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  1. Philip@SearchBenefit.com
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    SEO Link Building


    (SEO Link Building in 5 posts)

    2013 Update
    Important! This thread is 4 years old. It is chiefly focused on high-quality, white-hat link development, so most of the information here is still correct and valuable. However, you should be aware that link building has changed radically in some respects in 2012-13. Please read the latest update first before the rest this thread.


    The Web is a vehicle for content, and links are its fuel. They push content up the search engines toward the busy searchers. Admittedly, SEO Link Building forms a major part of search engine optimization as we know it. This post's emphasis is on quality links, but with the understanding that links of "lesser quality" can still bring some value too, just not as much as they used to. I do my best here to collect the best recent and up-to-date SEO Link Building information. I welcome any feedback (which I'll monitor) and I will make any necessary (selected) corrections, additions and/or improvements directly to this and the following four posts and on an ongoing basis, so that readers won't have to trudge through the entire thread (if it turns out longish) to find good information.

    I am doing all this partly in an effort to become a better link-builder myself: this is an area where one must constantly stay on top of the latest information, trends and ideas. My hope is that we can make this thread the best existing resource on link building for everyone from beginners and to us professionals.

    Here are the main sections:

    Benefits of Link Building
    Major Current Trends in SEO Link Building
    Link Trust
    Link Value Assessment
    SEO Link Building Strategy
    SEO Link Building Tactics
    Internal SEO Link Building
    Local Search and Geo-Specific Rankings
    How Do Pros Do SEO Link Building?
    Recommended Link Analysis Tools
    Useful SEO Link Building Blogs
    Not Recommended: Questionable Methods
    Gray Areas: Obsolescent Link Building Techniques


    Benefits of Link Building
    When performed correctly, link building can help accomplish these goals:
    • Increase search rankings for targeted keywords
    • Enable the success of a broader keyword strategy
    • Increase targeted referral traffic
    • Stabilize rankings subject to Google Dance (the fluctuation of rankings caused by the periodic updating of Google's servers)
    • Strengthen branding
    • Speed up page indexing and re-indexing
    • Strengthen local and geo-specific rankings

    Major Current Trends in SEO Link Building
    How may one summarize today's most important trends in Link Building? Here is my considered take on this.
    • Formerly, before the major search engines (chiefly Google) became as sophisticated and choosy as they are now, the main SEO strategy was to simply build more links. You could employ an army of link monkeys (often called "linktards" in this forum) to do it for you. This old approach was essentially quantitative: the more links the better. Furthermore, backlinks were the single most decisive ranking factor: their impact on search positioning was overwhelming. What has happened since is that Google has deprecated many types of links, and today backlinks that are not recognized as "quality links" have lost most of their weight. Therefore, today successful link building is mostly quality link building (discussed in detail below). The chief approach is now qualitative, and this trend continues and becomes ever more dominant.
    • The findings of SEOmoz.org, among others, strongly suggest that the cumulative power of backlinks has declined somewhat and continues to decline (giving greater prominence to such an increasingly important ranking factor as trust, a.k.a. authority, meaning the confidence that your website is of high quality and contains no spam). How trust is measured is not exactly clear, but one factor appears to be the site's linking distance (degree of separation) from Google's "seed sites," selected by human editors, which Google trusts to contain 0% of spam. Google's algo is manually adjusted to place a vote of trust on the seed sites and to use them as standards to distinguish useful pages from spam. The big thing to realize here is that trust is much more important than PageRank (PR) and is, in terms of SEO, the single most valuable thing a link can provide for a website.
    • In spite of the fact that various kinds of links have been devalued, Link Building will continue as the decisive ranking factor. Ultimately, links remain the only indefinitely scalable SEO parameter (apart from the website's content). Site popularity and search engine trust both flow through links. Links are of great value to the search engines because they radically simplify the problem of computing relevance and status. There is simply no good alternative to them in this regard, even as other factors (such as user behavior) are playing an increasing role.
    • Increasing importance seems to be attached to having a natural, diversified and well-rounded link profile that includes (1) relevant links from a wide variety of pages (for example, from authority sites, academic sites, forums, blogs, directories, discussion groups, fan pages, social media, consumer information and review sites -- the list goes on and on), as well as (2) different types of link (for example, a mix of nofollow and "do follow" links), (3) links to the same page with diversified anchor text, including long-tail keywords, (4) "deep" links to existing pages using longer tail anchor text and (5) genuine natural links resulting from successful link-bait. Additionally, it is supposed best if your link profile develops at an even-paced, randomized, "natural" tempo without obvious major spikes or long interruptions.
    Nofollow. In 2009 Google changed how the rel="nowfollow" attribute of links is being used. Before this change, nofollow simply prevented Page Rank from flowing through a link. Under the original implementation, nofollow conserved the PR for the linking site and therefore enabled what was known as PR-sculpting. After the change, nofollow still prevents PR from passing through the link; however, the amount of PR that would have passed though the link if it were not nofollow, is now simply discarded (i.e. lost to the linking page). What nofollow does not do is prevent the search bots from following the link. They do, and discover and index new pages that way (through nofollowed links from social websites, for example). Nofollow has legitimate uses (choosing not to "vote" or "vouch" for certain websites), but it no longer saves PR or supports PR sculpting.

    Link Trust
    The most highly trustworthy and trust-transferring link is one that
    • comes from the most trusted (human-edited) source
    • represents a genuine "vote"
    • is freely given (no "paid inclusions" or "paid listings" of any kind)
    • is editorially selected (editorial consideration fees are OK)
    • is contextual, not separate from the main text content

    (For a summary of link trust factors and background info see here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TrustRank. A note for SEO pros. The most seminal and compelling early (2004) formulation of the idea of Trust is found here: http://www.vldb.org/conf/2004/RS15P3.PDF. This is not necessarily in all important respects how trust is handled by the current search engine algos, but the fundamental concepts and factors are well presented in these sources.)

    Assumptions about Trust
    • Good pages will link only to good pages. (Bad pages can also link to good pages, but may link to other bad pages as well.)
    • Fewer outbound links mean more rigorous editorial selection.
    • Like PR, trust diminishes as it is passed via a link.
    • Trust flows from the seed sites outward. (The seed sites are selected from those backed by the governmental and educational establishments and by corporate entities.)

    Trust issues sometimes entail manual review of sites. Most such reviews happen "at the head," that is, at the highest Page Rank level, starting with sites that have top PR but are flagged as potentially spammy. (If you ever hope to get up there, worry about how spammy your site is right now: Google keeps track of everything.) "The long tail," by contrast, would be too costly to monitor manually and is for the most part handled automatically, except for special cases.

