The activity of adding a link to your website on another website is termed backlinking. Today, backlinking is one of the most powerful ways to rank your website higher in search engine results. Therefore, creating quality backlinks has become a vital part of SEO i.e., Search Engine Optimisation. However, getting the right backlinks to your website can be quite a troublesome task when you don’t know the basics of it.
Before you dive in, be aware that it is a very long article. In fact I am already thinking of converting it to a course. Ensure you are relaxed while you read. If possible have a cold or hot drink on one hand (depending on the weather condition at the time of reading). HAPPY READ!
Understanding The Fundamentals of Building Backlinks
For a second, imagine yourself as a search engine. Now, whenever someone searches for something, your prime job is to show them the best possible results. Hence, when website A is linked to websites B, C, D, E, and F, then automatically the search engine thinks that website A must be as important as the other five websites. As a result, it ends up ranking website A higher in the search results. Thus, increasing the visibility of your website.
“backlinking becomes so easy when you have a thorough understanding of the basics.”
Categories of Backlinks
1. Earned backlinks
The links that search engines would like you to have are the links you earn, the ones you naturally get. These type of links come out of – great branding, being newsworthy, producing great content, giving out stuff for free, etc. To earn links, you need to do things that’ll make people want to talk about you or reference you for some reason.
2. Acquired Backlinks
These are primarily submission based tactics where you submit or post your site to various sites that accept links as part of their form entry. These are the typical tactics of directory submissions, social bookmarking, Guest Posting, commenting on do-follow blog, Forum Profile, Forum Posting, Social Profile Creation and so on.
It’s difficult to compete in SEO if you don’t start out with a few link acquisition tactics. It’s hard to just depend on earned links, you need to go out sometimes to get others to link to you.
Black Hat vs White Hat Backlisting Trick
You might have read a lot about black hat links, white hat links, grey hat links, and other colours of hats as related to SEO.
According to Google, any kind of off-page optimization (aka link building) is against their “webmaster guidelines” and thus “not safe”.
“Any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.”
Let us start by saying, that all your link building efforts involve a certain risk. And because you want to rank high, you need to take the risk of building links.
So which type of “hat” you are wearing is more a question of semantics. In the end, the terms “white hat” and “black hat” are just fancy ways to cater to your risk profile or level.
A Look At Anchor Text Diversity
You need to be mindful of the anchor texts you use for your link building campaigns.
You want to keep a natural anchor profile that is focused on diversity.
Anchor text is the clickable text in a hyperlink. SEO best practices dictate that anchor text be relevant to the page you’re linking to, rather than generic text. The blue, underlined anchor text(as seen when hovered on these texts) is the most common as it is the web standard, although it is possible to change the color and underlining through html code.
A natural anchor profile may look like this
- Branded & Raw URL anchors (70-80%)
- Generic / Other anchor (10-15%)
- Phrase Match anchors (5-10%)
- Longtail anchors (<5%)
- Exact match anchors (<5%)
“anchor text Should be relevant to the page you’re linking to, rather than generic text”
Branded & Raw URL Anchors
They are fundamental to keep your anchor profile natural and avoid over-optimization.
You can use a few variations of these, namely:
- Branded Anchors + (Partial) Exact Match / Phrase Match
- Brand Name
- RAW URL
Example: Let’s say your exact match keyword is “Creative Graphics” and your site is https://royalgraphics.com.ng
Your anchors could be:
- royalgraphics.com.ng or https://royalgraphics.com.ng ( – RAW URL)
- Creative Graphic Design ( – Brand Name Anchor)
- royalgraphics.com.ng – the #1 home for cool creative designs ( – Branded + Phrase Match)
- Get Professional Graphic Designs on www.royalgraphics.com.ng ( – Branded + Phrase Match)
- Professional Graphic Designers – Creative Graphics ( – Branded + Exact Match)
- Latest reviews on Creative Graphics ( – Branded)
Generic & other anchors
The idea behind generic anchors is similar to the branded variations. A natural anchor profile will have a good amount of generic anchor texts.
