Skip to content

The Black Sheep: Why You’re Stuck on Page 2 (Revised)

stuck on page 2

I get this question quite often. Today in fact.

I’ve been stuck for 3 months on page 2. It doesn’t matter how many links I throw at it. It simply won’t move. I can’t figure it out!

Has this ever happened to you? All of your tactics are clean but you simply can’t break into page 1. You have the perfect on-page SEO and your anchor text is properly diversified.

Most of the time I see this, it’s because the site has an off-site SEO record that is completely different than the other sites ranking on first page. It’s what I like to call the “Black Sheep Effect”.

The Black Sheep Effect


Good luck trying to power through this niche

Look at the top 10 for your keyword and look at the number of links that the ranking pages have (use mozbar to make this a lot easier).

If everyone in the top 10 is ranking with less than 20 links, and you’re the guy trying to break into page 1 with your 75+ links, Google is going to recognize you as being different from everyone else and you’re going to have a hell of a time trying to rank.

This often comes up when you’re in a niche dominated by authority sites.

For example, if you’re in the health niche trying to sell an affiliate’s new supplement, your page 1 is likely going to be filled up with a WebMD, WikiPedia and the Center for Disease Control. These sites typically have a huge domain authority (DA) of 90+ so it naturally takes them only a few links to rank. Sometimes none at all.

Another example of the Black Sheep Effect is when one of your non-intended pages ranks higher than the one you actually meant to rank.

Let’s say you have a homepage about Product ABC. You’ve thrown a ton of links at it to get it to rank, but for some reason you have a non-important inner page about the product which is ranking higher than the homepage.

What’s going on is you’ve either over-optimized the anchors for the homepage, or you have too many links pointed to it compared to everyone else.

How to Beat it

You might be saying, “Well, I don’t have a DA 90 site so I’m going to need a ton of links to rank for my challenging keyword.”

Easy solution: Reverse siloing.

What you want to do is create inner pages that are supporting articles for your critical page’s target keyword. Then place a contextual link to the homepage with some variation of the target keyword, or something generic like “Return to Homepage.”

When you send links to the inner page, the link juice comes in and immediately transfers to the critical page using a targeted anchor to establish the relevance. Works like a charm.

So instead of going brute force after a keyword, first take a look at the competition. See what they’re doing to rank, and mimic the same. As usual, send your most powerful links to your critical page and use inner-pages to supply the extra link juice to get to the top.

Are there any Other Black Sheep Scenarios?

black sheep

Quite simply… absolutely.

There are numerous situations where sticking out from the crowd and being different from your peers in the SERPs is going to make life harder for you…

As a general rule, your main goal for ranking in Google is to “blend in” but “do it better”.

Here are some examples…

Word Count

It’s a common fallacy when people blindlly believe that larger articles always outperform shorter articles.

Take local SEO for example.

If you’re trying to rank your plumber client, does it really make sense to have a 4000 word homepage? How much content does it take to sell plumbing in Chicago?

Google knows this. They know that many sales based pages (and ecommerce as well) do not require a huge amount of content to rank.

When your SERP is populated with short content sales pages, you’ll need to mimic the same.

Domain Age

Every time you’re evaluating whether or not to go into a new niche, take a look at the domain age of the sites on page 1.

If your competition is all 4+ years old, you’re going to have a hard time penetrating that niche.


So what’s the solution?

Is it as easy as being patient and waiting for your new site to age?


Remember, as your site is getting older, so is your competition. One year later, you have a year-old site but your competition is now 5 years old.

One option is to simply build new sites on aged domains. I would stick to non-dropped domains such as you can get from vendors like TB Solutions.

Another option is the 301 redirect.

When you redirect, the receiving site essentially inherits the age of the redirected domain, amongst other things such as anchor text and link juice (minus some fudge factor).

I’ve used 301’s to skate the sandbox as well as imitate artificial age, but I tend to avoid them as much as possible. 301’s add a measure of non-control to the ranking process, which I prefer to always keep.

Locally Relevant Link Diversity

locals onlySEO agencies are very familiar with this.

When ranking in locally-based niches, Google is expecting locally-based links.

