| This 38 message thread spans 2 pages: 38 (  2 ) > > || |
|How does Google want people to attain links?|
If it does not want people to buy or exchange links
I am not one for buying links other than the odd link here and there. I get several thousand daily uniques to my biggest sites without hardly ever engaging in link buying.
But what if you are just starting out in a niche where there are big competitors who have have thousands of links pointing to them, often obtained in the days when they were so easy to come by when people linked freely without giving it a second thought. These days people tend to link mostly to sites that are extremely reputable and large in size and well known on the web. What then? How is one ever to catch up with big competitors if they can't get links?
Yes, I know you should produce content that makes people link to you by either making it something really original or better than competitors. But still its easier said than done. People have tendency to link to the bigger sites even if you have what you might deem better content.
For new sites you can go after longer tail terms or start off in less competitive areas. All you really need then to get started are just some basic links - a few directories, a guest article, a few reciprocals, a few links from your other sites, DMOZ, some social media links, a few forum links, a few profile links, etc. If you have interesting content and a little bit of luck then you should start to get unsolicited links.
|I meant 'attain' in the thread title. |
You meant "obtain" but "attain" is a great mistake. Rise to the heights, and people will be clamoring to link to you :)
Matt Cutts has said it time and time again; Have content that is so good that people will WANT to link to you naturally, and you won't have to ask for links.
If you can't have content that is GREAT, then maybe you can have content that is at least controversial, provocative, funny, or creates an empathy response (like sites that donate / raise funds for worthwhile causes).
Another idea is cyber celebrity promotion; I hear that the Kardashian's of the world get paid big dollars to tweet about restaurants they are going to or stores they are shopping in, and because they have so many followers, other people will visit those sites and might end up linking to them as well.
Maybe you can't hire a model to tweet about your products, but maybe you can find someone who is about to do something very courageous / dumb so they can promote themselves by writing a book about it later. If you can, then see about getting them to blog on your site or pay them to tweet up your services.
The popularity of reality television and the advent of social media has REALLY changed the whole way to leverage content. I think we really have to take a fresh approach at how we generate a buzz about our sites.
A site like Engadget won't have any problems getting a link for a story they did not break. Yet a much smaller rival who broke the story is likely to be overlooked while Engadget, who covers the story a bit after, gets credit as if they broke the story. I'm afraid that's the reality.
One of my friends is in a similar situation. He writes reviews in a very niche gadget area and is often the first site to do so because he specialises in this area and has first hand knowledge of the gadgets and has even been even been on Radio 5 Live (a popular news and talk radio station on the BBC) to talk about such gadgets in the past, and yet all the bigger gadget sites that cover the same gadgets a day or two later, end up getting linked to when he should be getting the credit.
|Have content that is so good that people will WANT to link to you naturally, and you won't have to ask for links. |
This used to work for me. It was very difficult, but could be done. I created content nobody else had before or since. Made my site better, got links, etc.
This no longer works for me. I get 0 new links as the result of content. I read posts from goodroi and think "awesome idea!" then realize they just don't work in my niche anymore. There's still new, unique, and interesting content even in the competitive niches, but I don't bother creating it for links directly.
I am now forced to address the question "why would someone link to me?". And having content is not the only reason someone would link to me.
Cash transactions is certainly one, but not the only one.
|I am now forced to address the question "why would someone link to me?". And having content is not the only reason someone would link to me. |
Yeah, I know what you mean.
I look at it as a challenge of developing two different kinds of content; one for visitors, and one kind for webmasters.
The first is self-explanatory.
The second kind is an "authoritative" page that is incredibly boring and answers questions that no one in their right mind would bother asking - until they see it and say, hey, I always wanted to know that. Maybe, A Timeline Of The Development of the Paperclip During the Victorian Era
I have found that if you are going to solicit links from other sites, having something that is "authoritative" can appeal to other webmasters. It's as if they think that by linking to your "scholarly" article, they will somehow enhance the authority of their own site. Maybe they feel that they are "supposed" to link to your page because it is so "authoritative."
But you do have to go out and tell them to link to your page. No one is going to link to it on their own.
And it is good to name drop as well. When I can say that this page is also linked to by Dr. Emilio Lizardo, Professor of Paperclip History at the Foo Bar School of Business, Dunderhead University, my link requests seem to get more favorable results from the John Doe's of the world.
|But what if you are just starting out in a niche where there are big competitors... |
Another thing Matt has suggested goes along with what Jane Doe posted, which is to not go head to head with the major players on important keyword phrases but to focus on the easier to rank longer tail phrases. Then build on that success, inch your way up from the extra long tail phrases to the long tail and so on. Jane's advice is excellent, it's practical and can be applied right away to any number of niches.