    [Continued in the following 4 posts]

    Comments on this post

    • JVRudnick agrees : hold cripes phil...aint got the time to read this...but is it available as .pdf? I'd print this out to study it later...but can't right now...??
    • seogoat agrees : Thanks Philip I read most of it. I've bookmarked it.
    • terriwells agrees : You've put this together beautifully...I especially like your observations about diversity of the types of links.
    • Jesus Nofollow agrees : so this is how u get ur rep
    • Gordon Akman agrees
    • abilitydesigns agrees : Brilliant !
    • hb7of9 agrees : Wow, its seldom that one learns so much from one post! Great Job Philip!
    • Peter Friswell agrees
    • callenb agrees : Very important topics. The more research you do on this the better off you will be in your SEO efforts.
    • jimmyj23 agrees : Awesome!
    • EGOL agrees : Nice work! Very generous postings. :)
    • Talks_44 agrees : Wow, thank you.
    • Econ1 agrees
    • KarnRawat agrees : I belongs to third world
    • agrees : Nice posting, thank you
    Last edited by PhilipSEO; Oct 20th, 2013 at 11:40 PM.
  2. #2
  3. Philip@SearchBenefit.com
    SEO Chat Good Citizen (1000 - 1499 posts)

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    Link Value Assessment
    Remember, the goal of Link Building is not to "get more links" but to get permanent quality links. The best Link Building strategy is to identify and pursue the opportunities that will deliver the largest impact fastest. When deciding whether or not to go for this or that link opportunity, it is best to assess the potential link's value. While this is not a hard and fast science, the checklist below can help you set priorities and save you from wasting a lot of time. Various factors play a role in deciding the potential value of a link to you. I recommend focusing on these three:
    • Relevance. The link's and the linking page's relevance to the target page and to its keywords. Relevance assessment includes several factors:
    o Keywords in the Title Tag
    o Keywords in domain and URL
    o Keywords in <H1>, <H2> etc. heading tags
    o Keywords elsewhere in the text and HTML
    o Keywords in the backlinks pointing to the linking page
    • Link Equity. How much link juice the link will pass. Although link equity if traditionally discussed in terms PageRank, this concern is obsolescent since PR's role in rankings has declined, thought not disappeared. Trust has come to play an overwhelmingly important role in rankings. For PR purposes, no-followed links have no impact. The jury is out on whether or not nofollow links are capable of passing other SEO value. Many have reported and speculated, for example, that nofollow links from Wikipedia and similar high-trust sites can provide a great boost to rankings in spite of nofollow. There is no reliable measure of trust; the SEOMOZ.org metric of mozTrust is the closest measurable approximation we have. Even so, PageRank also offers some loose approximation of trust (domains with 0 PR are unlikely to command great trust, and domains with a PR of 10 are extremely trusted). Whilst it is true, as many have observed, that PageRank is not an accurate or reliable measurement, it is nevertheless the only expression of a page's evaluated authority that is currently available from a search engine. Additionally, PR helps identify penalized sites. The PR of the linking page should still be given some weight in link evaluation. With the understanding that PR is not some foolproof SEO measure, the factors to consider as regards a link' PR transfer potential are:
    o The linking page's PR
    o The number of internal and outbound links on the linking page (the total PR passed from the page is divided among those links)
    o Whether the links on the linking page are nofollow
    • Permanence. If you get that link, how long will it be there? If the equity passed by the link is low right now, you can hope that it will grow in the future, as both the link and the linking page mature. By contrast, if a high-quality link is short-lived, any benefits from it will disappear as soon as soon as the link is gone. For the most part, don't waste your time on links that have no chance of being there a long time. When I once was considering the possibility of outsourcing link-building (a very iffy proposition in many cases), I would ask prospective partners how permanent the links they built were, I found that a "6 months replacement guarantee" is standard. It is unlikely that those links will last longer than six months, without additional fees being paid.
    • Positioning and Contextuality. The most powerful links appear
    o high up on the page, as close to the beginning as possible
    o within a paragraph of prose, rather than separately from the text
    o in the context of relevant keywords
    For example, this can be the case in your press release or in an article about your
    business. When evaluating a potential link, consider whether these requirements
    can be met.
    • Cost of Acquisition. This is not limited to any monetary cost, but includes the amount of work that must go into attempting acquisition.
    • Likelihood of Acquisition. Do not waste much time on links that you are not likely to be able acquire. In evaluating the likelihood of acquisition, consider these factors:
    o Your ability to add a link directly
    o Your ability to submit the link
    o Relationship with someone at that domain
    o Your ability to make (or request and see through) a correction or addition to the linking page
    • Non-SEO Values. Remember that links have other value besides SEO. By bringing relevant traffic (that does not necessarily result from search engines), relevant links can help you generate sales and leads and build your brand. The tactics for improving your referred traffic include link distribution to leading digital media (articles, guest blog posts, quality listings), to online discussions (possibly engaging industry leaders in conversation) and growing expertise-based relations with the media.

    SEO Link Building Strategy
    • Have a strategy. Don't leap into link building without a long-term plan. Make a scheduled list of the link building tactics (see below) that you will pursue, of the costs and efforts involved, and of the results that you can expect from each aspect of your campaign. Prioritize.
    • Content is King. Everyone has heard this said a lot, but only because it's tried and true. Sites without original quality content as not worth linking to for anyone, it's as simple as that. Make your content as plain and clear as possible. Proofread carefully. You can be successful online only by providing better content value than your competitors.
    • Link Baiting. Advertise your helpful free quality content (and other free value stuff) via various social media, to help people find it and link to it.
    • Evaluate your links. Avoid wasting time on worthless links.
    • Mix and match, diversify. Use many different kinds of links from a variety of sources. Mix them up.
    • Combine SEO and non-SEO advantages, such as high relevant referral traffic.
    • Never stop. SEO Link Building is a perpetual process and should not be interrupted.

    Comments on this post

    • Jesus Nofollow agrees : Still no rep available
    • WhiteHatSEOMktg agrees
    • Peter Friswell agrees
    • seogoat agrees
    • Econ1 agrees
    • aristocrataks agrees
    Last edited by PhilipSEO; Feb 26th, 2010 at 03:59 PM.
  4. #3
  5. Philip@SearchBenefit.com
    SEO Chat Good Citizen (1000 - 1499 posts)

