Six Explosive Organic & Paid Link Building Tips

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My name is Loren Baker and I’m a link builder. I admit it, I’m a link building SEO and I’ve been building links for clients for 10 years. I’m also the owner and editor of Search Engine Journal and I’ve decided to be a bit more transparent about my link building philosophy.

So every week I will try to share some link building tips with our readers. I hope that you find these tips entertaining, useful and that ideas are generated from my ideas, snowballing into a massive explosion of link building ideas.

I’d like to start by saying that 90% to 95% of my link building is purely organic, and from time to time I will discuss paid linking. Paid linking is part of the pie and should be considered in overall online marketing campaigns. I’m not saying to go out and buy every link you can, I’m just saying it is a consideration.

    1. Relevancy in Linking. Look for sites which are relevant to the vertical category that your site falls under. So if you’re securing links to a auto body repair site, verticals such as autos and finance would make relevant sense to attract links from and should naturally link to your site anyway. Links from unrelated fields such as video gaming and cooking would not make sense.

    Sure, this sounds simple and should be a given, but you would be surprised at the amount of links people are building from sites in extremely irrelevant verticals to their clients or own sites. As a rule of thumb I tend to look under the different pinpoint directory categories a client would be listed under, then click back up the breadcrumb trail to the seed categories to identify all of the different related verticals to a target site.

    2. Selective Anchor Text. A recent trend in link building consultation has been to diversify link anchor text to the point where non-relevant terms like “click here”, “for more info” and even the target site URL are used to make the links look like they were not solicited for anchor text. So, if you’re asking for links or motivating your readers to link to you, do what you can to mix up the anchor text used in those links… but don’t go overboard.

    I suggest limiting these trash anchors to 10% of your linking campaign and save your targeted keyword anchor text for the authority placements you secure. There is nothing wrong with building links to a site, so don’t be scared to use anchor text and go for the big link. Then save your trash anchors for the trash links. As an example, when linking in comments actually use a name and not the targeted SEO anchor text. In press releases, link the company name. On low authority blogs, up the percentage of trash anchors. On big sites, go for the big prize.

    There’s a reason why the text used in hyperlinking is called ‘anchor’, to anchor your site’s meaning and search query relevance by securing links in quality locations.

    3. Ignore NoFollow. As a general rule of thumb I tell my employees who are doing quality and relevant comment driven linking to comment on all relevant blogs which allow comments and a URL field. Then, I go back and analyze the percentage of blogs which use NoFollow to those which do not. Usually 65% to 70% of the blogs end up using NoFollow, but search engines follow links and identify sites via links using NoFollow anyway, so this is fine.

    This practice results in more natural blog linking and in my opinion, if you only comment in 100% DOFollow blogs or 70% DOFollow blogs, your blog comment participation is not following natural trends, and could be viewed as anchor text and linking manipulation.

    4. Paid Blogging’s Trickle Down Effect. Sponsored Reviews is a great way to build links from bloggers looking for payola, but it can also introduce your business to some rather influential bloggers, but you’ll have to pay more than the regular $20 per review… get ready to shell out $200 to $500.

    The big bloggers don’t just cost more, but they have larger readerships and you know that their competition is following their blog. Ask them to review your business, site or new product launch (reviews work so much better when you spin them as newsworthy) and pay the fee.

    Not only will you probably attract a valuable link, but you’ll also have the bloggers who read the big blog also covering your business, leading to extended coverage and a much cheaper overall cost per link than originally thought.

    For example take ShoeMoney. He charges $2,500 for a review via ReviewMe and turns down about 75% of them. One of the latest blog tool reviews he made attracted 34 links to Shoe’s post, 96 comments on the post, and probably not only customers to the product, but possibly 50+ links to the product from the bloggers who follow ShoeMoney and even scrap his blog.

    If that’s the case, the advertiser paid $50 per link in the long run, and got a lot of natural and unsolicited promotion. Marketers pay for press release distribution everyday and those releases are used by journalists and bloggers as info and motivation for articles and posts – which contain natural links.

    If you can influence journalists with press release wire services, why not pay for a major influential blog post? This is the secret sauce behind paid blog reviews and this is not paid linking.

    5. OK, Sometimes You Just Have to Pay. Take advantage of paid linking brokers, but limited advantage. Let’s face it, paying subscription prices on Text Link Ads can get you a high valued link on a site where you would probably not have a chance in hell to get to link to you.

    Save time and the headaches that come with contacting major publishers and dealing with advertisement salespeople who don’t get linking and want to sell you a bunch of worthless run of network banner ads (well, worthless for your linking)… just go to Text Link Ads and push a button : your link is up and the subscriber fees are worth it.

    But for the rest of your linking, practice other methods (listed in this and other link building posts) so you don’t put all of your eggs in one TLA basket. In some cases, those relevant links from high authority sites which you can only attract links from via paid link brokers can make a massive difference in search rankings.

    6. Hit Them When They’re Young. Identify new and budding sites. As the wealth of web publishing grows, more and more sites and blogs are being launched. Fledgeling publishers will usually jump at the chance to respond to an email asking for coverage of a business or relevant site.

    Even if you have to pay for a link or editorial (which you shouldn’t have to if you can contribute content or a monthly guest post), by identifying a new publisher looking for revenue, a free post today can cost $100 or $500 in a year or two. Furthermore, today’s budding blogs can be tomorrow’s mega publishers.

    How do you recognize new sites? Monitor web directories and especially blog directories and their “What’s New” or “New Listings” sections. Almost all directory scripts have this feature.

    Also, be sure to hit a blog which you see accumulating buzz in social media channels. Chances are that blog will be a leader in its field after a year or so, so check out their backlinks and see if they are producing content that other bloggers and siteowners in their field are linking to.

What link building tips would you like to add to the discussion (linking explosion!)? Please feel free to share below.

Loren Baker
Loren Baker is the Founder of SEJ, an Advisor at Alpha Brand Media and runs Foundation Digital, a digital marketing strategy & development agency.
Loren Baker
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