If you’re the fella attempting to rank for “plastic surgeon beverly hills” with 100% PBNs, you’re going to be fighting an uphill battle.

Looking at your competition will soon reveal a large list of locally relevant link sources, whether they be from business citations in the same city or guest posts from local bloggers.

I ran into the same situation on a national level when I was attempting to rank an affiliate website in Brazil.

Reverse-engineering the competition revealed that the competition had, on average, 40% of its links coming from domains.

This is what gave me the idea to use citations for affiliate websites, and as a result, I found myself on page 1 in short time.

Leverage local links like citations for a quick and cheap way to get that local relevance. For this I recommend Web 20 Ranker’s citation package (coupon code “Diggity15” for 15% off).

Being Bottom-Heavy

This situation comes into play when you have the following site architecture…

You have a homepage that virtually serves as a portal to various silo pages. Your homepage doesn’t exactly try to rank for anything, but your silo pages definitely do.

An example of this would be if you have a national dentist directory.

Obviously no one is searching for “dentist in USA”, so you wouldn’t care about ranking that page. But you definitely care about ranking your inner pages for “dentist in Palm Springs” and the like.

The problem comes into play when you’re distributing the links to the pages on the site.

If there is an unnaturally high ratio of inner-page links vs homepage links (as compared to the competition), this results in another black sheep scenario.

bottom heavy

To prevent this from happening, you need to link to the homepage.

You can accomplish this on the cheap with citations or, one of my favorites, press releases.



Article by

Matt Diggity

Matt is the founder of Diggity Marketing, LeadSpring, The Search Initiative, The Affiliate Lab, and the Chiang Mai SEO Conference. He actually does SEO too.

150 thoughts on “The Black Sheep: Why You’re Stuck on Page 2 (Revised)”

  1. Thanks for this. I tried it out on one of my stuck sites, so we’ll see how it goes. Is there a particular type of content that you want to create that links to your homepage from the innerpages? Make it exactly the same topic as the homepage? For example, if I’m targeting dog training, should I create an inner page about dog training and then pass a link back home?

    1. For example, if I’m targeting dog training, should I create an inner page about dog training and then pass a link back home?

      Not necessarily. If you have too many pages about the same subject, its considered duplicate content and you’re opening yourself up for panda penalization. Instead, create a supporting article. In your example, you could create an inner page article about “10 things every new yorkie owner should know” and in that article, have a paragraph about “the importance of early potty training” which links to the homepage. This would be the ideal situation.

  2. Hi,

    I’m trying to rank many keywords on one website.

    I made 3 silo pages that are linking to home page, then to each other and then to the inner pages I’m trying to rank. (Every silo links to different inner pages)

    Then, on all inner pages at the end I’ve included a link back to all 3 silos I have.

    And on my home page I have links to the 3 silos and some more important inner pages.

    Am i on the right track?

    And should i link back to the silos from the inner post or i should let the link juice stay there?


    1. Sounds like you’ve inner linked the crap out of your site. Make sure that you’re still keeping relevance for your silos.

      1. Hey Matt,

        thanks for this stuff.
        If I notice that my internal linking is bad. Is it then advisable to delete these and create better or rather add more new ones?

  3. Good stuff here Matt. I’m already a customer of your PBN links service..and these blog articles are a great resource for me to pick up new ideas or strategies.

    I have a few questions. In my industry, i need to provide several services that are not similar or related to each other ( example: facial treatments and Slimming services=no relation). As such,my site is structured like this:

    Homepage and 12 services or parent pages and another few pages for about section,contact us, testimonials etc.

    If I wish to start ranking for say,50 keywords of ONE particular service that i offer, i believe I should have 1article for each keyword?

    I only want the parent pages to rank andshow up, not any of the poorly written iwriter cheap articles i use for child pages.

    If so, do I interlink these child pages to each other and to the service’s parent page? Or do I simply link all 50 child pages to the parent page only and hit it with PBN links later on?

    My problem is that i’m aware of Google’s spiders only being able to crawl up to a hundred or so pages deep per crawl. Hence i do not know if i should segment the 50 articles in groups of five articles interlinked to each other and parent page, but not having to link with the other pages in the remaining four groups?

