anchor text definitive guide

Anchor Text: The Definitive Guide

anchor text definitive guide

This is an anchor text guide for beginners and advanced practitioners of SEO and link building. If you want to skip the first few sections and go to the meat part of it, you can click here to go to the anchor text optimization best practices section.


Anchor text is the visible and clickable text in a link.

ahrefs anchor text


To make things simple, let’s say I want to rank for the term, “link building” and I’m publishing a post for another link building blog with a link to my web page.

If I’d use these types of anchor text, here’s what the link with each type of anchor text looks like.

Exact match anchors – the anchor text is the target keyword you’re trying to rank for.

I’ve shared at SharpRocket a post about link building that includes all actionable tips you need to get quality backlinks for your website.

Partial match anchors – the anchor text contains the target keyword or keyphrase you’re trying to rank for.

I’ve shared at SharpRocket a post about actionable link building tips you need to get quality backlinks for your website.

Branded anchor text – the anchor text is the name of the brand.

I’ve shared at SharpRocket a post about link building that includes all actionable tips you need to get quality backlinks for your website.

Naked URLs anchors – the anchor text is not a word or phrase but the URL of the page or domain itself.

I’ve shared at SharpRocket a post about actionable link building tips. See it here:

Descriptive anchors – the anchor text is a description of what the page or URL is all about, it may or may not include the target keyword.

This post at SharpRocket explains what link building is all about and 101 link building tips that includes the exact step by step processes to apply each of those tips.

Generic anchors – the anchor text is a generic phrase that does not include the target keyword.

I’ve shared at SharpRocket a post about link building that includes all actionable tips you need to get quality backlinks for your website. If you want to check it out, click here.

LSI anchors - the anchor text is a synonym or related word or phrase of the target keyword you’re trying to rank for.

I’ve shared at SharpRocket a post about off-page SEO that includes all actionable tips you need to get quality backlinks for your website.

Image anchors – the anchor text is the alt text of the image.

image alt text


Before the Google Penguin update, websites can build massive article directory and guest post links with ~100% exact match anchor texts. This was not a problem for SEOs as they can literally automate everything, from prospecting link opportunities to putting these links into their desired pages, not considering the relevance between linking pages.

Private blog networks wasn’t a big option for link builders at that time too, since the usual massive spammy link building tactics is already enough in getting ranking results for websites.

But then Google Penguin came in 2012, which affect websites in different industries. As you can see in the image below, it shows a few statistics of niche websites that were hit back then.

inbound links anchor text graph


Anchor text usage on all inbound links is one factor Google considers in determining if a page should be penalized and be demoted in its organic rankings.

Aggressive anchor text or too much usage of exact match anchor text on all inbound links for a certain page isn’t a normal activity to think about. Websites with all backlinks that have more than 50% exact match anchor texts, “payday loans” for example is questionable to be natural in its backlinking method.


Google’s Gary Ilyes has been tweeted/asked questions on Penguiin 4.0 since its launched last September 23, 2016. One point he made is how Google Penguin targets a specific page. He clarified that it’s not just about the link, but rather the “source site” where the link comes from is what they also considers.

Questionable or penalized websites have much more risks to give to you when acquiring links.

To ensure you’re only building high-quality sites, you should check out the site’s organic traffic data if the linking site has a history of organic drop. This organic drop is a possible sign of Google penalty/ies.

SEMRush can aid you with this task, so be sure to have someone checking the site’s estimated organic data.

semrush organic traffic


Granular attack of Penguin to pages need to be demoted in its rankings isn’t any more new to the search engine optimization community (in Penguin 2.0, it seemed to be on page-level and keyword-level concerns already). The only thing that becomes clearer here is the word, “more”, which we should all consider as we work on the website’s link acquisition campaigns.

It’s just that Google is taking on account page-to-page or a few website parts as its consideration for penalties. In that sense, you shouldn’t be confident enough to think that spammy link building tactics you are doing right now won’t have a negative effect to your website’s health in the future.

More Google Penguin 4.0 Resources:



I’ve worked with a lot of SEO agencies and digital marketing agencies all over the world, catering 100+ clients throughout my SEO corporate experience and there’s one thing people are still confused about:

Are exact match anchors good for my rankings?

When you answer them “YES” right away, they’ll defend you with their “NO”s and just tell you to use generic anchor texts, like click here and go to this site because they think this is the best anchor text strategy.


Exact match anchor texts aren’t bad all.

In fact, Ryan Stewart had an interesting short case study of how he was able to rank for Miami SEO after he published a guest post on Ahrefs with the exact match anchor text: “Miami SEO”.

ahrefs guest post webris

You don’t have to think about the anchor text distribution percentage in your backlink profile - say 3 percent or 5 percent.

You can test for yourself building one or two backlinks to your page with an exact match anchor text.

Don’t be afraid. Your site won’t get penalized with 1 or 2 backlinks. After all, if you have hundreds or thousands of backlinks, those 2 exact match anchor text links accounts to less than 1%.

Check how the site will react to those two backlinks and see what movements your page will take you (e.g. from position 40 to position 12). You’ll then also see how tight the competition is for the target keyword you’re trying to rank for.


It’s so easy to be stuck with the idea of anchor text ratios. While having to run other SEO activities like technical audit, content creation and outreach, you still have to think about how to establish a natural backlink profile.

Instead of getting a headache with that issue, focus on link type. After all, why do you need to create a list of anchor texts with exact/estimate percentage if you’re aiming for a natural link profile.

That itself is unnatural.

A natural link profile is composed of backlinks with different link types.

Here are some examples of different link types.

1. Community-based link

inbound org community backlink

2. Referential link

reference backlink

3. Blog comment link
blog comment backlink

Don’t focus too much on anchor text variations, but ensure that you are getting a variety of backlink types for your website.

Note: There’s one exception here, I’ve seen websites that focus only on contextual (both earned and built) and resource types of links and they didn’t acquired directory or citation links, but are still dominating SERPs. But if you’re into local SEO, it’s a must to combine those contextual and resource links with local-centric profiles/association/directory links.

But if your site is plainly getting directory and citation links, with a few to zero contextual backlinks, that looks unnatural.


If you are still thinking what anchor text strategy to use for your link building campaign, let me give you one simple tip.

If you are reaching out to bloggers in your industry (assuming it is a linker outreach approach), let them choose what anchor texts to use.

As a matter of fact, they wouldn’t tell you what anchor texts they choose. They’d only give you a heads-up if they have linked to your page and you’ll see the anchor texts for yourself.

Most of the time, backlinks built using linker outreach method are in descriptive anchor texts. The advantage of that type of anchor text is that they encourage clicks from users.

While links can help increase rankings, their other purpose is to drive referral traffic.

Letting bloggers choose how and in what section of the linking pages they’ll add anchor texts with backlinks to your webpage has an effect to the number of visitors those referring sites will drive back to your site. Backlinks placed on the higher position of the content have high chances of more clicks.

more clicks more referral visits

One good example of this is the number of conversions (email subs) I’ve got from my guest post on GotchSEO. That post itself drove 100+ impression with 60+ converted email subscribers. That backlink is aimed to be clicked given that it was placed under the bonuses section.

gotchseo email subs graph

In cases where you have a control over anchor text usage, i.e. content distribution on other blogs, it’s imperative to understand LSI and Co-occurrence as part of your overall anchor text strategy.


Co-occurrence s the frequency and proximity of similar keywords across one context in a content. These are topically relevant keywords but not exactly the same with your ranking keyword.

Instead of frequently using your ranking keyword as your anchor text to be exact match, what you can do is to place your target keyword near descriptive anchor texts.

One good example of this are co-occurrences within links to Kaiserthesage. Here are a few examples:

co occurence kaiserthesage 1

co occurence kaiserthesage moz

co occurence kaiserthesage reddit

co occurence kaiserthesage searchenginejournal

Google understands the relevance of a link without having to use exact match anchor texts all the time. Adding co-occurrences to linking pages can help search engines fully identify the context theme of your website with its linking webpages.


When a linkable asset has been ranking for several long tail keywords, it’d be strategic too find untapped match keywords your content isn’t primarily catering to.

These are keywords you tend to rank (or had some impressions on SERPs) because your content has been highly perceived by search engines as worthy to rank for pages 3 or so.. (may not be visible on the first two SERPs pages).

The advantage when monitoring new keywords is that you’ll be able to upgrade your own content to cater new audiences or be more desirable to rank for newly found organic ranking keywords by adding some topical sections to your piece.

What’s the implication of this to your anchor text link strategy?

If you’ve added a new section in your content piece to service to those new organic keywords, it’d be additional anchor texts to use for internal and external manual link building. This will add more trust and authority to your content and help it dominate searches for those newly found organic keywords.


There is no such activity of finding new ranking keywords to add to your current list of target anchor texts, as you don’t want to use them all for exact match link strategy.

However, when trying to add descriptive anchor texts to internal linking pages and to manually build linking pages (i.e. guest posts), you have to know what keyphrases are thematically relevant to your target keyword. Thus, it’d be easy for you to write robust content with LSI keywords and strategically do co-occurrences on links.

Two simple ways to find related search phrases of your target keywords.

First, do a straight Google search for the exact keyword or keyphrase you’re trying to rank for. You can try two different searches, one is with quotes, second is without. See at the bottom of search pages related search phrases Google provides based on the keyword you entered.

Second, just type in your keyword and wait for Google to suggest more specific/relevant search phrases. You’ll find out that some of them aren’t included in your keyword list from Google Keyword Planner or other common keyword research tools you use. They don’t need to always have high search volume to decide whether or not they are good to target for content pieces.

Watch this video from Ryan Stewart on how he was able to drive thousands of organic visits to his eCommerce blog without solely relying on keyword research tools. He was able to gather new topics even from Instagram observation.

If you ask me, where is this going to? The answer is adding more keyphrases for your anchor text link strategy to be used for LSI keywords for internal and external content assets and to be better at co-occurrences on backlinks.


I’ve been discussing how to find new organic keywords ranking in your content, plainly because these are useful for you to upgrade your content to its next version (or to 10x content if it hasn’t achieve yet).

While you can simply just focus on your content’s search results performance alone, you’d want to try seeing new organic keywords of similar content pieces, which is normally produced by your competitors.

The only difference of this process, which I’d like to label as “Content Gap Monitoring” with the typical, “content gap analysis” is that you’re doing it regularly – as if part of your monthly SEO or content marketing activity.

SEO agencies that want to test this process out doesn’t have to worry about the time it’ll consume to run the entire process, as it is scalable through the use of Ahrefs, as our primary content gap monitoring tool.

First step is to find similar competing content, only choose content assets that are specifically ranking for your target keyword. If you’ve done a robust competitor keyword research analysis as your first SEO initiatives, you can skip this part already.

