
Here's a list of a few ideas for getting links:
- Quality Web Directories
- Guest Posts
- Ask for links (email other website owners)
- Build Relationships with other site owners
- Copy Links for Competitors
- Social Media
- Social Bookmarks
- Link Out to Others
- Video Submissions
- Photo Sharing
- Document Sharing
- RSS Feeds
- Sponsor a Contest
- Blog Comments
- Forum posts
- Q&A Sites
- Web 2.0 sites
- Article Directories
Now, I'll provide a little more detail on how I'll be building links for my niche site. (I'll be trying to get approximately 10 links from each of these categories).
Quality Web Directories
Web directories still provide a great source for potential links, and are still very Google friendly. As explained in my previous post here, web directories and blog commenting will be the first links I build to my niche site.
I'm having my Virtual Assistant submit my site to several high PR directories that are free. Because not all of the links will be approved, I'm submitting to 50 or so directories to start. So, I'll get more than 10 links total, but many won't be indexed either, so I might end up with just over 10 real links pointing to my site. That's fine with me.
Blog comments need to be real (crazy, huh?). I am personally going out to relevant blogs and leaving a genuine comment that is based on what was written. I am not worried if the comments are DoFollow or NoFollow at this point.
These basic links will help me get some relevancy pointing to my niche site. Getting relevant links is very important. I also won't be using keyword anchor text, just my name for the most part.
Blog comments (as all the other link methods here) will help increase the total overall number of linking root domains to my site; which is a good thing. You can do a Google search for things like “your keyword” + “leave a comment” to find blogs allowing comments. (Lots of other methods exist for this as well).
I will only be submitting a few articles to a few different directories (for around 10 links total). This used to be the old standby method for getting links for niche sites, but its not super effective anymore. However, the links still provide some basic relevancy and additional root domains to link from; along with a little link juice.
You can do a search for some of the top Article Directories, but here's just a few:
Web 2.0 Sites
Similar to Article Marketing, but different places. Here's a few:
Other Link Sources
I could make comments on other types of links, but essentially I am going to seek around 10 links or so from a few additional places such as:
- RSS Feed links
- Social Bookmarks
- Forum Posts
- Profile links
- Document Sharing
- Photo or Video Sharing
You can get more details on some of these types of links here. And if you want a full course with TONS of actual link building opportunities that I haven't even covered here, check out the Point Blank SEO link building course. Its excellent.
Importance of Anchor Text
So, far I've just covered the need to build small amounts of links from different locations. If you go out and spam thousands of blogs or other locations, you are likely going to penalize your site. So, I take the approach that fewer real links is usually better than lots of spammy links.
However, another way to get your site penalized is to overuse anchor text. I've already written an entire post on properly using anchor text here. Here's part of what I said then for how often to use keyword anchor text:
10% – Exact Match – “dog training tips”
20% – Partial Match – “best dog training”
10% – URL Match – dogtrainingtips.com
10% – Brand Match – Bills Dog Training Tips (if your site is billsdogtrainingtips.com). Note that if your site is dogtrainingtips.com, then “Dog training tips” is both an exact match AND a brand match.
20% – Related keyword match – “puppy potty training” or “housebreaking a puppy”
30% – No match – “click here”, “read more”, “get a free gift here”, “check out this super sweet website”, “Spencer is cool”, “Spencer is da bomb”, “Spencer needs to chill on the Spencer related anchor text”, “you get the idea!”
The percentage of use is just a general guideline. Don’t stick to this religiously! Also, expect this to change as Google changes their algorithm! These percentages just emphasize that you should not be using exact match anchor text most of the time, and you need to diversify.
Now granted, 10% exact match anchor text is pretty strict. You can likely go as high as 20% and be okay. However, what would be ideal, is if you can use exact match anchor text from highest authority links that you have.
A Visual Diagram of Link Building (courtesy: My mad graphic design skills)
More Powerful Links
Lots of other link building opportunities are out there, and many are more powerful than what I've mentioned. However, if you did your keyword research properly, you may not need any additional links!
