How to Build Links in 2014
If you’ve been doing SEO as long as I have, you know how complex Google has made anchor text selection and distribution compared to how it used to be. With all of the changes they’ve made, many people wonder how many different variations of anchor text they should use and what each anchor text selection should look like. So in this post I’m going to go over just that.
In the past, if you wanted to rank for “red widgets” then you simply used “red widgets,” and maybe a few close variations, as the anchor text for all of your backlinks. That’s it. And it worked, too. There was even a time when, on top of that, all you had to do for top rankings was to concentrate on getting as many links as you possibly could and the more links you got, generally, the higher you ranked. Things were pretty sweet back then in the SEO world.
Things are a little more complicated now, but not TOO complicated. Now we need to concentrate more on getting quality, manual backlinks than just ANY backlinks and we have to think about HOW we build those backlinks as well!
The anchor text that you use for your backlinks, needs to consist of a few different “types” of keywords and each type should be used in a certain percentage of the overall backlinks:
1. The exact, primary keyword (example: red widgets) – This is successfuly used approximately 18% of the time, but for most sites less than 10% is recommended.
2. A few close variations to the primary keyword (example: red widget tips) – These should be used approximately 17% of the time.
3. The brand name (or site name… if site name is same as main keyword use something else. Example: Tom’s Widget Place) – This should be used approximately 30% of the time.
4. The site URL (example: http://www.theredwidgetsite.com) – This should be used approximately 18% of the time.
5. Obscure, naturally occurring keywords (example: click here to see their site) – These should be used approximately 17% of the time.
You can’t control all of your backlinks and studies have shown that these percentages can vary quite drastically in certain scenarios. But the percentages above are a pretty good average of the recommendations that I’ve found in the different studies I’ve come across and have been working well for me.
It’s also more important than ever to get backlinks to your internal pages and not just to the homepage of your site. So be sure to point some of your links to a few of your top money pages as well as your homepage. Although your homepage should naturally get more links than any other page (if an internal page ends up with more links, it’s probably not going to hurt though… that does naturally happen as well).
Now, when you’re building these links, or ordering them through RankCrew as I do, you’ll need to know what backlink source type will accept what type of anchor text. For instance, if you submit your site to any reputable web directory using “Click here to see their site” your submission will end up being a complete waste of time, because reputable web directories want a legitimate site title and that is pretty obviously not the title of the site. So I’ve listed below the main manual backlink sources along with the type(s) of anchor text you can use:
Social Bookmarking Sites: Exact match keyword, close variation, brand name. NO url or obscure keywords.
Article Directories: All types. You can use any anchor text you like in the signatures, which is where your backlinks(s) is going to come from with most legitimate article directories.
Web Directories: Exact match keyword, close variation, brand name. NO url or obscure keywords.
Forum and Web 2.0 Profiles: All types. Some site profiles only allow your url with no option for anchor text, but some allow you to add html, which opens up the possibilities to anything you want to use.
RSS/Blog Directories: Exact match keyword, close variation, brand name. NO url or obscure keywords.
Blog Commenting: All types, BUT this is on a blog by blog basis. Some allow you to use keywords as your “name” and others do not. Most quality blogs these days are nofollow anyway, so the benefit isn’t as good as some other backlink sources, but many people these days believe that Google IS passing some sort of authority through nofollow links, so these aren’t a complete waste, especially if you can get links on quality blogs.
Press Release Sites: All types, but this depends on the press release sites as well. If you’re doing the expensive, paid press releases, you have full control and can use any anchor text you want. But for the free ones, which is what you’re generally going to use, it just depends on the site. Most allow your choice of anchor text though.
Free Blogging Sites: All types. You’re creating these blogs from scratch, so you can do with them what you want and use any anchor text you like.
So, when you’re ordering your backlinks, keep the above in mind! You will need to consider the fact that social bookmarks (for example) are going to have a higher concentration of your primary keyword, brand name and/or the variations of it, so you need to reduce that saturation by using more URL, and obscure anchor text with your article directories and/or profiles etc.
Another thing to add is that, although I have limited experience with social media for SEO, many people are saying that social signals are playing a larger roll in rankings with Google and Bing. I just haven’t noticed anything significant, so I can’t completely confirm the claim that it makes a big difference, but I am convinced that it makes a difference to some degree.