Second step is to monitor new organic keywords of competing similar content assets. Go to Ahrefs, then click into Alerts - New Keywords.

ahref new keywords

Click add alert button at the right section.

ahrefs add alerts

Choose URL as its mode, so you’ll only receive list of new organic keywords that specific page has been acquiring, not the whole domain. For volume, the default, “All” is good so you can also see low volume keywords.

For email frequency, it’s your decision whether to receive those organic keyword-centric emails weekly or monthly, but I highly recommend you go with weekly, to upgrade your existing content for potential ranking keywords as sooner as possible.

add alert ahrefs anchor text


With the recent Google Penguin update (most SEOs believe that it is indeed real-time), our activity to continuously monitor our site’s incoming links and make sure there aren’t any negative SEO isn’t anymore a tedious task for us (SEOs/link builders).

If you have read posts on Google Penguin’s specific effects on SEO activities, there’s no need to take some serious efforts in removing existing bad/toxic links to your website, as Google tends to devalue them anyway. So if site has been receiving new low-quality links from a Negative SEO attack for example, the efforts now shouldn’t be focused on removing those types of links, but on continuously acquiring new high-quality backlinks for your site (this posts of mine on how to get backlinks and actionable link building strategies will help you a lot).

What’s the implication of this to my anchor text diversification?

In cases where those incoming toxic links are on exact match anchor texts, you don’t have to focus your efforts on removing them from your backlink profile, but in driving new high-quality backlinks to your site. Since websites are dealt on a granular basis, those bad links won’t be affecting your site as a whole, only on parts where it should be affected.

Nonetheless, link audit is still a must. Google states that bad links are simply being devalued, the possibility of needing to disavow more links is unlikely. However, if you have a lot of unnatural links and never disavowed them, you need to disavow them. It may be the reason why you’re still not recovering from the penalty.

You still have to do some ground work of disavowing bad links. But keep in mind that while doing it, the focus shouldn’t just be there, but more on helping your site continuously acquire good links to boost your site’s health over time.

If it’s actually real time, your site can easily get recovered (and some have proven this to happen to some fully/partially-recovered sites) and there’s a lot more work now to be put into a higher-level link acquisition.


Other posts on link audit (which I highly suggest need to be updated) talks about managing existing exact anchor text links by converting them into branded links.

In my own experience, filtering your exact match anchor texts based on their quality should be every one’s link builders/SEOs’ first initiative.

Don’t spend time converting low-quality exact match anchor texts to branded links, as these will be devalued (if it’s negative SEO attack) or if they’ve been built by your past SEOs (do link audit and link removal/link disavow).

What you have to focus now is checking on only existing high-quality exact match anchor text links. These links shouldn’t just be any type, i.e. directory or any massive link types, but only editorial links that are manually built, i.e. guest blog post.

Whether or not these high-quality exact match links are affecting parts of your website, you should still be converting them into branded links (as possible as you can), by manually reaching out to webmasters where you’ve contributed guest posts in the past. Ask them if they are capable of changing those exact match to branded types of links. This should help some parts of your site not to be negatively affected by real-time Penguin.

Further Reading: Anchor Strategy 101

Now It’s Your Turn…

How do you diversify your backlinks' anchor texts?

Or maybe you have a question on how to implement any of the insights in our above list?

Either way, leave a comment quick below.

I'll be more than happy to reply to comments and answer questions.

So if you have a question, insight or new tactic, leave a comment right now.

link building 2019

Link Building 2019: A Change in Strategy, Technique and Mindset

This is the time of the year where many SEO professionals are fond of looking for the new and best link building strategies and techniques.

While being observant and continuously learning from folks in the link building scene through their webinars, posts, and tweets, I realize there's nothing new link building techniques to watch out for in 2019.

There may be a lot of updates in search, and everyone should be adept in knowing the latest trends, but in my opinion, what we should be more concerned about is how we approach our individual link building campaigns. And it starts with the proper perspective.  

We may call it a "paradigm shift". 

Paradigm shift, in essence, is a fundamental change in approach or underlying assumptions.
Source: Merriam Webster

Here are seven link building paradigm shifts we should consider in 2019. 

1. Master both strategic and tactical link building

Tactical link building, as Ross Hudgens defines it, is executing a link acquisition technique not matching to a specific market, but is scalable in nature for most industries. We know them by names like, "guest blogging" or "scholarship link building".  

While strategic link building is the reverse of that, generating links specific to what linking pages are visible in the market. They may have not been coined yet, but typically, they're a lower percentage of websites that are generating links using those rare models.

It's easy to spot what tactical link building strategies that are available in the market because they're focused on specific types of links. So, if you're checking if a website has a regular scholarship link building program, you can simply identify with this advanced search query, "scholarship" or dive in to their backlink profile using Ahrefs (or using other link analysis tools)

The difficult question to ask is, "How can you identify potential strategic approaches to link building?"

Given it's not predominantly used and perhaps, a lower percentage of linking pages are available if you find it, one must be diligent enough to check some backlink profiles. 

Here are some guiding questions that can help you in what to look for in them:

  1. What are the top niche websites in your industry have gotten into links lately? Any new or upcoming websites you've seen doing link building in your niche?
  2. Are there any patterns of linkable assets they are producing for the past months/years (i.e. surveys) that are difficult to replicate? 
  3. Are there any patterns of the type of links they've acquired for the past three months or so? (you can check this with Ahrefs new backlinks section)

4. Are there any non-dynamic (static) pages linking to the websites you are monitoring (i.e. counselling pages of high school websites)?

resource page for counselling

2. Pursue hiring team members or assistants or systematize processes

I've seen one-man link building team doing well in delivering a guaranteed number of links for a specific link building project. But if you're going to scale things, it won't be advisable not to hire assistants to work on some micro activities and secondly, systematize initiatives to speed them up.

I usually start with Google Docs and Google Spreadsheets - very simple tools to document step by step how you execute an activity of one phase of link building. 

Start with any phase, for example, outreach, and think of one activity you repeatedly do that sucks most of your time and could be done by someone else. For instance, the task of finding email addresses is a common yet not fully delegated to juniors and assistants in the team.

Remember this: do not hire new employees without producing process documents. Process documents help you stabilize outputs in the quality that you want. Of course, there will be mishaps, but overtime, you could revise some of the inputs in your documents to adapt it to your new activities - for example, using a new tool for the process.

3. Produce timely and evergreen content 

Timely content with trending and occasional topics (e.g. Valentines-based content) could gain organic links that are not replicable in other times of the year. It's illogical to think they're not highly-valued links compared to links that last when you produce an evergreen content.

Those links from time-sensitive content, if coming from niche authoritative sites, can add a boost bump to some of your keyword rankings and can overall affect positively the entire website.

With evergreen content, you can relaunch another outreach campaign and not just the one you pursued after you have published it. Once evergreen content is updated, not for the time relevance, but to add new information that will suffice more needs of the targeted users, you can start another outreach campaign to pull more links from the market. 

4. Be extremely good at meeting expectations with a goal-oriented mind 

Meeting expectations is critical in link building, not just SEO. Both parties should agree beforehand what to expect from each other, I'm referring to parties of businesses outsourcing link building projects and the link building firms or solo SEO consultants executing the work.

Expectations should include:

  • Timeframe of work
  • Timeframe of deliverables
  • Resources needed to execute the project (budget, content assets, approval from senior management or other departments)
  • Contact persons in both parties (proper communication is critical!)

Whether the project is deliverables-based or geared towards improving results of organic traffic, it should be cleared in both parties.  

Mindset Change

With shifting your mind from quantity-driven approach in link building to delivering the best work of value possible, you'll have more chances of getting a good slice of the lucrative industry that we have and of course, the testimonials of businesses returning for more work as they've accomplished their key objectives in partnering with you. 

link metrics

How to Use Link Metrics

Nowadays, the pursuit of links has been based solely on a specific number set on link metrics. If a link opportunity is not higher than a set standard, i.e. DA30, then it's not worthy to pursue at all or has absolutely no value.

Sidenote: This post is inspired by David Farkas' old post on domain authority vs relevance and a tweet by Jon Cooper.

Will the numbers be all that you should base your decisions whether a link opportunity is good or bad?

link metrics

For years in building links for clients, we've always come across people who deeply care about just metrics, i.e. all links should be higher than DA30, otherwise we wouldn't pay for those links. Some business owners don't have any idea at all and only demand high quality links ONLY where quality is pretty subjective from the service provider themselves.


Proper education in the community

The common knowledge of what's valuable and what to pursue will normally become the basic foundational model of those who're starting out in the industry and/or those people who're looking to invest in search.

When most people say this particular metric is the right one to pursue when qualifying link opportunities, it wouldn't be hard enough for new non SEO-savvy people to accept it as their own.

Though that may be a good thing, as it looks like a common understanding, it may leave some good opportunities at hand.

There are verticals where there are only a handful of link opportunities available. Setting a high standard on metrics may leave you missing out on good relevant opportunities — ultimately not maximizing the campaign opportunity.

Frequent wild changes on metrics

If you're reporting links solely based on metrics, you often encounter this situation.

You prospected a potential linking opportunity and saw its DA to be 35. You go through the process of filling in your list with more link targets - reaching 300 qualified targets. When you visit the page again to find an available contact information — the DA goes down to 29. Now, you get stuck whether to pursue the link opportunity or not.

If you're highly reliant on only one metric number, you'll have trouble with these quick changes given it'll affect the quantity rate of your qualified link prospects.

A very good advice from Jon Cooper that can battle against these frequent wild changes on metrics: 

Natural links may be lower than metric standards

There are links that can be acquired naturally, i.e., when writers found your content by searching for resources on Google and linked to it from their content at the stage of their writing process.

Most link builders and SEOs devalue natural links as  these may not have passed a certain metric benchmark. When common sense isn't a common practice, you don't have to worry about metrics at this time — these are natural links built effortlessly. It makes your link acquisition process for that content semi-automated.

Though you'll have to do the groundwork of manually building links to get your content ranked first, and earn natural links, the tremendous benefits by making it as a link magnet is staggering.

Links that drive clicks

It's not good when you're too focused on metrics, preferring it over relevance. Given that relevant targeted links can drive referral visitors that may in turn to be more valuable than any high number metric links that are irrelevant to your page.

This is pretty obvious but time and time again, I've found link builders scaling link acquisition on DA70+ resource pages with over 300 outbound SEOly links (which have been apparently pitched by different kinds of link builders) and of which you're less likely to get clicks and link juice if you happen to build links from them.

If you prioritize clicks from links, then there are some hints that will help you figure out if there's a potential click on a link on a page.

I'll be using resource pages as an example here.

Page with link categories

When looking for references for a project research, it would be too hard for you to find the exact references you need when there are no categories or sub-sections that'll group links on the page.

You're less likely to click on any of the links and might look for another similar resource page.

categorized links resource pages

Assuming you get a link, it'll be somewhere placed in unclassified manner.