- This article
Longtails are usually 4+ phrases long and target specific keywords that are closely related to your main keyword, in this case “gaming laptops”. A lot of people will usually search for longtail keywords to narrow down the search results.
- Best Graphic Designer in 2021 (Longtail)
- Good Creative Design Service under 500 (Longtail)
- Affordable Graphic Design Lessons (Longtail)
- Best budget for Creative Graphics (Longtail)
Phrase Match Anchors
Phrase match anchors typically include your exact match keyword in a sentence. These are great for diversity, while still adding relevance with your exact match keyword.
- How to get creative graphics (Phrase)
- Best graphic designs for schools (Phrase)
- Why creative designs are important (Phrase)]
Exact Match Anchors
Exact match anchors would be when you are just using your main keyword as the anchor text, in this case “creative graphics.”
If you keep the anchor ratios in mind, you should have a very natural link profile.
Essence of Diversity in Link Building
A natural well diversified link profile is essential to claiming the top spots of the SERPs, whereas a homogeneous link profile is a red flag to any search engine and will result in a penalty sooner rather than later. By utilizing a healthy mix of different link types from a huge variety of IPs, CMS, platforms, TLDs, regions and websites you ensure this diversity.
You should also utilize tiered link building to make the most out of your off-page efforts. The basic idea behind tiered link building is to create several layers of backlinks with each layer pointing at the link layer above it passing link juice through different layers to your money site.
- Tier 1 links: These links point directly to your money site.
- Tier 2 links: These links are pointed to your tier1 links.
- Tier 3 links: These links are pointed to your tier2 links.
The idea is sound and it still works like a charm, if you use the right link types. So let’s get into that.
What Links Are Worth Your Money In 2021?
There are times that you will need to buy or pay for quality links. When you have to do make sure it worth the money.
Some types and examples of such valuable links are discussed below;
Ah, the crème de la crème of link building. Editorial placements are links (and sometimes mentions) on the biggest publishing sites in the world. You know, sites like:
- Huffington Posts
- Sahara Reporters
- BBC and so on
These links are as good as it gets. Most of the sites have a ton of authority which is reflected in their metrical baseline.
But these editorial links are very hard to come by and naturally always “pay to play”. Most of the big sites will charge you a hefty penny for one link, mostly upwards of several thousands of NGN or hundreds of USD, that is if you have an in with an editor or publisher. In addition, most of the sites have strict guidelines and a very thorough vetting process of what gets published.
Having said that, these are great links for your link profile. Very natural, high authority.
Outreach (Guest Posts, Link Insertions, etc.)
Links acquired via manual outreach work incredibly well these days. The idea behind them is simple. You find potential prospects in your niche, analyze them, filter for metrics (DR, Traffic, RD) and reach out to those that you think will be a great fit for a link to your site.
You then ask them to either publish a new post written on a topic closely related to your website that includes a link back to your site (a guest post) or to embed a link to your site into an article that was already published on their website (link insertion).
It is a numbers game though.
Don’t expect too many links for free. Most webmaster know the value of a guest posts these days and many will request a publishing fee that can range from $20 up to $500+. The better the metrics, the higher the price (usually).
Having said that, guest posts and link insertions are GREAT and work very well to rank your site. They are highly relevant to your niche (at the very least on the page level) and can pass a lot of authority to your site.
It is important you make thorough research before you buy links on guest post. There are many providers that mask their PBNs and sell them as guest posts. Then there are your “run of the mill” guest post farms, shady link insertion providers and others.
We recommend checking for the following before you buy any guest posts or link insertions. All you need is Ahrefs.com and Archive.org
Relevance – going back to our previous example of gaming laptops. First and foremost, you want guest posts or link insertions from sites that are broadly related to your overall niche. In this case this could be gaming, computers, tech, coding or entertainment. Having said that, you can still go for sites in unrelated niches, if their authority can make up for the overall lack of relevance.
