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This technique is not exactly new for link building, and many of you may already know it, however it is a technique that easily falls in to the grey hat area. Essentially this technique revolves around finding places to post your link that either has PageRank, is on an .EDU, or .GOV domain, or both.
Now there is some debate on whether or not EDU and/or GOV backlinks carry any additional weight over ordinary links, but the reality is that a backlink is a backlink. If there’s a chance that it may help your ratings, even in a 2nd tier search engine like MS Live, then why not try it? PageRank links on the other hand are unquestionably valuable, so let’s explore these methods.
The first criteria we are looking for is a site that will allow us to post a link. That narrows our search down to forums, guestbooks, comment fields, etc. Now, in my opinion if we were to simply spam our URL on these sites, it would be black hat.
I’ve been an admin on several forums, and the main problem I had day in and day out was people trying to spam my site. These spam backlinks were either intercepted before they ever made it to the public, or were deleted within hours of being posted. Essentially those backlinks were worthless.
However, there were several people there who actually contributed a worthwhile post, and simply included their backlink in their signature, and although I know their main goal in posting on the forum was to get a backlink, they also contributed to the forum, and so I have no problem allowing them to keep their links. While the first method is black hat, the second method is clearly white hat in my opinion, and the only difference is the execution and the effectiveness.
So how do we locate these desirable forums and guestbooks? I recommend using this: http://www.seochat.com/seo-tools/pagerank-search/ which lets you sort your search results by PageRank. I recommend you change the results to display 100 results per page.
Some good search terms include:
- viewtopic (this will pick up forum posts from phpBB)
- showthread (this will pick up forum posts from vBulletin)
- index.php showtopic ipb (this will pick up IPB forum posts)
- index.php topic smf (this will pick up SMF forum posts)
If you examine those search queries, you’ll notice that each one of them is looking for a pattern that is found on a certain type of forum. There’s many patterns to choose from, including “Powered by phpBB” etc.
The thing that we’re looking for is high PR threads that we can post in. The problem with using just “Powered by phpBB” is that every page on a phpBB forum has that on the footer, including a large amount of high PageRank pages that you can’t post on. That’s why we want to narrow our search down as much as possible, so that we are presented with as many places to post as possible.
Another thing you’ll notice is that a lot of the threads you do find, only have PageRank for the first page of the thread, and if you post, it will end up on page 5, which has no PageRank. It may still be worth posting on page 5, if page 1 has a direct link to page 5, but really the golden fruit you’re looking for is topic on page 1 with high PageRank. I’ve found tons of these (amazingly they weren’t spammed to death yet.) Thankfully since there’s only so much room on one page in a forum post, you won’t have to worry about to many spammers posting after you draining the weight of the PageRank, since there’s only so much room before they’ll be posting on page 2.
Another good way to use this technique is in finding directories that have good PR for your niche. Who cares if a directory’s index is PR6, if you’re in web design, then it’s really the web design categories PR that you care about. There’s tons of ways to write your search query, such as: “seo friendly directory” “web design” or “powered by phplinkdirectory” “web design“, etc etc. It’s simply a matter of using the footprints of the software the powers these sites, then making a search query that will locate these sites for you, using the PageRank search engine to maximize the links value.
So what about those .GOV and .EDU backlinks we were talking about? Well, the same principles above apply to this as well. The only difference is that we simply add this to our search query: site:.gov for .GOV sites, and site:.edu for .EDU. Combining that with the previous footprint queries will limit your results to GOV and EDU sites that match the footprint.