SEO Linkbuilding Video of the Day

Very interesting debate with Wil Reynolds and Brett Snyder from Seer Interactive, an (if you want the points you have to give the right anchor text as well as the link ;)

I have this conversation with clients all the time. Both sides have merits and I think it comes down to the business model of the client and the amount of knowledge they have. The best client will just give you the cash and say, “you do that voodoo that you do so well,” but very few actually say and even less sing it in key.

There is something I call, Positive Domain Name Context. If you have a blog and call it Death Star Pizza and stick a blog post about space ships, it makes it more likely that you will get links. You tap into a niche where you clients and the clients competitors will not normally be able to get links. The site then only links to the sites the client wants to link to.

Also, there are a few other things that you can do with a Microsite like this which gets good quality links. But, I’m going to leave that for another time.

Linkbait has definitely evolved and there are quite a few creative ways we can use content that gets links. A client I was chatting too last week was amazed how his site for Ironing Board covers jumped in the SERPS from a link from a an authority site on cat snacks. (Niches have been changed to protect the innocent) You hear a lot about you gotta get links from sites from in your niche to rank for your keyword. No you don’t.

Time and time again I see sites ranked with links from all sorts of niches, as long as those sites are linked to and are seasoned over time it doesn’t matter.

Now, back to creating content about space ships.

Link Building is like Planting Potatoes, Simple, Boring and Hardwork

Link building is Like planting potatoes

Link building is Like planting potatoes

Although in the past I have been known more for my link baiting skills, for the past 6 months I have been hunkered down and concentrating more on less prosaic building of links. The down and dirty stuff that does not glisten in the sunlight like a finely crafted piece of linkbait.

Here are a few thoughts on the subject:

Link building, as we know is a process.

A process that can be replicated.

Correct implementation requires the correct methodology.

So it’s really just of case of find what works, make it as efficient as possible, construct the process in a way that’s easy to scale and then implementing. Easy until you realise that it’s the implementation that can be the tricky part.

It’s not difficult to find what works, but it does take time and concentration, hence my hiatus from regularly blogging and Tweeting in 2010 . You need to run your own tests to confirm the effectiveness of any link building.

It’s important to realise that you can only confidently know what has worked in the past and even then it’s very tricky to be absolutely definitive. Only by repeat testing and observation can you really have any idea of what really works, and of course you have to constantly test to see if what worked yesterday is working today.

Past performance does not guarantee future performance.

Causation and correlation are two words you need to get to know intimately.

We know what happened in the past, but this is no guarantee of what will happen in the future. But, we do have a very good idea. Or should know if we heavily test.

Some people say that certain techniques work and certain ones don’t. I’ve found that people tend to say some techniques do not work simply because they do not implement correctly. I don’t like to say you should only ever do one technique, if you have time and resources do them all. Constantly testing to see which works and which doesn’t.

Many times I have heard people claim a certain technique does not work only to find on the next blog that it does. You only really find out when you do your own tests.

My wild theory and it is only a theory is that everything works. That every link will benefit your ranking, but sometimes that benefit will be minute. I certainly don’t know for sure and it’s probably impossible to be absolutely sure.

Take blog commenting for example. You drop a link, leave some juicy anchor text with some witty comment. The link is of course nofollowed. I have done numerous tests with this but find it difficult to isolate the results so I cannot be entirely sure, but my informed opinion is that commenting on blogs directly effects your rankings.

Note, I did not say how much the effect is, nor did I say how the effect actually comes about. Because a nofollow link is not supposed to pass Google juice. I cannot for sure say why it has an effect on rankings, but I believe it does.

If you think the only purpose of a link is to pass Google juice you are missing a trick.

Because humans click on the links in comments, and humans give links and sometimes they give links that let the Google juice flow like Niagra Falls.

As a webmaster I have clicked on every link that has been posted in the comment of my blogs and assume most other bloggers do the same. You go and check out the blog of the commenter, it’s what humans do.

There have been many times I have done this and it has led to me linking to the blog. The blog comment initiated the sequence of events that caused me to drop a link. Of course it helps if you have linkable content, which is easy enough to produce if you have the time, money or the right skill set or peferably all three.

Now, I could have said that perhaps the Google bot sometimes has an electronic sneeze and accidentlly follows the links by mistake. But, I have absolutely no way of confirming this. And doubt any of the representatives from Google are going to give me any answer unless it’s wrapped in dense fog which slightly smells of sulfur.

But it’s a nice thought and that’s the problem, sometimes hope can infect thinking.

And of course you have to factor in that the landscape is constantly changing, the variables that influence where you end up in the rankings seem to be constantly in flux.

If you hold the premise that every link has an effect it simply becomes a matter of scale. Which in turn becomes about logistics, who can implement in the most efficient manner and on the largest scale wins.

It’s scale which can negate the flux, if you can do enough of what works, or what you think works and keep from becoming a target of the Google spam team then I think you can influence your ranking.

And that’s why link building is like planting potatoes, plant enough of them, water and weed them and enough should survive to bring you a good harvest. However, it’s really hard work and it’s really boring to implement on such a scale that you know it will work.

I am of course talking about competitive industries which is where I work.

So over the past 6 months I been testing out anything and everything, been very surprised at some of the results and been able to build a link building machine made up of systems and process which any of my employees can simply crank up and start planting potatoes.

Not as fun as writing linkbait, but it’s scalable and it’s easier to predict the results.

If you want to do the same it can be done, you simply have to invest the time, money and focus to build your own system. However, a lot of people are very good at selling widgets and not developing link building machines and so come to people like to myself and others like me to help them.