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    SEO Link Building Tactics
    The following are legitimate, proven, white-hat SEO Link Building tactics.
    • Create readable periodic content. Start a topical blog; male every effort to post quality content regularly. Include "share this" buttons with every post. Get listings in the top blog directories. Tag your posts. For example, Technorati tag pages are reported to enjoy high on Yahoo! and Bing (less on Google).
    • Offer free content, free tools, free samples, free giveaways. People will like them and link to them.
    • Leverage the enthusiasts. Alert to your most important current content any people who you know have linked to you in the past or who mention your products, services or company on their sites. Find them by searching for Web pages that already refer to you or your business by name, business name, URL. Contact the site owner or editor and request that a link be added (argue that it brings value to the user) or that more up-to-date information be additionally linked to. Ideally, provide the HTML code for the link to simplify the linking process and for greater control over the link; at the very least, provide the anchor text (but even the bare URL goes some distance).
    • Cultivate happy customers. Identify them, turn them into "evangelists" for your brand, ask them and make it easy for them to link to your website (for example, provide the linked HTML text they can just copy and paste, with targeted keywords in the anchor text).
    • Exploit the most popular genres of bloggery and link bait, including numbered lists, such as the 101 List; Top 10 Reasons why this or that; Top 3-12 Tips / Hints / Clues / Ways / Secrets / Worst Mistakes / Deadly Sins / Dos and Don'ts; How to X in 3-12 Easy Steps or in 3-12 Minutes a Day etc.; you get the idea).
    • Competition Analysis and Reverse Engineering. Identify your online competitors, to find out who links to them and try to get the same sources to link to you too. For this, you can use Yahoo Site Explorer or any of the free or premium online link analysis tools. You can also try linkdomain:domainname.com -site:domainname.com on Yahoo! or "domainname.com" -site:domainname.com on Google. Some of the pages you may find in this way may prove to be industry information hubs open to links such as yours. (This is a white hat list so I cannot recommend paying for inclusion.)
    • Engage your employees. Have a company meeting just about link building. Educate your employees about the importance of link building and about best SEO Link Building practices. Refer them to this thread. Ask them to help in your link-building effort.
    • Work for Links. Contributions of time, work and resources in exchange for links. This is common and can be effective.
    • Directory Submissions don't work as great as it used to, yet they still work and remain a valid tactic. Today, only those directories can have considerable weight that have some sort of editorial process to accept listings selectively from the total pool of submissions, whether or not there is an editorial fee involved (important distinction: the editorial fee is not a placement fee: you are paying for consideration, not for the link). You should submit your site to a few or a few dozen relevant directories of high quality (or even a hundred or two, depending on your case). Forget spammy automatic submission to lots and lots of directories. Select your directories carefully, be discriminate. Whether a directory's links pass link equity is another factor to consider (although, as I said before, mix it up). The following thematically diverse directories have a high reputation: DMOZ.org, Yahoo Directory, business.com, Librarians’ Internet Index, Nature.com Recommended Links, About.com, BBBOnline (Business), Best of the Web, Blog Toplist, Blog Catalog, Bloggeries, American Society for Quality (business), JoeAnt.com, FreeIndex, Environmental Directory, Audioholics Buying Guide, Eat Well Guide, SciLinks, American Library Association Great Websites for Kids, Essential Links to Sports Resources, makezine.com, Online Ethics Center, I Train Online (Business), The Library of Economics and Liberty, The TalkOrigins Archive (Science), Counterpunch (Government), National Institute of Nursing Research, Sexuality Information and Education Council of the US, ReadWriteThink (Arts and Humanities), American Philosophical Association, Art History Resources, Rethinking Schools Online, International Reading Association. (Here is a useful search: site:dmoz.org inurl:direcotires) Feel free to recommend more, and I'll include them.
    • In addition to your authority website, you can also create your own quality directory or authoritative hub in your own industry, niche or region. It must be strictly relevant to your main site, to which you can link. Also list relevant useful sites, tools, partners and so on, and create a library of resources. Allow others to link to you too.
    • Events. Sponsoring industry or thematic events or simply participating in them (e.g. "live blogging") can bring relevant quality links, good traffic, a reputation improvement, and fantastic branding benefits.
    • Give talks and guest lectures. Online lecture schedules often include bios, possibly with a link.
    • Hosting/sponsoring awards, prizes, contests is one effective way to get relevant links. Vanity is one of the greatest incentives for people to link to you. According to SEObook.com, "A few-hundred-dollar prize can result in thousands of dollars worth of editorial quality links. Enough said." (We subscribe.) Of course, [/i]winning awards and prizes[/i] is another excellent approach to Link Building!
    • Sponsorship and charity can be a link-building techniques, since it is normal for benefactors to link to their sponsors. Additionally, charities and similar institutions may also link to you. This on top of the moral satisfaction that you will get from sponsoring a worthy cause. As a variation, you can hold eBay sales and announce the donation of (a part of?) your proceeds to a charitable institution. A number of charities are likely to link to both your eBay auction and your website. Charity websites tend to have a high PR (PR 7-8 is not infrequent).
    • Forums. For link equity purposes, Forum links (both profile links and signature links and link-dropping), even if not nofollowed, count for very little, but for a bit more if the forum is both highly relevant and carefully moderated. If you are active in a few forums anyway, it may add up to a bit. Moreover, Forum links can help diversify your link profile, build your brand, bring some relevant traffic, and obfuscate your link profile to your competitors in Yahoo Site Explorer (unless they hire an SEO expert who’s got LinkScape, of course). Last but not least, although forum links pass not equity, they can bring traffic to you if they come from a relevant forum and possibly result in "secondary" links.
    • Blogs. Most of these only support nofollowed links in comments. However, if a blog where you leave a great comment is useful to your own blog, the link in your comment may bring you interested visitors and result in "secondary" links.
    • Contributing content / guest blogging / guest writing for other sites is one of the most excellent ways to build deep, relevant, anchor-text-optimized quality links. Under such an arrangement, it is standard to be allowed to include one or more links to your own site, whether contextually in the body of your text (the best choice for SEO but not always possible) or in your bio note. As the writer, you typically have full control of the link and its anchor text. (Make sure there is no nofollow.) To find top blogs with guest blogging opportunities in your field, search for your main keywords in combination with phrases like "guest blogger" etc. Before you offer to contribute, you may want to establish a relationship with the blog and its owner by contributing excellent and helpful comments on the latest installments. Identify yourself as a guest-blogger in your .sig (just don't write "Will blog for link"!).
    • Top industry sites. For every industry, including yours, it is standard (if you are anybody who is anybody) to have links to your site from certain recognized authority sites, if you can get them. Find out what they are and go for them.
    • Target top ranking sites. Search Yahoo, Google and Bing for your root keyword and other top relevant search phrases, and try to get a link from every site that appears on the first two pages (barring direct competitors). Make a list, gather the contact and other background info, use the phone, email and regular letters to request links. Be tactful and persuasive, emphasize the added value. You can also pay for those links if you can afford it.
    • Partners (manufacturers, suppliers, retailers etc.). Simple, get them to link to you: those are relevant quality links. One idea is to create an "official supplier" logo, but, rather than placing the link in the logo, I linked mention within the page's text content. An article about your on their site is best.
    • Jobs. Job and vacancy websites are another good source of relevant links that flow PR. The down side is that they are not permanent, but a temporary benefit is a benefit nevertheless.
    • Writers / bloggers / journalists. Those considered top for your industry. Find them, network them, engage them, seduce them. They got blogs (check their Twitter bio), which gives you a way to reach their attention.
    • News and Press Releases. The old Press Release still works! Consider PRlog, PRWeb, PRLeap, OnlinePRNews etc. To make hard-to-get-into news websites, launch your PRs in summer, during national holidays or at other times when genuine news is slower – this improves your chances of mention. To find excellent News sources for your industry to which you can submit press releases, go to Google News, type in a relevant industry keyword that you are interested in, and scroll down past Associated Press and BBC in the SERP to find the top new sites where the keyword is used. For best results, make each press release you submit 100% unique and original. Just rewrite them as many times as necessary. Additionally, email your PRS it to selected journalists and bloggers, each with a maximally personalized, brief and engaging message.
