How to Future Proof your Linkbuilding

Google Proof

Google is constantly changing and improving. It’s obviously not the same as what it was when it started a handful of years ago. The recent Penguin update has changed the way we look at linkbuilding. It used to be about quantity and quality. Right now, linkbuilding is shifting away from quantity – giving a much higher emphasis and importance on link quality and link naturality.

Link Quality – This pertains to how powerful the link is in terms of bringing you PageRank juice. It includes factors such as Link host Relevance, PageRank, Authority, Anchor text, Anchor Title, etc…

Link Naturality – This is the measurement of how natural your link profile and pattern is. The less your link naturality, the more prone you are to the Penguin’s beak pecking your rankings away.

SEO Hacker was not hit, in any way, by Penguin. Want to know why? Because we practice Future-Proof Linkbuilding. We make sure that Google does not hit slap us – not now, not ever. And if you want to Future-proof your linkbuilding, here’s how you can start:

Link host quality

Is the link host a website that brings in value to its visitors? How many outbound links does it have? Does it have thick, meaty content all over? Does it sell links?

Having a high quality Link host is very important. It immediately spells out your link as a quality link. A valid link. It triggers a natural link signal because, chances are, the linking host links out naturally. Therefore, each and every link that goes out from that link host is considered a natural, quality link.

Linking Patterns

Does your website garner links in a logical pattern? Perhaps 20 links in a month? 40 links a month? 200 links a month? Are you getting links from only one kind of website? Blogs? Directories? Forums? Are you doing link exchange? Are most of your links coming from the footer? Do they have the same anchor text?

A linking pattern specifically says that you are linkbuilding. Consequently, it does not give your website a good leverage in your link naturality profile. Don’t link in a pattern. A linking pattern easily detectable even by freely available backlink checking tools! Make sure that if you are doing linkbuilding, do it in such a way that no pattern can be easily seen. Don’t allow Google to connect the dots with your backlinks.

Social Signal Balance

No one’s Liking your stuff in Facebook, retweeting it in Twitter or giving it a +1 in Google Plus but you’ve got a lot of links coming in to your page? Hmmm…

“How come so many people are linking to you but no one wants to share your stuff?”  It’s a very simple question that should have a very simple answer: Linkbuilding. Remember that linkbuilding should be done naturally – meaning, people should be linking to you not because you’re asking them to or paying them to. It’s because you provide great value that should be worth sharing.

Social Signals can be a very powerful way to measure your link naturality. If you don’t have that much social engagement going in your pages that have high amounts of links, your link naturality will score very low. High amount of links should almost always amount to high amount of social engagement.

Anchor Text Variation

Link NaturalityLinks are made by people and the anchor text they want to put in depend on what they prefer. So how come 100 different websites with 100 different webmasters put in the same anchor text to your page? That’s pretty weird. And the chances of that happening naturally are very slim.

Having a highly concentrated amount of the same anchor text to your backlinks immediately spell out a very low link naturality. Almost every SEO specialists agree that high amounts of exact match anchor text is the problem behind websites hit by the Penguin update. I agree. It’s not the only factor behind the Penguin penalty, but it is a big factor nonetheless.

We always make sure that we have a lot of phrase match anchor text here in SEO Hacker to keep our link naturality score high.

PageRank Distribution

PageRank distribution is vital to each and every website especially as the search engines are moving forward in their algorithm development and changes. Having a webpage with highly concentrated PageRank might signal artificial linkbuilding to that specific page – considering all factors I’ve discussed earlier. Consequently, this will tell the search engines of the link naturality for this webpage – and it might just affect the whole website’s link naturality too.

Having a good interlinking strategy between your pages will eliminate high PageRank concentration. Make sure to assign a handful of phrase-match anchor text in your interlinking to signal a higher link naturality score to the search engines.

Content Thickness

I know that Panda has rolled out and is almost done in the havoc it created with the SERPs but I just can’t stop reiterating the importance of content. Great, real, Future-proof SEO starts with great, solid, quality content that provide value to people. This is where it all starts! This is where we started and this is still what we are doing here in SEO hacker and even with all our clients!

Content Thickness does not deal with the number of characters or words. It deals with how great your content is regardless of the number of words. Great content will ALWAYS attract natural links – of course, you have to promote it and market it out for it to attract attention. But as soon as it does attract buzz, believe me, the links will just come pouring in – naturally. Most of those links are quality links that will indisputably increase your link naturality score.

Knowing all this, what’s the best Future-Proof Linkbuilding Technique?

If you ask me, it’s still going to be Linkbaiting. It’s really the way to go. Linkbaiting allows you to avoid outright manipulation of garnering links. Rather, you tap into people’s emotions and logic to drive them to link to you.

If you’ve read my linkbaiting entries here in SEO Hacker, I’ve always repeatedly stressed that this is my favorite linkbuilding method. It still is.

How does getting high quality, one-way links in a natural way sound like? Linkbaiting allows you to do just that. It is the most natural way of attaining links – consequently boosting your link naturality altogether.

Linkbaiting is not easy. You need to have a lot of creativity, research, and authority and put in a lot of marketing effort to make it work.

But it pays off.

And when it does, it does so BIG-TIME.

Tips for Keeps: Start thinking of your own linkbait now. Push through with that experiment and try it out for yourself – perhaps starting out with a news linkbait or a tutorial linkbait will work for you.

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  • Thanks for the article Sean. After much searching, I was able to read it. I think people try so hard to game the system, and if they just take the same amount of time to give really great value, they’ll make a positive difference to the world and make money at the same time.

    • I couldn’t agree more with you Haroun. That’s the way to go!

  • Laura

    Love it when you said “This is where we started and this is still what we are doing here in SEO hacker and even with all our clients!” Thanks for the great future-proofing article!

  • Damon

    A very good guide. In other words, do not be too aggressive with the Link Building and always think of the quality over quantity.

  • aNON

    Thanks Sean for a very good article. My blog is good in Bing but not so good in Google. Do you have any idea why is like that? Do you have any advice?

    • Not really – sounds more like you should follow Google guidelines. Google’s usually the place that I rank top most of the time so I assume it to be the case for almost all sites. You’re an exception.

  • Well sean, i just crossed away to your blog by my one of friend, Actually this post is very wonderful every points are absolutely cool, Link build should be done by naturally of course it should, Therefor New Google Algorithm looking for fresh quality not quantity. :D You opened my 3 rd Eye vision

  • According to the panda updates, How many link building we should do in a month?
    I read in an article not more than 40 submissions we should do in a month, Is it true?

    • Hey Rebecca,
      I don’t think there’s a ‘Limit’ as to linkbuilding. And btw, it’s not the Panda update but the Penguin update that’s concerned with Linkbuilding. So long as you’re building, solid backlinks using the guidelines I’ve spelled out in this entry, even if you’re building 100 links a month, you’ll still be unaffected.

  • sajan kota

    Nice article on link building.Quality links are important and the links from the related sites are also useful that brings some decent traffic.Thanks for the article.

  • I couldn’t agree with you more that the future of SEO is moving towards content relevancy, however I also believe I heard somewhere that getting natural links via link baiting can also flag a penalty. I’m not sure how Google would pick up on that. I read somewhere that link baiting involves doorway pages and redirects which Google frowns upon. So maybe that is where you would have to be careful. Great post!