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How to build backlinks to rank your websites.

anchor text usage

In offsite SEO there is nothing more important than building backlinks to your websites. If you want to rank then you must learn to do it properly. In this post I explain to you the main elements of link building & give you some really useful tips and advice.

One of the most important elements in link building is the correct usage of anchor text. It is the most common mistake and for sure the most misunderstood element of SEO in general. I can not express to you enough, how important correct anchor text usage is in this modern seo era. And of course the entire link building process needs to be properly planned.

Regardless of where the link is coming from. Be it PBN SEO or any general link building strategy. The anchor text needs to be very well thought out! In the centre of planning your anchor text there are some seriously important factors. And you need to understand them absolutely.

Facts about link building & anchor text usage that you must grasp fully.

  1. Each keyword you are trying to rank for. Will have its own set of rules as far as anchor text is concerned. For example one keyword set may have 13% exact match anchor text usage (EMA) & another may have only 2%. So Keyword research is essential, before you can even think about planning is usage for your own keyword set. Do not listen to any SEO guide that starts talking about a standard anchor text % to be following. This is absolute rubbish. Every keyword set is different and needs to be planned properly!
  2. You need to also look at the dates each link was placed. And what anchor text was used. Then build a spreadsheet with this data. You can then see a very good visual plan of the time frame over which the links were built and in what orders the anchor texts where being used. This is the plan you need to be working to. Normally you are just told to look at overall anchor text usage. But believe me this is not good enough. You need to be smarter than this! Once you get the grasp of this, you can start looking at ways to out rank them by looking at link quality, power and all these things.
  3. Anchor text falls in to a few main categories. So make sure you understand them fully so when making the spread sheet in step 2, you can properly categorise the links and anchors! I will give you more information on these categories below.
  4. Pay a lot of attention to the placement of the links. Not all of them are equal & you want to include this data in your spreadsheets. For example are the links contextual? Image? Where on the page are they coming from. Footer? Top of page? Side Bar? If they are coming from the page and are contextual, how many other links are also on that page? Is this link at the top or the bottom? This information is very important to understand. Because when it comes to outranking your competition, all these things come in to play. It is quite a technical subject to be honest and has a vast array of different effects and side shoots. One example is; If the backlink is contextual, but on that page there is 20 other outbound links and this link is position 10 on the page. It is safe to assume that if you got a backlink from a site that is 25% weaker than the one this link is on, but you are the only link in it. Then your link will actually be stronger. A lot of attention also needs paying to the page the link is on. Many people only look at the home page seo metrics of a website. They forget the inner pages are a very different matter. There are so many things that effect the flow of link juice to inner pages & the subsequent power a link from it will pass. Lets say a link from a DA60 sites home page is very good. But the same site, if you have a link from a deep inner page, that has no internal links to it and no backlinks. Well a link from this page is not going to do you any good at all. So you really need to get a grasp on backlinks before you start building them to rank your websites!
  5. One very overlooked and misunderstood element is the link growth and link target subjects. Its very important when doing your planning and research. That you look at your competitors link growth. When did they place these links, how many per week, month or trimester. Where did they place these links? Home page? Inner pages – if yes, what inner pages, categories or posts or pages or? You need to work all these things out so you can replicate it and preferably better it. If you want to rank your website, the answers are always out there. You just need to understand what to look for, where to look for it and how to process that link data properly.

Building backlinks safely and to get the most effect from them.

Once you have studied all the above information. You are now in a strong position to start planning your own link placements, anchor texts and distribution. I can not tell you enough already, just how important this entire phase is when it comes to link building.

You need to understand fully the target pages you are going to point the backlinks at, coupled with a very well thought out internal link strategy to properly distribute that link juice around your website. Before you have even built your money site (the website you want to rank that is), you should of been thinking about link target pages. The days of pointing all your backlinks to your homepage is well and truly over. In fact at the start of any link building campaign, anywhere between only 5/10% of all links I build are to the home page of any website.

One of my favourite and most effective link targets is a Category page. This is not just in a blog type concept, but it can be replicated anywhere. Its a very easy to build link target categories as pages on a normal website. And of course in E-commerce sites categories will already exist. Its easy to add pages to your website and pull in links to other pages or posts or products in various ways. Using a unique writeup for it, will bring down the duplicate content to a very low rate (do not use intro text etc). This is the perfect way to create multiple target link pages, to push juice to the same sub-pages you want to rank. It works very well, believe me. As far as Google penguin is concerned. It works on a very granular level, so this type of link building strategy will be very forgiving if you make a mistake. Plus the pages you want to rank, will not have backlinks going to them, so they stay super penguin safe and you can forget about it all together. You can not get any algorithmic penalty on that page, if it doesn’t have any links to it! Super cool and ultra safe way to rank in the modern era!

