While link building is a major part of any SEO or online marketing campaign, there are always concerns of ‘over-optimising’ or tipping the balance between a natural or not so natural looking backlink profile. It has become evermore important since Google released their link goading penguin updates.
So how do we get the most from our efforts and still keep it natural?
Well the answer is variation but first we need to bring it back a few steps.
The first thing we need is to lay a good foundation, ensure your site is search engine friendly first and foremost, next you need solid on-page; a decent amount of well written informative content with the correct targeted Meta data. There’s no point in targeting something off-site when it’s not aligned with the on-site stuff, this is very important yet often overlooked, even by the seasoned pros.
Now let’s get back to the link building bit. What we need is variation from different trusted sources. Nothing says trust like relevancy and popularity, which is exactly what you need to be targeting for your backlinking; the sites should have their own links and of course they need to be relevant to your niche.
To vary up your keyword targeting in your link building you can do a number of things, first and foremost ensure you have some good branded links pointing to your site, generally these will be pointing to your homepage but don’t be scared about mixing it up a little and try some deep branded linking.
Next there is of course exact match keyword targeting that we want to avoid overusing, to do this try mixing in long-tail variations, for example, if you are targeting the keyword ‘clothing’ you might want to vary the anchor text into ‘buy clothing’ or ‘buy clothing online’ or ‘mens clothing’, depending on what you offer..
Ideally we could target keywords that Google deem synonyms, to do this we would use advanced search operators within Google itself.
Use the tilde symbol (~) followed by the the hyphen symbol (-) for example you might do a search for clothing, this would look like this ~clothing -clothing this tells Google to find all synonyms for clothing (~clothing) but to exclude ‘clothing’ from the results (-clothing).
From this Google returns ‘store’, ‘fashion’, ‘wear’ and others. Other examples such as ‘cottages’ returns ‘cabin’, ‘accommodation’ and ‘vacation.’
Results will vary from keyword to keyword but it will give you a good idea of the keyword variations you could use in your link building efforts.
Last but not least the ‘click here’ and URL links. Don’t disregard ‘click here’ links they have there place in a ‘natural’ looking link profile, mix them in randomly (as with all other keywords) don’t get into any easily spotted structures or patterns.
As for URL links (where someone has just pasted the whole URL as the anchor text) this is where good on-site SEO comes more into play as a well formatted keyword rich URL will provide your keywords in the anchor text.
Follow these guidelines for 2013 and you won’t go too far wrong!