All things SEO blog

Sneaky Ways to Increase the Value of Your Backlinks

Posted in SEO

We all know the importance of link building. From my experience, links are by far the biggest factor towards increased search engine rankings. Having said this, it’s not always a volume game and you often have to be very tactical about how you build links to your website.

We all assume that a link from a website that has a high domain authority will result in much better results, and in general this is a good general rule. On the other side of the argument is the fact that there are a ton of other link factors that play a part other than the authority of a linking root domain.

One of these factors is how deep the linking page is within a website’s hierarchy. If you’ve gained a link from a really deep page within a site that will be on the fourth, fifth or sixth level then the actual webpage your getting a link from is nowhere near as authoritative as the pages higher up in the site architecture.

The ideal situation is to have a link from the homepage, but this isn’t always a realistic option. When this isn’t an option, you can get a little creative with manipulating the internal linking of the site linking to you in order to squeeze out some extra value. Here’s how:

Paid Traffic/Social Signals/Comments

You may be looking at that title and getting a little confused, but fear not, it’ll all make sense shortly.

Featured stories

You may have noticed on a lot of news sites, blogs and even corporate websites that they have widgets on the homepage of their site that show popular content across their website. The pages listed within these areas are often dictated by the total visits to the page or by the total number of social shares. Now, any pages linked from this widget will be fired right to the top of the website hierarchy, making any links on those pages worth a lot more value – here lies an opportunity for you.

If you’ve gained a link from a guest post on a site or via a mention within an article, there’s a perfect opportunity to move the page up in the hierarchy. The first thing you need to do is work out how the website populates the featured widget. For example, on my blog, my featured posts are ranked by total pageviews (as shown below).

Popular posts widget on my blog

If this is the case, it’s time to explore paid traffic options. Here’s a few cost-effective ideas:

  1. StumbleUpon Paid Discovery (between $0.10-0.12 per visit) – here’s an awesome guide on StumbleUpon advertising.
  2. Reddit Paid Advertising (around $0.05-0.25 per click) – check out this great case study on Reddit ads.
  3. Facebook Advertising (between $0.12-0.50 per click) – here’s a good guide on Facebook advertising.
  4. Fake Traffic (around $1.20 per 1,000 visitors) – you can do this through sites like

You may notice that I’ve mentioned fake traffic in the above list, and some of you may be wondering what I’m talking about. Well, if the sole purpose of this is to increase the total number of views on the webpage that holds a link to your site, you may not want to spent a fortune on doing so – especially if you need a large volume of pageviews to get placed within the most popular posts section.

This is the only time that I’d ever suggest doing something like this because although the sites selling traffic claim that it’s targeted and real, the fact is that it’s rubbish, fake traffic. If it’s just a numbers game then this could be a good option.

On the other hand, you can look at other paid advertising options that don’t cost a fortune (but significantly more than fake traffic) that could actually help to not only boost the pageviews on the post, but could also drive referral traffic to your website, gain social shares to the post and increase the community around your content. My personal favourite for this is StumbleUpon’s Paid Discovery platform, but both Facebook and Reddit have awesome platforms too.

Traffic isn’t always the factor influencing popular post widgets though. Sometimes it’s social shares. Here’s a couple of sneaky ways that you can drive through social shares to your content:

  1. Fake Social Signals – a service that I’ve used in the past is Social Signifier (costs $39.99 per month for 3 URLs).
  2. Hire someone from – after a quick search I found this guy selling 75 Likes/Tweets on any URL.

Just a note on these options… don’t kid yourself that these are going to actually benefit your social campaign in any way. I’m suggesting using these for one sole purpose and that is not focused around growing social engagement.

Finally, if the popular posts widget is influenced by comments then there’s another few ways to get things going:

  1. Get everyone in the office to comment on the post – if you don’t need a huge amount of comments to get to the top (or if you have loads of staff), this could be a really great route to take.
  2. Hire someone on oDesk or to create a number of accounts (from different IP addresses) and get them to populate the post with comments.
  3. Use a tool like Scrapebox (check out Jacob King’s awesome guide) or GSA Search Engine Ranker to fire up spun comments (see Matthew Woodward’s tutorial) – not an ideal solution but effective all the same.

It’s pretty simple when you think about it but it really can have a big effect on the value of the links that are pointing back to your website.


  • Utilise popular post widgets on the sites that you’ve gained links from to increase the linking page up the site architecture.
  • These widgets are usually affect by either total pageviewssocial shares or comments.
  • All of the three factors above can be paid for at a cost effective price.
  • The methods discussed in the post serve this sole purpose. Don’t start using them outside of this (fake social shares won’t help you!).


Matthew Barby is a digital marketing consultant from the UK. You can get in touch with Matt via Twitter or Google+.

Posted in SEO
10 comments on “Sneaky Ways to Increase the Value of Your Backlinks
  1. Luke says:

    Interesting tactic Matthew – have you got any case studies of it working in practice?

    • Hey Luke, I don’t any case studies, per se, but I pretty much use this within all of my link building campaigns (in one way or another) and I’ve seen it add a lot of value of time.

  2. MItch says:

    How authoritative is this in the long run? When it is initially crawled, the link is seen as being on a page that is only one level down. However the example you used is “most read in the past 24 hours” or “trending”. That widget may be quite different after a week, or a few days. When the crawler comes back and it is not in the widget, won’t it be seen as less authoritative, or since it was at one point in the widget will it still retain its value? Is the plan to keep sending it traffic so that it is constantly in the widget?

    • Hi Mitch, from my experience, this works incredibly well for both traffic generation and link building in the long run. Where I’ve shown examples or ‘trending’ widgets, the plan would be to cash in on some big traffic spikes, but with the overall post widgets, go with long terms appearances there.

  3. Hi Matthew, it is annoying when you have a link in someones blog post who also blogs often so the post gets pushed back further down the hierarchy. When someone has placed my link within their post i promote that page every 4-6 weeks so the page stays active, like you said in the popular post widget.

  4. Andrew says:

    I absolutely love this post! You’re border line black hat with these methods but, if you’re like me – The only thing that matters is winning. This are some great methods that really can’t be penalized from Google for any reason. I love it!

    PS – I’ve left like 5 comments my whole life, that’s how much I enjoyed this post!

  5. Chris Dill says:

    You should also mention two products: and both great solutions for driving “fake” traffic and social signals.

  6. Sandipan says:

    I have a reservation with using fake traffic. Isn’t fake traffic going the affect the bounce rate of the concerned page and ultimately undermine its SEO value?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>