With these category pages they are a fantastic link target. Links to them will pass link juice down the line to the pages/posts/products underneath them. Best of all this juice will flow to those sub-pages without any anchor text being used on the actual pages. I have in recent years ranked a lot of very large websites using only categories. The category pages become my prime backlink targets & I use safe, not Google confusing anchors (naked url, partial naked url, generics & category related terms) and drive the links at these categories. Passing the juice down to the pages I want to rank without any risk of anchor text over usage on the actual pages. The pages content carve out the topic clearly, so Google knows what they are about with any backlinks to them at all. This method is the best working method in my mind today.

Using well structured category pages with a good unique on topic writeup at the top of them. Here I must add; do not create competing page issues in your writeups here. You can make the category pages quiet generic and dynamic. Do not use keywords you want to rank that you are trying to rank too much at all in these category descriptions. As you do not want Google giving the category page preference over the actual sub-page you want to rank.

What are the main different types of anchor texts.

Not all links are the same. And the same applies to the anchor text used in them. There are several main categories you can assign them to.

  • Naked URL > For example this would be and you can play around this inside its self to get even better anchor variation. For example you can use,,, – so this way your getting a more natural look and variation when using this type of anchor.
  • Branded > So if your website is Then you can use branding anchors like, fashion handbags etc.
  • Branded Plus Keyword > This is a really effective one. If your keyword was leather handbags you could use Fashion Leather handbags, Leather fashion bags etc
  • Exact match anchors > Now these are more complicated & need careful usage. Use them in your most powerful outbound links – Such as PBN links – An example would be leather handbags, Handbags etc.
  • Keyword variants > An example here is: Best Leather Handbags, Cheap Leather Handbags, Where I go to buy my Leather handbags, Best online store for leather handbags. These are very good at contextual level, but over use them and your rankings will suffer.
  • Image links – Now in an image link the ALT text is what gives the anchor > So this can follow the same rules and types of above. Now one good trick used a lot lately and is effective, is to leave the ALT text empty. So there is literally an empty anchor.
  • Empty Anchors > Used a lot for added variation these days. As well as the example in the image links above. You can also do it by linking a simple white space. The white space is literally the space between here > < there.
  • Generics > These are things like Click here, Visit website, Go to webpage, View More, Read more etc. They are very common.

Importance of link distribution in your website.

As I have already mentioned, you can not put all the links to the home page anymore. It is no longer 1990 for those that have forgotten. It is super important you build links to the inner pages of your website. The link juice needs to be well distributed throughout your website and done in a natural way. Now if you do your keyword research properly. And enter the information in to your spreadsheet as mentioned up there somewhere. You will be able to easily make a clear picture of what links go to what pages of your sites. Moreover, you will be able to see in what order the ranking sites were done and replicate this effectively.

You can of course play around with your link targets and test what works best for you over multiple websites where possible. In my category link target example, you may find that none of your competitors have tried this method. It doesn’t mean it wont work! So sure you can play around and try new things of course.

Keeping a natural looking backlink profile.

One thing you must not overlook of course. Is the need to keep your backlink profile natural. So it is important to keep some form of natural looking backlink profile. Although I personally have ranked many websites with only PBNs. And know many other people that have done the same. Most websites I rank I use about 80% PBN links on them and the rest is made up of all manner of other things. This is to keep the backlink profile looking very natural. So I will acquire links from other places (Doing keyword/competitor research will show you places to get them, just pick out the best ones and go with them) to balance it. Depending on the niche the website is in. I will for example, get some niche relevant directory listings, business directory listings and so forth. I will also sometimes throw in things like expired web 2.0s (these can be good to push the juice through your categories), Bookmarks, carefully selected guest blogs etc.

You also will most likely need some NOFOLLOW backlinks, now these are not going to be wasted on your PBN links or other more time consuming and expensive links. You can acquire these for free. So look at your keywords & competitors no follows and grab yourself some from those sites for free.

One other trick I use a lot to boost my link equity up. When you create a listing for example on a business directory. You very often get a new page on that website with a direct URL. I build out tier two backlinks to these pages to increase the value of the page and pass more juice though these backlinks to my sites. This is a very effective trick and when you look at your competitors, they may have links from these exact sites. But they wont have built tier 2 backlinks to them I am sure! So your links from the same sites, will be much better and by far stronger.