It is best to look for resource pages where links are categorized into sub-topics, as it'll be easier for users to find your resource and click on it. 

Descriptions for links

Descriptions given for each link provide context to readers that allows nudges for decision as to which link to click on.

A resource page with descriptions for each link can entice clicks. But without them, links would have divided attention for clicks.

descriptions on links

Hundreds of outbound links

Similar thing with attention. A resource page with hundreds of outbound links (all battling for the attention of a visitor) is less likely to give your desired clicks.

List of resources not placed on the main section

You may come across a page entitled as an Industry/Audience Resource Page, but links are placed somewhere on the page not likely to be clicked (e.g. bottom right section). You may get a link in this case, but you may have a low potential for a click.

Links from pages that drive traffic

It's easy to say you have to acquire links that can generate traffic to your site. However, practically doing that is a different thing.

There's an approach to maximize the effectiveness of your link building campaign by focusing on acquiring links from that pages that can drive traffic to your site.

In April, Ahrefs has improved one of their core functionalities - search traffic of a referring page and the number of referring domains to Ahrefs "Backlinks" report - which allows you to gauge high-quality linking pages from a traffic perspective.

traffic to links

What you can do is to grab your competitors' domains, see their backlinks reports, and identify ones that are driving them significant amount of traffic. This can be likely your initial link building approach when you have a new client or project to work on.

You can easily figure out the value of potential linking pages and not guess enough how much potential traffic you can get from the page.

For further reading, you may want to check out this good resource by Julie Joyce on why your metric blindess may be harming your link dev efforts. 


Link Building 2018 - Observations, What Still Works, My Appeal to Link Builders and More

2017 is over. And I'm sure you'll start seeing posts or tweets on SEO predictions/trends for 2018, or something similar like best SEO/link building tips/strategies.

Instead of giving you another round-up post today, I'll share to you some of my observations for the past year 2017 and what I've been looking forward to see this year. I added a few rants appeals to link builders today- hopefully a few of them help improve your own process.



For the entire year, I've heard many business owners say that links don't work for their sites.

Sad to say, but the root cause of their disappointment is not that their acquired links are of less value, but rather their websites themselves are broken from an on-page perspective.

creative manila

Too many sites have duplicate or thin content, there are important pages (even linkable pages) that aren't index in search. So on and so forth.

I'd highly recommend to fix your site first. Get someone to do technical audit. See if there are pages that are broken. Get it optimized before reaching out to link building companies and asking for help for additional links.

Links won't solve your on-page/architectural issues. They should be fixed first before you build links.


Both quantity and quality of links are important. It's not an or, but both.

The reason you need more links, even if you have just acquired 25 high-quality links this month is that there is link attrition - meaning 5 or 10 of links you've built last month may have fall off the link graph after 6 or 8 months.

There are link losses.

lost links ahrefs

If you're in a competitive search space, this becomes critical. You should start taking a look at your top competitor sites. Plug them into a link building tool and know instantly that they have an ongoing link building campaign, month by month.

So if you can outpace your link losses by generating more links every single month (or even every week), you'll likely to get more value from links --especially today that more businesses (not just SEO agencies) are outsourcing work for links.

You know that more business owners are seeing the value of investment for link building. Some even have a separate budget for it besides content and technical SEO.

Maximize low-cost and low-hanging link opportunities to get consistent links for your site. Check your past content and start re-optimizing them. You might have increased their rankings and start earning links from a natural approach (publishers start referencing content that ranks for topical keywords).

Quality and quantity.


This is probably your first time to see this included in a white hat SEO post.

Unfair as you can see, but I've seen a lot of ranking pages in different niches where direct referring domains are considered to be part of a private blog network.

There are PBNs that are easy to figure out by only checking if websites have similar webpage design.

Some aren’t difficult to get by. Each website/blog has unique page design, with unique content pieces.

Google could easily identify obvious PBNs but for ones with invested content and are really optimized for search and users, it would take years before they could get caught.


For the past few years, a lot of SEOs are shouting link earning. Create good content and links will come. That is true for some niches, but not all.

There are markets where you literally have to build links manually first before you start ranking and earn links. Some don't even have to rank, but because of referring links, potential linkers could naturally see and link to the content.

But that strategy doesn't happen overnight. 

If you are starting and are outpacing your competitors with huge content assets (linkable ones), you have to grow your link profile from the ground. That could only happen if you do manual link building.

That means you have to pitch linkers with your irresistible offer (unique value proposition) that'll make them link to you.

Naturality of link acquisition depends on niches and types of sites. The more commercial your site, the lesser the probability you could acquire links naturally. But that doesn't mean you can't.  You sometimes just have to build links manually first.


Email inboxes of publishers/linkers are exploding because of several link pitches. Knowing that, I've seen a few link building veterans who start experimenting on other ways to connect to the person in charge for the target link/site/page besides sending him an email.

Going after your outreach prospect with nothing but an email template you've passed on to several others, won't improve your outreach process.

Our team uses several other platforms to reach out to potential linkers and get noticed. Some may just initiate engagements on social at first, but the returns are worthwhile as we are able to obtain what we desire.


The cool thing about me being a blogger and not just a link building practitioner is the idea that I get to hear a lot of link building campaigns from my email subscribers, followers, and even SEO authorities who get their hands dirty on link building.

In 2018, I'll be seeing more posts from SEO authorities who continuously test different aspects of prospecting, qualification and outreach.

No, you probably won't see a new BIG link building strategy coming over. But there will be tens, if not hundreds of tweaks/changes (must say, improvements) to old and current link building tactics that we have right now.

A few examples:

Those subtle things that you do in prospecting, outreach, and even link building principles in general can do wonders in results for your campaign.

Note: Below this post, I listed down blogs and twitter profiles you should definitely follow for link building advice and tips that bring results.


When starting out, adding trust signals to your site is important to your initial ranking success.

Sadly, I've seen new websites don't even have basic social profiles and relevant directories.

I know it's 2008 when you talk about directories. But there are a few legitimate ones that can be valuable to your website. BOTW for example is a good directory - not every new websites would dare to submit homepage links to it.

botw directory

Get your website submitted to legitimate directories. Create profile links.

Those link types still work.

8. 10X WILL BECOME 20X IN 2018 

As more people (more marketers) are getting educated on the current trend of SEO and content marketing, there would be a long-line of high-level content creators who would try to dominate each serp in respective niches.

That being said, if you have a market that's fairly new, it only waits a few years before someone can rank a page dedicated to topics covered in that industry.

A niche search result pages that have tens of ultimate/definitive/best-of-all guides will soon be replicated to other search markets.

The bar of standard quality for content increases as more marketers gets skilled in creating user-satisfying content that also being loved by search engines.

It may take months or years. But 10x will become 20x.


Second-followups for homepage ask and building landing pages with blog content are just a few of the things we will be seeing by next year.

Building links to commercial pages is difficult. But with a few tweaks to outreach and by maximizing tp-of-the-funnel pages, there will come a few more tactics that could help scale building landing page links. 

So, that's the 9 things I observe throughout the past year - 2017 (and some predictions for 2018).

Next is I'll be sharing my appeals to link builders in 2018, particularly those who want to reach their next level link building.

Here we go:



If you are starting, getting a ready-made email template from an SEO blog is good. But if you want to level up, you need to create your own email outreach templates - ones that reflect your client's offer/USP and one that is personalized but scalable.

If you're still using outreach template examples that are read by thousands of SEOs around the world, you may have not understood yet the basic principles of outreach.

common outreach email guest posting

It's good to start with a basic email outreach template. Tweak some elements of the email (body/subject). Start from there and make changes based on results.

Have an internal A/B testing in outreach if you have a team. This also helps avoid outreach repetition that occurs when one of your team member sends personalized pitches to outreach prospects day-in and day-out.

It's not that creative task if you do that overtime.

But when someone creates an email template from scratch, it gives room to creativity and allows internal testing to be made for certain outreach campaigns.


There are link building tools that some considered to be all-in-one SEO or link building suite. But if you take a deeper look, you wouldn't see one that best fits all your needs.

Knowing that, you may want  to start creating your own internal tool (either just purely for prospecting or outreach or even both).

For example, my good friend Jeff Oxford created his own internal link building tool for his team at 180 Marketing (which is now publicly available for subscription). Having tried several outreach platforms and link building tools that are available in the market, he has decided to create one that solves both link prospecting and outreach efficiency issues.

link hunter

I'll write a review about his link building tool in the coming weeks or months.

But the point is, if you haven’t had searched for one link building tool that can sustain all your needs as a link builder or link building team, you may explore creating a tool for yourself.

If that sounds costly to you, you may simply just use different tools in the market and try as many as you can. I recommend ones that are free because, at times, they could give you little fixes to things that you need (e.g. VoilaNorbert for contact email finding).

Pro tip: Save monthly premium cost by using Ahrefs export service on Fiverr ($5 only for exporting backlink, organic keyword, referring domains, top pages and top landing pages of 10 domains).

fiverr ahrefs export


Scholarship links have been around for a long time.

For a time being, you can get high-quality edu links right off the bat.

Create a scholarship program and publish a page specifically to that. Reach out to .edu student personnel. Send scholarship information. Done, you get links.

Some even get better value of links if their scholarship program is niche-specific (for example: legal scholarship program).

legal scholarship program

Easy links for most SEOs, right?

Unfortunately, many link builders and webmasters abused the tactic.

If you're doing this tactic at scale for all your clients, it's unethical not to pay your scholars. There are students complaining about companies who fail to actually pay out their scholars and/or didn't event release an announcement about whose students actually won the scholarships.

This reality happens in the SEO community where link builders just bait scholarships for edu links, but aren't willing to pay what is due them.

Pay your scholars on time.


This may not be an appeal obviously, but this is worthy to say as we start the year.

Many webmasters rant that link building is dead, only to find out that they haven't fixed issues in specific aspects of link building that may somehow the reason why their link building doesn't work for them.

One issue I have seen multiple times with SEO agencies is their high level reliance on automated tools to find the correct person to contact at a given website or organization.

Those tools are great. They give you several email addresses at hand, some even choose one contact email among tens available. But considering that you're looking for one person to address your needs, you should probably look for him/her and not randomly get it from the tool.

For example, if you're running a scholarship program, contact a financial aids / students guidance contact person. If you're aiming for a link from a specific page, check the page itself for any visible contact email and get that. Want to get your infographic published on the site? Look for the blogger's contact email, and not, or - these emails won't reply either or forward your email to the right person - if you're lucky.

Sometimes you have to spend a few minutes to match name (which you've found on the site's about page) and domain name by using Voila Norbert just to get one contact email. It takes hard work even in manual contact finding.

clearbit finding email address

It's more efficient to get someone whose role is to find the right contact person and his/her respective contact email, which could definitely increase your email response rates, than rely solely on automated tools giving you contact emails that could either not respond to you at all or just forward your email multiple times to multiple contact persons (but not the correct one).

