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.