My #1 Strategy to Rank on Page 1 of Google for Everything – Backlink Software and Guest Posts
This article details an outside-the-box approach that I’ve used to achieve amazing rankings with a minimal amount of effort.
I wanted to share it with you because people often people ask me if there is a controlled way to build rankings on Google.
In other words, they want to know if they can build rankings without leaving it all to whether or not people like their content enough to link to it.
Let’s be honest, hoping that someone else will link to your content, although probably the right way to do things, is a terrible business strategy.
In my 15 years of doing SEO professionally, I have always been about building backlinks with a purpose. I realized that to get success in this type of work I needed great content AND a great backlink strategy.
So when I launched Guest Post Tracker more than two years ago I knew I needed an awesome link building plan in place that would help me not only target the key phrases I wanted to rank for but also build a brand Google would trust.
I wanted to make sure I would steadily climb the rankings while building a backlink profile that would be immune from Google updates.
Before I outline my strategy for you I want to tell you about the 2 types of websites that I use to do this and will refer to a lot: a backlink profile software and a managed guest posting service.
The reason I recommend you try the combination of a backlink profile software and outside guest posts is simple: It will save you tons of time while making you way more likely to successfully rank.
There are other backlink software websites and “done for you” guest posting services out there, but to be transparent: I recommend SEOJet because it’s my own software and I’ve used it a LOT with great results, and The HOTH because I know them personally and have verified that they do great work.
I used a different guest post service when I did this over a year ago, but I would use The HOTH for this strategy today. If you do decide to try another backlink software or guest post website, just make sure you look at some customer reviews before you make a purchase.
Backlink Profile Software: SEOJet
First is SEOJet, which is link management software that helps you easily build out #1 rank link profiles for all of the pages you care about. It builds link maps for all of your pages that literally tell you which links to get next to match other #1 ranking link profiles. I’ll give you more details on how to use this type of software in a minute. Full disclaimer, I own and built SEOJet, and in my admittedly biased opinion: it works great.
Guest Posting Service: The HOTH
Second is The HOTH, which is an SEO company that does blogger outreach really well. When I don’t have time to do my own guest posts I go to a well-reviewed service like this one to have it done for me.
I am going to show you how to use these two types of sites together to create the perfect link building system. It isn’t my purpose necessarily to do a review of SEOJet or The HOTH (in fact, I didn’t use The HOTH to do this since I wasn’t aware of them at the time), but simply to show my strategy so that you can try it out for yourself.
I’ll also show you how I was able to get top 3 rankings with 70% fewer links by using these two types of sites together.
My SEO Strategy
I had three main parts to my SEO strategy.
- Build brand trust with Google
- Own each of my category specific searches on Google
- Create SEO Power Pages to cover my topic thoroughly and link to them like crazy
I knew that doing these three things would get me some serious traction with Google so this was the three-pronged approach I went with.
1. Building trust with Google
If Google doesn’t trust your website, it’s not going to rank. It really is that simple.
Well how the heck do you build trust with Google?
The best way to learn how to do that is to reverse engineer it.
Who do we know that Google trusts? Big brands.
Google trusts big brands because these companies get links naturally.
They have huge audiences, they are newsworthy and there is often serious brand loyalty.
All of these things mean natural links.
And how do the majority of people link to a big brand?
They link to the home page using either the brand name or some form of the URL as the anchor text.
In fact 65%-90% of home page links are either the brand or url as the anchor.
So the very first thing I did when I launched Guest Post Tracker is I started getting a lot of branded and URL links.
This is exactly how SEOJet sets up link maps for your home page. A ton of branded and URL links and a few keyword specific links.
So I was literally just following what SEOJet laid out for me as the link building plan on my home page.
As you can imagine, this saves you a ton of time doing manual research while giving you an actionable link building approach to start implementing.
Where did I get the links?
I knew that in order to build real authority with Google I needed to get some links from other authority sites.
So I started out by guest blogging on bigger business blogs.
I used Guest Post Tracker’s list of blogs to find higher authority sites like Business.com, Business2Community.com, SocialMediaToday.com etc, all with the intent of brand building.
Once that initial wave of links hit I knew I needed a lot of good branded links to gain Google’s trust so I kept building links using a blogger outreach service similar to The HOTH.
Whatever blogger outreach service you decide to use, make sure that they have good writers, they know how to set the guest posts up the right way and that they only work with legitimate bloggers.
When I use a guest post service like The HOTH together with SEOJet it becomes extremely easy to build backlinks the way Google wants.
So if I were to do this again today I would literally look at my home page link map on SEOJet, see what the next couple of links were and then have The HOTH do the blogger outreach for me.
Because SEOJet’s home page link maps are built out to automatically build trust and authority with Google it took all of the guesswork out of the process.
I didn’t limit myself to just one link at a time. When link building for SEO, especially for the home page, if you follow the link maps you can be pretty aggressive.
I knew once Google trusted my site, all of the other SEO I was doing on other pages would have a much greater effect.
2. Own Category Specific Searches
If I have learned anything over the last 15 years it is that long tail key phrases always convert better than broad more competitive keywords.
This is why I separated Guest Post Tracker’s list of 1000+ guest blogging sites into categories.
I knew that someone looking for “fitness blogs that accept guest posts” would be more likely to sign up than someone who searched “guest post.”