    Sorry if it is confusing, trying my best to be as concise as I can here. Thanks in advance for the attention to my questions.

    1. Hey Jason. You do this one: “Or do I simply link all 50 child pages to the parent page only and hit it with PBN links later on?”

  4. Hi Matt! Thanks for the reply. Funny how one short sentence is filled with wisdom and clarity for me?

    I am getting content written up on iwriter now. I hope it works and that those shitty articles never ever show up in serps.

  5. Very nice!

    Should you remove ALL other links on these supporting pages, apart from the link to the target page?

    I.e. no external links, no sidebar links…, and only one link to the target page to pass the juice?

    Killer articles!

  6. Hi Matt! Just wondering about a different scenario where maybe you can help me get a better picture of this black sheep principle:
    I just found a very uncompetitive niche (product name keyword) where all the top10 results are ranking with 0-1 backlinks (it’s in a foreign language) so I thought of getting the #1 result with a brand new site and using your “anti-sandboxing link flow” (social fortress + press release + social signals + pbn links) You know, to help the sandbox issue going away faster and also build some authority to the brand new site.
    But the thing is… Just the press release is gonna give me about 50-100 links (from authority sites) and… If the current top10 sites have 0-1 backlinks… Can the use of the press release end up been more harmful than helpful for the rankings?? Or through your experience you have found that the “black sheep principle” doesn’t apply to foreign keywords?
    Thank you!

    1. I wouldn’t worry too much about press releases. Google classifies them differently as they’re well aware that they get syndicated en masse.

  7. So I have a classic example. Stuck on page 2 and no matter how good my links are, that won’t budge. I know it’s set up right, but most likely over linked. I have already set up about 5-10 other pages to link to this page, but no joy. So you’re saying I should send my next links to the ancillary pages, rather than the money page itself?

    1. Hi Dom, that would be my course of action if the black sheep effect is indeed what your issue is. However there’s tons of different reasons for being stuck.

  8. How about using supporting post/pages for PBNs? Would you do the same thing? Add 1-3 additional post/pages supporting the pbn article linking to your money site? How would that help? Would that make that pbn page/post more powerful? Good idea?

      1. Perhaps you remember CeasarSEO from the Warrior Forum, he applied this method a lot, eg setup relatively weak PBN’s for his customers and then he posted 4 articles in a broken loop, all with exact/partial match anchors. So article 4 links to article 3, article 3 links to article 2 etc. (no sidebar so juice couldn’t flow anywhere else).

        Back in the days it must have worked like a charm for him as I think he was the most successful seller at that place with tons of glowing reviews. Might still work!

  9. Also, when you say link to the homepage from the inner pages, is that only if you are trying to rank the homepage itself? What if the page you want to rank is an inner page? Do you link those supporting pages to that one, or still to the homepage?

  10. Matt, so to make the best out of this technique you need to have the best approximate number of backlinks from the top10 sites, right?. Which backlink checker currently is your favorite one?? aHrefs, Majestic, Moz? other?
    Thank you for sharing your wisdom. No matter if it’s a year later, I always come back to your posts and they are as current as if you wrote them yesterday! 🙂

  11. Does this work from Blog post to home page also or only from page to page?

    How many links? Just start building away little by little until it ranks?

    Lastly When you say Contextual link? Do you mean anywhere in the body area like below the content in a separate paragraph: Brand + Slogan w/ KW (Example) or directly into the content.
    or link directly

    Sorry for all the questions !

    1. Does this work from Blog post to home page also or only from page to page?


      How many links? Just start building away little by little until it ranks?

      Correct. Link till you rank.

      Lastly When you say Contextual link? Do you mean anywhere in the body area like below the content in a separate paragraph: Brand + Slogan w/ KW (Example) or directly into the content.or link directly

      A contextual link is a link placed in the context of an article. So yes, the body.

  12. Hey Matt, thanks so much for all you do for the community! Your site is a goldmine of info! I have a quick question on this I’m hoping you can help with.

    What would you recommend as the best course of action if you determine you’re home page is the black sheep and you don’t have control over the existing links to remove them? For example, you take over a site that had previous work done and the home page has way too many links. Would abandon trying to rank the home page and target an inner page instead or is there some other way to “fix” the problem?