    • Submit articles to article directories. Article syndication remains an important way for websites to build links and traffic. For best results, make the contents of each individual article submission is as unique as possible. Some sites to consider are: about.com, amazines.com, articlecity.com, articleinsider.com, articlesthatsell.com, bpubs.com, businessknowhow.com, buzzle.com, certificate.net, ebooksnbytes.com, ezinearticles.com , goarticles.com, ideamarketers.com, knowledgebed.com, learningfolder.com, netterweb.com, simplysearch4it.com, smartads.info, thewhir.com, vectorcentral.com, writingcareer.com. Additionally, trade unique articles with other webmasters of killer, relevant authority sites.
    • Besides articles, interviews work like a charm. Engaging, useful, and interesting interviews are an easy way to create original content. And they spread like wildfire.
    • Track and follow up. What publications picks up your news, PRs or articles? Approach them with offers of further, exclusive (and linked!) valuable content.
    • Social Media. While nowadays links on most social media sites are either nofollow or replaced with redirects via an internal link, and thus presumably pass no link equity, the SEO benefit of social media exposure is that it leads to links from other sources and holds out the possibility of going "viral," resulting in many "secondary" links. (Additionally, such social links help your pages get indexed faster). For example, Twitter links are nofollow, but tweeting is a great way to propagate your linkbait to a targeted audience and to get your pages quickly indexed; most importantly, great content gets retweeted and has great exposure potential. Other sites to consider are LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, Meetup.com and lots of others.
    • Social Bookmarking (a.k.a. "Social News") Sites. Leverage those to the max. If you make the front page of Digg or the Del.icio.us Popular List, you will almost certainly get links from some of the numerous readers. Submit an article to Digg, linking back to an article on your own site. Other useful ones are Reddit, Propeller, Stumble Upon. Whatever you do, do not annoy the community: your success depends on its response. For text optimization, use the keyword you are targeting at the beginning of the title of your article and in the title of your article submission.
    • Squidoo.com. Take a few minutes to create a Squidoo lens, link to authority resources and documents and handy free software that are relevant to your industry or domain, and also create a link back to your site. While your lens is in WIP (work in progress) mode, the links in it are nofollow, but once the lens is published it becomes "dofollow" (note: "dofollow" is not a real link attribute but SEO jargon for a non-nofollow link).
    • Offline Media. A mighty overlooked fact: any mention in offline media typically leads to online links. Newspapers and magazines, TV and radio, all those traditional media. Many of them have robust quality websites with versions of their contents online. And their feeds are picked up by other quality websites. Moreover, offline mentions cause people to find you online (and link to you, if you give them great stuff to link to). Indeed, offline sources can sometimes result in massive link growth. Go for every chance you get to get mentioned offline, and synchronize this with your link-bait campaigns.
    • Pay per Click for Links. Drive relevant traffic to your pages with a PPC campaign. Regardless of how they found it, people will link if they find just the great content they were looking for. For example, if your site has a great page about how to make your own candles, and you find that a query like "how to make candles" has a search volume worthy of your attention, you can have a Google AdWords run on that search query, pointing to the page in question, and chances are your practical free information will be appreciated and linked to. Chance are, if your pages is about "how to make candles" and your ad reads "Make Candles / How to make your own candles / In ten easy steps / http://makecandles.com/how-to-make-candles, your CTR will be high, and so your quality score, and you won't pay much at all per click.
    • Launching an affiliate program can help pick up some links. Even if they end up having minimal SEO powers, they are likely further to lead to good secondary links.
    • Get a free linked listing on Craigslist. Craigslist added nofollow to its links in 2009. Nevertheless, go for it (it's a good way to mix up your linking profile, and besides quite a few people report a benefit to rankings from Craigslist links in spite of nofollow).
    • Q&A Websites, such as Yahoo! Answers or Google Groups. Usefully answer a question and include a link to your FAQ or another information page on your site (this is good for traffic and branding, whether or not such links are nofollow). At all costs avoid looking spammy.
    • Friends. Ask them to link to you, and explain how. Every link goes some distance. Also ask them to tag your best content.
    • Vanity. Post lists of experts, conduct surveys and other studies that flatter people. Vanity is the motive behind many quality links.
    • Ask for links by email. Contact relevant non-competitor sites and ask them to link to you. Be brief, cordial and persuasive. Most of them might ignore you, but a certain percentage will link, and those links will be well worth having. (Don't annoy people, email them about it only once.)
    • Colleges and Universities. There is no consensus among SEOs on whether .edu links have any special "trust" value (SEOmoz.org believe they do not), such links have excellent potential for being powerful quality links. Evaluate them like any other links, and get them not because they are .edu, but based on a positive value assessment.
    • Ditto for any .gov and .mil links.
    • Follow the meme trackers to find the hottest current ideas. If you write extensively and originally on down-to-the minute trends in ideas (with links to selective authority resources) your blog itself may earn mention on a meme tracker site. Apart from Digg, Reddit and Technorati, these include: Slashdot, Ensembli, KnowYourMeme, MemeTracker.org, MicroPlaza, Polymeme, TagSum, Techmeme, WhatPort80, Wikio.
    • Site design, standards and compliance. Give your site a Web 2.0-ish look-n-feel. Anything with AJAX is popular and can result in backlinks. Validate your site and establish its 508 compliance. This increases trust and linkability. Then get listed in top directories of standards-compliant sites. A high-quality CSS redesign of your website can get links from CSS Vault and suchlike.
    • Videos uploaded to video sites (such as Youtube and many others) have a great potential for going viral and driving a amazing traffic to your site. Add appropriate tags and include a link to your website. Upload your video to multiple hosting sites with the help of TubeMogul.
    • Website Syndication. This is a standard for content publication on the Web. Internet users use various feed readers (such as Google Reader) to access your syndicated content. Currently, feed readers come equipped with the means to propagate syndicated content via further sharing. You can use a tool like Google FeedBurner, which is easy to integrate with your site, to syndicate and manage your website feeds. The most important syndication formats are RSS (still very popular) and more recently Atom (boosted to prominence by Google and Microsoft). As an extra bonus, sometimes (though not always) sites that syndicate your RSS or Atom feed provide backlinks.
    • User generated content. Launch a forum on your site, a blog open to editorially selected contributors, whether by solicitation or as regular columinsts.
    • Make a useful browser plug-in and offer it for download on your site.
    • If you can get a Wikipedia link. It can do wonders for you in spite of nofollow. Do not try to add the link or even a whole article about your business yourself -- they will most likely be deleted. Do a lot of research before you mess with Wikipedia, but the benefits can be great of you pull it off right.
    • There are also other, more amenable Wikis. Consider ShopWiki.com; thenewpr.com/wiki/pmwiki.php and codex.worpress.org.
    • Amazon.com. Write relevant product reviewes on Amazon.com: this may result in queries and secondary links. Create product lists on Amazon.com that review top products and provide your background (including a link).
    • Review related sites on Alexa.
    • Write convincing testimonials of your favorite products, with a link back.
    • Buy relevant established websites with good backlinks and rankings and 301-redirect them to your main site, to transfer the rankings and link equity (learn about the SEO value of 301 redirects).
    • Fix broken links. There maybe many reasons backlinks don't work. For example, there may be a typo in the URL, or it may be a backlink to a URL you no longer have on your site. You can ask the linking site to fix the URL, but this may not always be possible. In the latter case simply use a 301 redirect to the correct URL. When changing your site around, never simply delete old URLs, always 301-redirect to new ones. Moreover, backlinks sometimes point to pages of your site that are off limits to the search bots because of a robot block (either in the robots.txt file or in the robots meta tag). Find such cases and fix them (the page needs to be at least "noindex, follow" for link equity to transfer). If you notice that the linking page itself is not indexed (for example, because it is not crawlable), contact the linking site (which may be unaware of this) and ask them to fix the problem.

