Buried Link Treasure: The Acquisition of Quality Backlinks

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As we all know, link building has become a bit more difficult these days. Google has recently come out with a new campaign to filter out paid links, or links that are purchased solely for the purposes of gaining additional link popularity. This has been going on for several years, but lately they have been much more aggressive in their approach. One of the first signs of this crack down was the filtering of approximately 50 paid web directories.

Google has also attacked many large text link brokers and text link rental companies. These actions have caused concern with anyone and everyone that competes in the natural search results by buying links and doing everything they can to increase their link popularity.

Ground Rules:

First off, link building is here to stay. However, all website owners need to take Google’s position on link building into consideration before negotiating new links, new partnerships, or even buying links in certain capacities. It is essential to operate in a manner that is in-line with Google’s webmaster guidelines. At the end of the day, Google does not want businesses artificially inflating their backlinks or their link popularity. That being said, it is important that businesses compete and do what they can to get better rankings in the search results.


Uncovering buried link treasure is an effective (and Google compliant) strategy in increasing a website’s backlinks. This excavation involves analyzing the backlinks of competitive, high ranking websites for different key terms.

Yahoo’s site explorer can be used to begin this process. A backlink check can simply be run by typing: link:domain (more specific instructions). The results will show all the websites that link to that domain. Yahoo also does a decent job organizing these links based on popularity which is determined by its value and contribution to the high ranking websites. While this program isolates quality links it is only the beginning of the treasure hunt.


Now obviously doing this manually can be quite a task. What most often results from a backlink check is what industry insiders call “sitewide links.” Sitewide links occur when a domain has more than one page that links to the site being analyzed. Often this one domain’s internal pages might represent hundreds of those 1,000 viewable backlinks. Removed And Quite often you will find multiple websites with sitewide links. This makes the process of finding unique backlinks pointing to your competitor’s website much more difficult. Fortunately, there are several products on the market that can assist in sifting through the results. SEO Elite and Back Link Analyzer are helpful tools. There are also some web based products and software programs available. These products will sort through Yahoo’s top 1,000 results and provide the user with a list of unique backlinks.


To apply this tactic, take the top 10 best ranking websites in an industry and use one of the tools, like SEO Elite, to identify the unique websites that link to these well-ranking businesses. Categorize the links once they have been identified. For example, there are resource websites, vertical directories (free and paid) and vertical resources. These tend to be very good finds. A few paid links may also turn up in the results. Oftentimes the paid links are within a website’s content. This makes it difficult for search engines to identify them which in turn make them more valuable treasures. Address everything on a case by case basis and use good judgment. Some links that appear to be suitable for a proper paid linking campaign may be tainted. Typically, you want to stay away from websites that sell irrelevant links to sites or sell links from big link boxes. This will flag search engines so be careful with all paid linking activities.

Once the links are properly categorized, determine the proper contact method to begin acquisition. Sometimes potential partnerships or business development relationships can be forged which makes it better to communicate via phone. There are also times when email is the preferred contact method. In these instances, a flat rate offer may be best. Determine the pricing based on quality level of the websites. A link may be worth $50 a month or maybe another link, placed in content, may be worth $250 a year. Again, it is important to use good judgment when forging these relationships. Mining takes time, finesse and patience, but when executed properly yields good results.


In this day and age it behooves businesses to focus on backlink analyzing to compete in the search engine results. Identifying a competitor’s backlinks is one of the best ways to create a custom link building campaign. We know tenure, trust and link popularity help websites rank high. Businesses will benefit by acquiring links from others linking to these websites. This process has been well established by Submitawebsite and its competitors. It is less risky than other methods and tends to generate very good results. Implementing these practices will be essential as the process of link building continues to become more complicated.

Joe Griffin is a Vice President at Website Pros, and is the current acting President of Submitawebsite.com, a company he co-founded in 1997.

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  • http://www.seodesignsolutions.com/blog/ Seo Design Solutions

    Thanks for the great article Joe:

    Another interesting thing about SEO Elite (even though I rarely use it) is that it allows you to see the allinanchor, allintext and allinurl link status for each keyword.

    If you realize the implication of a data mining tool such as that you can essentially use the same exercise above, but instead look where your sites keywords stand compared to others. This way, you can target specific keywords by using them more in your titles, text or back links. Nichewatch.com is also a great free online resource.

