4 Surefire Linkbuilding Strategies for Ranking After Penguin

Quick article today. SEO is not dead, nor is link building. But you’ve got to be very careful with it. Of course, I advocate trying your best to build a website that can attract natural links. And if it’s such a niche where this is very hard to do, network with other people in the niche and build relationships which can translate into natural links over time. But that doesn’t mean you have to completely throw away manual link building; but if you choose to “linkbuild” you need to be careful about how you do it. Since I know that 99% of you won’t just sit back and wait for links to come to you, it’s important to link build the RIGHT way.

These strategies are strategies many of us have been talking about for years; the difference now is that NOT doing them can get your site penalized far easier now than in the past.



Strategy 1: Vary the hell out of your anchor text links to your sites

This should be quite obvious to you by now, but if you are slamming links with the same anchor text over and over to your site, you are going to end up on the wrong site of the penguin updates. SEO’s often are faced with choosing a keyword they want to rank for or a keyword they don’t want to rank for when selecting the anchor text for a link. It goes without saying that most choose the later. You should really now be ensuring MOST of your anchor text is for keywords you are not directly trying to rank for.

I’ve given a basic breakdown. This is not necessary scientific or anything, but rather a safer rule of thumb to follow when building anchor text. The basic idea is to keep your exact keyword anchors (especially the main keywords you want to rank) well under 50% of the anchor links you get. I’d say between 10-20 percent of the links should have your exact anchor text. The other 20-50 percent of the time, you vary the exact keyword with other words included, as part of a sentance, or just use semantically related keywords instead part of the time). The other 30% – 40% of the links should straight out just be your domain name exactly with or without http:// (vary it) or without the domain extension and some spaces between each word. The rest of the time, use CLICK HERE, HERE, WEBSITE or some bunk word you absolutely don’t want to rank for.

The whole goal here is to simulate natural link anchor text patters. MOST real natural links won’t have your exact anchor text. This is where having an exact keyword domain comes in really handy for natural link building — many of the links (which are usually your domain name or some variation of the keyword in the domain) will contain the exact anchors you want to rank for. More general sites that don’t have the keyword in the domain will find it much harder to rank for that term.


THE 60%




your domain name








THE 40%


(Title of Website)

(related keywords to the main keyword, i.e. “pet clothing” instead of “dog clothing” or “short term loans” instead of “payday loans”)


(main keyword you want to rank for)

(main keyword + extra stuff/sentence)

(h2 title of a page on your site)


Strategy 2: Create Related MiniSites to Support Main Site

The idea here is not to set up a bunch of general (and shitty) mini sites and hastily link them to the main site. That’s asking for trouble. Minisites are highly focused sites that often can rank faster for a specific topic/keyword because they are so focused. Yes, they’ve been slammed the past few updates, but with proper links and good content (both in quality and number of content), mini sites can still rank well. The key now is to develop quality mini sites solely to SUPPORT your main site/es.

The basics of a mini-site network:

  • Mini Sites are semantically related to whatever they are linking to — Having a “payday loan mini site” link to a “dog training” site will not be a topically related site and may trigger flags now. A general “pet mini site” or a cat website or a website about animals linking to a dog training site IS a topically relevant link and wont’ trigger flags. I’m not saying every link from unrelated sites will hurt, but too many of them will. It’s best to try and keep everything related now.
  • Links (preferably quality ones!) to every mini site — if you set up a mini site network with a bunch of new domains that have no links at all to them, don’t expect to shoot up through the rankings. True, the links will count and make some difference (especially if the whole network is a year or two + in age), but not anything like if the mini sites have links to them. The better quality links your mini sites have, the better your main site will rank.
  • Min Sites don’t link to each other — you may be able to get away with some linkage, but for the most part, try and keep all the mini sites distanced from each other.
  • You don’t have mini sites (and the money site/s) on Google Webmaster Tools, SAME google adsense ID, or google analytics — This is a dead sure way to let google know these sites are all a network.
  • Different C-Class IP’s, unique RDNS, and unique name servers. Basically, proper SEO hosting — there’s a lot of debate about SEO hosting, but I’d say bite the bullet and get it if you plan to set up a network of mini sites to support your money sites. You should make sure your mini sites are all on seperate C class IP’s, RDNS’s and name servers. This is most easily achieved with SEO hosting, though you could just get a ton of cheap hosting services and spread things around in a pinch.
  • Privacy WHOIS Enabled on Every MiniSite



Don’t build links to fast. There is nothing more suspicious than a website suddenly getting dozens or hundreds of links over a short period of time and you could trigger a penalty. As a rule of thumb, one or two new links every few days. This depends largely on the number of links you already have. If your site has thousands of links, then a handful of links every day won’t hurt. If you have 20 thousand links, then you could probably get dozens of links every day. If you have no links or a couple hundred or less, only a couple links every few days!