Another one of those boring, "What the hell am I going to do in 2011" SEO blog posts

I feel like I have been living in a cave the past few months. Gone are the times when I attacked writing on this blog like a starved rat trying to get into a bin liner full of last nights kebabs.

I have been busy link building for clients. I’ve developed a few techniques that are quite effective in getting results, actually when I say developed what I really mean is I had a good look round at what others were doing, tested a whole range of techniques, threw out the ones that worked and kept the ones that do the business.

This type of link building is not as exciting as linkbait, but it’s steady and a lot less risky. It’s not really a big secret what works, the problem is what works is hidden in a forest of other stuff that does not work.

The trick is setting up a lab and testing everything and observing the results. Always keeping in mind that what once worked, may not work tomorrow. But, that’s OK because you should constantly have new techniques that are being tested and then tweaked.

This kind of link building is like planting potatoes, simple, dull and time consuming. The more spuds you plant the more spuds you get back. Yes this is obvious, but how many of us stop before the job is properly done.

Link building these days is not about some secret black hat technique being exploited. It’s about logistics, it’s about scale. It’s about the ability to organise large amounts of troops to go fight in a battle.

The competition for eyeballs on Google organic search is immense, even in minor niches these days. If you don’t have an organised link building strategy in place, you may as well just put your feet up and switch on Jeremy Kyle, whilst having a tinny of course.

Most business people who desire an effective web presence don’t have the time to deploy an effective link building strategy. They hire people like me to do it for them. Those who don’t hire specialists are up against people like me who eat, drink and sleep link building.

I love it, I know it’s weird but link building, when you really get into it is a fascinating subject.

Another interesting point that often comes up is how does a business know how much to spend on link building? After all, it’s very difficult to say that X amount spent on link building is going to bring Y amount of profit. Expertise and knowledge of a niche should be able to inform on how much profit you will gain if you have a number one for a specific keyword.

The laws of the market should then dictate that you simply have to spend more than the dude ranked at number 2. Of course it’s not that simple as the factors on where a site ranks are many and a lot of the reasons are shrouded in fog and fuzzy at the edges.

Is link building an art or is it science? It’s the wrong question, as a painter I know that scientific principles are crucial to good art, that techniques must be quantified, tweaked and reused. Painting a good picture is not simply about art, just as effective link building is not always about science.

I thought I would share a few thoughts on link building rather than pledge to write a blog post a day for the whole of January (how tedious) or do one of those lists of 145 Social media sites that give a dofollow link. Which although are inane to write are quite effective in getting a few links.

So, 2011 for me is about ramping up the link building business. Sure, I still knock out the odd linkbait, but the regular link building business is something that can produce more reliable results and can also scale nicely and I have now eschewed the lone gun slinger mentality and have a number of employees who are absolutely fantastic link builders.

My link building service is not for everyone, it’s not the cheapest and it’s certainly not the most expensive and you really need to be geared up to take advantage of it. But, most of my business is with repeat clients. Something which tells me I must be doing something right.

Lyndon Antcliff

May your links be many and aged.

The Most Important Question When Linkbuilding

I’m always surprised when people set aside a period of time to build links to their website. Link building is far too important not to spend at least 24 hours a day doing it.

No, I don’t mean sticking match sticks under your eyes and putting a pot of Columbian jumping beans on the hotplate.

I mean that link building should be a constantly thought about. [Read more...]

Getting Links is like Getting Your Flatmates to go Down the Shops for a Packet of Hobnobs

Have you ever shared a house or a flat with someone? You are all sitting around the telly watching repeats of Coast and you ask one of your flat mates to nip down the shops and buy a packet of Hobnobs.

There is as much chance of your slovenly flat mate putting on his shoes and coat and heading off to Lidl than there is as getting someone to link to you.

The point I am making is that useful links are extremely difficult to get, if you give it no thought.

If on the other hand you said, “I have a couple of friends coming over, one of them is that girl you really fancy and by the way did I mention that she loves Hobnobs, do we have any in the cupboard?”

The chance of the slobby flatmate heading off to Lidl increases exponentially.

Rather than ask for a link, make it serve the linkers self interest to link.

Make it your goal to know what the linker is interested in, what gets their juices flowing. What makes their linking finger itch?

What reason does this linkbait give for people to link to it

An interesting nugget from the forums of Linkbaitcoaching.com

“What reason does this linkbait give for people to link to it.”

Too often I see visitor bait being created. So you got on the front page of digg, give yourself a gold medal and stick it on your ass.

Who are you targeting your linkbait to? If it’s the knuckle draggers on digg it’s not linkbait, it’s a wet fart in a hurricane.

C’mon on guys, it’s real simple. Linkbait is for getting links.

Who are you targetting? If you say “anyone”, get to the back of the queue and stay there. You need to know exactly who you are targetting, you need to know what they read, what gets their juices flowing, even the size of their underpants if it helps you craft content to appeal to their link finger.

Try linkbaiting one person, go on, try it. Chose an authority figure in the niche you operate and go after their link. That one authority link is worth more than ten thousand diggs (yes I know diggs lead to links, but only if the content is good enough)

Targetting one person makes it a lot easier to craft linkbait as it can tickle their fancy a lot easier. Once they link to you, others will follow.

Concentrate on getting the link, not the visit.

Linkbuilding for Dummies

Linkbait is the honey.
Linkers are the bees.
The honey does not solicit the bees, it just is what it is.

“Long term, promotion of content that attracts relevant links from those empowered to publish will win. The act of linking is performed, unsolicited, by individual publishers.”

bold added

Great post by Lee Odden

Further commentary at Is Linkbait the Death of SEO?