My philosophy is that if the link gets indexed in Google then it is a really good back link. Those that get indexed higher have more quality. Those that get indexed AND rank for your specific keyword are generally the best backlinks to have.
I use Firefox with the SEO for Firefox plugin to help weed out backlinks. This plugin highlights nofollow links with a red highlight which makes it easier to determine if it’s a decent back link to get. Saves a lot of time when you’re searching through the search engine trying to find backlinks.
I have never needed to buy a link from another domain owner, reciprocal link, or even 3 way links. If you look into these tips, you’ll never need to. You’ll notice that I’m not recommending following your direct competition. A lot of them are on page 1 because of old links that are usually unattainable.
Please use this information with caution, and make sure to read Google guidelines concerning spamming before proceeding with any of these techniques.
- Checking out the 3rd party competition – This is pretty simple, but very effective. Basically, you will need to search your key term, and sift through the first 3-20 pages of the search results. Notice that I put starting from the 3rd page not pages 1-2. BTW I’m not telling you NOT to start from page 1, but that direct competitors are usually on the first 2 pages. Usually 3rd party websites will fall under the latter pages, and these links are usually of good quality. This is how I found out about MerchantCircle.com. This website is VERY HELPFUL when dominating the top positions for local searches. They offer a blog with follow links.
Search “Miami SEO” (w/out quotations) – I started skimming the pages starting from page 3, found 8 backlinks
Page 3 blogtopsites.com, blogcatalog.com
Page 4 articledashboard.com, articlesbase.com, linkedin.com
Page 5 pr9.net
Page 8 merchantcircle.com
Page 10 shoutyoursite.com
- Search outside of your niche – I was talking with a local PPC Expert David Kyle, and he was telling me of how many nonrelated sites were being used to rank for Viagra. That got me thinking about how these links were all nonrelevant links, but that they were indexed so high due to their authority. If you search for the key term “buy viagra” (w/out quotations) you’ll notice JUST on page 2 that there are 5 listings with that are forum profiles. All these 5 listings are DOFOLLOW links, and they’re ranking on page 2 for a VERY COMPETITIVE key term. You’ll notice that NOT one of these sites have anything to do with the search term.
- Follow link building companies – Google this key term w/out quotations “link building companies” The purpose of this is that these guys will know where a lot of links are since they do it for a living. Of course everyone knows about searching for link:domain.com on Yahoo, but sometimes yahoo shows 4-5 pages of backlinks from the same website. I like to get the domain name, and search it with quotations in Google. (I take out the http and the www portion). Get the link building company’s URL, and search it on Google “domain.com”. This step will not bring up all the anchor text links but it weeds out a lot of links.
- Searching by usernames – This is pretty big since a lot of link builders usually use the same USERNAME! Sometimes the link builder will use different links for different sites, but if you search the username then you’ll find all of their links! You will need to start with the 3rd point in this article, and then start looking for the usernames that are used to create the link. If the username gets indexed, then there’s a huge possibility that the link in the page also got crawled. Try it out, and don’t laugh too hard when you see how many links come up when you Google “layla17” (use quotations)
- Finding Old domain links – I searched this term on Google “oldest websites online” (w/out quotations), and this link came up astahost.com/info.php/what-100-oldest-websites_t2145.html. I took each link in this website, and went on Google and searched it with a keyword like HP forums or HP blogs or HP community. Some of these places give you profiles with a dofollow back link.
- Finding EDU/GOV links – Everyone knows about using inurl:.edu/phpbb2, inurl:.gov/phpbb2, inurl:.gov/forum, etc. I like to also go on Google and search by school name with forum, blog, or community next to it. You can also search for “edu forum” (w/out quotations). One of the simplest ways is just posting a job in the schools job section. A lot of schools allow companies to post a job in their career section with a link. These links are usually w/out anchor text, but are dofollow and edu!
- Social bookmarking – Directories like DMOZ are outdated, and were/are the old school directories. Most of the pages are not indexed and/or have no PR. Today we have new directories that are created by individual users which are called Social Bookmarking (SB). SB allows you to create your own directory, and you’re allowed to put any anchor text you like. Some of these bookmarking sites also get indexed and may even reach page 2-3 for a key term.
- Check every unfamiliar link that is sent to you – One of the local experts in Social Media, Roy Morejon, likes to post a lot of good information on Twitter. I have received a handful of backlinks from checking out his tweets. There may be a community in the site that will allow you to get a back link from a profile, blog post, or even the classified section. Roy sent out a link that I knew about before, but if his other readers were paying attention then they would’ve known that they can get a couple of backlinks on http://bx.businessweek.com
- Search for major blogs that get indexed well – Activerain, Trulia, Realtown, Merchantcircle, Spike, and Wannanetwork all have one thing in common….they all allow free blogs that you can post your articles with a dofollow back link.
- Guest Blog – You can start off with places like guzzle, associated content, americanchronicle, ezine, helium to post articles with backlinks, and putting links in your profile. This will help you get noticed by Editors on a more popular site, and they’ll ask you to guest blog on their site! I posted an article on this well known SEO blog site, and was spotted by Search Engine Journal’s Talent Scout Ann Smarty. I posted an article about “Building an Authority Site from Scratch” on SEJ, and I received a few hundred backlinks just from 1 article!