  13. Hey Matt

    First off Happy Newyear!

    I have one question about this technique, is it okay to hit the inner pages with EMA? Like for home page I want it rank for blue apples, I create inner pages pointing to homepage (using anchor variation), and if I hit each of the inner pages with the anchor “blue apple” (only once) would that be safe?

    Best Regards,

  14. Hi Matt! Long time I haven’t bother you with one of my questions 🙂 haha

    This one is a little out of the topic though:

    What would you do in the following situation?

    My Money Page has been consistently ranking #1 (for months) for its main keyword, but then out of the sudden it has started to fluctuate between #1 and #2 (almost daily) going up and down, and continues to go up and down again between those 2 spots… This situation has been going on for more than a week now.

    Is there anything I can do to stabilize it and get it rank on #1 again for good? What would you do in that case?

      1. Thanks Matt! 🙂 Follow up question:

        Would that be a target, brand or URL anchor text?

        (Asumming your anchor-text diversity is already well distributed)

  15. Hi matt,

    I have an affiliate site targeting different versions of a product with different pages. for my supporting pages will I make these affiliate pages category pages and have my posts as the 3rd level on the domain to these affiliate pages.

    So for example

      1. Is there any benefit of this compared to say

        And linking this to the money page.

  16. When sending links to this supporting page do you suggest generic/url anchor text or partial matches ?

    Would it be worth getting video submission links(or something similar) to this supporting page to diversify if you want to use exact match?

  17. Hi Matt,

    awesome concept of Black Sheep. Never met it somewhere before. Makes sense really.

    Is it applicable only to those who stucked on page 2? Or this is the same for those who stucked in top 10 results without going up for long?

    What does your experince say?

    1. It applies to any position in the SERPs, but very commonly affects people that can’t seem to break into the top 10.

  18. Hey Matt,
    I’m interested in the 301’ing an aged domain to transfer the age. So could I just buy a 10 year domain and 301 it at my new site to give it age trust?

    Or is there only certain circumstances?


    1. Definitely test the 301 before you send it to your money site. Check the bottom of this article for details on how:

  19. “If everyone in the top 10 is ranking with less than 20 links, and you’re the guy trying to break into page 1 with your 75+ links, Google is going to recognize you as being different from everyone else and you’re going to have a hell of a time trying to rank.”

    So if google think my website is a black sheep I will still rank I just need to wait months?

  20. Good stuff there Matt. I have a site in the first scenario at the moment. However for close to a year I was playing in the top 3 with the big boys (credit niche). Back in December, Google must have done a manual adjustment, because I’ve dropped to bottom of page 1 / top of page 2 and can’t get back up again.

    All of the page 1 sites are high home page authority, low backlinks to the ranking page. Whereas I’m trying to compete with more links to the money page. I’ll try sending more links to the home page (which links to the money pages) and to some internal pages which also link to the money page.

  21. Thanks a bunch! im in a REALLY spammy niche and people rank with awful things, unrelated blog comments and shitty pbns everywhere while im trying to find a solution that is better than what they are doing, but oh well when in rome 😀

  22. I agree with you totally about the black sheep. In fact, there are other factors to consider and check the way the competitor has done it such as keyword density, Title Tag, H1, H2, presence of videos and images, choice of words in the content, bullets, tables, outbound links, and many others. For me, I usually think that when the competition is stiff, then everything and anything becomes important for consideration. A small thing can bring the much needed killing missiles.

    Matt, I have a question. I am ranking for a keyword that has defied the rules of ranking. Everyone ranking from 1 to 10 does not seem to target it, especially on on-site. Those who are aggressive on the keyword only rank from number 11 to 40s. Everyone ranking for the keyword uses 3 links and yet is not a high authority domain. My dillema is: Should I use silo or should I use a good on-site (EMD) and use exact match conservatively?

    1. Sounds quite surprising to me: if you try to rank for it, you won’t rank for it. If this is true, then I would just funnel link juice through silo’d pages to your optimized page. But I’m skepitcal about the first statement.

  23. Hi Matt!
    Great post!

    I have a branded website which i use for ranking some inner pages (affiliate market in brazil) and other posts/pages as supporting these money inner pages.

