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Mysteries of the internet back doors

Andreas Voniatis | October 03, 2012

Backdoor linking is an awesome procedure if you’re writing on behalf of a client but don’t want to seem like you do. Anyone can hyperlink directly to the company, product or service they represent but for some more mastery skills you are going to have to go through the backdoor.

This is not at all complicated. Simply put, you’re linking to a page which links to your client’s page. That’s the easy bit, but there is a lot more to it than meets the eye. Technically, your client is only two clicks away, but in terms of internet and distance it might as well be on the other side of the universe if you don’t know what you’re doing.

There are three key elements to proper backdoor linking you’ll need to keep in mind when you exercise this cool technique and if you can pull this off like a champion, your site and your client’s will be all the better off for it.

To simplify this it’s enough to say that there are only two categories of backdoor linking – great and crap. I will put all focus on great backdoor linking to make it easier. Great backdoors meet the following criteria in order of importance: it has value adding content, the link to your client is very easy to find and it has a long shelf life.

Value adding content is absolutely necessary for the purpose of backdoor linking. If a reader is simply taken to a site with not much more than a link to your client he/she may start to wonder about your motives for leaving your site in the first place. A simple solution for this is to find the backdoor site before you put together your own content. When you find a site which meets all the criteria you can build your own content around the content of your backdoor. This way it looks like a seamless transition from your site to the backdoor.
If the page linking to your client has information about cooking you can write an article about your favourite food and then link to the backdoor for additional information. It will look like there is a natural path for the reader to follow and they will respect your content a lot more and hopefully return for more.
Many pages have loads of links and for the purpose of backdoor linking you have to keep in mind that the reader obviously doesn’t know which link you want him/her to click on. The more prominent your client is, the more prominent their link will be. Make sure it’s as easy as possible to find it.

Unless the content naturally requires the reader to scroll down, you will want to avoid this. It’s like searching for something in Google. If you have to scroll down to find what you were looking for it might as well not even exist.

A long shelf life of your backdoor is of course important, but once your content is created you can always make changes if necessary and even updates. You will not have a possibility to do this on your backdoor’s site unless you own that too. Using news articles and blog posts can be a moot point since articles roll off sites when they are no longer topical and bloggers take down posts every now and then. Both these cases will render your backdoor useless.

Now when you know how to abuse the system and provide great backdoor links you’ll still need to know how to find them. Let me first say that there are two ways you can do this. You can of course sit and search in Google for sites relating to your client, but this is an arduous and time consuming task. An easier way is to find a proper tool for it.

The most common ones are AHrefs, SEO Moz, Ayima v2 and Majestic SEO. Obviously there are different aspects to consider when you decide which one to choose, so let’s break it down and make it easier. In the end there will be a clear winner. I promise.

There are two things you want this program to do for you – find live pages which actually link back to your client and find as many of these pages as possible. This is where we can start separating the men from the boys. Some argue that they want more out of these backdoor crawlers, but for our purposes we don’t.
Majestic SEO will find more sites than any other crawler out there, but when you look closer at the hits you get you’ll notice that a lot of them aren’t actually proper links. If your client is and you search for backdoors linking to this URL, you will also have a lot of hits where the text is written out ( but it will not actually link there. This is obviously useless since you want your reader to be able to click the link and not just read it. It may sound like a small thing, but think of the last time you actually copied and pasted a URL because the publisher was too lazy to hyperlink it for you…
Ayima v2 is still being tested and is not available to the public yet, but as far as testing goes, it has shown that most of the search results actually link to where it says it will, but on the other hand the amount of hits leaves a lot to desire if you would compare it to AHrefs. The same could be said for SEO Moz, but in all fairness Moz is the most accurate of the four.

Still, AHrefs is the overall winner in every category but one – accuracy. There has been testing done targeting the highly popular SEO site Search Engine Land for backdoor links to compare these tools and in the final test where all things important to us are looked at, Moz produced about 50,000 useable sites, while AHrefs came back with closer to 600,000.

The fact that AHrefs at the same time showed an accuracy of about 73 per cent means that there were obviously a huge amount of sites which would be pretty useless for SEO purposes. But this is rather insignificant from a practical point of view.

You can export all the results in a nice and neat excel document and have a good look at it. Obviously, for the first-time viewer of this kind of document it will look like a massive cluster of data and information, but it will soon be very clear what you need to care about. With just a little bit of practice you will be able to filter out the bad results from the good in no-time just by looking at the results.

Now you know how to properly direct internet traffic through the backdoor and you know which tool to use (AHrefs) so there’s no reason for your client to not be happy with your performance. At least not for the way you’re using the backdoor.

Andreas qualified as a management accountant (ACMA) after graduating in Economics with honours from Leeds University. In 2003, pursued a career in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and has since held various Head of Search roles for award winning agencies including Infectious Media and prestigious startups. In 2010, Andreas became an independent consultant to international agencies and brands worldwide providing SEO consultancy services and online PR, including Exxon Mobil, Tesco, HSBC, Zurich, Quorn as well as startups including Discount Vouchers. His work has been featured in the Telegraph and Search Engine Watch particularly for reverse engineering the Google Penguin algorithm to a 98% statistical confidence level in 2013.