To compete with bigger sites I take my competitors weaknesses and make those my strengths. What are those sites missing? What opportunities are they missing? My code is ridiculously lean. Title tags, h1 and h2 are thoroughly considered not just for short tail but for longtail word matches.
I've researched this niche for a year, gathering and archiving longtail data for all four seasons. I call those phrases my Go Words (the opposite of Stop Words). The Go Words are words I want on the page so they make longtail matches with other prominent words and phrases. This helps in the initial stages when you're picking up whatever traffic you can but will help in the link building because people typically do longtail searches and you'll pick up the odd link here and there for that. It's not an express ride to the top of the SERPs, in fact I wouldn't count on it. But it's a start, it's positive momentum that adds to the momentum started with your linking campaign.
I'm entering a competitive market right now, haven't finished the site much less started a link campaign, but it's already ranking on the second page for longtail phrases. It's exciting to see a new site come to life and I can't wait to hit the link building for it.
|But you do have to go out and tell them to link to your page. No one is going to link to it on their own. |
More specifically, I'm trying to get links for reasons that have nothing to do with my content. i.e. will they still link to you if you have nothing but a blank page? Because right now, no matter how good my content is, nobody will link to it.
I'm resorting to peer pressure, extortion, and blackmail. Well, not the last two.
To compete with bigger sites I take my competitors weaknesses and make those my strengths. What are those sites missing? What opportunities are they missing?
This is one of those things newbs gloss over. It's a very general statement.It's also very profound. I'm slowly working on a very specific application of that general statement. And just when I think I'm clever and ahead of the curve, MB posts it here publicly :).
In other words, IMO that advice in that quote, if you think about it and can apply it specifically, is the type of thing that can lead to techniques that you won't want to share because no one else is doing it.
Dude here recently was asking about an online shoe store. I would imagine that sizing would be a problem. Probably everyone selling shoes has the same tired sizing charts (competitor weakness). But I know that I am extremely fussy about my shoe sizing because an incorrect fit can actually cause me to limp.
I know wide Reeboks in my size fit me. Outside of that, I have to try, because not all other wide's are comfortable. If everyone's got the same non-answer to my sizing problems, could something be developed that would let me size properly, or compare my reebok fit to other brands?
Public link building right now says to do that, then ask for links. If that works in your sector, then that's what to do. It's what I used to do.
In my niche, nobody would link to that calculator, at least nobody I haven't already asked. So what I now do is use that calculator as leverage to get links. If I sell men's shoes, call a women's shoe website and offer them the calculator in exchange for a real hand built link.
|To compete with bigger sites I take my competitors weaknesses and make those my strengths. |
The funny thing about that is, that is Business 101, but most people in SEO would never have thought about it.
If you had to borrow money to start a brick-and-mortar business, there is not a self-respecting bank in the world that would loan you money without seeing your business plan.
And your competitive advantage (i.e., being able to turn your competitors' weaknesses into your strengths), would be one of the first things they would search for when looking at your business plan.
By the looks of thins, I am guessing that most people on these forums were self funded (I know we were), and never had to run a business plan past a banker.
|I'm resorting to peer pressure, extortion, and blackmail. Well, not the last two. |
One of the people I am rediscovering again is Robert Cialdini, who is one of the great authors on the psychology of Influence. To see what I mean, do a search for
influence robert cialdini pdf
And you might be able to find a free ebook out there.
I am thinking of, as a pure experiment, using scarcity to motivate people to link to my site. I was thinking of asking for a link from their site in a matter of fact way, but then adding that, "I am only allowing 10 web sites to link to my site, so if you would like to be one of those 10 sites, then you had better hurry."
Maybe it will flop terribly, but there are lots of sites out there of questionable value, and it would probably only take me an hour total to email ten of them, so I might just try it.
My gut feeling is that I will need something more subtle though.
"I am only allowing 10 web sites to link to my site, so if you would like to be one of those 10 sites, then you had better hurry."
If I received an email saying that I would be laughing too much to hit the delete button!
|If I received an email saying that I would be laughing too much to hit the delete button! |
Yes, you would, but I suspect that others MIGHT not. There are some pretty stupid webmasters out there...
When I get some time this upcoming week, I am going to try it, just to see if it works. Will let everyone know. I am still thinking of a more subtle way of phrasing it.
Just like Martini and Jane said - pick your spots and be the best at those spots.
Think creatively about both ways to provide value, but also about ways to impress others on the phone.
I have picked up the phone before and have built links to a website in a competitive genre where 3-5 other websites could have easily beaten me in terms of quality.