I hope most SEO agencies get this right by this year. 


When you are willing to put in the level of work that is needed to get the quality links that you want, you don't just get the results alone, but you are able to spot problems, and even reflect things to improve along the process.

To give you an example:

I've shared this in my local link building post, but I want to throwback a little bit. There are a few local tactics not everyone has tried yet for their local websites, but pretty simple and effective as well.

First, job board pages. There are a lot of this type of links pages that can be acquired legitimately for your site. Prospect them through Google searches like the following:

  • "job search" "resources" [CITY]
  • "employment" inurl:resources [CITY]
  • "job hunting" resources [CITY]
  • nurl:careers [CITY]

Second, local "new to an area"pages. Get these types of link prospects through the following searches:

  • local laws in [CITY]
  • quality schools in [CITY]
  • tourist information [CITY]
  • local attractions [CITY]
  • things to do in [CITY]
  • how to get here [CITY]
  • volunteer listings in [CITY]
  • moving and relocation in [CITY]
  • my neighborhood in [CITY]

Third, local housing resources. Want to get this kind of link targets? Search using:

  • "off-campus" housing [CITY] "resources"
  • "student housing" [CITY] "resources"
  • "internship housing" [CITY] "resources"

And more…

You don't find these link opportunities by simply reading a newly published SEO post today. You've got to put in the work.


Learn to decipher link patterns. Once you've found a new website worth checking out for links, get that immediately into a link building tool. Look at the backlinks profile. Analyze their new backlinks. If you see the same link type over every month in his backlink report, that's a sign they constantly building that type of links.

Is that a current link building strategy you know? Or is it something else? Test it if it's new and see if it works for your site as well.

Go and check the website's top pages (you can use best by links or best by link growth feature of Ahrefs if you're using it). What type or format of content has been gaining several relevant links?  Do you see also see the same type of content in other relevant websites? How about with your competitors? Is there a pattern that you see?

When you build that kind of habit, there's no place you won't find any relevant link opportunities in your space. The advantage? Those links may probably be so difficult to build, your competitors couldn't replicate easily.

But then again, it takes hard work to do that.

link building work


Here are some link building readings you may have missed in 2017 but are definitely worth checking out:

  1. Link building case studies, myths and fails by Paddy Moogan
  2. Category page link building for e-commerce sites
  3. When the big links aren’t on the table this is the link building advice you need to read
  4. 11 Lessons Learned from Failed Link Building Campaigns
  5. The Essential Guide to Building Local Relationships and Goodwill, Nationwide
  6. How to Get Homepage Links from Resource Outreach
  7. How to Quickly Find Unlinked Mentions and Build Links
  8. Creating Influencer-Targeted Content to Earn Links + Coverage
  9. 8 Actionable Ways to Loot Your Competitors’ Backlinks
  10. Why ‘fresh prospects’ are your hottest prospects
  11. Is the phone the most underused tool in link building?
  12. Broken Link Replacements for Better Link Conversion
  13. 7 Hard-Hitting Local Link Building Tactics for Small and Large Businesses
  14. How to Build Authority Links to Your Website
  15. 13 Advanced Link Building Strategies You (Probably) Haven’t Used
  16. Image Link Building


  1. SiegeMedia
  2. Kaiserthesage
  3. Builtvisible
  4. SharpRocket
  5. Moz (still produces great link building resources from time to time)


  1. Jon Cooper
  2. Cyrus Shepard
  3. Jason Acidre
  4. James Agate
  5. Ross Hudgens
  6. Paddy Moogan
  7. GarrettFrench
  8. Glen Allsopp
  9. Melanie Nathan
  10. Julie Joyce

If you liked this post, subscribe to our newsletter and follow me on @venchito14.

Need help with your link building campaigns? Check out our link building services here.

How to FuturePoof Your Links by Determining Lifetime Link Value

How to FuturePoof Your Links By Determining Lifetime Link Value

As defined by Wikipedia, life-time value (LTV) is a prediction of the net profit attributed to the entire future relationship with a customer.

This business concept enables entrepreneurs and marketers assess payback of advertising spent in promoting a product/service.

Replicating this same principle to link building campaigns can enable us to future proof links by considering their long-term effect on the pages they’ve linked to.

What is lifetime link value?

Lifetime link value is a self-evaluated prediction of the entire value of a backlink target to assess its potential impact to its destination pages. (coined by Ross Hudgens).

The great thing about using lifetime link value is that it can serve as a basis in determining the worthiness of getting a link from a page/site through its potential referred traffic, branding and assisted conversions, and by considering the resources you’ve put into place to acquire the same link (cost for content, time for prospecting/outreach, etc..).

There’s no absolute metric to measure individual lifetime link value of backlinks. However, knowing what makes one link more valuable than the other (because not all links are equal) can help you set standards in qualifying link targets and in prioritizing outreach based on which sets of link prospects can potentially bring long-term results for your campaign.

Link Value Factors

Search engines use a wide range of factors to determine how much weight each link on a page may pass along.

The Reasonable Surfer model, which was discussed by Bill Slawski in his 2010 post covered these three determinant sets of link value:

    • features associated with links
    • the pages these links had been placed
    • pages being linked to

In detail, examples of each link determinant set are stated below.

Examples of features associated with a link might include:

1. Font size of anchor text associated with the link;

2. The position of the link (measured, for example, in a HTML list, in running text, above or below the first screenful viewed on an 800 X 600 browser display, side (top, bottom, left, right) of document, in a footer, in a sidebar, etc.);

3. If the link is in a list, the position of the link in the list;

4. Font color and/or other attributes of the link (e.g., italics, gray, same color as background, etc.);

5. Number of words in anchor text of a link;

6. Actual words in the anchor text of a link;

7. How commercial the anchor text associated with a link might be;

8. Type of link (e.g., text link, image link);

9. If the link is an image link, what the aspect ratio of the image might be;

10. The context of a few words before and/or after the link;

11. A topical cluster with which the anchor text of the link is associated;

12. Whether the link leads somewhere on the same host or domain;

13. If the link leads to somewhere on the same domain,

• Whether the link URL is shorter than the referring URL; and/or

• Whether the link URL embeds another URL (e.g., for server-side redirection)

Examples of features associated with a source document (the page being linked to) might include:

1. The URL of the source document (or a portion of the URL of the source document);

2. A web site associated with the source document;

3. A number of links in the source document;

4. The presence of other words in the source document;

5. The presence of other words in a heading of the source document;

6. A topical cluster with which the source document is associated; and/or

7. A degree to which a topical cluster associated with the source document matches a topical cluster associated with anchor text of a link.

Examples of features associated with a target document might include:

1. The URL of the target document (or a portion of the URL of the target document);

2. A web site associated with the target document;

3. Whether the URL of the target document is on the same host as the URL of the source document;

4. Whether the URL of the target document is associated with the same domain as the URL of the source document;

5. Words in the URL of the target document; and/or

6. The length of the URL of the target document.

In the continuation patent (deeply discussed by Bill Slawski in his 2016 post), user behaviour on the page seems to be emphasized more as an important factor of link valuation. A link with high probability of being clicked on a page carries more weight than other links on the same page with no actions by users.

Further Reading:

Visible Determinants of Lifetime Link Value

Evaluating links on a naked-eye standpoint is feasible given that there are visible clues that can be found on potential linking pages.

While some determinants provided below may require first-hand analysis on websites’ backlink profiles, it will only take less than 2 minutes of your time to generally evaluate a website/page for a link opportunity.

1. Topical Relevance

Relevance, no doubt, should be the primary factor when evaluating the value of a link target. In fact, the majority of top link builders/SEOs in this latest round-up post prefers a highly-relevant link but low authoritative link than a high-authority link with lower relevance, considering all other metrics being equal.

I’m fortunate enough to participate in the group discussion by sharing my insights on the topic:

“I strongly believe that relevant links have a bigger impact on the algorithm. More so, authority is pretty subjective, as metrics available on SEO tools out there can be flawed; how users/website visitors look at sites is mostly based on the relevance and utility of the information they’ve found on a given page.

“Also, in terms of scalability, you’re likely to get a bigger list of highly relevant link prospects, sitting in a very specific niche, than finding only high-authority sites with your choice of metric. Plus, if you’ve been reaching out to a webmaster, it makes more sense for them to give you a link if they think you’re highly relevant to their sites.”

Lifetime link value goes up when a certain page is highly relevant to your website. Meanwhile, if it’s a link off-topic to the destination page, its LLV certainly goes down.

One approach that you can use to determine the thematic relevance of a page is by using Majestic Backlink Analyzer.

The tool allows you to get an overview of the topical trust flow of a site.

majestic topical trust flow

Use this approach only for certain sites that you’re unsure of with relevance requirements.

Another tactical approach you can use for topical relevance is by checking the site’s list of categories. For generic blogs like travel, some of which have second-level deep categories like medications/insurance, you might find good link opportunities to acquire links from on a page-to-page relevance basis.

category - travel

However, for niches with large linkable market audience, it isn’t a good idea to obtain a link from a domain with no category fit.

2. Evergreen Linking Source

The timeliness of a topic can either recede or raise a backlink’s lifetime link value.

An evergreen content idea like “how to tie your shoes” for example is less likely to become extinct than a marketing technique in SnapChat (who knows there’ll be another set of social media sites and new tactics to effectively use them?).

While trends can be taken advantage of for new linking opportunities, acquiring a link from an evergreen page can result to better ROI. It can help continuously drive traffic to your content as long as people can find the information on the linking page relevant and useful.

Given that the source page can improve its visibility by itself, getting in-content links directly to your content from publishers who are looking for references for their works (in addition to to the evergreen content they’ve seen) is also highly possible.

addiction resource page

3. Link velocity

Domains that market themselves are great opportunities to build links from, as they continuously bring new visitors from organic channel (when they happened to rank for several industry keywords) which will then drive secondary traffic to your content.

Link velocity can be a visible determinant of the page’s marketability.

Link velocity describe the speed of link growth to a page or domain. Link velocity can be measured in new links per month or new linking root domains per month (LinkResearchTools).

Pages with steadier link velocity slopes tends to have a better LTV.

link velocity slope

Similar to evergreen linking topics, they have the leverage of acquiring new visitors and potential customers from being able to rank for organic keywords. Given that they’ve been getting inbound links over time, they also have the tendency of improving its current search rankings - which can increase its lifetime link value.

For example, this page where I’ve acquired a backlink is getting consistent amount of links (see its link velocity graph).

scalable link building post link velocity graphThis has allowed me to semi-automate leads coming from the page itself (even after 1 year of being published).

scalable link building post feb 2017

4. Temporal Links

Temporary links obtained through a “link renting” approach (similar to renting a house) have the lowest lifetime link value. Their value is predicated on the period of time the link remains sustained by the fees of the link buyer.