So I did my keyword research and chose the categories that were being searched the most and these became my categories.
My goal was to rank top 3 if anyone searched “ guest post” or “ blogs that accept guest posts”.
In order to get these pages to the top 3 (they almost all are top 3 now), I used two main strategies.
First, I used SEOJet’s subpage feature to build link maps for these pages. Most of these category pages don’t have a ton of content so it wouldn’t seem natural to have a bunch of links pointing directly to each page.
With the Sub page link maps on SEOJet it had me build 4 or 5 links to the category page and then stack each of those links like crazy (build links to my links, also known as tiered linking).
Here is what a typical sub page link map looks like:
The blue tables are links to my category page, the yellow are 2nd tier links and the green are 3rd tier links.
Essentially what is happening here is we are supercharging the few links that point back to my site.
This strategy also works for ecommerce product pages and other pages where there isn’t a ton of content.
Again on this I would go out and get my Primary Links (the links that pointed to my pages) from The HOTH as a DA20+ or DA30+ link.
Then for the 2nd and 3rd tier links I would have The HOTH get me DA10+ to DA20+ links.
When the tiered links would go live I would usually throw some social signals at them to make sure Google found the link quickly.
The second strategy I implemented to get these category pages ranking high was I internally linked to them from my power pages.
3. Create Amazing SEO Power Pages
A power page is typically a blog post with a ton of meaty content. For me these will be at least 2000 words long but can be much longer. In fact I have one power page that has 10,000 words on it.
I create these pages for three reasons.
- If I build out awesome content, I can build links to it as often and as fast as I want and as long as I follow a natural link profile Google is totally fine with it. (This is why the link maps for power pages are much bigger)
- I want to make sure I cover the topic of my website as thoroughly as possible because Google loves to rank topic authorities.
- After I boost up the SEO value of these pages I use them to pass SEO juice to my other pages like my category pages.
For me, building backlinks is the most important thing you can do for SEO.
So when I created my power pages for Guest Post Tracker I started building links to them like crazy.
I was sure to target at least 1 or 2 key phrases I wanted to rank for on each power page and then I used SEOJet’s power page link maps to build out a #1 ranked link profile.
The link maps for the power pages are much different than the Home page link map. These link maps target much more aggressively the key phrases you are trying to rank for, but they do it in an extremely natural way (read: very few exact match anchors).
Because of the high number of links I wanted to get to these pages I just kept going back to the guest post service and had them do blogger outreach for me to fill out my link maps.
Because I was building backlink profiles that were proven with SEOJet I started seeing results really quickly.
The other awesome thing that happened was that as the SEO power was building from all of the links pointing to the power pages, I was passing that value to my category pages.
As soon as I added links to my category pages from my power pages, my rankings jumped significantly.
When I say significantly I mean from page 2 or the bottom of page 1 to the top 3 of Google.
What is awesome about that is most of my category pages have no links pointing to them.
Yet many of them rank #1 on Google.
Here you can see my Real Estate category page ranking #1 on Google and this page has very little content and no links pointing to it.
But it does have a ton of link juice hitting it from my power pages.
Top 3 Results With Only 8 Links
I mentioned that I started seeing top 3 results pretty quickly.
On one of my power pages, over a few months I had gotten 8 links pointing to the page (7 from the third-party-service). By that point I had already made it to the top 3 of Google for 3 of my 5 key phrases I was targeting.
What was so crazy is that when I looked at how many links the other 5 websites above and below me had pointing to their websites I knew I was on to something special.
Using SEOJet as the link roadmap and the super high-quality links from the third-party service, I was able to get to the top 3 with 70% less links.
Here is what the link map looked like inside of SEOJet. I keep track of where I get the links from, you will see there is a lot of the links circled from the previous blogging service I used:
You can also see that we do a lot of tiered linking to add value to each and every link we get.
(Note: I have since added about 10 more links to this link map.)
An Overview Of My Link Building
You can see that I have my 5 power pages there and then some of my subpages.
So as I build backlinks I will come in here and choose one or more page I want to build links to and then go right to their respective link maps and choose the anchors from the maps.
It is super simple because I can quickly see my progress with each of my link maps and the software tells me which key phrases I have used in my links and how often
So I can quickly choose which key phrase to include in my anchor text when the link map tells me to use a key phrase.
Once I have chosen my key phrase I’d go and order it from the blogging service, then tag that link as “In Progress” and move onto to the next link.
Again I want to reiterate that Guest Post Tracker was just barely a year old at the time.
During those 13 months of link building, I acquired on average between 6-9 backlinks per month and of those links 1-2 were tiered links. I also built links to an average of about 3-5 pages each month.
I could have gone faster with the link building but because I was testing how SEOJet worked I wanted to make sure I took my time and built it out slowly.
Obviously, the rankings continue to move and shift as I continue building out my link maps and getting relevant backlinks.
The reality is I have a very simple system in place.
I use SEOJet to find out which links to get next, then I order the blogger outreach links I need.
It frees up so much time and makes the SEO process pretty mindless.
I definitely can’t argue with the results.
To me, the alternative is trying to do all of the research, outreach and/or guest posts on my own. Clearly, this is a much better way.
Now that you have this strategy in place, I hope you give it a shot!