    Comments on this post

    • distinctseo agrees : good contribution
    • Jesus Nofollow agrees : deserves a full rep
    • Team Lupe Real agrees : i dont have any points to give, but much respect though
    • Flyfisherman agrees : I knew before reading this post I was a novice. Now it's confirmed.
    • GlobeNat agrees : Great post, very useful thread!
    • aristocrataks agrees : Great Post!!!!
    Last edited by PhilipSEO; Feb 26th, 2010 at 06:07 PM.
  6. #4
  7. Philip@SearchBenefit.com
    SEO Chat Good Citizen (1000 - 1499 posts)

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    Internal SEO Link Building
    Too often, when pursuing SEO Link Building, site owners go for backlinks aggressively but ignore the linking possibilities of their own site. Mistake. Interlink your pages vigorously, helpfully and meaningfully, with proper anchor text (without spamming!); be an information resource. You may have several links on one page (call it the linking page) to the same other page (call it the target page). However, a SEOmoz.org study has found that Google associates with the target page the only keywords in the anchor of the first such link of the source page. In other words, the trick works only once per linking page, and it’s the first instance of the link. One result of this is that if the topmost link to the target page appears in the linking page's top navigation, Google will take the text of that link's navigation tab and ignore the anchor text of any other links on the same page (advanced SEO Web designers can do content stacking to work around this limitation). Notice that this is why it is crucial to have text-based navigation (do not replace text with images!). Use the most helpful and relevant links only. If you have backlink-popular pages on your site, make sure to link to your important pages from there to give them more weight. No need to overdo this, because your navigation presumably already takes care of that. As well, link from your popular and important pages to those among your secondary pages that you want to promote. Most importantly, make sure that you have a sufficient, clear and well organized linking structure on your site to help the user navigate your killer content efficiently and without confusion.

    Local Search and Geo-Specific Rankings
    If your rankings for your best keywords are great in San Francisco, they may not be so in Seattle. One important means of boosting your local or "geo" rankings is to build links from sites that are located in and that represent your targeted city or region.
    • Create region-specific link-bait
    • Engage regional blogs and news sites
    • Indentify local blogs and search them for the most relevant pages (site:domainname "keyword phrase")
    • Identify local news sites that support comments, then search site:domainname "keyword phrase"
    • Vigorously create content of interest to the local community
    • Engage local directories, review sites and other local information resources
    • Get listed on Google Local, Yahoo Local and Bing Local
    • Get links from the sites of the local chamber of commerce, the local city council, the local library, the local Better Business Bureau, any other local government sites, as well as some state-level sites
    • Get links from websites of membership-based local branches of industry organizations
    • Get links from local educational institutions (colleges, community colleges, schools and so on)

    Remember that the best links are relevant, but since in this case we are establishing your site's relevance to a location, other sites and businesses in that location become regionally relevant, whether or not they are in your industry. If you are a local catering company, a good link from any local institution that uses your services is likely to be helpful. If you are a hotel, get the local colleges put you on the “Suggested Accommodations” page for their visitors, that will definitely be worth something to you. Also see if you can get linked to by the local airport(s) and other transportation sites, travel agents and so on. Be creative; make deals where necessary.

    How Do Pros Do SEO Link Building?
    I ain't telling ya! [Kidding.] Seriously, is there any advantage to hiring a serious link builder pro? This depends on your ambition: the amount of effort, time and resources that SEO Link Building requires are contingent on what you are striving to achieve. (From a few hours a week to full time and more, compared on your ambition and the competitiveness of your market. Unless you are a pro yourself, consider engaging professional SEO help. Ideally (though not necessarily), your link-builder will be someone who also takes care of the rest of your SEO, someone who is well acquainted with your site, its content structure, and its keyword strategy. The most important characteristic you are looking for in a link-builder is the ability to obtain permanent quality links. Those are worth a lot.

    How do the pros do it? They follow best Link Building practices, such as those recommended in this post. Is there anything else to it? Are there link-building secrets? Yes and no. No, because, "there are no SEO secrets" in the sense that there are no to extremely few SEO techniques that are truly held in private ownership, with no information publicly available about them (even via a simple Google search, for example). Yes in the sense that great SEOs are magicians, and magicians never reveal all their tricks. The main "secret" is that a quality link builder pro has been at it a long time, has a great deal of experience, and, most importantly, has access to permanent high quality links. Many SEO pros own multiple domains and sites and even their own servers. Black-hat people (stay away from them if you can spot the type) can have hundreds of thousands and more cleverly spun pages indexed (if not more). But genuine and legitimate (white-hat) SEOs also build or otherwise control or can influence a lot of own different sites over time, simply by dint of being in the profession. They can develop and cultivate high quality real information sites in various niches, grow them, rank them, build the trust that they command, and leverage them for links when appropriate (and, yes, get traffic to and business from them). And/or they have other long-term arrangements through which quality links can be had. A pro (especially one in your niche) can really takes care of your links for you. Before you decide to go it alone and do it yourself, remember that SEO Link Building is a pain even for the pros (which is why we are paid reasonably well for it).

    Recommended Link Analysis Tools
    • Yahoo Site Explorer (or the link:domainname operator in Yahoo Search)
    • Google Webmasters Tools (to see a large sampling of your backlinks)
    • Google’s link:domainname (or link:URL) operator for a random sample of any site's backlinks (this operator is currently disabled on Bing)
    • SEOmoz.org's LinkScape
    • MajesticSEO
    • SEO Toolbar
    • SEO for Firefox
    • Link Suggest Tool
    • Link Acquisition Assistant
    (Please feel free to suggest any others and I will consider including them, or let me know if you disagree with any of the above.)

    Useful SEO Link Building Blogs
    http://linkvanareviews.com
    http://searchengineland.com/library/link-week
    http://wiep.net/
    (Feel free to recommend others)
    Last edited by PhilipSEO; Mar 4th, 2010 at 12:23 PM.
  8. #5
  9. Philip@SearchBenefit.com
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    NOT RECOMMENDED: questionable methods
    Most especially, I don't recommend any form of spamming or any black-hat techniques. Link spam no longer works as it used to for search rankings. In many cases it is more likely to hurt your site than to help it.

    Unless you are an SEO professional or an advanced practitioner and really know what you are doing, it is additionally not recommended that you do any of the following:
    • Use automatic link building software
    • Trade links or engage in triangular and other similar linking schemes
    • Buy links (except such recommended acquisitions as the Yahoo Business Directory and the Open Directory Project at DMOZ.org and other high-level sites of this kind)
    • Create satellite sites or domain farms for linking purposes
    • Use any "gray-hat," "black-hat" or "blue-hat" SEO methods or techniques
    • Get links from fake sites or fake blogs
    • Get links from sites that have no value
    • Post your links in "link farms" (pseudo-directories filled with random and mutually irrelevant links)
    • Attempt to deceive the search engines in any way at all