Ways to boost existing backlinks.

Following on from what I said before about building out tier two’s to certain pages to boost their quality and the power of link juice they pass on. Here is some examples of the tier two links that work well still and will do the job nicely.

  1. Expired Web 2.0s – you can get these easy enough and they are still very good second tiers.
  2. Cheaper PBN links. These are good to boost up these pages.
  3. SEO Software’s – Do not over do it and try to avoid content campaigns unless your going to use unique content that is not over spun or over used! Things like Bookmarking etc are good to boost up still.

Don’t forget about planning the link growth rate.

What is link growth rate? Link growth is the rate at which backlinks to your website are acquired. This can be looked at in a daily, weekly, monthly or any time frame needed. The more links placed to your website in that time period, the higher your link growth rate.

It is very important that this element of your link building campaign is well thought out. You will not rank if you place too many links, too fast or too many links, too slowly. Although the latter is less likely to effect you long term than the first. When following the keyword research as outlined within this post. You will discover the link growth rate of your keywords. You want to try and replicate this more or less. It is important not to try and blast the website. A new website will be a lot less tolerant to link growth than an older one with many existing backlinks to it already. So make sure you factor in to your link building plan, link growth. Generally it’s stepped up over time. A vague example could be:

Month 1: 10 links in total. 3 to Home page, 7 to inner pages.

Month 2: 12 Links in total: 1 to Home page, 11 to inner pages.

Month 3: 20 Links in total: 6 to Home page, 13 to inner pages.

Just make sure you are not making a pattern here, with same link amounts every month and same ratios etc. That will create an easy to detect unnatural pattern for Google to hold you back on.

The one thing you need a lot of when doing SEO.

That one thing is patience! Google has purposely slowed things down, stopping people like me from throwing up a new site and ranking it the next day. Things have changed and you need to understand and respect that. This is something you really must comprehend and stick to. Some of the worst mistakes I see people make include such things as;

  1. Buy spammy links thinking that 800 is better than 10! It doesn’t work like this any longer. Or trying to place too many at once. If you need to keep busy and cant stop placing links. Work on 2 or more websites at the same time! Don’t turn the meaning of SEO from search engine optimisation in to shitty effort over!
  2. Not give the links you have placed time to take effect. It can take 4/6 weeks really to see the true outcome of most links you place. In this time you want to give the site time to settle. If not you could undo the good by placing more links, playing with anchors etc. Be patient!
  3. Seeing your site drop after placing some links and removing them or adding new ones. Do not do this! Give it time to settle. The amount of times I have seen a site fall a page or more when in the process of link building and then bounce back a page higher than it started is endless. You need to give time for the links to be calculated, all the anchors to be picked up and calculated. Google is a delayed monkey, give it time to do its thing. Don’t start shitting your pants and hitting the buttons just because its dropped a few places when it is under SEO. It is normal in most circumstances. Again, have patience!
  4. Build tier 2’s and even 3’s where needed. Do not think only one tier of links is always enough to cut it. Believe me I have a lot of sites in the top 3 of Google and none of them have only one tier of links behind them!
  5. Do not be delusional, thinking you can rank for a keyword in a few weeks and with just a handful of links.
  6. Make Sure your links are indexed! No point in building new ones, if the ones you have built are not indexed! So keep an eye on that and where needed nudge them along to be indexed. You can easily build some tiers 2’s to them safely and very lightly to assist with indexing where needed.
  7. Do not follow seo guides that are wrote in a generic manner, by people who only want you to click their affiliate links and buy something! How many times I have heard people say, I followed this SEO guide and my site is not past page 10. And yeah I can see why, because its a great well wrote fancy post all about links, but not at all factual! And its riddled with affiliate links. These types of posts will tell you something works even when they know it doesn’t. It is what affiliate marketing is all about. Sucking in the suckers!

Just be patient. If not you will not give the work you are doing time to have an effect and you could damage your rankings without even realising what you have done. I can not tell you enough just how important it is to be patient. Its normal in every seo campaign, to tweak and twerk as you go. To do this, you need to let the effects of each stage of your work flow through to the site fully.

If you need more help with your SEO.

I hope that has helped you understand a little more about the best way to build your backlinks to your websites. In this post about onsite seo, you can learn some important things about that element of SEO as well. If you need any advice or help or have more technical questions. Please remember all our customers can get totally free personalised SEO advice. I am here to help you, so please do not be afraid to ask me!

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