Traffic – you want to make sure that the guest post site is ranking for some real keywords. There are a lot of guest post farms that boast real traffic, but only rank for streaming keywords. We recommend to stay away from those.
Link Profile – check the referring domains and backlinks – you want to make sure that the site has a lot of quality, authority links pointed to it.
Check the history via archive.org – since when has the site been active? Has it been repurposed lately to sell guest posts? You want to make sure you check this.
Other outreach links can include:
- Broken Link Building (reaching out to sites with 404 / broken links and offering your content as an alternative link source).
- Resource Link Building (reaching out to sites that wrote on your niche with links to competing pages, offering your content as an alternative and more informative source).
- Guestographics (offering to provide a high quality infographic in return for a link to your site. They get some awesome media incentive, you get a link – pricey though)
Citations are basically mentions of your (local) business throughout the web in authoritative directories.
Usually the NAP (Name, Address, Phone) is used to create a proper and full citation which is quite important for local SEO (ranking your GMB).Having said that, most citation directories give you the option to include a link to your website, so they work greatly to diversify your link and anchor profile for non-local websites too.
The most common citation sites are:
- Bing Places
- Apple Maps
- Yahoo Local
Citations are super safe, perfect for branding and even “recommended” by Google.
So, having a few high authority citations can NEVER hurt. Citations index slowly, so pointing a few links at them will greatly improve your success with them.
Web 2.0 Links
Web 2.0 links are basically mini blogs created on free platforms like WordPress, Tumblr, Livejournal, Blogger, and many, many more. These blogs are usually created with relevance in mind. By adding a nifty little piece of unique content that is related to your niche, an about us, some stock images or videos, maybe an embedded map etc. you can customize them to your liking and make them look like a real branded mini blog.
Web 2.0s are very safe to use and a great way to add diversity into the mix, as long as you steer clear from the automated Web 2.0 spam with poor content.
Unfortunately, the authority for fresh web 2.0s is quite low as they are built on fresh subdomains. e.g. coolgaminglaptops.wordpress.com. As a result, we highly recommend to point some tier 2 link to them to power them up as these web 2.0s can take a lot of link heat.
A PBN (private blog network) is usually created on domains that have incredible metrics and can pass a lot of instant authority to your site. PBNs work exceptionally well as tier 1 links to snipe your exact match keywords and that’s what we usually recommend doing.
You only want to use PBN links directly to your site that avoid dreaded footprints that Google can find in the proverbial sand to identify the network and penalize your for using it.
A typical PBN site is easy to identify and looks like utter shité, i.e:
An ugly theme with no logo, no contact page, default sidebar and foot widget, no real customization, articles that cover a ton of niches with no topical relevance to be found.
You want to avoid those.
Key factors for a good PBN are (for your due dilligence)
- Hosted on unique and truly dedicated IPs
- Not using any custom nameservers
- Registered with a variety of reputable registrars (not all on the same date and not with dropcatch providers, they should use big ones like GoDaddy, Namecheap, Name etc.)
- Niche relevant sites with topical relevance in mind
- No thin or spun content is being used for the posts
- Customized with a unique logo
- Customized with a cookie banner (no GDPR compliance = big footprint)
- Using a variety of themes or at least differ in the way they look
- Not blocking bots (yep, we said it… sue us lol)
- Having proper Whois Privacy (in times of GDPR this is a privilege and not a footprint)
- Not interlinked in any way
- Using the right homepage version (root or www not both)
- Using internal links
These are usually manually crafted links on targeted forums, social sites, Q&A sites and discussion platforms. They are great for link and anchor diversity.
We highly recommend adding a few of those in your tier 1 campaigns, but they work great for tier 2 linking too.
Press Releases are great for brand visibility. Get your news syndicated to hundreds of news outlets, while gaining a few respectable links at the same time? Sounds great.
They are incredible for anchor diversity, as most media outlets allow up to 2-3 links per press release.
They are very affordable too and low risk.
We highly recommend using 1-2 press releases just for the sake of diversity and branding.