At first, link building seems simple, right?
You just have to choose the keywords you want to rank, create incredible content, ask other bloggers to link to you in their posts and PAM! As if climbing positions were magic.
There are particularities and ranking factors that you have to take into account when creating links. For example, 21% of your SEO success depends on the anchor text you use in external links and 22% on the popularity of the links.
So as long as you follow these tips you will be fine, Tell me … how do you differ when everyone is doing the same?
Increasing your effort?
Releasing more content?
Sending more broadcast emails to get something?
Or… face strategies that your competitors would prefer not to do? like Black Hat techniques but used in a White Hat way.
This is exactly what I will explain in this post. A couple of Black Hat SEO strategies that you can use without violating Google’s guidelines to rank higher, attract more traffic, and increase conversions.
Before … a little reminder:
Table of Contents
WHAT IS (OR BETTER THAN ERA) BLACK HAT SEO?
The term Black Hat refers to aggressive SEO strategies that violate search engine rules and best practices.
The basic recognizable trait of Black Hat SEO is disdain towards users and only focuses on manipulating the search engine and rankings.
Black Hat uses strategies such as spinning, content automation, and keyword stuffing to manipulate rankings and position poor quality content in search results. It also builds link wheels, cloak links create doorway pages, and uses tiers link building.
Eventually, Google has put on and counteracts these practices with the publication of Google Penguin, an update to the algorithm search results of Google Panda. From there, a website could be penalized by Google if it used Black Hat techniques.
In any case, you will see how to incorporate these strategies into your link-building campaigns in a White Hat way to help you boost your organic traffic.
TACTIC # 1: LINK WHEELS
Link wheels was a groundbreaking link-building technique a couple of years ago. Even well-known SEO’s White Hat hailed his ability to influence Google rankings.
The Black Hatteras used link wheels to increase the strength of the links they generated and, thus, propel their sites higher.
The premise behind the link wheels was simple:
“To create a pattern of sites linking from one to the other and, also, to your main site. Each site of the wheel will give force to the following radius and as it is a closed system, in theory, its authority will grow constantly while sending an increasingly strong link to the main site.
This is what a link wheel looks like:
To create link wheels, SEOs used high PR Web 2.0 properties (free blog platforms like Tumblr, WordPress.com, or Blogger.com) or article directories like ezinearticles.com.
They created free sites on these properties, added some content (usually a single quality article), supplemented it with low-quality content, Spun content, and included links to the next radius of the wheel as well as to the main site.
Eventually, search engines began to view link wheels as manipulative strategies, Black Hat.
But here’s the thing:
The biggest problem with the links wheels was not the wheel itself but what the Black hatters built it with.
Let’s face it, web 2.0 properties with poor quality Spun content were not adding value to the user. This, in turn, made the strategy vulnerable to search engine scrutiny.
Let’s be clear that the link wheel concept works, you could use it today.
This is an example of the Link wheel service on the Black Hat Forums:
* Remember that the Link Wheel concept Works.
Anyway, you need to build a link wheel from reputable resources.
Instead of using web 2.0 properties, free blogging sites, or article directories, build the links of the link wheel from real websites with which you have developed a relationship.
For example, let’s assume you want to build links to an online store that sells bicycle storage systems. You could write a series of guest posts on authoritative bike sites, all dealing with various aspects of bike maintenance.
In this way you would create a link wheel like this:
1. Based on quality sites
2. You would offer value to users
3. You would raise the PR of your main site
TIP: To make sure your link wheel doesn’t fall under Google’s scrutiny, don’t link to your home page from every radio. Instead, create another relevant resource and refer to it from each article.
Your link wheel would look like this:
TACTIC 2: BLENDED LINK BUILDING
You don’t always need more links to increase the ranking of a site.
This is the premise of another Black Hat strategy known as Blended Link Building.
By including a reference to your site between links to other sites with great authority (such as the New York Times, etc.), you can trick Google into treating you as it treats these other sites and, in turn, you guarantee that your site has rankings higher.
To use this strategy, Black Hatters would have to find someone who wants to link to their site as well as a few authoritative and relevant sites or create these resources themselves.
To do this, Black Hat SEOs would resort to the use of web 2.0 blogs, article directories, and other properties where they could control the content to mix their links with authoritative websites.
