How to Leverage Link Blending and Stage 2 Link Building to Maximize Your Rankings

link building tactics

If you want to maximize your rankings on Google, what do you have to do? Well… other than write good content. You have to build links, right?

According to a survey SEOmoz did with 100 SEOs, the most important aspect of SEO is link building. But the big issue with link building is… everyone is already doing it. So, how the heck do you compete? Link blending and stage 2 link building are two things that very few SEOs are actually doing.

Here’s how you can leverage link blending and stage 2 link building.

Tactic #1: Link blending

Link blending is the process of building links to your site as well as other authoritative sites. Let’s say, for example, you have a website that sells bicycles online, and you convinced one of your female friends, Michelle, who runs a mom blog, to write a blog post about your bicycle site.

If you are trying to rank for the keyword “affordable bikes,” you are probably going to nudge your friend to link to your website with the anchor text “affordable bikes” because the more sites link to yours with that anchor text, the higher you will rank, at least theoretically.

If you want to rank really high, you want to ideally become an authority site. One way to do that is to keep on getting more and more links, but this ends up becoming very expensive in the long run.

Another way to do it is to get sites to link to you as well as other authority sites on the same page. That way search engines will start treating your website the same way they may treat other authority sites like New York Times or Wikipeda, which rank extremely high for almost every term out there.

So, going back to your friend Michelle, who runs a mom blog, you wouldn’t just have her link to your website, but in that same blog post, you’ll want her to link to a Wikipedia article on the history of bicycles and a study Harvard did on bicycle safety for kids.

When she links to Wikipedia and Harvard, you have to make sure she doesn’t use rich anchor text links to link to them as they can easily start outranking you if she does that.

And to be even more cautious, if you are building 10 links to your bicycle site, make sure you don’t link to Wikipedia and Harvard 10 times as that would be unnatural. Instead, you would want to get other people to link to other authority sites that talk about bicycles…be it an article on on how to assemble a bike or Los Angeles Times article on the importance of wearing helmets.

By leveraging the tactic of link blending, you’ll start noticing that when you do a “related” search on Google, it will show a list of all the other authoritative sites you are related to:

seth godin related

Plus, you’ll also start to rank a lot higher without having to buy as many links as your competitors.

Tactic #2: Stage 2 link building

Have you ever heard an SEO tell you that you want to build related links because those help the most? So, if you own a bicycle site, you want links from other bike sites or outdoor activity sites.

Although most SEOs are correct, their definition of a “related link” is a bit different than mine. For me, a related link means you are getting a link from another web page that ranks in the top 100 results on Google for the keyword you are trying to rank for.

I know, you are probably wondering how the heck do you get someone who ranks for your keyword to link to you? You could buy them although that goes against Google’s policy, and I don’t recommend you break Google’s policies. Plus, someone who ranks in the top 100 for your keyword is probably not going to link to you.

Another solution is what I call stage 2 link building. Let’s go back to your friend Michelle, who wrote a blog post that links to your website about “affordable bikes for your children.” That blog post in most cases won’t even rank in the top 1,000 results for the term “affordable bikes”, but if you build a handful of links to that blog post with the anchor text “affordable bikes,” it will start showing up in the first few hundred, if not top 100, results for that term.

If you accomplish that, which isn’t too hard, that link will be highly related. Plus, you’ll rank a lot higher for your key terms without having to build a ton of links.


Leveraging the same old link building tactics that your competitors use can be effective, but it will be very costly. If you really want to rank high, you need to utilize smarter link building strategies that include link blending and stage 2 link building. Those two tactics aren’t as costly and are very effective.

The only caveat is that you need to know how to build links to leverage the two tactics above. Ideally, you need to be able to build links without purchasing them as that would break Google’s guidelines.

You could do things like write guest posts and link back to your site, as well as other authority sites, when relevant. Or you could leverage email link building, emailing website owners and asking if they would link to you. When asking, point out a few other good authority sites they should link to that might benefit their readers, so you can link blend.

Do you know of other unique link building tactics that are effective?

P.S. If you want help building quality links click here.


  1. This is one of the best posts I’ve ever read from you Neil (and that’s saying something), really fantastic actionable tactics to implement.

    Guest blogging is part of my strategy so link blending is something I’m definitely going to start doing with these posts.