  • http://www.terryreeves.com Local SEO Specialist – Terry Reeves

    Looks like I need to locate my copy of SEO Elite. Other than the download, I don’t think I ever used the software.

  • http://www.submitawebsite.com Joe Griffin

    Yes, SEO Elite is a great program. It’s one of the more accurate scraping tools on the market, and has a lot of traction in the SEO community. Even though we are an established SEO firm we still use tools like these to help automate process, plus the tool builders keep these tools up to date!

  • http://www.trustreliance.com Reliance Computer Solutions

    Great article.
    Does anyone know of a good tool that helps automate directory submissions?

  • http://www.VerticalMeasures.com Arnie

    Reliance – don’t waste your time automating directory submissions. It is only slighlty worse than automating articls submissions.

    Spend your time and money on some better links. Blog posts, even forums will give you better results.

    Better yet, follow the advice above.

  • http://www.gerardmcgarry.com Gerard McGarry

    I must say, link building is an oft-neglected part of my site marketing process. Good post, and I may spend more time employing link building tactics in future!

  • http://www.websight.org WebSite Design Orange County

    As time consuming and mundane as quality link building can be, it is a necessary evil to high ranking. It would be nice if Google actually gave you credit for all the industry related links you have, instead of picking up a small fraction of them.

  • http://www.submitawebsite.com Joe Griffin

    Check out Google’s Websmaster Tools, they actually let you see all of your counted backlinks with Google. Google counts many more than they display, they only display a partial snapshot of your backlinks.

  • http://www.articlesnatch.com/blog/ Matt Ellsworth

    Nice article. Interesting way of building links.

  • http://www.dewittsmedia.com/seo-blogs/ tyler dewitt


    Interesting I didn’t know you posted on Lorens Blog its Tyler Dewitt CEO of DeWitt’s Media 🙂

  • http://www.jumpions.com Bounce Houses

    Thank God is not the same stuff of “create great content and people will link to you in the end”.
    I had enough of this BS on every blog and forum every time someone is bored and decides to write about link building.
    Thanks for the real stuff. 🙂

  • http://www.jordankasteler.com/utah-seo-pro-blog/ Search Engine Specialist

    You’re right about link building being here to stay. However, the value of links will always fluctuate in weight in the algorithms I’m sure. Also, methodologies will always be continually morphing as well.

  • http://www.dnl.ro/serviciiconexe.htm Servicii SEO

    Great article on link building..I have read it three times already 🙂

  • http://www.chancermusic.com Music Directory

    I will use some of the tips here for my site in the next days. Maybe I will improve a bit my lousy rankings. LOL
    PS: Not sure why I didnt pass the math..last time I checked 0 and 7 was 7 right?

  • http://www.terryreeves.com SEO Consulting – Terry Reeves

    Okay. I found my link to SEO Elite and gave it a thorough look and I am quite impressed. Definitely need to find the time to give a really good test drive though.

  • http://www.submitawebsite.com Joe Griffin

    We’re trying to get them to add the ability to mine emails off backlinks results. That would be nice 🙂

  • http://www.fireblades.org CBR

    Google is getting tough with paid links, the thing I have issue with is how they determine what is and what is not a paid link. There are so many “grey” areas that I don’t think an alog is ever going to solve the problem for Google.

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  • http://www.absoluteplacementtoday.com Tom

    Natural Search Engine Optimization does not come easy, and the thought of G knowing how and what terms a link is either earned or given is beyond me. It is my experience that comes from link excitement or how fast your links hit your site.

    Organic Search Engine placement and optimization is not just your quality of links, although it is PART 1 of four, it does not complete the job.

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    I have more than 50 links showing on live search but only 3 on google why is that

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    Organic Search Engine placement and optimization is not just your quality of links, although it is PART 1 of four, it does not complete the job.

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  • http://www.bouncehouse.biz Bounce House

    Yes, analyzing your competitor’s backlinks is a starting point in building good backlinks. We use alexa’s Site Info to identify well known backlinks to major competitors. Looking at our competitors’, most backlinks come from article banks and directories.

  • http://www.simplerseo.com Stacy Wagner

    I agree, identifying a competitor’s backlinks is one of the best ways to create a custom link building campaign.
    Most focus on organic search results through on page optimization. In my opinion the majority of effort should be spent on a well structured and thought out link building campaign. Quality matters!