Strategy 4: Get Different Types of Links (but mostly links from pages/posts)

You don’t always want links from the same source, unless those sources are self-hosted blogs. If your links are ONLY from comments, directories, web 2.0’s, RSS, or other low quality link fodder, you absolutely want to make sure you are getting OTHER kinds of links, mainly links from real sites. I’ll take a properly anchored link from a self hosted blog / static website any day over a comment link, profile link, RSS links, web directory link. Web 2.0 links (ezine articles, goarticles, and such) are better than the lowest tier links (comment/profile), but not by that much these days (the exception being if the web 2.0 actually has some PR + backlinks to it).


  1. Carl says:

    Regarding comment links. Think about what is natural:
    * Name in the comment is an actual name
    * New comments on new posts
    * Multiple comments to the same blog

    * Keyword phrase in the name field
    * A different blog every day
    * Lots of comments on old posts

    I don’t know if big G is detecting these things, but the algorithm is pretty easy. Given how most blogs display the author, I suspect there are bonuses for name in comment matching the author of the site.

    Such natural links are obvious “built” links but they are whitehat. If they stick they send a small tiny quality signal. One would think miniscule, but in the past I have found that joining the conversation on relevant sites has been followed by rankings boosts. Could be coincidence.

  2. Lennard says:

    I want to get some sefl hosted domains to be in control of my own backlinking network and you mentioned to link to your support sites, those would be self hosted too since web 2.0’s aren’t really effecive anymore right? Would it make sense to get like 50 new self hosted domains and make 10 of them link to your money site and the other 40 link to the 10? or just link them all to your money site? I read your post about backlink networks but is there any changes to that after penguin? and where would you get the links to your support sites, or to the sites supporting your support sites since Google declared war on automated backlinks? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

  3. rahul says:

    I did almost no link building to most of the sites. But i outsourced for many sites etc. most of them suffered. But sites with no link building still ranks for main keywords.

    I lost 50% of my income. It was bad. now building even bigger sites.

  4. Aidan says:

    With regards to getting links slowly, vary the kind of content being produced. So not just paragraphs of text try and add rich media such as video and infographics as these are the things that people will share.
    Its hard to explain to a client that there’s no such thing as a quick fix but with information like this out there it makes the education process a lot easier.

  5. Hey thanks for the great information on creating quality backlinks and blog farm network to build to my new blog.

  6. Julian says:

    Hey Ben.

    I couldn’t find any other way to contact you. Do you have a personal email I can reach you at? I miss you’re posts buddy; where have you been? Please get back to me. :)

    • admin says:

      Been on a bit of a hiatus. To be honest, I’m a bit bleh about SEO these days. Google makes it more and more difficult to keep sites staying on the top with direct SEO as they are likely to pull the rug from under you. SEO still can work, people do it and are making money, but I’m not too hot on the idea of sinking a lot of time into projects that make money then get dumped suddenly with an update.

      These days, it’s really the all white-hat sites that you’ve gotten links naturally (or at least gamed the system in the accepted manner or really were smart about getting links without being too obvious about it). If you guys want to directly contact me, makemoneyoninewithseo@gmail.com. I’ll update the site a bit shortly. You can also check my other blog, backlinkreviews.org for some other posts.

      • James says:

        Hi Ben,

        James from Bike Shed here. I tried contacting you via email, but received no response. I was wondering could you help me out with one of my sites, I would ask you for 5 minutes of your time only. Tel got his forum down, so you’re my only and best bet :)


  7. servis says:

    I hope there is still a chance to get some attention of google by doing some hard work seo , unless they`ve made some super aware algorhytm that denies all of our efforts

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