    So, in the case of locally citations as you described, if i make these locally citations to the homepage, will that work for the inner pages as well? Or should i make locally citations for each inner page i want to rank for?

    Thanks man!

      1. So, at a first moment, i think would be better to make some locally citations to the homepage… right? After that, if needed, make some more few citations to the inner pages… what do you think? Thanks!

  24. Thanks for all your hard work Matt! Great article

    A lot of our clients at our agency are currently suffering from irrelevant pbn links being sent towards their money site after all the algorithm updates so looking at your reverse siloing method, would sending those irrelevant links to highly relevant support pages with contextual links and em/pm anchors be a good strategy to not waste the link juice?

  25. Matt!
    Thanks for the great content and for the mail. Missed this post until now. I think i might need some supporting pages for my money page.
    Simplyfied In the reverse silo case, you are saying that

    1- create articles, than place a contextual link for the page you want to rank, to generate authority for your well/overly backlinked page…?

    2- than let the linkjuice flow. -So you have to create backlinks for the new article or just let them be naturally?

    3- What if you have way more/powerful/better backlinks on the target money page, than the others, and you are stuck on the bottom of page 1? Lets say offsite is well done. Create this reverse silo stuff or delete backlinks, or what?


    1. To be honest, without being able to take a look at your exact scenario, I wouldn’t be doing your case justice by trying to guess your solution.

  26. Kick ass stuff as always, Matt. I thought I was the only one doing citations to affiliate sites. 🙂 It’s a little known trick that can really yield big results. The supporting pages / blog post for relevancy is also a big way to sculpt site relevancy and as I tell people “tell Google just what the heck you are all about and making it obvious by having more than one page on the topic.” Great stuff.

  27. Thanks for the post, Matt! Your content is always such a huge help 🙂
    Quick question. In the vein of trying to blend in – if your competitors are authority sites ranking inner pages with duplicate content (ie ecom category pages), is it worth the effort to come up with 2,000 words of original, optimized content for the page you’re trying to outrank them with? Or would you also throw up a category page full of products and then take that original content and spread it across four supporting articles based around the topic, reverse siloing to your money page?

  28. Thanks for the article, but thats a little bit shady for me. I am commenting about this case: “You have too many links pointed to it compared to everyone else.” …
    So how can be reverse-silo the solution, whats squeezing more linkjuice with internal links, if you already have more links than the other sites? Thats sounds like a paradox to me. May I misread something?

    1. Since a few years now, and even confirmed last year by Google themselves, rankings happen on a per-page basis. We’re not talking about the domain here, we’re talking about the page’s URL. Sorry for being so shady.

      1. Thanks for the heads up, now I understand. Just one more question, if you dont mind.
        Whats your play If you have already built a lot more backlinks for your ranking page than the competitors? Like 10x more (I was impatient with my rankings). Drop the page and start a new one, or delete backlinks, or something else?

    1. Possibly no, because (depending on the country) competition is weak in foreign countries. They’ll be doing so many other things wrong that age wont be enough to save them.

  29. Hi Matt,

    When you say reverse silo, is it that you create a post that is related to your money page with a link to the homepage. So that the juice can flow from the homepage to the related post down to your money pages?

    Nice post!

      1. If i want to rank my home page so is reverse silo means i have to create some home page related post and link back to home page?

  30. Thank you for your great article.
    You said Press release can help. So how many credit ( is enough ?

  31. I’m attempting this as I’m stuck on page 2/3/4 but my domain has only 3 money pages with a few supporting articles. Total domain word count is 20k words. Would this be holding me back? Or does Google care about total domain word count

  32. I am in a niche where the top 3 competitors are ranking for a long time with just spam links ( each site has around 50k links from 1000 RDs approx) So does that mean I should start spamming as well?

    1. They’re ranking “in spite” of spam. Not “because” of spam. And how do you know they didn’t disavow?

      1. Yes you are correct. But seeing all the top 3 having same kind of link profile, I assume they have not disavowed. But then again – who knows? Thanks for your reply btw 🙂

      2. Hey Matt,

        you say “And how do you know they didn’t disavow?” and you are right, but how can I check for the best anchor text diversity, if I don’t know which links my competitors have disavowed?