At the end of the day it was actually persistence and charm that got me the link - not stellar content.
Also remember, that if you do not ask, you do not receive. A big part of my link playbook. Ask right, and ask often.
Ask right is a huge part of it. I'm on the fence about targeting those likely to say yes and approaching those who don't give an indication. Asking those likely to say yes is more efficient but finding those pristine sites with a unique opportunity is good but less easy to locate and arrange. The Asking Right part helps with getting those less likely to say yes to see it your way and say yes. But you'll still receive more nays than yays.
I don't believe in tricking people to say yes. But I do believe you can social engineer the dialogue so as to streamline the process of getting to yes. This means anticipating the resistance and defusing it with an answer before the question is asked. The answer isn't necessarily words you copied and pasted into the email either. It's who the email is coming from, the subject line, authority and trust signals in the body content, etc.
I think that authority and trust signals from the site will help your cause. And that relates back to where Google would like you to be. Previous to Panda, in my opinion, on-page has traditionally been Google's weakness. Post Panda, maybe the changes should be viewed less as a hurdle and more as a door.
|Post Panda, maybe the changes should be viewed less as a hurdle and more as a door. |
Remember that the Chinese word for "Crisis" is made up of the ideograms for "Danger" AND "Opportunity."
I mentioned this in another thread, but if you give them a "because" in your link request (i.e., a reason why they should link to you, even if the reason only benefits you, and not them), research has shown that they are more likely to act upon those requests.
Also, show some commonality with them. This is a sad and gristly example, but I think the implications are pretty clear.
Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, everybody has heard of Brian Stowe, a fan of the local Giants baseball team, who when seeing a game down in Los Angeles against the rival Dodgers, and was beaten into a coma.
His progress in recovering is reported upon almost daily, and fundraisers for his medical expenses have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Now, people in Los Angeles are beaten into a coma nearly every day, and here in San Francisco, there will be about a hundred homicides. None of those will get any media attention, and nobody is going to raise funds for those victims, or the relatives of those victims.
But by putting Mr. Stowe's tragedy of being a Giants' Fan (and having the news show photos of him in his Giants' paraphernalia), there has been a shared commonality with the tens of thousands of Giants' fans in the Bay Area.
Please note: I am NOT saying that Mr. Stowe's plight is undeserving of such sympathy. I am simply pointing out that when a cause "resonates" with others, you are more likely to see action.
...and this morning I just got an email from a professor at a prestigious university here in the states saying that he is adding our site to his links and resources page, which happens to be on that university's .edu site.
I love getting emails like that first thing in the morning!
Not bad considering it took all of about 5 minutes to find some broken links on his site and send out an email out to him. One day turnaround - Nice!
The great thing about it, aside from the Page Rank, it is it will give me more leverage when I request other sites to link to me. I can now say, "By the way, professor XYZ from ABC university has also linked to this page." Now I can go to all the sites that link to the professor's site and mention to them that since the Prof is linking to me, maybe they should, too.
I just have to figure out a way to do it politely, so it sounds more authoritative without being confrontational... any suggestions?
I have a question,
Do such hard won links, direct approach requests, have a value if they're on a resources page ? reason i ask is that this takes a lot of time and I am contemplating trying out this direct approach with some trepidation
so far , my sites , commercial in nature, acquire links painfully slowly, a few submissions to industry directories do help but, they're few
...forget Google for a moment, imagine your site, or that from your friend are offline businesses how would you get new clients, connections?
The web is just like everything else also about relationships, if you friend breaks stories on a regular basis, than why doesnt he try to team up with some high profile tech journalists from the Times, Guadian or whatever news format is important enough in your country, even if it is a local newspaper that is part of a bigger network would already work, they get the story first (after his publishing in return for a mentioning in the article), cant be that hard to find a lazy (or smart depending how you look at it) journalist, to talk to this over a beer or two, its a win situation for the journalist too, if (remember, when BigSite1 is behind little guy a day, it doesnt matter;
but if BigSite1 is behind BigSite2 (which gets your story for a link) it does...
|To compete with bigger sites I take my competitors weaknesses and make those my strengths. |
Actually, if I'm researching a new niche and I go visit the current top dogs in that niche and I can't immediately - and I mean *instantly* - see how I can do it better, then I abandon it on the spot. There are more than enough opportunities out there, life's too short, and I have already spent too much of it butting my head against walls.
I would just like to add an observation I have made and also recommend asking yourself the question how can i get to number 1. Links in my observation are overrated and I can give you a concrete example - my competitor has hundreds and I have 20 or so weak ones to my site and I am still consistently outranking him for the past 1 year. My thought is that if the content is 100% unique conceptually and covers the subject well enough, this would be a better investment of time.
|Links in my observation are overrated and I can give you a concrete example... |
I truly think it depends on the niche.