    Thank you

    • Thank you Steve, I appreciate the kind words. Glad you enjoyed it.

      Definitely give it a try and let me know if you ave any questions as you go.

  2. Anthony Carbone :

    When you say “rich anchor text links” do you mean to emply “no-follow” links?

    • I am pretty sure he is talking about instead of linking directly to a site with the name of the domain such as, but to make it so the word “Anchor Text” links to

      “Anchor Text” is your primary or secondary keywords you are trying to rank for

    • I mean links that point back to your site that contain a keyword.

  3. very good post! but i can’t believe you that you don’t buy link.. 😉

  4. It’s funny to me that I have never heard these terms before “Stage 2” and “Link Blending”. I have practiced the principles of stage two, without knowing the name, But never even heard the concept of Link Blending… I love it!

    Learn something new everyday. Thx

  5. IMO, while conventional link building should continue to be a staple in any online SEO/SEM strategy, building a robust web 2.0 link wheel that makes avail and stimulates “social shares” will rival if not surpass conventional link building, be they blended links or the vanilla high PR flavor.

  6. Great post Niel. I haven’t been using this technique as much as I should. Great reminder. Instead of stage 2, I have always referred to it as a link pyramid, where the top of the pyramid is your site.

    Thanks again.

  7. Yes, I’d practiced the stage 2 link building without knowing the name as well. Good to know I was on the right track.

    But the link blending I had not been doing. Very good advice and makes sense!

    • Awesome, good to hear you are heading in the right direction.

      Try it out and see how it works out for you. It should help.

  8. So, it is kind of creating a high quality ‘link wheel’ that helps you build authority.

    Just that it will be way to powerful with competitors that creates worthless web 2.0 link wheels for building authority.

    Clever trick Neil, Thanks !

  9. Mohideen @ make money blog :

    I have not heard of term link blending but the idea u have shown its really good strategy

  10. Hey Neil,

    Great post. There’s always been this idea of linking to authoritative sites from your blog (for example) to show an association; but getting the content that links to you to do the same is an awesome idea.

    As for the second tip, I’ve lately been suggesting that when a decent links is acquired from a blog post (or something that could be considered ‘interesting’) that we purchase a few Stumbles for that post. Depending on the content, we can usually garner a few links to the page that links to us.

    And, depending on the post/author/whatever, we’ve been sending an email to the linker and letting them know that to show our appreciation we bought a few stumbles for them. Can make some pretty neat connections that way.

  11. A. Kasin @ Melting Posts :

    Never heard of link blending before but looks like something I could try. You should be charging people for this advice 🙂

  12. Anshul @Nichesense Niche Marketing :

    Some time ago it was common for marketers to buy High PR expired domains to use as link farms but Google eventually woke up to that tactic.

    I know at least a couple of internet marketers who use their own affiliate type sites to link back to their blog or money site using a footer link and can be a great way to quickly build up PR (probably against Google’s policy)

  13. Great post with TWO GREAT TIPS. Link Blending? cool name but is it the same as Link Wheel?

    • No, Link blending is not link wheel big diff between 2. But I can say Link Blending is more like Guest Posts ver 2.0 🙂

      Improved and powerful, thank you, Neil.

    • No, they are not the same. A link wheel is the process of creating multiple new blogs/microsites on a particular topic. On those sites, you write unique content, and include 1 link to your targeted site, and 1 link to one of your other blogs/microsites. Link blending is simply linking to your site and other authoritative sites within your post.

  14. Thanks, Neil! These are brilliant strategies and I’ve had good success with link blending. It’s easy to get stuck in the same old link building habits, so keep the inspiration coming.

  15. These tips are really great. Even I am looking to start doing link building for a better SEO strategy.

  16. I have build links through guests posts. But haven’t know about link blending till now. This will be a very good strategy to improve site’s authority. Surely going to try it out.

  17. Joe@How To Earn Money Fast :

    Stage 2 link building is sounds like the next level of link building. Although, these links are quite hard to get, without paying for them.

  18. Awesome! Thanks for the info Neil!

  19. Pablo @ San Diego Stucco Exteriors :

    I’m wondering how stage 2 link building is different than what I often see called link wheels? Just curious if anyone cares to elaborate. Awesome article Neil!

