|Portrait of a Link Building Genius|
| 3:58 am on Sep 18, 2007 (gmt 0)|
About four months ago I launched my new site, which is in an extremely competitive niche. I researched the sites that consistently ranked first-page for desired keywords and phrases, and one site was almost always first-page.
So, I've been following what the owner of that site has done.
The site is part of an affiliate network in a very high-paying niche. But there aren't any banner ads or Adsense ads. The owner has very deftly put links to his affiliate advertisers in the text of his pages.
When it comes to links, though, this guy is good. In another thread I mentioned that he either constructed himself or paid others to contruct tools that are useful for some of the retail visitors to his site. But he went beyond that by offering these tools to the owners of other sites that cater to this particular niche. And each tool has an embedded link back to his site.
Today I discovered another technique he's using. Every Monday, he publishes opinions from about 250 widget marketers nationwide in which they give a short sentence or two about where they think the widget market is going. Each marketer gets a link back to the marketer's site.
But the net effect is that this widget price survey every week is published on a number of high-ranking widget-related sites, and he's getting weekly one-way links to his site.
The guy's site has been around for almost ten years, and it certainly looks like he knows how to network. You don't get 250 widget marketers to give you price predictions every Monday morning unless you've made friends with them.
But the genius of his strategy is that he's accumulating links from very reputable sites by giving other sites within his niche tools and services for free, tools and services that those site owners probably couldn't afford.
He's not asking for reciprocal links from other retail sites within this niche. He's got people knocking on his door, asking for permission to use his tools, and giving him top-quality links back to his site.
Man, I'd love to meet this guy.
| 4:58 am on Sep 18, 2007 (gmt 0)|
Wow, thanks for sharing. The weekly price predictions with a link reward is a new one on me. Well done.
If you want to be blown away even more, go to Yahoo and do a site search, but restrict the results to .gov, then .us, then .org, then .edu. Study what the website operator is doing to pick up those links. What you want to tease out is specifically what content is being linked to, and what makes that content a link magnet for those specific TLDs.
| 6:14 am on Sep 18, 2007 (gmt 0)|
Martinibuster, I suspect that the 250 widget marketers who make their Monday price predictions are also in this site owner's affiliate network. From examining the links to affiliate advertisers in his articles for retail visitors, I don't see anything that resembles CJ or other affiliate program URL's.
My guess is that he's bypassing affiliate programs like CJ or others, and getting the entire sales lead commission for himself. He's been around for so long that I'm guessing that he has some very solid contacts.
He's also been around for so long that he can get external links in Wiki's to his articles about various aspects of widget-buying. I've tried to insert external links to my own articles on the same Wiki's, but somebody always deletes them as commercial spam. Age has its perks, I guess.
His box of tools includes charts that show widget price fluctuations going back forty years, tools that show what widget prices would have been in any given year going back decades, and more.
As I mentioned before, very little of this is of use to the retail widget-buyer who's just trying to get some advice. The site offers that as well.
But the owner of this site has supplied other niche-related sites with so many free tools, charts and graphs over the years that there's easily two or three thousand that link back to his. Maybe more.
He's also set up another site that features just his free tools, which again he offers to widget marketers. But every tool, graph and chart has a link back to his main site.
If I'm going to make my new site successful, I at least need to rank close to this guy. Is replicating what he's done a good idea for linking, or a bad idea?
Any replies much appreciated.
| 9:03 pm on Sep 19, 2007 (gmt 0)|
It's hard to be sure in the abstract, but it doesn't sound like a good idea to simply follow his approach -- he has too much of a head start, so I wouldn't try to replicate his success using the same exact tactics.
It's always harder to be the second guy doing something -- especially if you were thinking about replicating the specific survey and tools, long after his have become entrenched.
| 10:17 pm on Sep 19, 2007 (gmt 0)|
Thanks for the reply, econman. No, I wouldn't try to replicate his tools. Instead I'd come up with different tools that would apply to different scenarios than his do.
