Link Building Tactics for 2012

Not so long ago, before the pandas and penguins come to town, link building, although time consuming was pretty much straight forward.  Build as many links as you can using your keywords for anchor text trying to use quality, relevant websites.  Use deferent types of websites, link directories, article sites, blogs, bookmarks etc.  Keep building but not too fast.

Now, in 2012 you need to analyse your link profile for diversity making sure you have not over optimised your back links.  If you have too many links with the same anchor text, you are in trouble.  If you don’t have a high enough percentage of non keyword anchor text, you are in trouble.  Everything has to be finely balanced to ‘look’ natural.

This to me does not really make any sense.  If your link profile looks too perfect wouldn’t that look ‘unnatural’?

Anyway we SEO’ers continue to play the Google game so here are my current tips for link building in 2012

1: Vary your Anchor text. Don’t just use a few keywords for your anchor text, use similar phrases, variation of your keywords and also use your domain name and phrases link “click here”, or “visit the website”.  No anchor text should be used for more than 10% of your links.  (10% is a rough guideline, the actual percentage would need to calculated for each keyword but analysing competitors’ link profiles)

2: Use only quality relevant websites. Links from poor quality websites did not help much in the past but now it appears that they do have a negative effect.  This to me does seem a bit ridiculous as it opens the flood gates for competitors to attack each others websites using negative SEO.  I have seen a few case studies recently which show that negative SEO is real so watch out.  (Poor link diversity can sometimes look like negative SEO so don’t get confused.  More about this later).

3: Don’t build links too quickly.  Using automated tool can cause problems. If you submit an article to thousands of directories or blog networks this rapid increase in backlinks will look unnatural.  Anyway, directories that accept automatic submissions are mostly low quality so these links are not worth anything anyway.

4: Get links from websites in your niche.  Plan your backlinks for your visitors not the search engines.  Find sites in your niche that you think your website would be of interest to their readers and ask for a link.  These links will be much more valuable as they will help your search engine rankings and bring traffic.  Although links from most directories are pretty useless, links from industry specific directories can be very useful.  Similarly, if you are a local business, a listing in some local directories is good.

So keep your backlinks as natural as possible and you will increase your rankings and traffic.

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Roger Weavers

Roger has been working in the telecomms and IT industry since 1973 working for international companies such as BT and Honeywell. Roger founded Sytec Computers Ltd in 1996 and provided consultancy services to a variety of UK companies. In 2001 Sytec diversified into web design, marketing and hosting and now Roger specialises in SEO.

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  • Hey Roger,

    Great article my man!

    Although I’m no longer that active in SEO I do vivdly remember the days of SeNuke, Scrapebox and Xrumer. I would literally create hundreds of cr*ppy links to my affiliate sites in a day – any link would do!

    Heavens knows how my site would have done after panda and penguin had it been live – I suspect not very well!

    All the best,

  • Hi Rich,

    Yeah there are plenty of blog networks that have now been de-indexed. If you site’s inbound links where a majority of these types on links you would have probably got one of the “unnatural links” emails from Google. Good for you getting out of SEO, it is just getting more complicated by the day!

  • Hi Roger,
    I certainly appreciate the advice! A year or so ago I created a niche site and built a decent linkwheel configuration for it. Seemed to work as the site had risen to page 2 or 3 of google. Then I did the popular thing (at the time) and created roughly 2000 links to it in a few days using automation, and the sites were totally unrelated to my niche. That seemed to help until Penguin the hit-man-bird blew it into oblivion. No big loss, it was only making a few $/month.

    A lesson well learned.


  • Hi Karl,

    It amazes me that there are still loads of companies out there offering link building services that use these types of links that can have a negative effect on SEO. I am expecting to get a few enquiries soon from people who have paid for these services and lost rankings. It won’t be easy to get rankings back, it could take a while to modify their link profiles and in extreme cases I will be recommending a domain name change.
    Good job your site that got hit was not that important, its always a good idea to test link building methods on test sites first.
    All the best

  • Hey Roger

    “This to me does not really make any sense. If your link profile looks too perfect wouldn’t that look ‘unnatural’?” Very funny Roger 😉

    On a more serious note, I have now got rid of any software on my hard drive that I used to use to build automatic links. I am now 100% natural, yes it will take more time however I feel that this is a must in 2012 and onwards!


  • Hi Paul,

    Nice to hear you are going all natural now.
    We are now stepping up our social media efforts as this seems to be what Google wants this year. Who knows what hoops we will be jumping through next year!

    All the best

  • Hey Roger

    Could not agree more! Just when you think you have it nailed big G changes the goal posts. I suppose it is a way of clearing out the dross 😉

    Picked up two new clients this week, have told both of them that they need to get a Fan Page. It took me ages to explain to them why, as neither got it when it came to social media.

    Onwards and upwards
    Paul 🙂

  • Hi Paul,

    I know what you mean about social media. I try and explain it to my clients but most of them don’t really get it. Not sure if I really get it. lol. I think it can work really well in some industries but not all at the moment.
    I have setup many fan pages, blogs and twitter accounts for clients but most small businesses don’t really have the time or the inclination to maintain them or the money to pay someone to do it.

    Oh, there’s a idea for new product 🙂


  • Cheers1 I’m trying to learn the blackart of SEO for my own site – some great tips here!!