Web 2.0 links are powerful ways to help control the conversation of content that’s directed to a website. These types of backlinks are from highly authoritative domains and, when done correctly, can carry some serious ranking power. The best web 2.0 sites aren’t always dictated by their overall domain authority—or even allowing dofollow links! Google’s core search algorithm and other various technologies such as RankBrain have evolved considerably in recent years. Their focus has become much more on quality, and if you create quality web 2.0 backlinks you’re likely to earn some strong favor.
A History of Abuse
Web 2.0 websites were a product of the early days of user-generated content and dynamic web pages during the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. These are large-scale websites that allow individual users to create and maintain their own content that’s indexable by search engines. Some popular Web 2.0 websites today are WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, LiveJournal, and Medium. Each of these sites has very different formats, allow different presentation of content, and offer very different overall link value.
When built with quality and genuine value in mind, Web 2.0’s effectively serve like mini private blog networks that can be used indefinitely
They are all similar in the sense that they provide users with free blogs that can be filled with text, images, video and shared with the world. By default, a backlink found on one of these domains has the potential to leverage the power of these domains—which is quite considerable. In practice, Google’s search algorithm has recognized that just because an article on a Web 2.0 site comes with a Domain Authority rating of 80+ doesn’t mean it’s as meaningful as an editorial link from a nationally-syndicated news site with a similar Domain rating.
Knowing What to Expect
By default, these types of links often don’t even get indexed for quite a period of time. Not that long ago, these types of links could easily be generated with automated software by the thousands and were effective at tricking Google into ranking pages higher than they rightfully deserved. The real benefit here is that these types of parasite websites—named such because of ‘leech’ domain authority—are hosted and managed by a third party for free. Creating one essentially costs the same maintenance fee as creating 100,000.
As with anything free, these websites are commonly riddled with spam and rarely used in the ways their creators likely imagined. These links can still provide very cost effective ranking power and can contribute greatly to effective SEO services. Sometimes the results can be a bit sluggish while Google warm’s up to them, but taking impactful steps to increase the overall page authority of these types of sites can wind up producing some of the most powerful backlinks you’ll find without editorial connections.
Anatomy of Powerful Web 2.0 Links
When broadly considering the potential impact a link has on your website’s ability to rank for keywords, there are two useful metrics to use. Domain authority (DA) is used to estimate the overall power of the hosting domain, taking into account it’s backlink profile. Page Authority (PA) is used to estimate the overall relevancy and power of the individual page a link comes from, as measured (largely) by its own backlinks.
Essentially, these two metrics can provide you with an estimate of how powerful another website is holistically, as well as how powerful any individual page might be. In the context of Web 2.0 sites, they almost always have a high DA rating since they’re hosted on a major third party domain such as WordPress.com or Blogger.com. For example, the domain myweb2blog.wordpress.com essentially has the same DA rating as wordpress.com. Initially, Google got tripped up by this approach but has pretty much normalized the weight they give these types of links initially.
A fresh web 2.0 backlink will have a high DA rating, but almost always have a PA rating of 1—indicative that it’s likely never to rank without support. The key to leveraging the power of Web 2.0 websites is building additional backlinks to them to strengthen their page authority. This is considered ‘tiered’ backlinking, and is a very cost-effective way to build powerful links, for now anyway.
Just a few years ago, one could build 350 web 2.0 links with shitty spun content and get a site to rank. Another popular SEO method, the so-called ‘churn and burn’ method, was used to blast these types of websites with a large number of spam links to drive them to the top of keyword results. Having all these backlinks pointed to a link on a high-authority domain really tripped Google up—but they quickly adjusted. As a general rule, it’s almost impossible to accomplish this today except in certain rare circumstances. Even when successful however, the first page rankings only last for a few weeks if you’re lucky.
A very valuable SEO method today is to create high quality content on web 2.0 websites, much in the way you would for an actual blog, and then build backlinks to them to boost their page authority. This may seem like a redundant means of ranking websites if you’re just stuck building backlinks anyway, but there’s one major caveat—low quality links can be used to boost the authority of the Web 2.0 links. These aren’t necessarily links that would qualify as completely spam, but you’re definitely able to focus on quantity over quality here. This approach shouldn’t be considered as immortal, and will likely see a lessened affinity by search engines eventually.
For now, they offer a powerful cost-effective means of boosting a site’s ranking. Regardless of what Google may say publicly, quantity is still an effective way to game their algorithm, and will likely be their Achilles heel for some time. Below you can see an illustration of how a typical Web 2.0 tiered backlink system might look, when used to bolster the page authority of your primary website.
Web 2.0 links are among some of the most cost effective backlinks for use on low to medium competition niche keywords. When done with a focus on quality, much like a primary site, Web 2.0 links can effectively help leverage some of their hosting domain’s authority. To harness this easily accessible ranking power, Web 2.0 links need to be supported with backlinks of their own.
The quality of links needed isn’t nearly what would be needed to support a primary site, and shortcuts can be taken. This method is used to effectively offer additional keyword associations to already ranking pages, boost slipping ranks, and in some cases even help solidify a presence in a competitive niche. This approach is technically against the Google webmaster’s guidelines, and should be regarded as a risk. When built with quality and genuine value in mind, Web 2.0’s effectively serve like mini private blog networks that can be used indefinitely.
The great benefit of using Web 2.0 sites in this manner is that you can effectively target important web properties with volumes of low cost links—having most of the risk ‘buffered’ before reaching your website. If you should ever suspect a penalty, addressing it is as simple as removing a handful of links or targeting a new buffer site to get ahead of Google’s next update. The game is always changing, and even tools of days past like Web 2.0 sites can still provide potent SEO value when applied cautiously.