This type of links depreciates its link value, which can negatively affects the rankings of the content being linked to.

Imagine if a page is ranking within the top 3-5 spots for a target keyword and after a few months, 6 out of 10 of its temporal links have been removed by bloggers - this can certainly affects the page’s ranking.

While this hasn’t been proven by any study, the point in bringing this up is that temporal links can do more harm than good in the long run. Resources consumed for this type of links can be better off spent to links with high LTV.

4. Frequency of Updates

Determining the page’s frequency to updates or maintenance can help better assess its lifetime link value.

frequency of updates

Static pages like resource pages with no updates since 2013 collects broken external links over time and is less likely being receptive to link request outreach pitches (some webmaster even planned to remove these pages).

Though these sites linking to 404s won’t be demoted by Google (as Gary Illyes answered Jennifer’s question), they are still perceived to provide a sub-optimal user experience. If you’re checking links on a resource page and find that most of them are broken, you wouldn’t take a chance to visit another link on the same page, even if it’s working in the first place.

No-longer-updated pages have low lifetime link value, as there are less likely to drive new visitors to their destination pages (their external links). Search engines won’t even try to rank these pages as they no longer updates information which are essential factor for search engines to decide which page deserve to rank for in search.

5. Link Neighbourhood

Checking the page’s link neighbourhood (other external links placed within the target page) is an imperative part of the link qualification process as it helps you better assess a backlink’s LTV.

A blog’s page with five commercial off-topic links is a low valued link neighborhood you certainly won’t get clicks from.

link neighborhood

Check external links on the page and see if they’re mostly linking to commercial pages that aren’t thematically relevant to the content.

As a link building company, it has been part of our protocol not to acquire a link from a blog page with more than five external links and/or with a direct competitor link, unless the context of the page is a pure recommendation of services/products (i.e. top 25 productivity tools).

6. Indexability and Ranking Potentials

Indexability is fairly obvious, if a page isn’t indexed by search engines, it won’t certainly be found by target users. But there are potential link acquisition targets that are great opportunities on a naked eye view (well-designed and can potentially drive site traffic), but aren’t indexed by search engines in the first place.

To check if the site is actually indexed at the current time, you can use the command, and see if its pages are on search results (homepage should be at the #1 spot).

site domain command

But more than that, target pages should at least rank in the first page for long-tail and/or low competitive keywords. The title tag of the homepage may not be worth assessing for in terms of rankings, as they may not be in the ranking positions yet. But going through its URL (target page), you should expect it to be visible in the first page of search results given that it’s targeting less competitive keyword than the homepage.

Ahrefs recently studied 3 million searches discovering the average number of keywords a page can rank for. They discovered that a page ranking for 10th, for example, can also rank for other 400~ related keywords.

ahrefs also rank studyContent that are both indexed and ranking for target keywords are high-LTV pages that are worth pursuing for links.

If you liked this post, you can follow me on Twitter @venchito14.

pbn private blog networks

Are Private Blog Networks (PBNs) Worth It In 2017?

pbn private blog networks


I always get asked by SEOs, particularly those who have their own agencies why I’m not using PBN as my go-to-strategy in link building.

I’m not an anti nor pro private blog networks. If it works for you and you told your client the risks of doing it, that’s fine. Otherwise, you’re blindsiding your client.

This post reveals data of the return on investment of a private blog network.

I received 75 responses to the survey I did this month on everything about private blog network.

Let’s see what we’ve gathered here.

Note: This survey was done to gather simple data on the cost and time investment they take them to some immediate rankings for their websites. This is not the end all and be all of ROI on PBNs.

How many websites do you have in your PBN network?

number of websites pbn network

Respondents are heavily engaged in a Private Blog Network, with 37.3%, (28 of them) have 50 to 100 websites in their private blog network. A few reached out to me that admitted they even have a larger size, 100 or more websites in their database.

How much does it cost you to start each website? Including Domain, Private Whois and Hosting plus a few articles to start.

cost starting pbn website

Similar to any website creation and development, private blog network owners take the time to setup a domain, Private Whois and hosting plus creating a few content pieces or pages to get started with it.

A whopping 59.5% of respondents invest $50 to $100 for each of their websites.

Among the 59.5% who invested $50 to $100, 15 of them have 50 to 100 websites, only 11 have 1 to 3 websites.

If you do the math, the highest prices might go between $2500 and $10,000 total setup cost! It’s a big amount for those who are just starting out and want to get immediate results.

How many hours every week do you spend for web development, content, plugins, etc.. for each website? – maintenance

hours consumed for private blog network

Let’s get to know the number of hours private blog networks owners spend for each of their PBN sites.

Over 37.3% of them spend less than an hour every week to maintain each of their websites. It may include adding SEO plugins, developing each webpage, publishing new content and other maintenance activities.

Out of 37.3 equivalent to 28 respondents, 10 of them have 50 to 100 websites while 6 only have 1 to 3 websites.

When you do the math, the longest time a PBN owner spends each week for all his websites ranges between 50 to 100 hours! It amounts to a full-time day job.

Do you outsource content for your PBN sites?

outsource content private blog network

More than half of the respondents outsource their content creation tasks to freelance writers. If they have tons of websites (50 to 100 or even more), it’s wiser for them to outsource content as it is obviously time-consuming.

If yes, how much do you invest for outsourcing content for each site? (61 responses)

cost outsourcing content private blog networks

Among the sixty-one respondents, 49.2% or 30 of them invest $25 for the content of each of their sites, only 8.2% or 5 PBN owners spend $100 and up for outsourced content creation.

Out of 30 private blog networks who spend $25 content investment for each site, 9 of them have 50 to 100 PBN sites, only 3 have one to three websites.

If you do the math, the total cost for outsourcing content for PBN purposes is between $75 and $2500.

Do you use any SEO tools? How much do they cost?

cost seo tools private blog networks

To scale some SEO processes like link audit, PBN owners definitely need SEO tools to help them with their work.

Sixty-percent (60%) of respondents invest less than $100 per month for SEO tool subscription. Others (twenty-nine percent) have $100 to $500 investment on search marketing products which will add to the total cost of their investment for private blog networks.

How many months do you see results in rankings to your money website(s) using PBN?

months result private blog networks rankings

The real deal here is how many months they see search ranking results from their efforts. Fifty-two percent of respondents confidently say that they see immediate results within 1 to 3 months of doing SEO activities.

Let’s do the math both for those who own 3 websites and for those who have 50 websites.

Total cost of 3-site PBN network for three month period (though three sites alone couldn’t be considered as private blog network by some SEOs in grey/black-hat industry) is $525 (sum of $300 on website setup cost (3 month period) and $225 on outsourced content creation - 3 month period).

I doubt if they’re getting results from three websites alone.

The total cost of 50-site PBN network is $12,500, the sum of $5000 on website setup cost and $7500 on outsourced content creation (3 month period).

Do you monetize your PBN network? How much do you earn every month?

monetize private blog networks

Aside from getting returns on investment from using private blog networks for their money websites, most, if not all, PBNs get returns from monetizing their own PBN networks. A large portion (66.7%) earns $100 to $300 per month. Others get $500 to $1000 and $1000 to $3000 every month from their PBN network monetization. I assume the latter two have more PBN sites than the former.

Different Ways to Invest $4000 a month ($12,500 for 3 months) Into SEO

1. Content creation

Content-based SEO strategies, especially if it is heavily invested in evergreen content can stand the test of time, and you’ll see initial and long-term results from this kind of work – increase in conversions, lead generation, so on and so forth. You can learn how to be more practical with content creation with this content writing post.

2. High quality backlinks

If you seriously want to focus on acquiring real backlinks that have growing traffic and can be placed editorially on highly relevant sites through guest blogging, targeted outreach and other link building strategies, you can invest that same amount $4000 a month on hiring one or two link building companies or hire a team of link prospects and outreach specialists to do the work for you ($4000 can hire 10 Filipino virtual assistants already). Automate it with proper link building sessions/trainings and management.

Further Reading:

Now it’s Your Turn…

If you are getting a return on investment using PBN network, then good for you. Take risk and let your clients know about it.

I know this is a controversial topic.

Do you have any questions about private blog networks? I’m not an expert on it (I don’t have one), but will ask other SEOs to come by and answer the questions for you.

Or maybe you have any insights or thoughts to add?

Either way, leave a quick comment below.

I'll be more than happy to reply to comments and answer questions.

off page SEO

21 Off-page SEO Techniques You Can Use Right Now

off page SEO

Off-page SEO hasn’t been all about links. We have social data, brand signals (linked or unlinked mentions), citations, reviews and sentiments that search engines can use in evaluating relevance, trust, popularity and authority of a website/page.

For link building in 2016 and beyond, the ability to understand these external website concepts and to use effective off-page SEO techniques can help you with in influencing a website’s ranking power.

Before we get straight to the practical part of this off-page SEO guide, here are some valuable insights about off-page SEO from top link building experts.

[yellowbox] [/yellowbox]


Off-Page SEO refers to link building and all related activities & actions focused on growing our Website popularity, happening outside of it, and therefore the name.

aleyda solis

Aleyda Solis, Founder of Orainti

Off page SEO to me is any kind of optimisation that takes place away from the site itself. Generation of signals from third party websites to tell Google that the thing you are optimising deserves to rank. The main part of this is obviously link building but increasingly can incorporate other things like social.

james agate

James Agate, Founder of Skyrocket Digital

Off Page SEO means doing anything from an external point of view to assist with SEO efforts. This could mean link acquisition, building mentions, using a PR agency, building your brand off site to have a positive impact on your websites SEO.

james norquay

James Norquay, Founder of Prosperity Media

Using these principles as solid foundation, let me walk you through the 21 off-page SEO techniques you can immediately use right now for your website.



similar content prospecting tool

Websites that linked to a content or resource similar to an asset page published on your site are more receptive to outreach than any other link prospects primarily because of their linking history. When they had linked to a particular page, they are likely be interested to its similar resource and consider it for a possible linking opportunity.

Topical relevancy and higher link acquisition rates are some few notable advantages when you reached out to said link prospects.

Given this, here is how you can find these high-quality backlink sources:

STEP 1: Enter niche-specific keywords (related to your content) in Skyrocket’s Similar Content. This tool will automatically generate high-quality prospects that are linking to the top ranking pages for searched keywords.

similar content prospecting search

STEP 2: Export domains and list them in a Spreadsheet or you can plug them to your favorite outreach tool.

similar content prospecting search results

STEP 3: Reach out to webmasters and publishers of those potential linking sites and ask if they’ll be interested to look at your content piece. Here is one example of an email template that you can use, which is actually for follow-up purposes.