  20. Hi Neil,

    Its always great reading your advice on SEO, going to try and apply your link blending tact to my sites.


  21. Dissertation proposal writing service :

    Hey Neil,

    Thanks for explaining the difference between link blending and link building… seriously I wasn’t aware of link blending thing. I seriously focus on your advice and see the result.

  22. I did not think about link building in that way. Great tips, Neil! Thank you!

  23. The way I do it is that I try and write content interesting or useful enough that relates to something relevant for that week but would also be helpful in the long run.
    For example, say my niche was ‘breakfast foods’ and that week there had been a massive thing about one particular cereal being unhealthy, I might post something like ‘7 Healthy Alternative to [Unhealthy Cereal], that way, this post becomes interesting and relevant enough to get linked to by the smaller site in link round-ups and such for that week.
    If you were born with the gift of the gab you can wrangle your way into even more of these, for free and when they include a link to your post alongside a bunch of other well-ranking, useful posts, you reap the benefits that come from being regarded with big players in your niche. Plus, that link round-up full of interesting goodies will be thought of as ‘useful’ by both the readers and ultimately Google too, so that’s a long-term win as well!

  24. Juicing With Rika Susan :

    Well, Neil, learned something new yet again! I never thought about link blending, but it is so clear that it can be a good strategy. Thanks! A new technique that must have great potential.

  25. Web Design Resource :

    Link blending idea is the best to get good ranking in the search engines because most of the people build links towards their webpage in simple way so it’s very common but link blending seems very beneficial to increase the importance of the site in the eyes of search engine with the help of authority sites.

  26. Hey Neil,

    Really good tactics shared here. I’ve been doing this for a long time. Most people never take the time to really sit down and think about creating a link profile that search engines are going to like. Instead, they spend more time tracking down tools that let them push a button and pop out 500 useless links.

    This kind of link building takes more though, planning, and creativity, which is why most IM’ers will never do it.

  27. I want to share how tumblr build my page rank to 3 because of the reblog. I always add back links to my post and every time they reblog my photo, or text post I got a back links.

  28. This is the most useful post of yours I’ve read, Neil. Thanks.

    Link blending makes so much sense and I’ve already started to implement it as soon as I finished reading!

    As for related links, I’ve been doing that for some time now and I do find it highly effective. Furthermore, the benefit of these types of links is that they also drive relevant traffic.

    Asides from that, I always use your excellent tip of using Google to your advantage by using search terms like this: intitle:”fundraising” inurl: ”links” as mentioned here:

    Your SEO tips are different to the same old stuff I see churned out elsewhere.

    Keep up the awesome work and thank you.

    • Thank you, I appreciate your kind words. I am glad to hear you are implementing these tactics. Let me know if they help. I appreciate the support. Thanks for reading Quick Sprout!

  29. Hello Neil,

    Thanks for sharing this juicy tip but do you mind to tell us what’s the difference regarding the “Link Wheel”?


    • This video should explain it:

    • Yes Ryan,I do Whitehat SEO all the time. Sometimes it is very slow in terms of gtietng results but now, i’m seeing the benefits to my blog.It is best to be on the good side of the big G.Olusegun recently posted..

      • Whitehat is great. In the longrun your rankings will stay there while a lot of blackhat stuff isn’t longrun.

  30. But not everyone will allow you to guest blog if they see you as a competitor.

    • I believe that this is a major drawback in guest posting. In this case, all we can do is go to different niche blogs/websites and see if they allow guest posts as the main aim is to get links no matter from where.

      • It isn’t easy but it isn’t impossible to find bloggers or sites with similar niche that will allow for you to guest post. You just have to take the time and do the handwork in asking and dealing with them.

    • True, you have to put yourself out there and form relationships with other bloggers.

  31. Google is ranking you #1 for “link blending” in my SERPs. Nicely, nicely, done. I’ve been doing (and teaching) people to do something very similar as part of “unSEO” and it’s really nice to have a label to put on the technique.

  32. Links blending- that is the exact term i was doing with my recent articles and 2nd stage link building is something much much more relevant t build for your blended link. This is another awesome post from you neil.

    I think link blending and stage-2 link building will work very well if you use both these tips in our guest posting as you can blend it very correctly for your site.