    2. Sreejan, to back up what Matt said, there are countless examples of sites that are “getting away” with tactics that are just plain “wrong” and run counter to best practices. In many cases, these are sites that seem to have hit a window during a certain period of time where the methods employed did work (such as spamming). And for whatever reason when the hole closed on spamming domains, these sites didn’t lose their rankings. Google does seem to put a lot of trust in ranking longevity which is to say, the momentum of a site with strong rankings for 3 or 4 years, regardless of how they got there, will be difficult to run down.

      But make no mistake, if you apply a spamming technique today, you will absolutely fail. It is frustrating to see a site performing so well when you know the ranking engine behind it is pure junk. But, you can’t change that, so control what you are able to and employ the methods that Google likes. Who knows, a new algo could wipe out the guys you are envious of while your site takes over their position?

  33. Hey Matt,
    What is your advice on buying editorial links, after what amount of time you can start buying them? Is one ed. link per 2 weeks good amount?

  34. Great post Matt, love the title ‘The Black Sheep Effect’.
    Didn’t really think about inner links to the home page, I have inner links to services pages, but good to add some to the home page.
    Interesting point on press releases, for some reason I heard it’s not often a great move getting backlinks from press releases as some sites press release links are considered spam links?

    1. I still dabble around in press releases in special situations (like this one) but I’m going high quality.

  35. Very informative post! thanks a lot for sharing such a nice article! But i have a doubt in implementing press releases …My doubt is : If i submit a press release , definitely many sites will copy the content … then there is a chance of getting links more than i required then in that case will those huge amount of links will harm my site’s ranking?
    And I want to know about service !! can we trust that service? If not then can you please suggest me some services which i can choose for implementing press releases? Thanks in advance

    1. I’ve never heard of that service so I can’t comment on it. As for your release getting syndicated, this is a normal thing. Just make sure you use a high quality syndication service.

  36. Great article Matt. Isn’t press releases a temporal quick fix solution as all those links will usually drop within couple of months? What would be a better solution?
    thanks brother

    1. You can keep press releases indexed if you try. Otherwise perhaps a high quality Web 2.0 gig.

  37. The senario is just what is happening with my site. The non-intent page is ranking page 1for the keyword that was meant for homepage. But before both of them were ranking on page 1 for that keyword but now the homepage is not in top 50 for that keyword. Can I use reverse silo for this case? I’m afraid that the homepage was over optimize for the keyword and tried to chance exact match keyword anchor text but nothing changed. Would you mind give me some suggestion?

    1. I don’t know if you could say that this is what’s holding you back. Being page 1 for something before and dropping to page 4 sounds like algorithmic penality. Unfortunately I can’t diagnose it over a blog comment.

  38. some interesting ideas, but some or them are wrong! when you rank with other inner page it’s because high onpage keyword density combined with wrong anchor ratio. it has nothing to do with the number of backlinks.

  39. Similar Situation Here.

    So basically I am hitting a keyword with nearly 3 million searches every month.
    All my competitors using spam techniques to rank higher. I do know they use blog comments, blog posts, sape and such type of webs to buy 100s of links. In-fact all my top 5 competitors are above 300 to 400 referral domains.

    From last couple of YEARS I am stuck on page 1. Even with low backlinks under 100, I have managed to rank on page 1 and that can be due to my on-page optimizations. Now I am slowly building authority links to change the position. In-fact I was on 8th position and with only few more links now I am at 6th position.

    3 of my competitors are not aged. I do not know what’s holding back. To me it’s fairly due to quantity of links I guess. Few new competitors came with same technique to buy many backlinks RANKED and then gone away due to penalty. But of-course they stayed for couple of months. I am not gone anywhere so yes Google like my web MAYBE.

    Any suggestions?

    1. It really could be soooo many things. It might be as simple as just needing more links, but in case you’re stuck for another reason, this is a good place to start: click here.

  40. So if I have most of my pbns pointing to my homepage on my local site. Could I delete some of these and create new links going to existing blog posts which have internal links to my homepage?

    Most of page 1 are authority sites with high DA and low PA

  41. Hi Matt!

    Good stuff. Thank you!

