Saturday, August 17, 2013




As SEOs, we’ve all used common anchor text and more generic links in the past: it was, after all, just how things were done a year or two back.  However, things have now changed, and we’ve all got to focus on throwing a bit more variation and invention into our lead generation campaigns.  If the old style links aren’t proving effective anymore, then where should we be focusing our effort?

Co-occurrence.  It’s been voiced (most notably by Bill Slawski), that ranking for a term could now occur without the main keyword being used at all, simply because the link has a direct relevance to it.  For instance, creating content based around Bishop’s Finger or Old Peculiar could lead to a site being ranked the phrase ‘Real ales’, simply because the two former terms are individual brands of a drink.  Enough relevant terms that aren’t direct variations of the keyword could be a great way to build reputation whilst avoiding the dreaded link penalties.

Synonyms.  Sure, the word might sound like the evil company from a dystopian sci-fi novel, but focusing on synonyms can give your link building campaign a real sense of variation.  For instance, if you’re building a football blog, then build up links based on ‘soccer’ too.  If you’re creating an image database, then include links focused on ‘pictures’ and ‘pics’, as well as image formats like ‘JPGs’.  You’re still building a reputation for the same things, but adding far more depth to your reputation.  You’ll also pull in a lot more searches when you begin to rank for all the terms.

Partially matching.  As far as we’re concerned, the very best way to include natural links is to write your content first, then worry about the links afterwards.   If you’ve written a top drawer, 1000 piece article that would grace the New York Times, then added a link to the phrase ‘locksmith’ – with your site’s main keyword being ‘locksmiths based in NY’ then you’re going to see far better results than having two links with the exact keyword within a 200 word knockoff article.  Remember: article first, link second!

Link out.  I’m always amazed when in 2013, SEOs still don’t see the value in linking externally to authority sites.  Outgoing links, when relevant, are a serious way of building authority.   If you were discussing the merits of the war in Iraq (to use a random example), then you would likely cite arguments given by other, higher authorities who agreed with your cause (‘Well, Christopher Hitchens said…’ etc).  This is just as applicable when applied to building good content.  If you’re writing a piece about Michael Jordan, then link to videos of him playing.  If you’re writing about Hemingway, then link to some of his greatest quotes.  It’s relevant to your content, so it’s good for your reputation.

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