The more I study what this guy has done over the last ten years, the more my respect for him grows.
A forum member sent me a Yahoo search tool that enabled me to see what .edu, .gov and .org sites are linked to this guy's site. There's a ton of them, all of them one-way. And it's all to the unique content he's created.
| 10:23 pm on Sep 19, 2007 (gmt 0)|
|And it's all to the unique content he's created. |
sounds like legitimate google strategy. get content instead of link-thinking
| 3:54 am on Sep 20, 2007 (gmt 0)|
idolw, it's due to the unique content. At the same time, though, this guy has managed to have his charts and tools linked to from authority sites. I've looked at his site six ways from Sunday, and he knows the value of getting one-way links from authority sites.
So, it's both. He provides very useful content that would require another site owner hours, or even days, to construct. And he offers it for free, with the condition that the content has a link back to his site.
For all I know, this guy may be Brett Tabke. ;)
I've read some criticisms about some of the guy's charts and other tools. The criticisms focus on the fact that they're not easily read or comprehended.
So, there's my opening: create tools that serve the same market, but make them more user-friendly, and tailor the tools for other needs. And, of course, offer them for free.
| 10:23 am on Sep 20, 2007 (gmt 0)|
thanks for the great read, educational ...
now i am of to have a coffee and think on how I can apply this in my B2C niche....
| 12:08 pm on Sep 20, 2007 (gmt 0)|
thats just link bait... been around for ages... now if you take a service like <snip> they have this approach sewn up... they give you free access to software anf in exchange they 'suggest' ways of saving you money through affiliate solutions... GENIUS so they can halp you switch power etc providers, credit card companies, loans, bank accounts, insurance providers... the list goes on and on...
GENIUS WE BOW TO YOUR SUPERIOR KNOWLEDGE lol
[edited by: martinibuster at 6:27 pm (utc) on Sep. 20, 2007]
[edit reason] Please no sigs, no specific websites, either. [/edit]
| 10:39 pm on Sep 20, 2007 (gmt 0)|
trooperbill, I don't doubt that this has been around for ages. But, then again, so has this site owner.
There's a lot of talk on this forum about how to get links from .edu sites. Well, this guy has links from hundreds of them because of the information he provides.
It's always fascinating to see how a particular site gets good rankings.
| 6:42 am on Sep 21, 2007 (gmt 0)|
trooperbill, I decided to come back to this thread and make one more reply to your post.
I always try to be as polite as I can on internet forums, as I have much to gain from the experience and knowledge of other posters, and nothing to gain by arguing with strangers.
The site owner I'm talking about has links coming from sites that, for 99.99% of SEO types, could never be begged, borrowed or stealed. And the links don't just come from some student's term-paper site that's been left on the .edu server for a few years. The links come from the professors' pages as well as from the niche-related .edu departments' pages.
Please tell me how you get to that level of quality links.
And he even has some links from .gov sites, including US federal-level niche-related sites. Talk about authority links.
"they give you free access to software anf in exchange they 'suggest' ways of saving you money through affiliate solutions... GENIUS so they can halp you switch power etc providers, credit card companies, loans, bank accounts, insurance providers... the list goes on and on... "
The site owner I'm referring to isn't asking for anything. That's the beauty of it all. He has people asking him for his content and links.
What this guy has done has me thinking of ten thousand ways to do the sorts of things he's doing, but differently and better, instead of dismissing what he's done as something that's been done before by fly-by-night sites.
| 11:37 pm on Sep 21, 2007 (gmt 0)|
Embedding links in tools is smart especially if those links are in tools that will be used in topic related websites. I have seen people create themes for CMS with links embedded though they are less likely to have topic related links.
I have had luck creating a 5 page PDF and making it available. The PDF has attracted reviews and one way links coming about 1 a month. Its evergreen which makes it even more attractive. Now i am trying to find other angles to create similar link bait resources.
Its much better than "begging" for links by email.