    • I agree, guest posting in general is beneficial. Combining that with link building is a smart way to get ranked higher.

  33. Alexis Castaneda :

    How about link blending via social media? Such as having Tweeters or Piners (people using Pinterest for SEO like myself), retweet or repin your related content with a link to your site. Even better would be Tweeters or Piners from authoritative sites.

  34. Thanks Neil. I will surely use these two tactics to increase our site ranking.

  35. Neil, you nailed this one. I have never read this from somewhere. It’s like a revealed hidden trick to me.

  36. Entrepreneur and Investor :

    these two linkbuilding tips are definitely on the mark. I don’t refer to it as blending, but you do need quality outbound links for various reasons.

  37. Patrick Thompson :

    Thanks for the information Neil very helpful as always.

  38. I have read tons of SEO and Digital Marketing e-books, i’ve never heard of link “Link blending” i will be testing it in my next few guest posts, thanks Neil

  39. Hi Neil,

    Great tip of link building which is more wanted for our website Thanks for update

  40. I’m one of those guys who never used link blending. Great post. It really makes sense if you appear (links to your site) in the same post with links to authoritative sites, you must be authoritative (or something like that as well). I guess it is persuasive enought to make Google thnk so 🙂

  41. Neale @ Living in Thailand :

    That’s a new one to me, having the article link out to authoritative content also, makes sense in the grand scheme of things along with back linking the article with same anchor text.

  42. Affiliate Network Site :

    Google doesnt mind the Link Blending??

    • As long as you are not buying links and you leave it up to the webmaster to pick the other sites to link to, I don’t see why not.

      • Matt Cutts might disagree with you there as you’re picking the anchor text to manipulate the search rankings. It doesn’t really fall under the category of “natural linking”.

        Just a thought nor do I really care what Matt Cutts thinks, just don’t over do your anchor text.

  43. This is SEO 101, very well articulated and explained. Thank you for sharing. I really appreciate all the work you do – simply wonderful.

  44. Hey Neil,

    There’s a minor typo:

    “Instead you would also want to get other people to like to other authority sites that talk about bicycles”

    It should be link instead of like right?

    Excellent post btw!

  45. HengamStanfield :

    I will definitely start incorporating links and anchored keywords. What a great tip! Thank you.

  46. rohit kothari@techotalk :

    hi Neil,
    is link blending mean link wheeling like one link to web 2.0 other link to post?? or it mean anything else

  47. Great post thanks Neil.
    I’ve been article marketing and including high ranking site links in them for a while now with the thoughts that this would work. Glad to have someone as authoritative as you confirm it! 🙂

  48. Internet Marketing :

    This is one of your shorter posts, but straight to the point. I for one look forward to get away from SEO altogether and build just one mega website that will have people do all the “natural” SEO for me. We can dream, can’t we? 😀

  49. Hi Neil,

    I’m glad to read this post. For a while I was building links and I couldn’t answer “why these links ranks my site so slowly?”. I will try the 2 level link building. I hope it helps my links get stronger.

    Great points!

  50. This reminds me of Pat Flynn’s epic post on the backlinking strategy that work:

    (and I can second that, it does work! 🙂

  51. Walter Whitley :

    I enjoyed you article, but could you go into more details on the linking.

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  53. Online Mastering :

    thanks for this neil! this will really help me take my link building to the next level. I’ve sort of reached a plateau with my link building strategies

  54. Thanks Neil, every article about link building is useful to me.

  55. Abhinash Jena :

    Hey Neil,

    This is nice explanation to various link building and SEO. But Google comes out with some new changes every month. How do you track them, do you know where I can get to read about those updates. Please do share.

  56. Wordpress Installation Service :

    Yet another great post Neil! Learnt some new concepts there for sure.

  57. hey neil,
    again a well summarized article. you have successfully explained the difference between link blending and link building.



  58. Excellent post here. Stage 2 linkbuilding can be quite effective, and it is a powerful way to give a website authoritative, powerful and relevant backlinks very quickly!

  59. Hello!
    ,,,,These tips are really great. Even I am looking to start doing link building for a better SEO strategy.Its look really help much,,Thank you for this!,,,

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  61. These tips are really great. Even I am looking to start doing link building for a better SEO strategy.Its look really help much,,Thank you for this!,,,

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