    Gray Areas: Obsolescent Link Building Techniques
    The following are obsolescent SEO Link Building techniques. A number of them are still reported by some to have beneficial SEO effects, but continue to decline. I do not recommend any of them, but you need to decide for yourself. Most especially, weigh and keep in mind all the possible benefits and detriments to your site.
    • Link trading. The old way to do this, still practiced by many, is to have a "links" page on your site, wherefrom you link to your business partners, while they link back to you from similar pages. You can easily find many such pages and check their PR, which will probably be zero. Triangular link exchanges are no longer highly effective either, since the search engines have become good at identifying them. (It is much more effective to request that some of your business partners to mention your company inside the main text content on an internal page of their site, linking to some thematically relevant internal pages on your site (that is, not to the home page). You in turn could mention them on multiple different pages across your website, with links to their internal pages (not the home page).) All that said, it is a good idea to swap some limited number of links with trusted relevant partners. You can get some good traffic this way. However, keep away from the link exchange networks.
    • Link spam and spamdexing. Indiscriminate, irrelevant link-dropping on blogs, forums, social networks or anywhere else on the Web. Spammy posts are often quickly removed, and almost invariably your links are nofollowed anyway. Of all the questionable techniques appearing on this list, this one is most definitely not worth pursuing.
    • All kinds of artificial linking arrangements. Chances are, you can search for sites that allow you to add a link (whether free but reciprocal or one-way but paid) to a seemingly relevant page that already contains your targeted keyword(s), maybe even in the title tag and URL and <h1>. (You can try intitle:add+url "keyword phrase" and other similar searches.) You can find software-powered reciprocal link directories. SEOmoz.org still recommends submitting to them (in an undated article on "advanced link building"), especially those that offer free or even paid links to important or high quality websites (hint: "editorial selection!"), and you can allegedly get some good PR this way. Here, too, quality and relevance should be your guiding principles, if you decide to experiment with these. If it's a great fit don't worry if the page has no PR.
    • Paid links. Link Renting and Buying. These can still be highly effective, since it may be difficult for search engines to know whether or not you have paid for a link. Reportedly, you can safely get away with it in most cases, unless you buy from sites that openly advertise a paid link service (that's definitely a bad move). However, paid links are undoubtedly against Google's policies and you can get in Google trouble if you are reported. Google's spokesman and icon Matt Cutts on his blog encourages people to report paid links to Google. Some recommend renting high quality links, either directly from authority sites or from a broker like text-link-ads.com (Google has just recently dropped all the rankings of this site so it's impossible to find it in the SERPs). With such a service, you essentially buy links as ads. It is not against search engines' policies for you to buy ads, but it is against their guidelines to purchase ads for their SEO value. Link Building via paid ads is not cheap, but reportedly can bring good results if you buy from a reliable source (who should be able to show you CTR and other relevant historical stats. If you choose to experiment with this, make sure you get direct links without nofollow, not redirects or ad network links like DoubleClick. Better still, you can rent or buy a whole page on another site and fill it with your own content (this is remotely similar to article syndication, the main difference is in the kid of venue.) If you engage a link broker, indications are against buying sitewide links (unless you are only trying to increase your PR), because such links tend nowadays to be trust-deficient. Don't fall for high PR alone. But buying or renting contextual text links on relevant web pages and embedded "naturally" in appropriate text copy of your choice can potentially give you excellent link equity; it is said it can be worth good money. Be aware that the business of link selling and brokering is filled with scams.
    • Link Building Software. This is strictly black-hat, high-risk, against the search engines' policies, and not at all recommended (unless you have weighed all the risks and not put all your eggs in one basket and are completely confident of knowing what you are doing and have no moral qualms about misleading the search engines and potentially contributing to a deterioration of search quality). Reportedly, clever well-constructed and thoroughly concealed linking networks can ensure high rankings fast. The absolute prerequisites are (1) a widely distributed non-interlinked network that does not share any C-Block IP addresses; (2) natural-looking, thematically relevant linking pages prominent within the sitemap, and linking not only to you but to other relevant sites as well. Do not ask about things like that in the forums, it will only undermine your objective. The way to go about it is to establish relations of trust with highly reputed forum members who seems to know about blackhat stuff and in the long run dare to ask them backchannel. Here, as with many other areas of SEO, you are better off hiring a professional unless you are one yourself.
    • Link Wheels? [Let’s hear the current deal on those! Please post your opinion, if you have one on this issue. Are they blackhat? Because you link to your own hubs? Anyone here for whom they have worked? I will eventually add this section.]
    • Spammy Free Giveaways: free widgets, "sponsored" WordPress templates and suchlike. Good results may possibly still be had with such link building techniques, but Google is on record as denouncing them. Be careful not to get into Google trouble with these, if they come across as spammy or irrelevant. Reportedly, great results can be had with widgets, but only engage this tactic if you really know what you are doing. 'Nuff said. For best results, address the issues of intent and relevance. Be clear about everything. Make sure that (1) the backlink (no more than one!) is clearly visible, appears in the same frame as the widget, and points back to the most relevant page on your site; (2) no spammy anchor text is used; (3) the widget's topic is closely relevant to your site (for example, if you are an weather website make a weather-related widget); (4) that the widget is free to all visitors and is not offered in exchange for anything; (5) using the widget is not a prerequisite for anything.

    Comments on this post

    • channel5 agrees : 10 out of 10 for effort -- but i wouldn't agree with everything
    • EGOL agrees : This is an awesome series of posts. You have become a linkbuilding expert. :)
    • ishu agrees : thanks alot for your efforts! read few points will complete this later :)
    • NewDelhiSEO agrees : Double Thumbs up. *got just two thumbs so a double*
    • Lb1878 agrees : Gotta give it for effort alone. Holy crap! Nice job and thanks for you contribution
    • gazzahk agrees : Thanks for sharing your thoughts...
    • terriwells agrees : I can tell a lot of good work went into this. I will read it in depth later. Thanks for sharing!
    • suresh.jun14 agrees
    • KarnRawat agrees : but people are still using link building softwares and they doing well in SERP
    Last edited by PhilipSEO; Mar 4th, 2010 at 07:10 PM.
  10. #6
  11. from the horses mouth
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    It's late I've had a reasonably fast skim, you've gone to a huge amount of effort and I appluad that.

    Comments would be:

    - Relevence - I am not as convinced as many SEO's seem to be that only decent links are relevent links. I know that I can send links from completely irrelevent sites and they will still work extremely well. The whole relevent link argument is not one I have ever seen proven. Sure I'll take a relevant link any day, but I'd rather have 10 non-relevant ones than 1 relevant (all other things being equal).

    - Paid links - done badly are worthless, done really badly are dangerous, done well can extremely effective.

    How much on what you have posted about is direct experience and how much are you giving as received wisdom?

    Comments on this post

    • gazzahk agrees : I agree there needs to be some clarrification between fact, speculation and restatement of other sources...
    • trendin agrees : best post with all details
  12. #7
  13. No Profile Picture
    EGOL
    SEO Chat Mastermind (5000+ posts)

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    The basis of high quality linkbuilding is content. Spend your time there. Do that and linkbuilding will be easy - it will happen with close to no work from you.

    All of this planning reminds me of the general who's position was overrun while he was still planning the day's battle in his tent.

    Links are still very valuable and drive rankings for sure.

