It’s obvious from the latest Page Rank update that Google is strongly buffering the effect of certain kinds of links. What kind of links? That’s a complex question, but I think I can answer it with two words: undiversified links.
The key to linkbuilding in 2007 is diversification. Below I explain five ways to diversify your links moving forward.
1. Stop pointing incoming links to your homepage
Let me set the record straight. At this point in time, if you focus 80% of your linkbuilding into non-homepages of your site, you’re going to get a lot more bang for your buck. After the last PageRank update, I had the intuition that Google was severely buffering the PageRank of sites that had an inordinate ratio of links going into the home page as opposed to those going into sub-pages. It’s much harder to manipulate deep linkage than homepage linkage, and Google has noticed this. The majority of my linkbuilding efforts (whether TLA, social voting, linkbait, whatever) are now aimed at pushing pagerank into the domain through the backdoor.
I can’t emphasize this enough. Even if you only pick 2 or 3 subpages of your domain to focus your linkbuilding efforts, you’ll get much more bang for your buck. The evidence is pointing to Google considering and weighting *whole domains* as units of measurement as opposed to single pages. Now more than ever, by building into subpages, you are helping your entire domain. The good news is that PageRank seems to flow a whole lot better throughout a site when you bring it in the backdoor.
2. Diversify the location of your links
Stop putting all your links in sitewide sidebars and footers. If you run a WordPress blog, consider doing targeted sidebar links per category as opposed to site wide. Also, consider throwing links around in old posts. Post level links are the most powerful, but take the most work. Text Link Ads now offers the chance to buy links at the post level, and I think it’s a great idea.
If you’re savvy enough with CSS it might help to change the semantics of your stylesheet div sections. Instead of “footer” you might use “the-end-is-near” … instead of “sidebar”, you might use “we-recommend” … and instead of “entry” you might use “juicy”
The most important thing is to diversify the location of your links. Sitewide is fine, but only if complimented by a nice dose of post-level links.
3. Diversify your anchor text
The worst thing you can do at this point for linkbuilding is get five sitewide links, all pointed at the homepage, all with the same anchor text. That’s a recipe for severely diluting the value of the links you acquire.
Instead, you might get three links into your homepage with anchor text like “Widgets for Wingnuts” , “The Best Widgets” and “Professional Widgets” and then get two links into each category of your site with variations on the category like “Sports Widgets” and “Widgets for Athletes.” Doing something systematic like this is a recipe for successfully avoiding the Google Link Buffer.
4. Get article level links from strong sites
Promote your site at places like Digg, Netscape and Reddit. Right now, I have a little secret in this regard that I discovered by being patient. Nothing mind blowing, but it works. I’m willing to share the “secret” with anyone who sends me a private message.
Pssssssst…another secret….Performancing is a strong site that rewards good content with free article level links. Give it a six month try and you’re golden.
5. Comment at other blogs
There’s good reason to believe that comment level links with the no-follow directive still pass linkjuice. But that’s not the reason to comment at other blogs. The real reason is to get noticed, and to get linked to from other participants who think you’re one of the cool kids. If you have useful things to say, you’ll gain respect and respect almost always turns into free links.
One of the best places to start off with your commenting career is at the Link Nazi’s Blog. Lots of people take him seriously, and lots of the cool cats make posts over there. Friends tell me that a single quality comment can yield your site dozens of respectful glances.