But using these web properties has made the strategy vulnerable to search engine penalties, blended link-building strategies work, but you have to be more strategic about how you do it.
My recommendation on how to build Blended Links:
Start by creating great content that others would like to link to.
It could be a list of statistics, a resource page, or a compilation of search findings, for example. The key is to provide high-quality information that writers and content creators can refer to in their own copies.
Why does it work?
Because they are constantly looking for resources to enrich their blogs and articles. They know that including or referencing relevant statistics, search findings, charts, statistics, numbers, etc. increases the perceived authority of their content.
From now on, your strategy can work in two ways:
Find pages that already link to resources/sources similar to yours and suggest yours as potentially inclusive. Reach out to webmasters, bloggers or editors and highlight the benefits of referencing your content in their texts.
Post as a guest, as an external user, as a user on the top industry sites. Include links to authoritative resources regarding your content along with the link to your own resources.
Note: Many authoritative sites do not allow you to link back to an author’s site from content, but if you have a highly relevant and incredibly valuable source (resource), publishers may be persuaded to link.
To (passively) build even more blended links, optimize your source/resource for keywords that writers and content marketers can use when looking for reference material. For instance:
“[Topic] + research”
“[topic] + stats”
“[topic] + statistics”
This way you make sure they find and include your content among other authoritative sources/resources.
TACTIC 3: LINK BUILDING IN TIERS
I’m sure you already know it but it deserves to be repeated: the more authority the page that links to you has, the stronger the backlink.
It is, however, extremely difficult to build links only from high authority sites.
The SEO’s Black Hat found a simple solution – build links to pages that already link to them to increase their authority and ranking.
This method is known as link-building in tiers.
The Black Hatters would create tiers/layers of links, with each link pointing back to the previous one giving strength to the backlink.
Again, the Black Hatteras would use web 2.0 blogs and other web properties to build levels/layers and, again, would make the strategy vulnerable.
But building tiers and strengthening backlinks was not a bad idea.
In fact, you can use them today to improve your ranking. But how?
Well, using posts that you write as a guest on other sites to link to resources that already link to you.
Every time you write a guest post, think about whether there is any relevant content that links to you that you can reference in the post.
By sending a couple of links to that page, you can give it strength and ensure that it starts to rank in the top 100 results for the key phrase by forming a highly relevant source of links.
TACTIC 4: SCRAPING CONTACTS
Scraping was THE PRACTICE Black Hat SEO par excellence.
Using apps like Scrapebox, Black Hats would scour the web for anything from webmaster contact details to keywords or content. They would use this information to send automated link requests, spam sites with gibberish comments, and even spun variations of the content they found.
Naturally, this turned out to be nothing more than an increase in spam throughout the entire web.
But scrapping is not a bad practice in itself.
The power of scraping lies in your ability to find information.
A scraping tool can help you analyze your website for technical SEO problems. Bartosz Góralewicz posted a tutorial on using Scrapebox to detect and solve many technical SEO problems.
It can also help you find contacts of webmasters who have sites that are relevant to you. Only instead of sparking them with irrelevant messages, it uses this information to reach connections that at the end of the tunnel can end up being links.
For example: imagine you are running a broken link-building campaign. You have found websites that have broken links and you want to reach them to offer them your font as a replacement.
But … you have to find those webmaster contacts first. One way to do this is simply by visiting each site manually and retrieving this information. Of course, depending on the size of your list this could cost you hours and hours.
To speed things up, you can scrape a list of domains (in minutes) to get the information that interests you. From there you can use automated software like Salesloft Sales Dialer or Growbots to reach out and connect with these people.
Thus, the point of using scraping is not to generate spam but to optimize your efforts.
In fact, scraping is a popular strategy today. For example, salespeople rely on scraping for their lead generation efforts. They use apps like SalesLoft Prospector, LeadFuze, import.io, and Grabby to extract contacts from LinkedIn profiles or websites and add the information in their CRM’s to be able to use and connect.
Link Building seems simple at first but there are many complexities in the process and certain steps to follow in order to expand your link profile.
So how do you differ from the rest if everyone is doing the same thing?
Our answer: Use tactics and strategies that your competitors prefer not to touch. SEO Black Hat but done in a White way.
When used properly and with integrity, these set of tactics can help you propel your site higher in search results, drive more traffic, and increase conversions.