Hello [ NAME ],

I contacted you a few weeks ago to share a resource that I thought you may
find of interest, and you informed me about your upcoming blog/site
update. I was wondering if you’ve been successful in the update and had a
chance to review my message; a copy of which is provided below for

We’ve launched a really detailed guide to [ TOPIC ] and I
thought you might be interested in seeing it - [ URL ]

If you are still updating this page -
[ URL ] then perhaps our guide might
make a useful addition.

Please let me know if you have any questions. And if this isn’t for you or
you’d rather I didn’t get in touch in future please let me know and I’ll
be sure not to send you any other messages.

- [Your Name]



The ability to scale content assets without sacrificing qualify differentiates average content marketers from excellent ones. A year ago, Ross Hudgens shared one strategy on how to create incredible content assets at a low cost. It is with the use of content templates.

Content templates are simple formats of successful content assets from other verticals or other brands that can potentially be replicated to your own content marketing campaigns. Two good examples of these content templates are these posts by Hubspot about habits for hyper-productive people and habits for content marketers.

The Hubspot’s content marketing team found this “habit-type” content template to be a good blog post framework. People simply want to emulate habits that make other people successful in whatever field they belong. Thus when you publish content like this, it easily gets traction from many people – acquiring multiple social shares and earning referential links from publishers.

How to find content templates that are likely to earn links naturally?

STEP 1: Find popular content-producing sites in your industry and use Buzzsumo to look for their most-shared content pieces.

buzzsumo search tool siegemedia

STEP 2: Take note all possible content formats and list them down in a Spreadsheet.

most shared content buzzsumo

STEP 3: Create content pillars based on your preferred content formats. This would require testing but when you see results from first published content, you can replicate this to every sub-niches in your vertical (check out my definitive guide on blogger outreach) .

definitive guide to blogger outreach preview


Though Google doesn’t count outbound links as a direct ranking factor, knowing how to properly link to relevant sources externally is still a best practice in the search industry. External linking to credible resources and useful content produced by influencers helps an initial boost of promotion to your content piece. Maximizing this strategy is a sure way to put more eyeballs to your asset.

How to execute this properly?

STEP 1: Search for influencers in your niche whom you can easily connect with. You can use Buzzstream or a simple Google search to discover this kind of people.

google search personal finance bloggers

STEP 2: When starting to create content, try to find relevant blog posts of influencers. You can use the search phrase, “keyword” or intitle:”keyword”. The latter search strings are more useful because it provides the most targeted results - finding pages that discuss the whole topic, not just including your keyword in one paragraph.

google search intitle outreach

STEP 3: Once you publish your content, reach out to these influencers using direct email outreach. Results from this are either social shares or contextual links from publishers. Even if you got one social share from an influencer, this can be worth a hundred of traffic to your site.

Hi [ NAME ],

I saw your website and found that you linked to one blog post about [ TOPIC ].

Just thought that you might find my definitive guide on [ TOPIC ] also useful. It is a rich content that contains an [ DESCRIBE YOUR CONTENT ].
[ URL ]

Kind regards,


If you’re aiming to capture small segments of your target market, one way you need to invest in is creating micro sites. This method can enable your brand to build high quality links your competitors can’t easily copy, as well as give your site more opportunities to attract potential clients/customers.

One good example of this branding strategy is how Aleyda created two micro sites that provides a lot of value to the SEO community – All SEO Guidelines and The Marketer Toolbox.

Both of these sites target segmented audiences, the first one helps SEO practitioners (both in-house and agency-level) while the second one focuses more on marketers and tool creators.

Now, how can you identify your specific market segment and create a micro site out of it? Below are a few steps to get you started, but if you want to take the whole process, you can check out this posts by and this guide by..

STEP 1: Go to your Google Analytics data. Look at the top performing posts with high conversion rates.

google analytics top performing posts

STEP 2: Determine what market segments you can tap that isn’t going too far from your main content theme. For example, in my case, I can create micro sites for link building tools and templates/checklists for link acquisition given that I’m currently offering link building services.

STEP 3: Once you choose an overall theme for your micro-site, buy your own domain name and hosting. In terms of the site’s content development, you can produce scalable content pillars like round-ups on an actionable topic, interview series and user-generated content.

remoters interview series


Guest blogging has been an effective off-page SEO technique for many startup marketers building their own brands from scratch. What makes this more effective is the ability to craft solid content that isn’t a carbon copy of another piece or a revision of a blog post published on one popular blog.

The challenge in guest blogging is really writing an expertly-written content that won’t just acquire a single link but will potentially get second-tier links from blogs linking to the contributed piece.

One way to be able to do this is using interviews as guest entries for other websites. Given that answers from industry experts are most likely to be actionable, helpful and experience-based, they can be considered as solid content for guest blogging. Here is how you can execute this process:

STEP 1: Find publishers and book authors using Google search or influencer prospecting tools.

google search seo influencers

STEP 2: Reach out to these niche experts and do an interview with them. Below is an email copy you can use:

Hey [ NAME ],

I hope you're doing well.

Just want to tell you that, [ WEBMASTER NAME ] who manages the [ SITE NAME ], gave me an opportunity to guest post at [ URL ] and am planning to do a short written interview with some of the below bloggers and I was requesting if you can be one of them.


If so, I’ve attached a short written interview that you can use to share your tips or ideas.

If you’re interested in including screenshots as part of real life example, you’re welcome to do so.

The topic of discussion is [ TOPIC ]



STEP 3: Use their answers as guest content for your target blog. Check out these examples of interview-based guest posts.

uklinkology guest post interview


Using social media platforms like Twitter for link prospecting is a strategic approach for link builders to find new bloggers and publishers that aren’t yet found through Google search. With this, you can expand your list of outreach targets without actually depending on search engines as your primary source of target domains.

Besides getting additional backlink sources, you’ll also be able to tap influencers that have strong massive reach both in web publishing and social if you try using social media as your main link prospecting tool. In other words, you get more benefits when you do an outreach to them since they won’t only be linking to your content, but they’ll also share your content to their existing followers. This can allow your brand to acquire more backlinks from their followers’ blogs as well.

You can start this by using simple Twitter searches to find bloggers in your industry. However, if you are doing bulk prospecting, you can scale the process by using Listpedia.

Listpedia is a new self-made search and creation Twitter tool that can generate massive Twitter lists relevant to a particular keyword.

Here are three steps on how to use Listpedia for link prospecting:

STEP 1: Go to Listpedia and search for a particular audience you are aiming to reach out to (e.g. personal finance, finance or insurance).

listpedia personal finance search

STEP 2: Check each individual Twitter profile in the search results to see if they have their own blogs or websites.


STEP 3: Once you think a particular website passes your link metrics (Ahrefs rank, DA or Trustflow), you can include it to your outreach list, find his email address and send a pitch via email. Below is an email copy you can use:

Hey [ NAME ],

I saw your profile on Twitter while doing my research, and also saw that you are part of this Twitter list [ URL ]. 

Just thought that you might find my post about [ DESCRIBE YOUR CONTENT ] really useful.  [ YOUR CONTENT URL ]

Have a great weekend!

All the best, 



Creating remarkable content may require experiences and case studies from your own brand that gets people into action - after they consume the content. Case studies that take days, weeks or even months is really time-consuming for content creators.

However, there is one way to easily add data-based experience that won’t cost you money. That is, including a data from an influencer/expert you’ve had a relationship with. Since there is a connection involved, the influencer won’t look at it like stealing his ideas as you initiate asking for a permission to use his data.

I did this strategy when I wrote my old post on increase blog traffic where I included an experience-based tip from Roel Manarang – a local-based social media marketing expert. He backed up his claim with a case study of a Facebook strategy, not even shared on his blog, at the time I inserted his technique to my blog post.

Here is how you can use post-preview in your content creation phase:

STEP 1: Identify influencers you had relationships with (grab your list from off page SEO techique 3). Filter the influencer list by expertise these influencers have been known for (i.e. link building, off-page SEO, conversion rate optimization, etc..) and choose those you think can collaborate with you once you create your next content.

outreach list

STEP 2: Reach out to influencers and ask if they’ll be interested to add some insights to your upcoming post. You can try this email outreach copy below:

Hello [ NAME ],

I know you're quite busy today. But just a quick heads-up if you're interested to contribute insights to my upcoming post about [ TOPIC ].

I would like to know if you have any experiences and tips regarding [TELL MORE ABOUT YOUR UPCOMING POST]. 

Let me know your thoughts. 

All the best, 


STEP 3: Include the influencer’s tip to your content and start to promote it to people who might like your link to your post.

include data roel manarang


Google understands the relevance of a brand towards its connected domains in the industry sphere based on the keywords and context of each content produced in the website. Knowing this, you will create additional content based not only on the industry terms you want to rank for but on keywords you could potentially rank.

This is doable in three steps.

STEP 1: Go to Google Keyword Planner and plug in your homepage in the landing page search. You will then see a list of keywords Google considers to be relevant industry terms of your brand

landing page sharprocket

STEP 2: Choose among the list of keywords which of them you will likely to target for your next content.

content ideas google keyword planner

STEP 3: Include industry terms when writing your content in order improve LSI relevance of your website.

google keyword planner keyword integration


Engagement marketing involves two sets of groups: those who are part of your networks and those you still need to reach out to – commonly referred as “direct outreach”.

The good thing with direct outreach is that you don’t need to invest a huge amount of money and chunks of hours to start with. There is actually a less-costly way to effectively build relationships with influencers and authors who are part of your direct outreach.

James Norquay from Prosperity Media showed how a set of cupcakes from his client can strengthen relationships built with their brand partners.

Another example of this link relationship building technique is when Larry Kim of Wordstream sent letters of appreciation to customers and to people who became a great part in building his brand.

Want to know how to execute a strategic approach in engagement marketing? Here are actionable tips to start an effective community engagement.

STEP 1: Identify one valuable thing you can offer to your brand followers or potential brand ambassadors.

prosperity media cakes

STEP 2: Think of ways on how to deliver your gift to your list of recipients. It could be through international or local shipping and/or online transfer system if your gift is a virtual product.

STEP 3: Once the gift is released, you can track web and social mentions from influencers using BrandMentions.


The nature of searchers in this age of web usage is leading towards search activities in very niche-targeted search engine sites and community sites, where people would look for answers to their frequent questions from niche community sites instead of going straight to their favorite search engine tool.

Identifying these websites where a portion of your target market hang out can allow you to acquire referential links that your competitors haven’t thought of building for their own sites.

The community-based backlink below is a good example of how powerful branding could help you semi-automate your brand’s link acquisition process. If you look closely at the answer, it is not a result of our marketing work, but from a person who trusted our expertise – Anton Shulke. We actually did a webinar for his website and the benefit becomes mutual in the form of a link pointing to our brand.

How can you leverage branded link acquisition (off-page SEO) in community sites?

