5 Link Building Tips for The UK

September 10, 2009 // Search Engines, seo

Ok guys, I have been link building for many years now but don’t always get the chance to practice the art as much as I’d like to, mainly due to my more strategic based role at my current job. Call me crazy but I do actually enjoy link building and I think you have to if you’re involved in the job, it’s a buzz to setup quality links for a client at absolutely no cost then watching the impact these links have on the rankings.

So the reason for my post is to share with you my observations from a recent batch of link building I completed. Most of you will probably already know what’s included but if you have a UK based client you may find this post has some value.

1. Domain Value – I have compiled a list of domain names based on results from link building and their direct effect on rankings for UK based sites:


Links from .ac.uk are similar to .edu links to our American friends and drive massive amounts of trust and authority. Links from .co.uk websites are also extremely valuable for link building in the UK, not only because of the localised domain but the content and language is usually more relevant. Surprising results show that .com links hold considerably less value than an equally matched .co.uk domain, when I say “less value” I mean less impact on UK search.

2. Anchor Text – A year or two ago I would have said keywords in anchor text is a must but I have to say there’s less weight on this factor than their use to be in the UK. I realise that Seomoz recently released the 2009 ranking factors but in the UK brand terms in links still deliver a very healthy amount of link juice which I’ve seen massive rankings boosts from. Although I must say this is based on domains no younger than 12 months old, any younger than that there would probably be a different outcome.

3. Negotiations – I’m going to start sounding rather old now but “back in the day” emailing webmasters for links worked well, generally because SEO was not really as widely known. However there is a misconception that this tactic will not work now due to the increase in web knowledge from website owners. Well let me tell you this is still the best method to build links anywhere, out of 40 emails sent to prospective sites I setup 15 links for free to sites including .gov and .ac.uk with an average PR of 4. Of course it’s all about finding the right sites but that’s the fun no?

4. Impact – This is kind of a gray area in the link building world, how long will it take my new shiny link to boost my rankings? Well usually it depends on when the bots crawl the link and add the update to the index, a good indicator of this was recently announced whereby it was mentioned Page Rank is a measure that is used to determine how often Google will visit a site. Essentially sites with a higher page rank will pass value to you quicker.

5. Directories – You can still get some great positive movement in rankings by identifying directories which are based or targeted for the UK. Firstly the domains are mostly .co.uk which provide good link juice and the content is often localised (which can bring in added benefits for local search). Admittedly the directories that hold the most value in the UK often have a review price but there are other gems out there if you look properly.

Matt Ridout

About the author

My name is Matt Ridout, I've been working in digital marketing for 9 years; worked for agencies and currently Head of SEO at fashion startup called Farfetch. Try to test my own theories.


  1. Don’t you find that part 3 i.e. Negotiations is a waste of time? Of course it’s all about finding the right sites but from my personal experience I don’t think that’s fun at all. 🙁

  2. Negotiating links on quality websites may get a little boring at times but when you get a link for nothing I consider the effort to be worth it. Is certainly not a waste of time

  3. Very useful, in particular the domain value. Keyword inlusion in anchor text is still one of the most important factors that affects your rankings when link building in the UK.

  4. I’d agree that emails are still a great way to build links, but in generally only if its good non-commercial content.

  5. lmao cant really believe this is true if you still use this living in past

    LSI is king and so is social media optimsation to get more than 1 google page ranking

    sounds to me like someone not knowing what there doing just copying ideas from others

  6. Your Caculation based on UK. What if any one want Listing improvement regardless of location. then which extension site will give more benifit in listing improvement.

  7. care to point us in the direction of your top 10 uk based directories?

  8. I agree, links are huge. I used to spend too much time optimizing my site when I shoul dhave been working on link building.

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