What Is Link Blending?
Link blending is a tactic used when a website links to you, and on the same page, links to pages within the top 20 search results for your target keyword. This then indicates to search engines that you are in the same ballpark as the highest ranking pages and can result in improved rankings for your target keywords.
If for example, another site links out to you, a Wikipedia page in the top 10 and another site in the top 20, Google will think: “Awesome, this site must be the same as these other guys, so we need to rank this site higher”.
Imagine your target keyword is “red shoes” and the article above is about red shoes: it is ranking well, and links out to a number of pages. Out of these links, three sites rank 1, 2 and 3 in Google for red shoes. Because the article is linking out to the best-ranking pages and your website, you will be seen as operating on the same level and subsequently, see an improvement in rankings.
How Do You Blend Links?
Whatever link building tactics you are implementing, please be ethical – although black hat SEO still works and would give you control over link blending, it isn’t worth the risk. The best way to do link blending is to look for who’s linking to your competitors, and are ranking really well for your target keywords. Links from these sites will already be in the right circles, and if you get a link from that page, your rankings will climb up faster as they will be blended.
Another tactic is to look at who is ranking on page 1 for your target keywords, and aim for those pages to link to you. This will show Google that you are super relevant, and your rankings will start to improve quicker than if you were to have links from elsewhere.
The whole purpose of link blending is to ensure you are in the correct circles, the links are very relevant, and the search engines can see that your link is relevant. Here is a great example:
Neil Patel wrote a post on launching a PPC campaign for the first time. Within this article, he linked to the likes of Wordstream and Google (pages 1 and 2 for PPC). He also linked to a post on the Hallam Internet site about PPC landing page best practises. Unfortunately, rich anchor text wasn’t used:
However, this link is extremely relevant and has helped push our page 2 rankings for the term PPC landing pages up to position #1:
What’s the Catch?
There is one catch with link blending, and it relates to the anchor text. Imagine you are an e-bikes seller and have been linked to in a Forbes article, with other links in the article to bicycling.co.uk and The Independent. All good right? Well, it depends on the richness of the anchor text being used: the richer your anchor text the better, and the broader the bicycling and Independent anchor text, the bigger the advantage you have.
The reasoning behind this is simple. If all the links had the same rich anchor text (“e-bikes” for example) they will start to outrank your website for that key term. It’s all about finding that sweet spot where:
- Your link has rich anchor text
- The page links to relevant websites that rank 1 – 20 for your target keyword
- The other links use non-rich anchor text
I know, it’s a pretty tough balance trying to nail all of the above for every link building campaign, but what this does is provide a sound template for making the most of your link building strategy.
Why Should You Use Link Blending?
Bottom line, this tactic won’t deliver instant #1 positions for your target keywords. However, it’s a great strategy to implement as part of your link building process. Think about your next outreach campaign: if you have a piece of content you’re looking to place, then do a little research into the top ranking sites for your target keyword, link to them in the post and separately link to your website with rich anchor text.
Imagine you run a children’s clothing website and your friend has a parenting blog. You sweet-talk them into writing a post for you, with the goal of ranking for “affordable kids clothes”. When she is writing the post, you’ll want to give her a nudge to link to your site with the rich anchor text mentioned above, which is a basic link building practice that can get awesome results. Now, to get even more out of your friend you will want them to link to pages ranking highly for “affordable kids clothes” such as:
When she links to these posts, make sure she doesn’t use rich anchor text links as they will start to outrank you. Just ensure your link uses the target phrase “affordable kids clothes” and you will be good to go!
Another scenario where link blending really comes into its own is with guest posting, as this will allow you to manipulate the types of links and anchor text used. As long as this is done ethically, you can use it to your advantage. Take the same example as the above: instead, you can craft the content and anchor text – just make sure you don’t overdo it, and as with most guest posts, they will be thoroughly checked before going live, so don’t go too wild.
Lots of people practise link blending, but not a lot of people talk about it. It’s a really good process to have in your link building checklist, especially for outreach and guest blogging. All natural/ethical links back to your site are good, but if you’re able to head into the campaign with a blending process in mind, you’ll be able to push for your target keywords better and stand a stronger chance of improving your rankings up to pages 1 and 2.