Google’s a lot smarter than it was back in 2005, but still it’s smartness is nowhere close to real humans. Admit it.
That’s why AuthorRank is still not in place, Google still doesn’t take social shares into consideration, and can’t distinguish an editorial link from a sidebar link.
There are things aside from blatantly spammed backlinks that work pretty well in the mid-term.
If you have a site that you want to rank for competitive keywords and won’t cry like a kid if it gets penalized after a period of time long enough to make you some serious cash off the site, you can follow these tactics which I’d refer to as ‘gray hat SEO techniques’ to rip through your competition to the top of SERPs.
#1 – External Sidebar/Footer Links
The trick is to get a sitewide sidebar (preferred) or footer link from a high-authority site. Something like “SEO by Rohit Palit” works very well.
Just keep in mind, don’t use an exact-match anchor text for a very popular keyword (like ‘theme designer’). Don’t use a generic anchor-text such as ‘click here’ either.
You just want to play it smart so that you start as fast as Asafa Powell in your drive phase, then you don’t care about Google being Usain Bolt in order to catch you 2 years later (chances are, they won’t catch you unless your success story is all over the Internet).
Just to prove that this works like a charm, run a Google search for ‘SEO UK’. Currently, lionseo.com ranks first for the keyword.
You know why? Even though only 44 domains are linking to their site, an authoritative client site of theirs, mobileburn.com, links to their site with the anchor-text ‘SEO UK’ from almost all of its internal pages from the sidebar.
Just check the site’s link profile in a tool like Ahrefs to see yourself.
#2 – 301′ing Relevant Expired Domains
Fools like me let their high authority, valuable domains expire. TechTage was originally founded as SmartPhoneGeeks.in, a PR3, DA 39 domain that I had which I didn’t renew after migrating the site to TechTage.com.
Now, I regret the decision, but someone’s already grabbed the domain and I see a parked page.
301 redirections are very powerful, especially site-wide (domain-wide) redirections.
You can browse through a place like GoDaddy marketplace to snap up some high-authority (high PageRank, high DomainAuthority) domains that are relevant to your site.
Make sure their link profiles don’t look artificial, though. You’re already doing something Matt Cutts won’t hug you for doing, so you wouldn’t want to acquire more domains following gray hat strategies in the past.
#3 – Internal EM Anchor Text Links
Link to internal pages from other powerful pages of your site with exact-match anchor-texts.
Targeted internal-linking can become really useful for sites who’ve already started getting some Google love.
If you’ve a Domain Authority 30 site, you could just use that property of your site to rank some pages of your site for low-competition keywords using limited multi-page exact-match anchor-text links pointing at those pages of your site.
#4 – Article Directories
Okay, so this isn’t your average ‘spin and submit shit’ technique. If you’re eager to build article directory links even after knowing about the potential risk of doing so, I recommend you to submit hand-written (original or duplicate doesn’t matter) articles to only directories with impressive metrics (PR5+, for instance). Hint: Give Free A Chance 😉
This Search Engine Journal article shows you that directory links are still valuable, even in 2013.
#5 – Nofollow’ed Links on Authority Sites
Google is always trying to understand black-hats’ motives and using it to improve its own algorithms.
Now, tell me, which black-hat SEO in his right mind would waste 50% of his link building money on nofollow’ed links?
Probably the real ones, who don’t disclose every single strategy of theirs publicly (and thus reduce the chances of them being seen by some Google genius).
That’s where you come into play. You want your sites to dominate the SERPs for a longer period of time, so you should build nofollow’ed links the same way you build dofollow’ed ones.
That’s good enough to confuse Google. You might lead them into thinking that you didn’t really build those links yourself, someone has tried to perform a black-hat attack on your site, and stuff like that.
Again, these are not recommended for most people. Try these only if you know what you’re doing.
Most SEO noobs can get their sites penalized very easily by doing it wrong. If you really care about both the present and the future of your serious website, go for some future-proof SEO strategies instead.
Another thing that really matters is the links from legit high-authority sites. If you’ve got a couple of SearchEngineJournals, Engadgets, Mashables pointing dofollow’ed links at your site, then you’re already in a lot safer position than others.
Why? You’ll take Google’s confusion-meter to 100% this way. Seriously, I’ve even saw some famous SEO personalities with authority sites building shady links recently, and the strategy works pretty well for them.