Building White Hat & Scalable Links For Your Clients in 2013 (With Examples)

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It’s been a while since we last wrote a blog post so here goes… this is one for the SEO agencies and consultants out there! It’s a bit of a monster one, so I’ve put some bookmarks at the top.

2012 SEO Mistakes (what we already knew but didn’t do…)

2012 was the year of those horrible penalties. Pandas and penguins, whatever. We don’t really like getting too deep into this algorithm stuff because if you’re playing on the edge of it, well you’re in a dangerous place. Think realistically. If you were Google how would you work it? Would you accept unnatural anchor text? Generated content? Blog farms?


Look admit it. Unless you were some kind of time traveller from 1996, you already knew last year that you shouldn’t be over optimising anchor text, or using public blog networks.

Don’t get me wrong, they were working, but you knew you shouldn’t have been using these highly effective tactics.

Now, as link builders knowing a lot of SEO agencies, we spoke to a fair few people that had their sites penalised.

A few of our own affiliate sites (Amazon + Adsense pay my rent) got penalised too.

The strange thing is… we knew it was going to happen sooner or later. It was obvious. Come on, hands up. We all did a  little bit of it and we knew it was wrong. If you were doing it on client sites or your own business sites, shame on you! You would have spent a lot of 2012 repairing some damage or starting again fresh on new domains… not ideal!

So maybe 2013 is the year as SEO’s we don’t keep doing unnatural hacks just because they work. We should anticipate that search engines are getting very bright and we should be putting our focus on building very natural links, that don’t depend on any algorithmic fault.

This is why we now don’t need to know about algorithms or what Google likes or dislikes. We work like Google don’t exist.


RLFRS (The Cool Unpronounceable Acronym)


Real Links From Real Sites.

If your doing the above you won’t care what a penguin refresh is.

Look I promise I’m not going to get all Matt Cutts on you (we’re a link building company for god sake) and I hate the ‘just create great content’ spiel just as much as the next guy. SO what I’m saying is you need your ‘surgical link building’ activities to produce an outcome which looks like very real links on very real sites… more on this later.


Interflora (BORINGHELL)

Yes Interflora got banned for what looks like newspaper links. Thanks Dave & Co.

They’re working hard to remove these links and probably get the ban lifted.

Google’s doing the propaganda thing again, making all the SEO’s shit their selves and scurry away into our holes to think of the next strategy.

Look, the thing is, if you’re strategy is going after links that say clearly on them ADVERTORIAL FEATURE and you’re not nofollowing the links, Google are going to take action.


The bigger you are, more risk. You’ll more likely have more competitors and more people to report you. Interflora were quite heavy on this:

380 results. Some, granted are SEO blog reports on the ban.

Anyway enough on Interflora. Boringhell. Don’t do Paid links. (I’m pretty sure it’s 2013 and not 2007).

Not that I agree it’s up to webmasters to discount paid links, that’s Googles problem, anyway, that’s enough.

SEO agencies – Just do this for your clients: RLFRS

Real links from real sites.

What constitutes a real site?

A real site must have an agenda. Not just be there for links. General blog farms won’t cut it anymore. Sites on the web generally have a category they fall into. If as an SEO agency you use link networks or blog platforms to build links to your clients, make sure they are real or at least ‘look real’.

A site can be about web design, sport, business, news, technology, cars, fashion or it could just be a personal blog.

Links can be built from almost any category of site. The fact that it’s a real site is the most important thing.

How to build links from a technology blog to a Gardening website…


Take a gardening site that may have an opportunity to get a link from a technology site. “Can’t be done” some thematically precious SEO’s may say.

We say it can.

How about a new article on gardening technology. Look at this for an article idea:

That story could easily be covered on a technology site and link back to an online gardening store.

You need to get a bit creative, I’ll explain our exact methods of link building and how it works later on…

Links must not be promotional or biased or about YOU

There are occasions that bloggers or writers may feel the need to write about just your company or website (or your clients). Usually this will be if they are an affiliate, or your clients site is a massive brand like McDonalds or Coke or Apple and a big announcement has been made, or maybe they have had a really bad experience and want to let the world know. The rest of the time in the natural world links are built like passing *mentions* of larger subject.

We recommend for your surgical link building that you enforce your links to be built like mentions.

SO… no advertorials, sponsored posts, or articles about YOUR COMPANY.

I would take two steps back and make links within content of a bigger subject. SO let’s go for the gardening store example again, and we had the opportunity to  have a post a guest post on a business news site.

Now, instead of writing a post which screams PAID POST, why not find some interesting news in the gardening world which could fit in well with the business news site…

After some searches on Google news I find there is a lot of recent stories which can be covered. For example:

This could be reframed and rewritten for the news site and the source of the article can be the Gardening Store. Better still there may be a way of adding a link to the Gardening store within the content.