    Questions about press release: you mention above that you use now for only certain circumstances, such as this. What are other? Also you mention also using a high quality press release service now. Which one do you recommend?

    Thanks again!

  42. Well, if you are the black sheep and you have some black tint avail. What would prevent you to make other sites look a little more like yours? I don’t mean sending bad links. Just as good as the one you have on your own site :).

  43. Hi Matt,

    so instead of reverse siloing do you think it makes sense to simply disavow some links?

    Thanks for your reply!

  44. Hey Matt,

    Thanks for creating such a great blog, your aims are perfect.

    One of my clients is stuck on the 2nd page since a year and most of the competitors are new & having least to no backlinks. Whereas, my client is a well-established Dental SEO firm. Still, competitors are ranking higher.

    The client website ranks only for the intended pages and is good in terms of content (medium sized).

    What could be the possible reasons behind this?

  45. Thank you Matt for the super insightful piece.

    One question tho – I seem to be suffering from the domain age black sheep effect. Everyone else is 4Y+, I’m at 1Y currently.

    Now, you recommended TB Solutions. That’s all nice and dandy, however their domains cost more than what my grandmother gave me for the week, jk.

    Could I just take something from as I don’t care about the backlinks, all I need is the age and that they’re spam free.

    Thank you in advance,

  46. Hey Matt,
    Great article as always. Loving the content you give. I have a question about the domain age. What do you think about brand new domains? Is there a weeks or months limit that stops the site from getting to page one? Is there some kind of “waiting” period after which we should look for rank increase or some kind of period that stops us from getting to the first page (let’s say domain that is just 2,3 weeks old? Thank you in advance. Have a great day.

      1. Well in average for all the niches? I am not looking for something very specific like days or weeks. Maybe something like range because i cannot find information of it anywhere.

  47. Hi Matt, I have been binge-reading your blog today. Amazing insight.

    I shot myself in the foot with senuke and more, and now I have 100x the links of the top 10, and anchor text optimization that is beyond any pillowing. I have been on top of page 2 for over an year, which is like being on page 100. My legit links are actually at par with those on the top.

    Should I start disavowing links? Problem is, I don’t know which ones are actually holding me up and which ones are dragging me down.

    What would you look at? OBL? Any other factors?

    1. If you have direct SENuke links pointing to your money site, I’m surprised you’re not already penalized. Def disavow.

  48. Hi Matt,

    I’ve done a single press release campaign 2 months ago for my site and it indeed increased my DA.

    However, it is still quite low compared to my money pages’ PA. Is it safe to run another press release campaign?

    On the same note, is it safe to run Domain authority stacking campaigns once every few months?

  49. Hey Matt; it was a great article.
    But there’s a question here, what if building backlinks to reverse-silo inner pages cause cannibalization?

  50. Hi Matt,

    It’s great article with useful information. I have issue as below:

    – My site build more 1 year with only tactic from guest post, skyscraper. I also build many link for brand site to my homepage. However, my keyword can’t rank top. All is at 8,9,10 .. 14 position.

    – Could you advice me some suggestion to increase ranking?


    1. I wish SEO were so simple as to be able to just hear a couple facts about a website and be able to diagnose an SEO plan. 🙁

  51. Hi Matt, thanks for the suggestion on checking out this article. I do have one question when it comes to 301 redirecting an old niche relevant domain to a new one, would over optimization from the branded anchor of the old domain be of concern?

    Here’s what I mean, if the old domain is called, and the new site is called (which has very little links since it’s new). Would redirecting to cause over optimization? Since all of the branded anchors from now points to

  52. Hey Matt,

    Great read first of all!

    I’ve got a new site I built for a client on a new domain also. After I checked whois and it turned out it was dropped and was first registered 14 years ago. The client told me they had the domain a few years ago also. Still used it as it’s was very clean as it’s their brand name and main keyword. No one burnt it in the past.

    I’ve got them to page 2 in 90 days so it’s been quite fast and a nice result so far. Local service client and 1,300 searches just on their main keyword. Maybe some of that age is helping as it’s seems to fast for the minimal work done. IDK…

    I’m up against sites that have been around for a long time so would you go and pick up a domain with some nice age and redirect it? And does the niche matter? Or just get something clean with branded anchors mainly so it does not mess with the ranks?

