Link-building, or offsite SEO is crucial if you want to rank your niche site and start generating traffic from the search engines.

Don’t throw money at link-building

Before you get started though, make sure that you have read through and implemented all of the preceding information on this website about researching and building your niche website.

If you don’t have all of the other components set up correctly then building backlinks won’t get you anywhere, regardless of how much money you throw at it.

You need to have a well built website that is targeting well researched keywords and also one that is optimized perfectly for those keywords. Until you have this setup, you don’t even want to think about link-building.

Plan out your link building

Once you have everything else set up and you are ready to start building backlinks the first thing that you should do is plan everything out.

The important things to think about when putting together your link-building campaign are:

Link types

There are lots of different types of backlinks that you can build to your website and you want to make sure that you have as diverse a list of backlinks as possible. The more diverse your backlinks are the more natural your backlink profile will look.

The types of backlinks that you can build include guest posts, PBN links, Web 2.0 properties, directory links, forum links, Q&A site links, blog comments and many other link types.

Of course there is a big difference between the quality of a blog comment compared to a link in a niche related guest post so this should also be taken into consideration.

link control

Link control is an important consideration to make when putting together your link-building strategy. If you commission someone to build you 1000 blog comments and then you find out all of those links are on websites that have been spammed to death, you have a big problem. Now you have a terrible backlink profile and you have very little control over the removal of those links. The only thing you can do here is to disavow the links and hope that Google gives you a second chance.

However, if you create a set of web 2.0 properties as your tier 1 link-building layer, and then build secondary links to those properties, you have full control over the links that are pointing to your website. If something goes horribly wrong, you can remove the link from those tier 1 properties and you no longer have any association with those bad links.

Controlling backlinks in this way isn’t always possible of course, but it is important to consider the amount of control you have over the links that you build.

Link velocity

Link velocity, or the rate (and consistency) at which you build links to your website is very important. This is a possible footprint and one that will stand out like a sore thumb to Google if it is not done correctly.

The ideal way of building links is to replicate a natural progression of popularity within your community – after all, you want Google to believe that as your site becomes known in the community more and more people are linking to the valuable information contained within it.

For this reason, you should build links to your website consistently rather than building a bunch of links and then just stopping once you run out of money or patience. This is one of the reasons why it helps having a plan of action before you get started as this helps you put your efforts into perspective and ensures that you have the right budget and resources to build links consistently over a set period of time.

Anchor text ratio

Your anchor text ratio is extremely important and is something that can literally ruin your website if not done correctly. Even if you have the most powerful links in the world, they will not help your website if you have a poor anchor text profile.

There are lots of different ways in which you can link to your website and lots of different types of anchor (text or otherwise) that you can use. The anchor is the item (normally text) around which the link is “wrapped”. Typically this would be whatever is inside the a href tags.

Some of the more common anchor types are:

  • Naked URL
  • Brand
  • Generic (“click here” for example)
  • Broad match
  • Closely related
  • Longtail
  • Exact match
  • Image

You should make sure that your backlinks have a mixture of different anchors in order for your overall anchor text profile to look as natural as possible.

A good way of getting the right anchor text ratio is to look at other sites within your niche, or other sites that are already ranking for your target keywords. You can use a tool such as AHREFS to find this information.

Keep in mind that some of your competitors may be hiding the links that they build, so this information may not always be totally accurate. However, it does give you a good starting point.

As a general rule of thumb, you want to keep your exact match anchor percentage very low – ideally less than 1%. But this figure will be different for each niche.

Back-link distribution

Another consideration is the distribution of backlinks throughout your website. Initially you will want to build backlinks primarily to the homepage of your website in order to build up its authority. Over time you can also start building backlinks directly to the pages that you are using to target your chosen keywords.

As long as you have spent some time building internal links between the pages on your website, and you have a well thought out navigation system, then the links will pass juice around your website naturally, regardless of what pages the links have been built to.

Social signals

Don’t forget about social signals – these are very important and they should go hand in hand with your link building efforts. Popular websites naturally receive social signals along with backlinks so building these will keep everything looking natural to the search engines.