A New Era of Link Building

Link building is still a cornerstone of the internet marketing process, but with so many changes happening in the world of SEO, it’s hard to keep up. This article will update how link building is changing and what you need to know about getting links now. In addition, the rules of the game have changed. SEO has always been a fast-paced market that rewards those who are quick and adaptable. However, the pace of change has accelerated since Google’s most recent set of catastrophic updates, which began with Google Panda in February 2011 and ended with the EMD update in 2012. In reality, many Google-traffic-dependent website owners have been forced out of business due to these changes.

You’re undoubtedly aware that SEO has evolved. However, there isn’t much out there to assist you to get the answers you need, such as “How can I upgrade my link building techniques for 2013?” “What can I do to protect my site from the next update?” and “What can I do to protect my site from the next update?” This section will provide you with an in-depth look at the SEO environment we live in, as well as some practical tactics you can employ to protect your website from Google’s constant adjustments.

SEO Timeline in Pictures

It’s hard to comprehend connection building without first understanding our current situation and how we get there.

  • Before Google, the web was governed by Yahoo and AltaVista. The most significant ranking variables were relevance (based on keyword density and meta tags).
  • 1 AG (After Google): Google’s groundbreaking PageRank-based algorithm, based on the number of links referring to a site, produced much better results than previous search engines. Google’s supremacy in the search field resulted as a result of this. In addition, pages were evaluated based on quality and relevance for the first time.
  • The Venice Update (April 2009) was Google’s first significant shift in how the search engine viewed sitewide authority and branding. The Venice upgrade set Google on the path it has followed ever since: preferring well-known firms over smaller rivals.
  • Panda (February 2011): Affected a whopping 13% of all searches. Low-quality “content farms” such as EHow, EzineArticles.com, and Suite101.com were targeted. One of the earliest Google changes to punish site owners violated their Webmaster Guidelines.
  • Google Penguin (April 2012): A penalty for “over-optimization” that affected 3.1 percent of Google’s index. Sites that employed black hat link-building strategies, like over-optimized anchor text, were notably targeted in this update. This update, like Panda, is a filter that traps sites in its net whenever they make a change (every 2-3 months or so).
  • Google’s most significant upgrade is the EMD Update (September 2012). This upgrade was aimed at websites that utilized exact match domains to gain an advantage. This further strengthened Google’s new strong attitude towards website owners who manipulate the system.

The Color White Is the New Black (Hat)

Black hatters dominated Google’s main page during a three- to five-year period. These sites could easily trick the algorithm by leveraging spun material, vast blog networks, and excessive anchor text. When most black hat SEOs (and even a few white hats) checked their data the day after Google Penguin, they saw something like this:


Yikes. While there are a few black hat “success” tales still floating around, most black hat link-building strategies are doomed to fail. To avoid seeming preachy, it’s time to switch to a white hat link-building strategy if you want to succeed in SEO in the long run.

How to Stay Ahead of Penalties?

Previously, the purpose of SEO was to target a specific term. You were gold once you made it to the first page. Not any longer. Reducing the danger of penalties and Google changes is a vital aspect of today’s SEO. While aggressive on-page SEO might be detrimental, you should concentrate on links if you want to avoid Google’s upcoming upgrade.

In reality, Google’s chief of Webspam, Matt Cutts, indicated that web admins should focus on links to avoid future penalties:


Here’s how to check your site’s link profile and avoid being a victim of Google’s upcoming upgrade.

Overuse of anchor text

Overuse of anchor text is well-known as one of the most critical webspam signals that set off the Penguin filter. As a result, future adjustments are almost certainly going to target sites with a fake link profile. MicroSiteMasters.com discovered that sites that utilized too many “money phrases” in their anchor text were far more likely to get hit by Google Penguin:


That’s why it’s critical to vary the anchor text you use to connect to your site.

  • Examine the distribution of anchor text on your website.

Knowing where you stand is the first step in preventing anchor text abuse. The quickest approach to find out is to utilize Majestic SEO’s link analysis tool. With a free account, you can view your anchor text dispersion.

To begin, go to Majestic and type in your homepage URL.


The “summary” page will display you a handy pie chart of your anchor text distribution.


Click the “anchor text” tab to receive more detailed information.


You’ll see something similar to this.


Open Site Explorer may help you discover comparable information. Fill up your homepage URL and then choose the “anchor text” tab:


Filter for “all pages on this root domain”:


To use the filter, go to:


It’ll also provide you info on anchor text throughout the whole site:


  • Examine the Distribution of Anchor Text at the Page Level

While anchor text distribution on your site is crucial, Penguin may also target over-optimized areas. Enter a page’s URL into OSE to get page-level anchor text data for your most critical pages:


Set the “this page” filter to:


The anchor text distribution for links leading to that particular page will then appear:


If you see a disproportionate volume of keyword-rich anchor text, it’s time to intervene. Here are a few easy techniques to add natural variation to the anchor text of your link.