If you do, you can start seeking out guest posting opportunities or otherwise interacting with other bloggers in your niche in hopes of establishing a linking relationship. This deserves to be a post on its own.
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However, what if you could get high PageRank links that are both in content and relevant? These would be extremely powerful indeed. The good news is, that this is certainly possible, and most SEO agencies use the strategy I'm about to lay out a great deal.
I'm talking about buying high PageRank domains and using them to link to your niche sites. I've talked about this many times in the past, so I'm simply going to link to a few of the most relevant posts:
- Podcast 10: How to Find Valuable Expired Domains
- Finding Expired Domains: A Controversial Case Study
- 7 Ways to Monetize Expired Domains
- Another Niche Site, Another $500 a Month?
So in a nutshell, high authority domains expire all the time. If you know how to find them (read the above posts), you can pick up these domains for less than $10. Once they are re-registered, all the links that were pointing to that domain are STILL pointing to that domain, which means they often are still a PageRank 3, 4, 5 or higher domains.
I've personally found several PageRank 3 and 4 domains without putting too much effort into it.
Once you own these domains, you can do whatever you want; including linking to your niche sites. As discussed in the posts above, you have to be smart about using different hosting accounts and IP addresses. But overall, these domains can get you high authority, relevant links to any of your niche sites.
Again, this is exactly what most SEO agencies are doing to rank sites. If you hire a link building service, its very likely that their most powerful links are coming from their own domain network of expired domains they purchased.
So, once I've built my base of 100 links, if I'm still not #1 in Google; I'll be looking to expired domains to make up the difference. And because I won't have used my anchor text alot on those 100 base links, I can use my exact match anchor text on these more potent links to give Google everything they want in a link: High Authority, Relevancy, and keyword anchor text.
I would only expect to need less than 10 (maybe much less) of these types of links to see a big boost to my rankings. Yes, I could just build these links and not worry about the others, but an overall diverse link profile is always better, and those 100 base links give me just that in addition to lots of linking root domains.
Second Tier Links
I want to talk about second tier links just briefly. These are links to your links. Often when you submit to Article directories, web 2.0, profile links, or other locations, your links will not get indexed on their own. However, if you can link to your web 2.0 properties, etc, the links to your niche site will be more powerful.
These 2nd ties links don't have to be super-high quality, as their purpose is basically just to make sure the Google bot crawls your other properties. For this reason, you can use tools like Unique Article Wizard for this. (I no longer recommend using Unique Article Wizard to points links at your money site).
Or you can hire a gig of Fiverr to build this second tier of links (just don't give them your niche site URL!). Or you can manually do blog commenting to your links (very time consuming). Or you can find a backlink indexing tool. I personally will just hire a service to go out and build this second tier of links for me.
And for expired domains, you don't need to build a 2nd tier of link because they already have links pointing to them.
So, I'm personally working on web directories and blog comments right now. I expect to spend about a month or 2 building the 100 base links, just to give you a time frame. Other than the blog comments, I expect to hire someone to do all the link building for me (according to my strict guidelines, anchor text rules, etc). And of course as expired domains are needed, I'll be using my own or finding someone with some already set up.
You can most certainly hire someone to do your link building, just be very careful that they don't still think thousands of spammy links is a good idea.
Now, I've only scratched the surface. However, along with the many other posts I've written previously on link building over the past couple of years, I think you can get a pretty good idea of what I'm doing. And finally if you want even better detail with more in-depth advice, check out the course from link building expert Jon Cooper.
By way of update, my niche site that I'm documenting, is currently bouncing between position 25 and 29 still on Google. However, with the link building I've laid out here, I expect it to start moving up in the next couple of weeks for sure. This case study is not for a personal blog I've developed, but a site I've created strictly for the purposes of showing my readers that it's indeed possible to make money online as an entrepreneur.
As always, I look forward to your comments and questions. Do you have a particular method of link building that works well for you? Feel free to share below.