Fortifying External Links and Laundering Link Juice

This is a guest post by Everett Sizemore.

I had an interesting discussion with a friend before publishing this about what the title of the article should be, and how I should present the tactic. Should I present it the way I use it personally (fortifying external links) or what it could be used for (laundering link juice)? In the end I decided to do a bit of both since it is essentially the same tactic with different implementations and intentions.

Fortifying External Links:

The process of second-degree link building by which an SEO builds links into sites that already link to them for the purpose of increasing the page rank of those sites, thus indirectly increasing their own page rank.

The first step in fortifying external links is to find those links. This is the easiest part. Use Google Webmaster Tools, Yahoo Site Explorer or your favorite linkbuilding tool to find out who is linking to you. I’ve found the best way to go about this is by doing the link:yourdomain.com command in Google Blog Search or using a tool like SEO Spyglass to uncover blogs that have linked to you that are in danger of going supplemental (i.e. no-to-low PR, way back in the archives…) or that link to you with your favorite anchor-text.

Once you have decided which pages you want to drive links into, the second step is to devise a plan for getting those links. There are several dozens of ways to build links into someone’s domain, but that’s not the topic of this article. Regardless of your means, the end result is that you are driving more links – thus page rank – into the pages that already link to you, thus increasing your own page rank and ensuring that those pages don’t go supplemental.

I wouldn’t do this to dozens or hundreds of pages at once. Instead, use Google Alerts and/or Yahoo Alerts to subscribe to link:yourdomain.com so you know whenever someone links to you naturally. If you think the post/page isn’t going to get any page-rank on its own, give it a little help by linking to it from a distributed article, a thoughtful dofollow comment on another site, a social bookmarking profile or any number of linking opportunities.

Laundering Link Juice:

Creating a degree of separation between your site and less-than-white-hat link building tactics by driving those links into pages that already link to you naturally instead of sending them to your own site.

Google makes it a point to say they “try” very hard not to let people harm other domains by using link sabotage. Nevertheless, you should be respectful of sites that link to you. If someone gives you a bit of link love from their unknown blog, please don’t do anything that you know could get their site banned. I have found this tactic to be most effective when used along with white-to-gray linkbuilding techniques like manually submitted blog comments and article distributions. Abuse this and Google – if they don’t already – WILL eventually learn to find the common denominator (a link to your site) among all of these relatively unknown, otherwise clean blogs that you’re laundering link juice through.

Call it “fortifying external links”, “laundering link juice” or just common-sense SEO, but it is one of the few optimization tactics that I use as much today as I did three years ago.

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