    It is a good idea to start focusing on the future as well....
    http://www.seomoz.org/blog/whiteboard-friday-how-search-is-changing

    Comments on this post

    • ishu agrees : content always superior :)
    • PhilipSEO agrees
    • Gordon Akman agrees
    Last edited by EGOL; Feb 26th, 2010 at 08:47 PM.
    * "It's not the size of the dog in the fight that matters, it's the size of the fight in the dog." Mark Twain
    * "Free advice isn't worth much. Cheap advice is worth even less." EGOL
  14. #8
  15. the mango demon
    SEO Chat Adventurer (500 - 999 posts)

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    This is Awesome. The one-stop tutorial. Gosh I wonder how much time you put into in man. Both Thumbs up for the quality compilation.
    SEO Professionals in NewDelhi It is different. Don't believe me? Go check yourself.
  16. #9
  17. Philip@SearchBenefit.com
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    Originally Posted by channel5
    - Relevence - I am not as convinced as many SEO's seem to be that only decent links are relevent links. I know that I can send links from completely irrelevent sites and they will still work extremely well. The whole relevent link argument is not one I have ever seen proven. Sure I'll take a relevant link any day, but I'd rather have 10 non-relevant ones than 1 relevant (all other things being equal).
    Thanks for your remarks. You seem to be saying that the relevant/irrelevant value ratio is 10:1. Then where do we disagree? Further, you seem to agree in your various posts that link depreciation happens. What kinds of links do you think get depreciated?
    - Paid links - done badly are worthless, done really badly are dangerous, done well can extremely effective.
    What I say is: "These can still be highly effective, since it may be difficult for search engines to know whether or not you have paid for a link." Where is the disagreement?
    How much on what you have posted about is direct experience and how much are you giving as received wisdom?
    I admit I often have trouble separating the two: I try to check my experience against other experiences out there, because flukes are all too possible. I recently had a client who was seemingly penalized for bad links (a case very similar to what's described in the youmoz post that perhaps will bear yet another reference (http://www.seomoz.org/ugc/getting-back-from-a-penalty-second-time-around) -- but on a smaller scale. Cleaning up and applying for reconsideration returned the ranking for the keyword in question to the pre-penalty case. But again, this was not a straightforward test because both spammy backlings and spammy internal links were involved.

    I know you have tested some paid link networks that have you given you good results, but I want to ask you in turn: do you do SEO for clients, or just for yourself? The distinction is not simply academic: there's a huge difference. I am an SEO and I do this for a living, and if I charge dollar for an SEO project, I am extremely reluctant to do anything that has a chance of hurting the client's site, whether now or in the long turn.

    I have looked at and thought about black hat stuff at some length, and I have taken care to phrase my post in a way that does not imply that black hat stuff doesn't work. All I say is that I don't recommend it. Without taking a high moral ground, this is simply because of the practical implications of the black hat model, based on what I have learned about how that world operates (I do read such blogs and forums and what not, they often contain useful information). A black-hatter expects to lose sites (have them permanently banned), but he doesn't put all his eggs in one basket. The strategy is to stay ahead of Google and to benefit from black-hat techniques before Google catches up and cracks down. For example, serious big time black-hatters (another term is "blue hat") own multiple servers and sometimes thousands and thousands of sites and have hundreds of thousands or perhaps millions of (often "spun") pages indexed. Yes, they can get sites to rank quickly. They don't care as much whether they can get those sites to rank permanently. You rank, you make a profit, you get banned, you move on.

    For various reasons, this approach doesn't work for me, so what I recommend here is what I take to be the safer, more reliable and more permanent approach -- white hat -- without denying the de facto effectiveness of black hat techniques.
    Last edited by PhilipSEO; Feb 27th, 2010 at 05:18 PM.
  18. #10
  19. Philip@SearchBenefit.com
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    Originally Posted by EGOL
    All of this planning reminds me of the general who's position was overrun while he was still planning the day's battle in his tent.

    Links are still very valuable and drive rankings for sure.

    It is a good idea to start focusing on the future as well....
    http://www.seomoz.org/blog/whiteboard-friday-how-search-is-changing
    Thanks for sharing this. But I would like to add that at the end of the day all this social graph stuff is also based on... links!
  20. #11
  21. Roll the dice.. and live
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    Originally Posted by channel5
    It's late I've had a reasonably fast skim, you've gone to a huge amount of effort and I appluad that.

    Comments would be:

    - Relevence - I am not as convinced as many SEO's seem to be that only decent links are relevent links. I know that I can send links from completely irrelevent sites and they will still work extremely well. The whole relevent link argument is not one I have ever seen proven. Sure I'll take a relevant link any day, but I'd rather have 10 non-relevant ones than 1 relevant (all other things being equal).

    - Paid links - done badly are worthless, done really badly are dangerous, done well can extremely effective.

    How much on what you have posted about is direct experience and how much are you giving as received wisdom?
    I agree with you. Many miss understand relevance as related. What a SE sees as relevant is not the same as what a person sees as relevant. All links are to some degree are relevant by the very fact they link to a site makes them so. IMO a link brings the same thing to a site as the value is calculated when it leaves a site and not recalculated when it enters the new site. The benefit a site gets from a link depends on the site not the link itself.

    These things are most noticeable once you have established site strength. A strong site can grab new markets quite easily with no directly relevant links. ie if Microsoft wanted your market they would only need to put a page of relevant text and they would take it off you.

    I also agree with your comments on paid links. All links are paid for in some way. It is difficult to beat a competitor that has money to spend when you have none (not impossible but difficult)... Money can do wonders in helping you site: You can buy content creation, buy people who can promote your site for you, you can buy membership to a range of services/organizations/clubs that give you links back, you can buy targeted directory and other listings, you can buy the time of someone to look for free links for you, you can buy someone’s service to develop three-way links to your site, you can buy someone’s service to use social networking advantages for you, you can pay people to create newsletters, blog on public blogs, make and exchange content with other sites, answer leads on forums, public bulletin sites, you can buy blog posts, you can buy your way into content creation networks, you can buy your way into business relationships that will allow links, you can buy listings via licenses and membership fees to govt and .edu directories, you can donate money to charitable events and get listings, buy a library book for a local school and get a listing etc etc etc

    Paid links are no worse then non paid ones. There is just a risk if a link is deemd to be a unfair manipulative paid link from google you will loose your money…

    My attitude to earning links is quite different from the ones reccomended for and against in Phillips post...

    Phillip I commend your effort but do see things in your post I do not agree with.

    Thanks for the post….
    Last edited by gazzahk; Feb 28th, 2010 at 12:00 AM.
    Live the moment
  22. #12
  23. Dancin with the devil
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    Has/will this be made available in one document off-line or in a PDF?
    "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." Chinese Proverb
  24. #13
  25. Roll the dice.. and live
    SEO Chat Mastermind (5000+ posts)

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    Phillip I have now read your post in full and offer the following feedback. Once again I commend you on the time and effort taken to write it…

    (often called "linktards" in this forum)
    I have never seen this term before.

    Google has deprecated many types of links, and today backlinks that are not recognized as "quality links" have lost most of their weight
    There is a big assumption here related to what one means by quality links.

    (giving greater prominence to such an increasingly important ranking factor as trust, a.k.a. authority, meaning the confidence that your website is of high quality and contains no spam).
    what has the view of SPAM within a website got to do with ranking really. SPAM is a subjective term. What I see as quality others may consider SPAM. Google is trying to determine what searchers are looking for and not what they consider to be the quality of the content on the page.

    Increasing importance seems to be attached to having a natural, diversified and well-rounded link profile that includes (1) relevant links from a wide variety of pages (for example, from authority sites, academic sites, forums, blogs, directories, discussion groups, fan pages, social media, consumer information and review sites -- the list goes on and on), as well as (2) different types of link (for example, a mix of nofollow and "do follow" links), (3) links to the same page with diversified anchor text, including long-tail keywords, (4) "deep" links to existing pages using longer tail anchor text and (5) genuine natural links resulting from successful link-bait..
    What evidence is there that google values a page that has forum links and nofollow links more then one that does not. This is just speculation. Link profiles differ depending on the type of site etc. It to me is incorrect to assume there is a standard link profile or that google is changing rankings based on the overall profile as opposed to the collective individual values. Ie you imply if a site does not have nofollow links this will see it rankings reduced.