STEP 1: Create a list of outreach prospects that include your current brand followers, customers and clients. Your brand followers could be any person you’ve built relationship in the past either through content distribution, exchange of business ideas or as simple as being your co-member in an offline/online niche group.

STEP 2: Look for relevant discussions that can potentially drive highly converting visitors to your site. In my above example, the keyword that I used is best SEO agency in Manila. The trick here is to use the site: search operator plus the keyword – e.g. “best X in Y” to generate targeted discussion pages.

quora best seo agency

STEP 3: Reach out to your outreach prospects and ask if they can participate in the discussion. If they are your loyal customers/clients, they’ll likely give a recommendation to your brand.



Link reclamation is probably one of the first initiatives when doing a strategic off-page SEO campaign for a website that has an established authority in its vertical. It is because there is a higher probability of getting your first set of in-content links simply when you reach out to people who are familiar with your brand and had used your resources in their content works.

In addition to tracking mentions of your content assets, you can also do the same strategy to your competitors’ resources. There are many types of content assets you can actually track to see if there are publishers or bloggers who used your competitor’s content in bloggers’ websites but not crediting their original sources. A few examples are images created by the brand (infographics), mentions of your products, embedded Youtube videos and other content that deserve a credit in a form of links.

How to use competitor-based link reclamation strategy to your own advantage?

STEP 1: Identify the top performing pages of your competitor’s site by using CognitiveSEO and using the number of referring domains and page authority as your performance metrics.

cognitiveseo top pages

STEP 2: Track upcoming mentions of chosen resource/content of your competitor using BrandMentions. The tool will automatically notify you if there are new mentions, whether they are linked or unlinked on other content distributing sites.

brandmentions skyscraper-backlinko

STEP 3: Find a resource of yours that is similar to your competitor’s content. Reach out to the blogger and pitch him showing your related content. You don’t need to ask for a link, it will be automatically given once they perceive your content as valuable.


Reverse image search is an effective off-page SEO practice that helps link building practitioners to find out blogs where the image has been embedded. If the blog is linked to a wrong image source, it is best to ask him for the proper credit.

Though this off-page SEO technique is mainly used for link reclamation, you actually apply this same strategy to your link prospecting process. How?

STEP 1: Find a competing visual asset in your industry. It could be the infographic you tried to post on your blog that gained massive social shares or a generic image created by an expert in your field. You can use a simple Google image search like “infographic” “industry” to find these popular visual content assets.

infographic co sleeping

STEP 2: Grab URLs of these visual assets and plug in your favorite reverse image tool to find websites that embedded them.

tineye image results

STEP 3: Add those websites in your spreadsheet as your additional backlink prospects. Reach out to them with a unique proposition, not necessarily for the purpose of image link reclamation.


Aligning brand strategy with your off-page SEO process enables you to strongly build relationships not only with like-minded bloggers but with entities in the same vertical. This helps your brand to position itself on the web and on its specific field by being perceived as a credible and trustworthy website by search engines and by target searchers – because links coming from trusted websites are good indicators of a site’s trustworthiness.

One simple branding approach is collaborating with niche influencers and authors for content creation. Given that they had industry experience in web publishing and massive audience following, touching based with them assures the quality of a content asset and a more effective content promotion than doing it alone.

How influencer outreach starts?

STEP 1: Find influencers and authors in your niche who’ll be interested for content partnership. Do a Google search for “guest post by” [ industry ] to search for this kind of personalities.

guest post by parenting search results

STEP 2: Identify what kind of mutual benefit you can offer to your outreach prospects. It could be asking them to answer a set of interview questions, to be compiled and published on your blog, or cross-publishing content pieces – i.e. embedding your infographic to his blog in exchange for a guest article on your site. One pro tip here is to actually look at your prospect’s latest articles and see what type of content they usually publish and in conjunction to your content publishing – what type of asset do you want to test out on your website.

made to mother articles

STEP 3: Send straightforward pitches with strong value propositions to capture their interests

Useful Resource: 50+ Ways To Increase Website Traffic (Roundup)


Targeting high-profile bloggers who are likely to convert into linkers is one main objective of a blogger outreach campaign. But that’s going to be really tough it you don’t know how to find them.

Searching the web for potential linkers is one initiative you can start in your link prospecting process. However, your search phrase (keywords plus search operators) should be very specific as possible to get the most refine results from search engines.

One off page SEO technique to be very specific with search pages as well as to increase response and link acquisition rates in your outreach is to actually use in moment options in Google search. This means that pages that will appear in search results are assured to be published within the past hour or past 24 hours from the moment of search.

How to start with this link prospecting technique:

STEP 1: Do a Google search for your preferred search phrases.

diy tips home decor

STEP 2: Filter the results by date of publishing (Search – Date – hour or 24 hours).

past 24 hours filter

STEP 3: Gather those pages that are relevant to your niche and put them down in a list. Qualify them based on your link metrics and reach out to them afterwards.


Links has been a top ranking signal in search today and this has been proven many times - see these posts at SEOAuv about link importance and this experiment on Moz on how long links can influence rankings).

Links help websites rank in organic search. This is unarguably true. However, many marketers forget other objectives of links like driving visitors to a linked page. If it does generates visits, acquiring links can also become a very strategic approach to increase followers, subscribers and brand advocates.

If you are distributing content to other blogs – i.e. contributing a guest article or providing answers to interview questions, make sure you only add niche-specific resources to your contributed piece. If the topic is email list building, don’t add any pure on-page article to content unless it is contextually relevant.

State the value of a referenced resource by giving readers a preview of the information the content includes. The best way is to actually use longer strings to describe what the content is all about.

niche hacks link


weekly newsletters

Email newsletters are good sources of information from publishers. These information could either be a curated list of links from top articles of the week or preview of a new blog post posted on hosted blog.

Getting featured in these newsletters is a very powerful branding/marketing strategy, as it allows your brand to distribute its own content massively to a different audience which will also help you increase your existing followers if you absorb active social sharers from other blogs. Eventually, when these followers are fascinated with your blog content, they will eventually be your brand advocates who might be interested in linking to your content assets from their own websites and social profiles.

That’s why identifying newsletters that allows external linking to other relevant sources is a huge advantage for marketers. Exclusive feature in newsletters becomes a profitable off-page technique nowadays.

Follow this simple step-by-step guide to get featured in topical newsletters:

STEP 1: Create a list of blogs that feature top resources in newsletters in a monthly, weekly or daily basis. You can also check out your current list of outreach prospects to find newsletter-featuring websites.

Once you’re done with the list, take note how periodically these blogs send emails to their subscribers by looking at some obvious statements on their available opt-in or landing pages in their websites.

STEP 2: Subscribe to these blogs’ email lists and know what kind of resources these newsletters usually link out to (identify similarities in form, length and theme).

doz email opt in form

STEP 3: Constantly provide actionable and useful content on your blog to build a strong readership following and to get recommendations to be featured in other blogs’ newsletters. If you are not getting any exclusive email feature after months of content publishing, you can try reaching out to publishers in your earlier contact list and ask if they are interested to see a new useful guide or resource.

newsletter feature


qeryz lifetime recurring commission

Relationship building matters in online marketing as it helps you build a strong following base that is capable of introducing your content to a new readers, who might actually be your potential linkers.

Bloggers, especially those who are professionals, are part of a market segment that has the highest response rate among all online users simply because of their availability and full time access to the web. Building relationships with these bloggers allows you to dominate a particular part in your market segment, given that their followers could also connect with you for different forms of partnership. This is a compounding effect to your branding campaign since you will get a double portion of the market – your target bloggers and their followers as well.

The best way to initiate this off-page SEO technique is to offer an affiliate program or a referral commission system to attract bloggers in reviewing your products or services. Here are some steps you can follow through:

STEP 1: Create a list of bloggers who might be interested to write a review about your product/service or might share some stories and insights with your offering.

STEP 2: Segment your list of bloggers based on their social following base (Twitter followers), authority and their websites’ factors (i.e. referring domains, domain authority, estimated organic traffic in SEMRush). You can also add the format of content they usually produce on their website. If they can produce more than one – i.e. articles and webinars/videos/podcasts, it’s a good sign that they can engage their audience with different content types, which is very important in retaining interests of your target visitors while consuming your product/service review.

STEP 3: Prioritize reaching out to authority bloggers. Offer them a higher commission rate so you can easily entice them to write a review about your offering. You can also make cross-publishing an additional value proposition in your outreach. The idea here is to make the off-page SEO strategy beneficial for both the blogger and your brand. For example, your brand will get an additional following base and potential customers from the product/service review and the blogger will also have an advantage of co-branding himself by publishing an article to your brand’s blog and adding it to his portfolio or about page (as featured in….).


Finding a person’s name and email address is the initial phase in link building outreach. This is where most of your outreach initiatives will depend on given that if you find wrong contact details, obviously your pitches won’t be taken to the right place.

When finding outreach prospect’s personal details, it’s very important to use effective web-based tools such as Clearbit. I personally use Clearbit as an alternative tool for Rapportive because the product is capable of giving you free email address of the person you’re contacting to, not only validating it if it’s actually working.

How to use Clearbit for initial pitch:

STEP 1: Install Clearbit to your Gmail Chrome Extension.


STEP 2: Click “Connect” link at the upper right side of Gmail and choose “find an email”.

find an email connect

STEP 3:  Type in the homepage URL of the site you’re extracting email address from. The tool will automatically provide names of people working for the company and/or are included in the website. Choose the person you’d like to connect with.

clearbit moz contacts


Link prospecting is the initial phase in link building where you’ll start to find possible link targets from verticals that are relevant to your website. This is also where your entire link acquisition campaign will depend on, as this initiates the process and helps you identify what particular methods you’ll be performing to acquire links from your target backlink prospects.

Creativity matters in link prospecting since you have to choose the right keywords that will be able to generate refined page results in search engines.

One off-page SEO tactic we’ve been using for our link research campaigns for our clients that are very effective in providing high quality blogs is adding the number of comments to a specific link prospecting phrase. Here is how you can exactly do it:

STEP 1: Add comment plus number to your prospect keywords (“comments(8)” “keyword”) and generate results on search.

parenting tips google search

STEP 2: Qualify results based on your brand’s link metrics. Discover new backlink opportunities by checking links inserted in blog’s comments.

STEP 3:  Try using the following comment-based search phrases to collect more backlink targets:

  • “disqus” “keyword”
  • “commentluv” “keyword”
  • “notify me of follow up comments” “keyword”


The ability to dominate a market segment, particularly if you are a local brand, highly depends on the brand awareness you build in your local community, whether through offline or online.

Local link building nowadays is leading towards partnerships with local organizations and institutions as well as really getting into the minds of your customers (mindshare), which is a solid combination of a off-page SEO strategy that can certainly impact your lead generation process.

One easy way, but mostly overlooked off-page SEO technique in building local links is creating niche profiles.