  • Discover the Distribution of Natural Anchor Text


  • Terms that have been brandedIf you take the time to look at sites with a natural link profile, you’ll find that their brand name appears in the bulk of their anchor text. Six of the top seven anchor texts on QuickSprout are versions of the brand:
  • Generic anchorsGeneric anchor texts, such as “here,” “this site,” and “website,” might help your anchor text distribution seem more natural.
  • URLs that aren’t hiddenAlthough most websites utilize anchor text when referring to other pages, others, like http://quicksprout.com, still use naked URLs.
  • TitlesThe title of the page you’re connecting to is an underused kind of anchor text. For example, the title of a post I wrote a while ago, “The Science of Instagram: How to Get More Followers and Likes,” is the most widely used anchor text:


  • Your link-building campaigns should use natural anchor text.

Here are some simple techniques to add variety to your anchor text now that you have a sense of what a natural anchor text distribution looks like.

  • Directories on the InternetDirectories aren’t as effective as they formerly were. However, Google has said that they will continue to convey confidence and authority to your site. They’re also a great way to rapidly add branded anchor text to your homepage links (although some directories enable submissions to “deep” internal pages).

As an example, consider the authoritative SoMuch.com directory.

Choose “Free Link” at http://www.somuch.com/submit-links/:


Accept the rules for submission and click “Continue”:


Add a branded anchor like this when inputting your site’s information:


Or something like this (it’s also a good idea to mix up your engraved anchor text):


  • Releases to the PressWhile press releases are overused in the SEO field, they still provide some value to your website. The majority of individuals, on the other hand, spam their press releases with four or more anchor text hyperlinks:


That’s a pity since news releases are a great way to include generic anchors into your homepage and internal pages.

As an example, we’ll utilize the free press release website Release-News.com.

Create an account first, then confirm your subscription:


Then go to the site and click “Free Submission”:


You may easily hyperlink branded text while adding content:


anchor text for “post title”:


Anchor text in general:


Or even just plain URLs:


  • Posting by OthersGuest writing is a great strategy to generate high-quality backlinks and targeted traffic, as you probably know. However, many individuals fall prey to anchor text misuse when it comes to guest articles. Fortunately, you may easily use generic and branded anchors in your author bio section.

Include the anchor text you wish to use when sending over your guest post in Word (many site owners think you always want to use branded or “brand.com” anchors and publish your links that way automatically).

To begin, highlight the text you wish to link to:


Choose “hyperlink” from the context menu (control + click on a Mac):


And then, type in the following URL:


Select “OK”:


You’ll also have a live link to include in your author profile, which the guest post host may utilize.


Guest articles are also one of the most effective methods to employ generic anchors such as “click here” and “his most recent post”:


Because most guest-posting sites allow multiple links, you can generally include one branded anchor text connection to your homepage and one generic anchor text link to one of your posts:


Link Distribution Across the Site

One of the most typical blunders of link builders is directing almost all of their links to their home page. This seems strange, particularly on sites with a lot of material. The majority of links on large sites are likely to lead to internal pages. Using Ahrefs, you may get an excellent graphic representation of your site’s link distribution. To begin, go to ahrefs.com and type in your domain name in the field:


The data about your site may be seen on the overview page.


Look at the “sitewide distribution” graph at the bottom of the page. This shows how your site’s links are distributed. The more connections you have throughout your site, the more spread out the picture is.

If you use Ahrefs to analyze a spammy website, you’ll see a drastically different distribution pattern:


The Ahrefs.com graph is a simple method to see how links are distributed on your site. However, with a free MajesticSEO.com account and Excel, you can receive far more specific data.


On the right side of the toolbar, click the “pages” tab:


You’ll be able to identify which of your site’s pages have the most backlinks.



By looking at the stats for QuickSprout.com, you can tell that there is a lot of sitewide dispersion going on. You may export this data as an a.csv (Excel) file if you want more specific information. Scroll down to the “pages” tab’s bottom and select “Download CSV.” And then open it in Microsoft Excel or Google Docs. First, rows C and D (“AC Ranked Score” and “Last Retrieved”) should be deleted. Then, in rows E and F (“Citation Flow” and “TrustFlow”), remove the following:


Copy and paste your homepage URLs and link information into a new spreadsheet tab.


(You must copy both the “www” and non-www versions of your homepage URL.) Internal pages and your homepage now have their link data. Scroll to the bottom of the row on your internal page and click the row underneath the last result.