    Additionally, it is supposed best if your link profile develops at an even-paced, randomized, "natural" tempo without obvious major spikes or long interruptions
    Why? If a site goes viral a profile can devlop almost instantly. You are trying to build a model that applies across the board. This is not possible. Google algo must be consistent it does not change for every different type of site (IMO)

    Link Trust
    The most highly trustworthy and trust-transferring link is one that
    • comes from the most trusted (human-edited) source
    • represents a genuine "vote"
    • is freely given (no "paid inclusions" or "paid listings" of any kind)
    • is editorially selected (editorial consideration fees are OK)
    • is contextual, not separate from the main text content
    This is all just speculation. Why would a freely given link bring more trust then a paid link if Google does not know it is paid. One link I have is from a government registration site. I had to buy a license to get the link. Therefore it is a paid link. I value it greatly.

    What basis do you have for the claim that editorial fees are ok but other forms of purchase are not. How does a search engine even know. Google does not object to all forms of paid links. Just those sold for the specific purpose of manipulating rankings. Trust comes from trusted sites. Get a link from these sites and it brings trust. Links from less trusted sites bring less trust wether they are free ad editorially given or not.

    What evidence is there that a contextual link is better then a non contextual one in relation to transfer of trust? I have never seen any evidence offered that this is the case in relation to the transfer of trust. There is no logical reason for this. How would the algo even know this.

    Google keeps track of everything
    Phillip this is a massive assumption. How do you know what Google keeps track off. The net is so very big it would be virtually impossible to keep track of everything. It also would be unnecessary and a massive waste of resources. Google keeps track of what it needs to keep track off. Do you really believe Google stores all data about everything on the web?

    • Relevance. The link's and the linking page's relevance to the target page and to its keywords. Relevance assessment includes several factors:
    o Keywords in the Title Tag
    o Keywords in domain and URL
    o Keywords in <H1>, <H2> etc. heading tags
    o Keywords elsewhere in the text and HTML
    o Keywords in the backlinks pointing to the linking page
    I do not agree with this assessment of relevance at all. For example a Spanish link to a Spanish site increases that sites relevance to Spain. It matters not at all about the things here. IMO you are focusing on the minute. I think relvance is a very broad concept and only has limited relationship to these factotrs. If my site sells Frodo doggy food and it gets a link from a major dog breading site this is relevant even if the word Frodo, doggy or food is not in any of the places you have listed above.

    outsourcing link-building (a very iffy proposition in many cases),
    You make this claim or similar a few times thorugh this. You are a SEO others are outsourcing there link building to you. Does this make it iffy. I have a very large organization I outsource heaps of things. That is how to grow a business. If you seek to do everything yourself then you will always be a small business. Strategic relationships are a very good way to grow. Just choose your sub contractors well.

    Positioning and Contextuality. The most powerful links appear
    o high up on the page, as close to the beginning as possible
    o within a paragraph of prose, rather than separately from the text
    o in the context of relevant keywords
    For example, this can be the case in your press release or in an article about your
    business. When evaluating a potential link, consider whether these requirements
    can be met.
    This is just speculation. What evidence is there that a higher up link on a page is more beneficial then a lower down one. What is the source of this assertion?

    Likelihood of Acquisition. Do not waste much time on links that you are not likely to be able acquire.
    I do not think this is very good advice some of my best links are ones I thought I would have no chance of acquiring until I tried. If you do not try you are guaranteed not to succeed.

    The following are legitimate, proven, white-hat SEO Link Building tactics.
    This list has white, grey and black in it. It contradicts other things you have said ie
    Work for Links. Contributions of time, work and resources in exchange for links. This is common and can be effective.
    This is buying non editorial links or engaging in link exchanges. To say buying with money is BH but buying with something else is WH has very little basis for justification.

    Buy relevant established websites with good backlinks and rankings and 301-redirect them to your main site, to transfer the rankings and link equity (learn about the SEO value of 301 redirects).
    Are you saying that this is white hat and google see these links as editorial quality links for your site ie a vote for your website…

    I agree that the methods outlined here are ways to get links I do not see the distinction you are making between white hat and other forms of link acquisition

    How do the pros do it? They follow best Link Building practices, such as those recommended in this post.
    I have in my time in this forum learnt many ways to get links and seen many ‘pros’ that use methods not outlined in your post. But basically all you are saying here is ‘pros’ do everything they can to get links depending on their own abilities and resources.…

    NOT RECOMMENDED: questionable methods. Link spam no longer works as it used to for search rankings. In many cases it is more likely to hurt your site than to help it.
    Link Spam does work and that is why people do it. matt Cutts just the other day said links to you cannot hurt you.

    Unless you are an SEO professional or an advanced practitioner and really know what you are doing, it is additionally not recommended that you do any of the following:
    • Outsource link-building east. Because (1) you may be scammed or suckered and you won't know the difference, and/or (2) you'll pay for a lot of useless links and/or (3) fall victim of obsolete, devalued or even penalized techniques.
    Phillip this is just racist. I have outsourced many things ‘east’ I live in the ‘EAST’… Do you think Americans are all honest and Asians are rippoff merchants… This advice is offensive..



    • Trade links or engage in triangular and other similar linking schemes
    This contradicts what you said before. There is nothing wrong with link trades. There is nothing wrong with reciprocal linking. Just do not overdo it and even better if it is with other quality/relivent sites. Matt has said before that Google knows recips are normal and has no problem with them. It is excessive reciprocal linking that may see links and link apges devalued.

    • Buy links (except such recommended acquisitions as the Yahoo Business Directory and the Open Directory Project at DMOZ.org and other high-level sites of this kind)
    As stated earlier and examples given in previos post I do not agree with this. Your idea of what is OK to buy and what is not is very different from mine.

    • Get links from fake sites or fake blogs
    What is a fake site?
    • Get links from sites that have no value
    This contadicts what you say earlier about nofollows, blog posts, forum links etc..
    • Attempt to deceive the search engines in any way at all
    What does this mean. Do no SEO?


    Overall an interesting perspective on link building. Thank you for taking the time and sharing.

    Comments on this post

    • EGOL agrees : Wow! Gazzahk.. you spent a lot of time on this. Very generous.
    • PhilipSEO agrees : thanks a lot for taking the time to write these. i'll find some time soon to go over them and reply/clarify/amend
    • distinctseo agrees
    Last edited by gazzahk; Feb 28th, 2010 at 10:00 AM.
  26. #14
  27. rod@missionop.com
    SEO Chat Mastermind (5000+ posts)

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    Sorry... too much information for me.

    I work on the principle of making things easier.

    I likely won't have the time to read all this for another 5 years.

    Comments on this post

    • distinctseo agrees
    • KarnRawat agrees : For me it ll take another 10 years..! or more than that
  28. #15
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    Contents relevance and links


    I agree that link building is a perpetual process. But what is really questionable for me it is the role of content quality or relevance of the page (site) where the link is put and the page to which the link links. What is more important - the content of my site, or the content (PR) of the site where I am going to put the link? And does the content of
    link's site play the role for SE at all?

    Comments on this post

    • trendin agrees
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