Internal links are the new Tier2

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In this article, I am going to reveal the results of a test that lasted several months.

I have already mentioned many times, and it’s my fundamental rule as an SEO to do things in a natural way. With that in mind, I try to analyze what’s naturally happening on the web and replicate it in my SEO techniques since the very first day.

My theory on this was confirmed the day I learned that Matt Diggity asks himself a very specific question before taking any action concerning SEO.

Is this something only an SEO would do?

Since then, I ask myself this question on a daily basis.

What does a natural link look like?

Around December 2019, I was on a ZOOM call with the craziest SEO I know and some other marketers. I, of course, mean James Dooley of FatRank.

We had a long conversation about where link building is heading in 2020 and beyond. I reiterated my opinion that we should focus on replicating natural web procedures.

So I posed a question to the group, “what does a natural link look like?”. We all stated our points of view, but as always, the knowledge bomb came from Dooley.

He mentioned a crazy idea about creating internal links on our guest posts. When met with blank expressions, he explained that a lot of publishers tend not to make a guest post “their own”. As a result, most of the guest posts end up as orphan pages, and they never get linked to internally.

The idea immediately blew my mind because of its obviousness.

How the test was set up

When I came up with the test idea. I asked three of my top loyal clients if they would be interested in participating in a test.

I focused on 15 different keywords across 15 different domains.

Each of my clients offered me five of their websites to participate in the test. I made it clear to them that every action I was going to take would be free of charge, and it would potentially increase their rankings and revenue.

For this test, I split my pool of websites into three groups.

  • All 15 websites were on the same DR range of 30 to 40.
  • All 15 websites had about the same amount of links (around 120-140)
  • Each keyword-targeted page had two DR 30 range of links pointing to them.
  • Every Keyword was low to medium difficulty. (Ahrefs Keyword Difficulty around 20)
  • I made sure that those two links were placed at least 45 days before the test started to eliminate the possibility of late ranking gains.

Test Group A – Tier 2 with PBN

In the first test group, I used two homepage PBN links from four different vendors and two homepage PBN links from my private network.

The anchor text I used was the brand name of the website the links were pointing to.

I usually use misc URLs on my Tier 2 PBN links but in this case, I didn’t because I wanted to eliminate as many variables as I could.

Test Group B – Tier 2 with Guest Posts

In the second test group, I used two guest posts on every link with DR 10-20

As I mentioned in the first test group the anchor text was the brand name of the website the links were pointing to.

I usually use brand anchors either way when I build Tier 2 links with guest posts.

Test Group C – Internal links on existing backlinks

In the third test group, I just persuaded the publishers to create two internal links on the existing guest posts.

I identified some pages that already had some backlinks of their own using the “best by links” Ahrefs’ feature. Out of the most powerful pages, I ended up picking the most relevant pages which could interlink to my guest post.

I also made sure that my internal links were not more than 2-3 clicks away from the homepage. So that the link juice from the homepage flows to a category and then to my article.

I tried to write a detailed email to the publishers whose websites I had already placed my guest posts on.

Here’s how my email looked like

Was it difficult? Sure it was.

I made many attempts in order to finally get what I wanted. I built ten internal links and eight of them were paid. That means that 4 out 5 publishers asked for cash even if we already paid them six weeks ago for the guest post.

Was it cheap? It sure wasn’t.

Here’s what the publishers asked for and what price I ended up getting after a short negotiation. (I couldn’t go too far because I wanted the deal to check my results ASAP)

  1. From $100 for two internal links I negotiated the price to $50
  2. From $100 for two internal links I negotiated the price to $70
  3. From $120 for two internal links I negotiated the price to $80
  4. The fourth publisher didn’t ask for money. ♥️
  5. From $80 for two internal links I negotiated the price to $80 💔

Results

I am now going to show you the results.

To be totally honest, they didn’t surprise me since I was kind of expecting them.

The moment I heard about the idea, I knew that the results were going to be positive.

Test Group A – Tier 2 with PBN

  1. The keyword jumped from position 18 to position 9
  2. The keyword jumped from position 62 to position 12
  3. The keyword jumped from position 8 to position 6
  4. The keyword initially jumped from position 11 to 9 but then dropped back to 11
  5. The keyword’s position didn’t change

 

Test Group B – Tier 2 with Guest Posts

  1. The keyword jumped from position 21 to position 11
  2. The keyword jumped from position 35 to position 14
  3. The keyword jumped from position 6 to position 5
  4. The keyword jumped from position 11 to position 9
  5. The keyword jumped from position 7 to position 4

 

Test Group C – Internal links on existing backlinks

  1. The keyword jumped from position 8 to position 4
  2. The keyword jumped from position 11 to position 6
  3. The keyword jumped from position 7 to position 5
  4. The keyword jumped from position 3 to position 1
  5. The keyword jumped from position 54 to position 10

 

Conclusion

Even though the test methodology was not flawless, I have seen more promising results since this test was conducted.

If you want to reach new levels on your link building game, consider always trying to acquire internal links to your guest posts.

Using this method, you will not only acquire more natural-looking backlinks but it will also give them some extra power/juice.

Furthermore, you can still build Tier 2 links on your guest post which already has internal links. Can you imagine the power?

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