Then, at the top of MS Excel, choose the “formulas” tab:


Next, click “sum” under “AutoSum”:


The total number of links going to internal pages will be shown. Calculate the number of referring domains in the same way.


You can now view the overall number of links and the referring sites linking to internal pages: Get the backlink totals for your homepage using the same procedures. Then, create a Summary Area on the spreadsheet where you can readily view all of the crucial information you’re looking for.


Find the total number of backlinks to your whole site using the AutoSum tool (or by manually putting the numbers together): Count the number of referring domains in the same way:


Then, in the Summary area, copy and paste the number of internal page links and homepage connections you discovered earlier:


It’s now time to calculate the ratio of links leading to internal pages against your homepage. Simply multiply the result of dividing your Internal Page Links by your Total Backlinks by 100. The formula in Excel is as follows:


(Internal Page Links are G9.) G7 stands for “total backlinks.”

And here’s what you’ll get:


The number of homepage links may be fairly significant if you have a lot of sitewide links (like blogrolls). Although no one knows how Google views sitewide backlinks, it’s widely assumed that the overall number of connections is less essential than the number of referring websites. To put it another way, a few blogrolls may make your link distribution seem to be disproportionately homepage-heavy. Ahrefs makes it simple to monitor the number of sitewide links in your backlink profile. First, fill in the blanks with your domain:


Then choose the “External” tab:

Then select “Sitewide” from the drop-down menu:

Then choose “Apply Filters” from the drop-down menu:


A significant portion of the backlinks on QuickSprout originate from sitewide links:


In such an instance, it’s probably more important to focus on the number of domains that refer to the site’s pages.

To do so, just add a field to Internal Pages for Internal Page Domains and percent Domains:


Copy and paste the internal page domain information you computed before into the Summary Area from the bottom of cell D.


Create an Excel formula that divides the number of Internal Page Domains by the total number of Referring Domains. This would look like this in Excel:


* 100 = G9 (Internal Page Domains)/G8 (Total Referring Domains)

You’ll also acquire a new figure:


As you can see in this example, this figure differs significantly from the one determined merely based on total backlinks. This is mainly because blogrolls account for around half of QuickSprout’s backlinks, amounting to thousands of connections from only a few sites.

Relevance of the link

“Getting a link from a strong PR website always used to be beneficial,” former Google employee Andre Wehner said in an interview, “but nowadays it’s more about the relevance of the site’s subject than yours. Relevancy is the new PR.” And according to MicroSiteMasters.com’s industry survey, connections from unrelated sites are a Penguin risk factor:


Getting most of your backlinks from sites that are closely relevant to yours is a great approach to avoid Penguin. Given that connections from unrelated sites are a red signal for webspam, anticipate this in future Google algorithm updates. Simply, the majority of your connections should come from sites relevant to yours in some way. While no automatic tool can tell you how appropriate your link profile is, you may spot-check it using Open Site Explorer.

Take a look at how your website appears to Google.

Sure, you could believe your site is about weight loss, but that doesn’t mean Google agrees. To effectively determine link relevance, you must first understand what Google considers your site to be about.

Go to https://ads.google.com/home/tools/keyword-planner/ to begin. Then, fill up the “Website” area with the following information:

Select “Only display ideas that are closely connected to my search criteria” from the drop-down menu:

And then choose “search”:


Finally, go to the “Keyword Ideas” tab (Google sometimes defaults to “Ad group ideas”):


Examine the results to see what keywords appear. This will give you an idea of the subjects Google thinks your site covers the most.


Another quick technique to see whether your domain or brand name is relevant from Google’s perspective is to type it into Google:


Then scroll down to the bottom of the page. “Searches connected to…” will appear there.


As you can see, this provides valuable information about how people search for your site, which is another factor Google considers when determining relevance.

Check the Site Level Relevancy of Your Link Profile

To begin, open OSE and look for your connection profile data:


Select “Linking Domains” from the drop-down menu:


From the drop-down box, choose “pages on this root domain.”


Then choose “Filter” from the drop-down menu:


The homepage URLs of the sites that link to you will now be visible.


Now comes the exciting part. It’s time to browse through your link profile manually, one by one, to determine whether the site is related to yours. Unsurprisingly, any link profile — even a natural one — will have a significant number of irrelevant connections. The goal isn’t to figure out what proportion of your backlink profile is meaningful. Instead, look at your results and check whether the bulk of your connections is from similar websites.