Build links for other websites too


Sound crazy?

Well take a look at this post:

Who has commissioned this post? Who has payed for the link? Has anyone?

It’s a little hard to tell.

In fact… it’s just a normal post. With useful info, and useful links out. Wouldn’t you agree?

You see, building links for other sites within your posts validate your links more. They look like real links out and will be credited, so long as they are on real sites too.


Link out to two or three other sites.

The other links out do not have to be to competing sites to your client sites. They can be within the same industry. Again, it’s about getting creative.

Google is not that hard to humour.

Directories are still cool.


We use directories for our clients (although we don’t offer it as a service just yet). Directories are safe to use as long as you’re not blasting 10,000 using an automated program. Go for manual submissions, there are lot’s of services that provide directory submission, including Manual Link Building (

Directories are a great natural way to get links to your site using your website name or URL as the anchor. If you’re going for UK rankings, try and look for some nice UK directories. There’s loads!

It’s what we did before search engines existed. Submitted to directories. They were how the web was navigated before search came along.

So please use… and don’t use anchor text on your directories, just your website name or URL, not that I had to tell you that!

Anchor Text – go easy on the ‘click here’


People are now using ‘click here’ that much in there anchor text profiles that it’s becoming a bit of a footprint to find the SEO’s!

it’s kinda backfiring.

Now ‘click here’ as an anchor text is part of a natural link profile, but I’m seeing SEO’s use it for 50% of their anchors, almost so it’s robotic and artificial.

We’ll be laughing about this kinda thing in years to come but, need I say we just need to ‘naturalise’ anchors, not many should be exactly the same.

Look at this fantastic list of natural anchors (we use a lot from this list) and use to vary your natural anchors.

No Commercial Anchor Text

You’re better of not using any commercial anchor text, however varied.

Stuff like ‘Buy Gardening Sheds’ or ‘Buy Gardening Sheds Here’ or ‘Order Pond Pumps’ are probably not the wisest idea.


How Web 2.0 Fat Joe Links Work

Our web 2.0 service means you’ll get 10 or 20 mini hubs related to but NOT ABOUT your clients site.

Each hub will have another link out to a related but non competitive site.

You’ll get log ins to every hub we create so you can further add content.

We can naturalise your anchors free of charge, just send us your main terms.

This has been a firm favourite since we launched! We have now reduced the options to just a Phil or a Billy Mitchell.

Our New Service – Guest Posts

Our guest post service is brand new, along with our brand new web design (do you like?)

We write a unique 500 word piece of content related to your industry – it is not promotional or about your clients site.

Within this content we creatively give you a mention in the form of a link. We use anchor text, or naturalise it if you wish.

We also give other non competing but related sites a mention.

Posts are on real websites with real agendas.

They may not fit exactly with your sector, but the article will have a topical slant towards your industry. See the gardening and technology examples above.

Our number 1 priority is making it look REAL. If there are any hints it is not a real link, we are not doing our jobs as link builders!

Hope you like our new website!

Along with this new service is our new site. Hope you like! And hope you enjoyed this monster of a post. Well done for getting all the way to the end!

Joe Davies is Fat Joe's co-founder, chief tea maker and support ninja. Follow Joe on Google+
  • Chris Longley

    Lost 60% of my traffic since last year so “spent a lot of 2012 repairing some damage or starting again fresh on new domains” is reality for many of us.
    Evidently G hates SEO and Money Keywords in any form related to links. But my SEO was 2007 style! Luckily I have a few 7yo old clean domains I can switch too. If you Branded your SEO, they dont mind that. I just cant erase 23000 links overnight, so new domain it has to be and start over. Not easy to edit blog links when you have no control over them.
    I know I know. I was warned!

    There`s enough evidence of very thin duplicate content on aged domains with nothing other than directory links ranking for very competitive industries. Lucky bastards or what.

    Do you think its worth altering the anchors to urls on some old PRWeb and Article accounts to a clean domain? Or are they tainted forever? Utilising broken links isnt much different process to that?

    • Fat Joe

      Hi Chris, I feel your pain! We were all doing SEO 2007 style at one point, it’s just a game 😉

      I’m agreed with you that it’s much better focusing your resources on starting fresh with so many links to go and try and get removed. Most the blogs that do the damage have no real owners!

      I don’t think it could hurt changing some of the old links to your new domain,

      But to keep it completely safe start fresh, build new links, utilising high quality directories, press releases and guest posts. You may have some friends and partners with sites too, get on the blower to them and sort out some links for a beer. To often we forget to get our mates to link to us because we’re too busy trying to figure out algorithms.

      Sort your onsite out so it includes the keywords you want to be found for and make sure your anchor text is brand only. You should see some real quick results – Quicker than repairing damage from years ago anyway!

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  • esync01

    Interesting article to read and very much useful for me.Thank you for sharing.