I’ve noticed this recently when we had a vacation last month that instead of searching in Google for best restaurants located near our vacation place, we go straight to a popular local website that features nearby restaurants and food stores – Zomato (which is actually a recommendation of one of our friends).


Having said that, creating local brand profiles that are targeted to an industry you’re trying to promote your products/services to, is a handy technique you’ll generate high returns from your marketing efforts.

Other Useful Resources:


Brand building is the new link building and off-page SEO strategy in digital marketing today, given that when brands become true to their core values, messaging and personalities, it becomes easy for them to penetrate and dominate their target audiences.

There are many ways to send a strong brand messaging without actually hard-selling your products/services, below are some steps you can apply:

  • Identify your brand’s core competence, to be able to know where you would put most of your efforts.
  • Invest in creating comprehensive resources that will give the best answers to commonly-asked questions in your industry.
  • Provides satisfaction and excellence to existing customers or clients so you'll acquire hard-to-built links that your competitors can't easily copy (see this link we've earned recently).

agency analytics link

Here’s How to Get Even More Subscribers

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Well I’ve got something special for you.

A free step-by-step checklist that includes actionable steps for all of the 21 strategies here…

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18 Habits of Highly Effective Link Builders

habits highly effective link builders

Many resources and articles recommend about effective link building tactics, processes and methodologies that are necessary to provide result-driven link acquisition campaigns. Unfortunately, they don't often give tips on how to become a better link builder in general.

Last week, I reached out to top link builders and asked them one question:

"What is(are) best habit(s) of a link builder?"

Here's what they said.


 julie joyce
Julie Joyce, Founder of LinkFishMedia

I think that being able to perform a solid competitive analysis is key for any good link builder. twitter-button If you are part of a team and someone else does this, that's great too, but someone needs to be able to really sit down and critically analyze a profile. In my mind, one of the best pieces about this is from my lovely friend Jane Copland who wrote about it a few years ago. There have been many posts about competitive analysis but this one really sticks in my mind as being incredibly well done.


john doherty

John Doherty, Founder of GetCredo

The best habit of a link builder is constantly reading. twitter-button I think this is an important habit because link builders need to be aware who is writing online and where they write. The Internet has moved away from everyone having their own place to write and instead moved to a place where writers write for many different publications. You don't go to TechCrunch to read everything - you find a writer there you like and read all of their stuff.


lyndon antcliff

Lyndon Antcliff, Founder of CornWallSEO

Yes they all mean the same thing, but link building isn't that complex. There are really only 3 ways to get a link. Ask someone for a link. Pay someone for a link. Build some content and hope that the people who see it will link to it (with a bit of promotion of course).

You can mix this up of course, but it's essentially all the same. I could drone on about various tools and the techniques of the day, but if you ignore the fundamentals you become a slave to those who are marketing tools and techniques.

Link building is very simple and there is no need to complicate it. twitter-button


debra mastaler

Debra Mastaler, Founder of Alliance Link

Setting RSS feeds for a list of terms and reviewing them daily is the best habit a link builder can adopt.  Keep in mind it matters less what you do and more where, and being first can often trump being "best". twitter-button Know where the sources are and what's breaking in your space.



John-Henry Scherck, Growth Marketing Manager of DocSend

The best outreach professionals that I know have great focus and discipline. twitter-button They don't check FB, Reddit, Twitter every twenty minutes. They diligently work through tasks and keep their heads down. They execute. They prospect more sites and send more emails. They are efficient.


devin harper

Devin Harper, Marketing Director of  Nifty Marketing

Understanding how  and where to build links in a Penguin era doesn't come without consistent reading and studying. Link acquisition is the most difficult aspect of SEO to master and is often a struggle for online marketers. The most important habit link builders should develop is learning something new every day. The more you know, the more you can do. There's a lot of valuable material out there from Eric Ward, Michael Martinez, Jon Cooper, Garrett French and others who have devoted countless hours to mastering link building and they share their tips and tricks freely in most cases. Successful link campaigns all start with an idea twitter-button - and the more you read and learn about link building, the more ideas you'll generate when the time comes. A tool I use to stay organized and on top of my studies is Pocket. It allows you to save videos, articles and pretty much anything to read later.


dave schneider

Dave Schneider, Founder of Ninja Outreach

I think the best habit is patience. Link building takes a long time, even if you know what you're doing (which, most of us do). twitter-button It also comes with a lot of rejection, so in addition to patience add perserverance to the list. We've been building links at NinjaOutreach since early last year and we've tried a ton of different methods like product reviews, guest posts, and broken link building. In the last few months our traffic has increased 50%, so it pays off!


dev basu

Dev Basu, Founder of Powered by Search

Communicate with empathy: a personalized message that shows that you've researched your link prospect will go a long way to getting a positive response. Don't forget to follow up: in-demand publishers and bloggers get a lot of email. Don't assume that they'll get your's if you don't follow up. The key is to have value added in your followup and to personalize it. twitter-button Ask contrarian questions: Pretend you switched places with your link prospect. Is the content you're getting pitched worth enough to link to if it were your own website?



Andrew Shotland, Founder of Local SEO Guide

Bathe regularly so your links are clean. twitter-button Do the things people aren't talking about. No one is giving away their best link building secrets. Implement your outreach with consideration for others' failures so you don't have to fail causing you to resort to expert roundups to attract links


dan petrovic

Dan Petrovic, Founder of DejanSEO

Grow your network of contacts and friends at all times, not just when you need a favour. twitter-button That said, don't obsess over numbers. I recommend forming fewer, more genuine relationships that stem from a common interest, engagement or conversation. A great way to start would be to help someone out even when they're not asking for it or sharing their content with your followers.


benjamin beck

Benjamin Beck, Creator of the Link Building Class

There are two common habits I see in some of the best link builders I look upto, they are: always contributing and fun or friendly outreach. Once you contribute to a publication it is much easier to contribute again. Also it makes it easier to contribute to other publications. These link builders have a lot of connections and can easily link to quality content. A lot of outreach I see in my inbox is dry and distant. When I look at the outreach of good link builders they are usually fun, friendly, and have much higher results. twitter-button


marie haynes

Marie Haynes, Founder of His Web Marketing

My number one rule when it comes to link building is to think of whether or not this link would have any value beyond improving rankings. twitter-button For example, a link on a high PageRank resource page that never gets seen or clicked on may not be as valuable as a link on a blogger's site that actually sends you traffic and clients. Each time I pursue a link I think, "Would I still be going after this link if it was nofollowed?" If the answer is no, then I have to step back and look at what I'm doing to make sure that I'm not straying outside of Google's guidelines.


moosa hemani

Moosa Hemani, Marketer at SEtalks

This is an interesting question and answers can be different for everyone depending upon the experience they had. If you ask me here are the few habits that I want to see in any link builder within my team.

Attention to details – Link Building isn’t about sending template emails and asking for links. It’s about building relationships twitter-buttonand starting conversations over the email, social media or even on the phone. If a person has an attention to details, he must have an opinion on the subject, which can lead to conversations and later relationship building.

Reading Habit – This one is important. As a link-building you should read a lot. This includes books, blogs posts, articles, white papers and not only related to your own subject but about other industries (especially the one you are working for) as this will give you extra knowledge as well as an edge over others within the game.

Writing – No, I am not saying you have to be a full time writer in order to be a good link building but you should know how to sketch your ideas on paper in the form of words and sentences. This will help you craft the kind of emails (conversations) that help you get links and more.

These are the few things I would look for along with other things like, attitude of learning and growing as without it you can never be a good person in general.


peter attia

Peter Attia, Online Marketing Consultant of Cucumber Nebula

I think the best habit is tenaciousness, even if it’s automated. What I mean by this, is making sure to continue to follow up. twitter-button For our link building process at Modernize, we follow up at least two times with every person we reach out to, no matter where they are in the funnel. So if we’ve been talking to someone and don’t hear back for a while, we reach back out at least two times afterwards to try and keep the conversation going. Overall, this accounts for a significant percentage of our responses.


james norquay

James Norquay, Director of Prosperity Media

  • Someone who knows how to be creative.
  • Someone who knows how to reverse engineer competitive link campaigns.
  • Someone who is not afraid to email people at random to secure links.
  • Someone who is not afraid to pick up the phone to secure a high quality link.
  • Someone who has good work ethic and is keen to secure only the best links.
  • Someone who has great English and knows how to structure outreach emails.
  • Someone who can work for long periods of time to secure the best placements. twitter-button
  • Someone who has good motivation.


steve morgan

Steve Morgan, Online Marketing Consultant at Morgan Online Marketing

A good habit to have is to look beyond the pure SEO value of a potential link twitter-button , such as its DA (Domain Authority) score or whether or not it is dofollow/nofollow. For example:

  • Does it have the potential to actually be clicked on and drive referral traffic?
  • If it's something like a guest blog post, what's the site's social media following? Do they have lots of Twitter followers who might the see and RT the post, for example?
  • Could it open up other, further opportunities? For example, leaving a blog comment (nofollow) on a site once opened up the opportunity to guest post (dofollow), as the blog's owner loved our comment and wanted to write a full-on post about it.

I've actually opted for lower-DA opportunities if I've thought that other (non-SEO) benefits could come out of it.


paul may

Paul May, CEO and Co-Founder of Buzzstream

The two things I see people do that typically has the biggest impact on the success of their link building efforts are

  • Before sending a single email, put yourself in the shoes of the recipient and have a clear answer to "what's in it for me?" Way too many people send emails that asks for a link without thinking through the reasons that the recipient would want to link to their content.
  • Develop a thorough process that includes prospect discovery, prospect research, initial outreach, follow-ups and measurement. twitter-button If you nail down your workflow up-front, you'll be significantly more efficient and your conversion rate will improve.



Razvan Gavrillas, Founder of CognitiveSEO 

One effective technique that I use is the Unlinked Brand Mentions Technique. I've created a habit of checking the cognitiveSEO mentions on a daily basis. Isolating web mentions is important.

From an SEO perspective, a web mention is completely different than a social mention. It's has a different impact on the rankings. We check all but regarding the link building perspective I will focus on the web mentions. We eat our own dog food and use the Brand Mentions tool for tracking the mentions. From time to time I get mention alerts regarding blog posts that mention our brand and don't link to our site.

Since the authors of those articles are already familiar with cognitiveSEO, getting a link from them is a breeze. We see response rates as high as 95% on the outreach that we do. If you are interested to know more about this, here is an in-depth article on how I build relationship and links using the unlinked brand mentions technique and not only.

I also don't build links, directly. I craft content that resonates with our readers. twitter-button Exceptional content gets exceptional coverage. It simply generates exceptional mentions. Those mentions are then converted into links using the technique mentioned above. Link building is mostly brand building these days. This mindset allows me to grow our brand ethically and organically.

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