Alternative Link Building Strategies

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Sometimes, your link building activities should or must take place on a secondary domain, away from your focal point (primary domain). There are several reasons this might be:

  1. No advertising.
    You want to publish quality content with no hint of advertising on the same domain, whether to build trust or some other reason.
  2. Technical difficulties.
    Your focal point domain does not allow for easy content management.
  3. Keyword domains.
    You may have keyword domains that you’d like to utilize.
  4. Split testing.
    You want to try split testing of content and keywords. What text is more effective in getting click-through to your primary domain?
  5. Ranking for multiple terms.
    You want your primary domain to rank for multiple terms. Build pages with suitable anchor text on an external contributes to the success of this goal. It may not be sufficient in and of itself, but it helps.
  6. Unfavorable primary domain.
    Maybe your primary domain has a stigma attached, as far as readers are concerned. This may be the domain name, the content, the products and services sold, or the layout.
  7. Multiple clients.
    You have multiple clients that fall into the same market that you’d like to promote simultaneously. For example, dog trainers. Building a neutral authority site with quality content that provides “relevant links” in the body of each article to each of your clients is a suitable way to do this.

Alternative link building - single secondary domain

Yes, your primary domain does not get the PR, but if you’re just looking to drive targeted traffic, there’s nothing wrong with indirect link building. Dosh Dosh has a more detailed treatment of using sub-domains or separate domains to build links.

Alternative link building - multiple secondary domains

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  • Ken Savage

    Isn’t this just the microsite technique that everyone says doesn’t work.

    I think it would work as long as content is unqiue.

  • Ken Savage

    not that what you’re saying Raj, is unappreciated.

  • Raj Dash

    @Ken: True, there are certain conditions that must apply for this methodology to work. It will not work in all situations, hence why it’s an “alternative” strategy.

  • Loren Baker, Editor

    Ken, I would also recommend using a similar technique in regards to content syndication. What if the microsite in the example is not one of your own sites, but different authority sites letting you contribute content?

    I think by carefully selecting the outbound link priority in your content, the end result would be similar.

  • Raj Dash

    In fact, one very important condition is that the secondary domains have a very minimum of outbound links. No ‘recent posts’ or monthly archives, etc. Nothing to distract the visitor. If the purpose is to tunnel traffic over, than minimize their options, but don’t make them feel trapped.

  • Wayne Smallman

    I recently changed domain names for my ‘blog, and I’ve since gone from PR 5 to nowt, nada, zip.

    So I know the pain.

    Incidentally, I’m experimenting with a ‘Live’ version of my ‘blog, which is essentially a Tumblr account which aggregates all of my stuff into one venue.

    Looks pretty sweet, too…

  • Raj Dash

    Ouch. Transferring platforms is always painful. Can you not redirect?

  • Wayne Smallman

    Hi Raj!

    Yes, I’m doing the big 301 for all of my existing articles.

    I’m in the process of incrementally moving my ‘blog to another CMS, which may well me WordPress.

    But to begin with, I’m changing domains first…

  • CarstenCumbrowski

    Hi Wayne, are you referring to the PR in the Google Toolbar? That PR will stay Nada for 3+ month and eventually come back.

    I did something similar last year. A split of content from one domain to three altogether. I noticed also some “funny” stuff, like content from the new site appearing in the supplemental index to then come out of it and see the old pages on the old domain go first supplemental and then disappear.

    You might want to look at this post at SEJ and specifically the second part of the post and the referenced posts on other blogs.

    I would not freak out, if a proper 301 redirect is in place for the old pages to the new. I would double check that, if it was done by somebody else for you. I would not take anybodies word for something like that and check it myself.

    What also might helps is to get as much as possible links to the old site updated and pointed to the new one. Especially the ones shown in the back-links query results in Google and Yahoo.

  • Rebecca

    Your first two criteria definitely apply to my website. So we created and linked to a couple of blogs, which have plenty of good content and link back to the website. I’m interested to know why everyone says it doesn’t work.

  • Raj Dash

    @Rebecca: I think that with SEO, it’s easy to generalize methods and say it does or doesn’t work. But in reality, if you satisfy the necessary conditions for a particular methodology, you’ll have success.

    It also depends on whether you’re look to build brand, pagerank or traffic. Alternative link building methodologies usually enhance one but not all those three.

  • Andy Beard

    Mininets have always worked, and probably always will. I wouldn’t create too many on the same C Block, and I much prefer nice PR5 sites with just a few pages providing sitewide deep links to valuable content.

    There is a significant difference between what works for SEO, and what an SEO consultant will openly talk about when prospecting clients, because Google is not too keen on linkfarms.

  • Wayne Smallman

    #CarstenCumbrowski: “Hi Wayne, are you referring to the PR in the Google Toolbar? That PR will stay Nada for 3+ month and eventually come back.”

    So I’ll jump back to PR 5 on my new web address?

    I hope so, then all of my hard work won’t have been a wasted effort.

    “I would not freak out, if a proper 301 redirect is in place for the old pages to the new. I would double check that, if it was done by somebody else for you…”

    Yeah, they’re all set-up right, thanks.

    And thanks for the help!

  • CarstenCumbrowski

    “So I’ll jump back to PR 5 on my new web address?”

    Wayne, it should, if the whole site moved. I would still get links changes as much as possible, because the redirecting might not stay in place forever.

    Also search engines make mistakes and the 301 redirect just adds to things that can go wrong. Its an additional layer of complexity which you should avoid if you can.

    You might add directs for moved pages to somewhere else and suddenly are there 2x 301 redirects happening from old links. I don’t know how much redirects search engines follow, but that number if certainly finite.

    “And thanks for the help!”

    You are welcome.

  • DotNetNuke Consulting

    I should change my strategy.

  • Jonathan street

    I set my blog up back in July 2006 and decided to move domain in I think December 2006. At that time my pagerank was just 2. Moving to the new domain it dropped to zero but traffic was affected. As such I didn’t worry about it. With the most recent PR update I’m now getting a 4.

    Concentrate on traffic and in a few months your pagerank should be back to something like what you expect.

  • Andy Beard

    Jonathan that was probably your visible pagerank, assigned the previous time Google did an export.
    Your old domain might well have been PR4 when the next export in January happened.

    You should still redirect those links.

  • Jonathan Street

    Hi Andy,
    You’re absolutely right. When I dropped the old domain the toolbar PR was 2 but in reality it would have been higher. My point was that it takes a little while for the updates to filter through.

    I’ve just noticed in my previous post that I said traffic was affected. This was a typo, traffic was *un*affected by the move.

  • Wayne Smallman

    I’ve past this article onto a few people as a guide to managing content migration and domain name transfers.

    Some really good (and reassuring) advice in here.

    Well done guys!

  • Madhead

    Thanks guys! You brought me to the point to reconsider my link strategy.