There is a lot of industry chatter regarding on-page SEO these days and rightfully so.
Having a site optimized for on-page SEO best practices is 100% necessary for success.
However, proper off-page SEO is equally as important.
In fact, I believe my link building strategy is what really separates my sites from my competitors’.
So in this guide, I’m going to open up my Off-Page SEO Blackbook and share a few of my link building tips that most SEOs miss, but are actually crucial for building a profitable blog or niche affiliate site
My Best Link Building Tips…
Below are 10 of my most actionable link building tips that any SEO can use to get massive results:
1. Keep it natural stupid
One of the most important aspects of safely growing and sustaining a niche affiliate site is to avoid off-page footprints that Google may deem unnatural in the real world.
This is a theme that I will revisit often throughout this guide, but I wanted to address it with you upfront.
If something wouldn’t happen in the real world, it shouldn’t happen to your site.
2. Build early links to the homepage
The biggest mistake most affiliate site owners make when starting out is trying to send too many backlinks to their internal pages.
When a site is young, the real goal of backlink building is to increase your site’s overall authority.
Start out by building most of the backlinks to your homepage using branded (Your Brand) or naked (yoursite.com) anchor text.
In the real world, the majority of backlinks will point to a site’s homepage.
Believe me when I say that nothing bad can come from building too many links to your homepage.
3. Prep Linkbuilding with Social Signals
In advance of building backlinks to a page, you should always first send some social signals.
In the real world, if people are linking to your website, it’s only natural they would be talking about and sharing your site across social media as well (these are social signals).
When you are building backlinks, it’s wise to replicate this type of real-world behavior.
Once your social signal package is completed then it’s safe to start building links to the page.
4. Create a content syndication network
Sharing content to your social accounts is a great way to build brand authority.
In the real world, every legitimate business has branded social media accounts. Your affiliate site should as well.
I like to take it a step further and automatically post all new content to my social accounts and branded Web 2.0 properties.
You could create all of these accounts by hand and build an automation to post your new content to them, but it’s really just easier to have someone else do it for you.
There is really no need to purchase any more than the smallest package which costs $25.
In return, you will receive 30+ branded accounts and an IFTTT recipe that will automatically syndicate new posts to your new network.
5. Vary your target URL
Make sure to rotate through variations of the target URL that you are linking to.
Varying the target URL helps to establish a more natural link profile.
Think about it. In the real world when people naturally link to other sites, they don’t always cut and paste from the browser bar.
There’s a chance they will type it in from memory, or copy/paste the link from another site.
Don’t give Google any patterns to recognize in your link building!
6. Don’t overoptimize anchor text
When building backlinks, you may get tempted to use mostly exact match/close partial match anchors.
They pass the most topical relevance, right?
Yes, but you can also quickly end up in Google jail if you overdo it.
I never start out using exact match anchors in my backlink-building campaigns.
Once your site is more established you should do a proper backlink audit to see how many exact matches are necessary to rank for a keyword. You can learn exactly how I do this in my course Affiliate Site Freedom.
I focus on using these types of anchor text when building backlinks:
For partial match anchors, I like to use what I call a long partial match. The easiest way to implement this is by using the page title as the anchor text.
Another way is to choose an H2 or H3 from the page that has some built-in search volume.
It’s a lot harder to get slapped by Google for internal link anchor optimization, so focus on using the exact and close partial anchor text when building internal links on your pages.
7. Target competitor backlinks
My favorite link-building technique is to take a link away from my competitor that is ranking on pages 1-2 for my target keyword and replace it with a link to my page.
I call this “Smash and Grab” link building.
Your competitor loses a link, and you gain one…it’s like +2 links every time you score one of these.
I’m only using these links for my money pages.
All you do is reach out and ask the site operator what it would take to replace the competitor’s link.
This tactic works better when you are attacking competitors who are large publications that probably got linked to organically.
When you target the links from other obvious affiliate sites there is a pretty good chance that they got the link by negotiating it, so naturally, there’s a lower probability the owner is going to be open to replacing it.
📺 There is a deep dive video that details the nuances of “Smash and Grab” link building in my course Affiliate Site Freedom.
8. Build backlinks to your backlinks
Tiered link building is the process of building backlinks to your backlinks.
The idea is that you can manufacture authority and pass link juice to your page by creating and building tiered links, with your page at the end of the chain.
You should only build tiered links to guest posts, as these are typically the pages most in need of some link juice.
I always build 1-3 tiered links for each guest post.
These links don’t need to be powerful, just niche relevant.
You can even build a third tier of links if you desire.
🎯 I use a combination of Barrage Niche Edits and PBNs from SirLinksalot to cheaply build my tiered backlinks.
9. Negotiate Internal Links to Guest Posts
Any time you negotiate a guest post you should also be negotiating internal links to it as well.
If I negotiated the guest post through my own outreach I’m going to try and score some high-power internal links at the same time.
If I bought a guest post from a vendor, I will just personally follow up with the site owner a few weeks after the post is live and ask them if they would be open to selling me some internal links.
These links require very little additional work for the site operator, so try to get them for as cheap as possible.
🔑 The key is finding the most powerful pages on the host site which are most closely related to the topic of the guest post.
Here’s how to find them:
For this example, I’m purchasing a guest post on thepamperedpup.com (dog niche).
- Go to Ahrefs and find the “Top Pages”
- Exclude the words “best” and “review”
- Sort by Traffic
Now you have a list of the non-commercial pages on the site. The pages at the top of the list are the most powerful to get an internal link from.
You can dig even deeper and find pages that are more topically relevant by including the topic of your guest post in the query.
For example, if your guest post is about installing dog fences:
Now you have pages on the site that are relevant to your guest post, get some traffic, and probably have backlinks already pointing to them.
Think about this…
In the real world, posts are naturally well interlinked. However, guest posts are often intentionally orphaned by the site operator.
Try to get 1-2 of these internal links every time you build a backlink from a guest post to create a more natural-looking link profile for your site.
Most of your competitors aren’t building links this way, but these are the types of links that will really move the needle in the SERPs.
10. 301 redirects
If you can find an expired domain in your niche with a quality backlink profile, it may be worth purchasing and doing a 301 redirect to your site.
It’s almost always more inexpensive on a per backlink basis, and you can acquire links from nearly impossible-to-get sites.
🔎 Identifying good expired domains and doing 301 redirects properly does take a lot of skill and technical know-how, so make sure you read up on the subject before you take the leap.
You can either pick up an expired domain at auction or pay a premium from a marketplace.
There are plenty of tools that can help you find expired domains at auction or ones about to drop. Keep in mind that if you go the route of finding expired domains yourself, you are competing with all of the big marketplaces come auction time.
Here are my favorite tools for finding expired domains:
- Expireddomains.net (Free)
- Spamzilla ($37/month)
Buying an expired domain from a marketplace has some major advantages. Not only will you save time, but these marketplaces do a great job of vetting their domains for toxic backlinks.
I hope you learned some new off-page SEO techniques from this guide!
By implementing the tips I outlined, you will be miles ahead of most affiliate site builders.
Just always remember to ask yourself “Would this happen in the real world?”
Do you have any awesome link building tips that I didn’t mention in this guide? Feel free to add them in the comments below 👇