When I check at QuickSprout’s link profile, for example, I find that many of my links come from sites like DIYThemes.com, SEOMoz.org, Aweber.com, Inc.com, and BusinessInsider.com. All of them are intertwined with QuickSprout’s mission (namely, entrepreneurship, SEO, internet marketing, conversion optimization, and social media). You should see something similar: a mix of quite tightly related sites, a few that are just marginally related, and a few that are utterly unrelated.

Relevance at the page level

While Google prioritizes the overall topic, it also considers the page on which your link appears. So, for instance, it makes no sense for a social networking site to link to Quicksprout in a dog training piece.

In the same way, you’d verify the relevance of a site, and you may check the relevancy of a page.

Open your link profile in Open Site Explorer once again. Keep the default settings this time so you can see which website each link leads to.


In OSE, you can view each page’s title tags, which should give you a fair sense of the page’s subject.


I’m very convinced that the sites connecting to me typically suit the theme of QuickSprout based on a cursory scan. If you’re unsure about one or more, you can always go to the page to learn more. For example, let’s suppose I wasn’t sure if a link I obtained from a Viper Chill page was related to my website. I’d go to the website and look at a couple of items.


First, I glance at the description tag on the page. The description tag is more descriptive than the title tag in some instances. Examining the HTML of the page is the most straightforward approach to do so. Click the “view source in tab” option on the SEO Toolbar.


Firefox will open a new tab with the page’s code. It will resemble the following:


Press Ctrl + f (cmd + f on a Mac) and type “description” to locate the description.


You’ll also find the meta description there.


After that, I’d skim over the piece to get a sense of what it’s about. This essay was about blogging in general, which isn’t too far off.

You may also verify the wording beside your link if you want to become very serious about it. Because sites might cover a wide range of subjects, this provides you with a better indication of the link’s relevance. In other words, Google favors the language around your links for significance.

QuickSprout was credited with the opt-in form on the side of the page in this example.


Not very important. However, I consider this a relevant connection since the site and page are both applicable. The only way to get an A+ is for the material beside the link about social networking, SEO, or something similar.

The objective isn’t to go crazy trying to find out the relevance of every connection. It’s merely another technique to assess how relevant your link profile is. For example, you may put a link from an unrelated site in the “relevant” category if it’s on a page that’s closely linked to your site’s topic.

Diverse Connections

Fortunes have been lost over a single modification in the Google algorithm in the turbulent history of SEO. Sites that took part in link exchanges first vanished from the SERPs like a ton of bricks. Profile links were substantially devalued a few years afterward. Early in 2012, the primary blog network Build My Rank was de-indexed in its entirety, pulling hundreds of specialty sites down with it. The goal of recounting these instances is to illustrate that relying on just one connection is a recipe for catastrophe. Even though the strategy is now working well, it doesn’t rule out the possibility that it may be the subject of Google’s next algorithm upgrade. Many individuals, for example, utilize infographics as the foundation of their link-building efforts. While infographics are now effective, a change in the algorithm might devalue them suddenly. As a result, infographics, like any other link-building approach, should only make up a tiny portion of your overall link profile. It’s time to take a closer look at your backlinks and divide them into groups.

Using OSE or another link analysis application to determine where your links originate from is adequate for most folks running white hat SEO strategies. Examine your links one by one to check whether any are coming from homepages, blogrolls, press releases, or web directories in a considerable number. The only way to find out is to go through each link one by one and mentally categorize them.

In the instance of QuickSprout, I’m using picture links:


Mentions in the blog:


Posts by visitors:


I’m relatively confident that even if Google suddenly discounted one form of connection, I’d be ok.

With Link Detective, you can get to the bottom of things.

You may use a handy free tool at linkdetective.com to acquire a complete view of your link’s categories. To begin, download a CSV file containing your Open Site Explorer link data. Make sure “only external” is selected:


Then choose Download CSV from the drop-down menu.


While SEOMoz is putting together the report, go to http://www.linkdetective.com/ and sign up for a free account. Then, create a new project by logging in (free accounts are limited to one project).


Also, give it a descriptive name.

Select “add CSV” from the drop-down menu.


Also, post the OSE.csv report you obtained.


The application will analyze your connection data and provide a report for you.


If you’re getting too many links from a single source, it’s essential to diversify your link profile.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the new methods for link building?

A: One of the most effective link-building methods is content marketing, which features articles that can be found on your company website. This method involves writing about trending topics in a way that shows you understand your audience and what they want to know more about.

What is the best new link-building tactic?

A: It’s not possible to answer whether or not a new tactic is the best, but some tactics might work better for you than others. One type of link-building tactic includes submitting stories and articles about your company or website on popular news websites such as CNN and Forbes. Another type of link-building strategy will be too high-profile email bloggers asking them if they want to write about what you do in their blog post section.

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