    Yes? Or no as the old domain goes back 14 years and once it’s been around for a while Google credits that old age again, just not right away? IDK, making an assumption there based on what I’ve seen so far.


    1. I wouldn’t do the 301. You’re already making great progress and your domain is old anyways.

  53. Hey Matt,

    Always love reading your posts. I will try this for sure. I am trying to rank for “Best gaming mouse” but even after sending 30+ PBN links I am nowhere. Now I think I will try your tactics.

    If I made to 2nd or 3rd page it will be a big win for me.

    Anyways, carry on your works!


  54. Hey matt,
    I just read your article, but I still confused about the black sheep effect. I do believe my website is facing the same problem since there are a lot of websites with lower DA and PA ranking better with less backlinks. Since I have backlinks pointing to the page I want to rank and If I made links from support posts to the post I want to rank wouldn’t this make the page I want to rank receive even more juice from the backlinks and drag me down? Could you explain this for me?

    1. The black sheep effect is referring to direct external links to your money page, in comparison to your competitors.

  55. Hi Matt

    Thanks for the article. Great stuff.

    Two questions if you don’t mind:

    1. I’m the health affiliate niche. For supporting articles, how many articles and how many words per article would be a good start?

    2. I got a few pages stuck on page 3 and not moving much, any tips on how to get them ranking higher?

    Thanks in advance.

    1. 1) Kind of depends on the exact topic you’re trying to rank. Something simple like “how to cut your fingernails” might not need much supporting content. But obviously something like “what you need to know when you get cancer” might need tons.
      2) Start here. We get more into detail on getting unstuck in The Affiliate Lab.

  56. The word count tip is brilliant, even though I read this guide so many times I still missed it on some of my pages, just got it fixed now.

    How long does it take to see results from your experience?

  57. Great article as usual, I actually witnessed this on some of my websites. I have a doubt though: placing one of this blocks (included in many wordpress themes) such as related posts or sections listing posts from a specific category, shouldn’t already take care of redistributing the juice to the homepage/other pages, as well as the menu and the website logo link? I know links in the footer are considered differently, but those sections should be in the body.

  58. Hi Matt!

    When using press releases, do you link to just the pages you want to rank, or just the home page, or would you ever link to the supporting pages mentioned in your other article? And how many links can have an effect on a press release?

    Best regards,

  59. My 2 websites that was a micro niche sites, I was only ranking the homepage like “Skin Starts with C” but after sometime, my inner silo pages starts to rank instead of homepage. Now I realized that it would be a black sheep effect. So what shohld I do if my compatitors are using forum comments links and they are ranking with that kind of links.. what should i do? Do I need to make same kinds of backlinks? Do I need to make same tons of links as they have created? What should my link building strategy?

    1. Because I don’t know the full story regarding your website, firstly I’d check the rest of your backlink profile first before looking at getting forum links. What is your anchor text ratio like? How does your ratio of links to the homepage vs inner pages compare? Get them sorted first.

      If those ratios on point my next question would be, what type of forums are they? Are they highly niche relevant forums? Or are they local forums? If they are highly niche forums, maybe look to get some guest posts on highly niche websites first. If they are local forums, what are some local linking opportunities (local blogs, news outlets, directories) are there? Go for those types of links first.

      I suggest this course of action first, because there are more powerful link opportunities out there than forum links (which can be easily spammed). Sometimes a small amount of targeted powerful links can outdo a large amount of average links.

  60. Thanks Matt for this very useful information. I was facing the same issue on a garage door website for almost the last 3 months.

    I got backlinks from high authority websites too and noticed that my top-ranked competitors have fewer backlinks but they have more content/posts on their website.

    I am trying to rank “garage door repair Roseville CA” and “garage door repair” on the home page but the main focus with the location keyword. What would you recommend for, like what type of supportive content I publish on my blog or any other recommendation?

    Highly appreciated your responses to every individual.

    1. Assuming your technical SEO is on point, here’s how I’ve gotten unstuck in the past:

Comments are closed.