I have many examples where links with exact match anchor text are propping up some sites in the top ten rankings. And the links are particularly bad - free directories, paid links, reciprocals from off-topic sites, and article site links.
|My thought is that if the content is 100% unique conceptually and covers the subject well enough, this would be a better investment of time. |
I wish this were the case (but fortunately for me, it isn't in this particular niche).
I see sites with MUCH better content than mine (I am not afraid to admit it), that is buried in the SERPs. We are talking excellent, original content, written by people with a Ph.D., showing on pages 3 through 10. Meanwhile, and ehow article is in the top 10 on page 1.
If google knew what it was doing, those quality sites would all be on Page 1, and my site (along with the ehow page) would be in oblivion.
Fortunately for me, google does not know what it is doing ;)
|Actually, if I'm researching a new niche and I go visit the current top dogs in that niche and I can't immediately - and I mean *instantly* - see how I can do it better, then I abandon it on the spot. |
While I would agree that this is a good strategy for people who deal with "virtual" products or services, I am not sure that would translate well for those of us dealing with physical inventory.
For example, if you sell widgets in brick and mortar stores, you cannot simply abandon selling them online because the competition is high.
I don't say you should just abandon selling them online - but you better come up with a way to sell them *better*.
Wise words netmeg. Long ago I launched a site on a subject that touches the daily life of 80% of the population. I love these and so do many others and the competition is beyond fierce. I've carved out my little corner of this main subject and there is simply NO WAY any one site can dominate the entire subject, it's too popular.
I hate building links and I hate spammy "wow factor" content yet I spend 80% of my time chasing backlinks and posting content that gets the "wow factor" and related mentions in social sites as well as backlinks. It's required. No wow factor + no finger breaking backlink searching = no chance of headway into this niche.
I see hundreds of new sites and blogs on the subject, all doomed to varying degrees of failure. The top dogs are wall st backed with editing teams and multi-million a year CEO's.
I can't make myself sell the site but I would STRONGLY advise others to avoid it. There is one problem though, today's opportunity niches are tomorrow's impossible niches. I could be spending my backlink time on one of those but is it really better to "start fresh"?
On the bright side Panda did shake things up, one of my strongest competitors took pride in being first to release any industry press releases and it worked for the longest time. Now the site gets 20% of it's pre-Panda traffic and obviously relying on publishing press releases was a bad idea. We've spoken and he has connections and often got a friendly heads up a day before everyone else, that's of no value to Google anymore apparently.
Back on topic - I think Google wants your site to link to all of the sources it deems related and to have links from all of those sources. Links to other sites, or from other sites, especially if they aren't editorial in nature seem pointless. Reciprocal linking is back on the menu imo, topsites didn't get hit by Panda as much as article directories did.
|Back on topic - I think Google wants your site to link to all of the sources it deems related and to have links from all of those sources. Links to other sites, or from other sites, especially if they aren't editorial in nature seem pointless. Reciprocal linking is back on the menu imo, topsites didn't get hit by Panda as much as article directories did. |
I would tend to agree with that, but I am looking at only the top ten sites in a very narrow niche (only 30K searches in the US per month), so I wouldn't be surprised if others who are looking at much more popular keyword terms have a different take.
Also, what is your take on exact match anchor text since Panda? Just from what I have seen and have heard it seems like the value has been turned UP since Panda, but that also the DANGER has been amped up, and that more sites are getting some sort of penalty as well?
Have you seen that too?
Just out of interest how long was the content written by the PHD types and how technical did it get relative to the ehow articles?
I think that if 'average users' get bored reading something written by a professor (often using many words where one is needed) why would Google put that above an ehow article which captures the core concepts in a concise way. Factoring in also the fact that most people don't read articles - they scan them.
|Just out of interest how long was the content written by the PHD types and how technical did it get relative to the ehow articles? |
Ten, 15, 20 paragraphs on a single html page.
Pretty darn technical. I'm well acquainted with the subject matter and I would need a glossary / dictionary at hand to understand it all. And this was on a subject matter that I have been involved with for over ten years.
The main SEO faults of those pages were:
Poor page title
Poor use of keywords in URL
Poor use of markup (no real use of H1, H2, OL and UL tags)
Poor internal linking to related articles
Zero social interaction (no like or twitter or digg buttons, etc).
Maybe another SEO fault of those pages was that they quite simply might have been TOO accurate? Maybe the fact that they were technically and historically correct and listed facts might have been working against them?
Because when I looked at the ehow articles, it was like the person writing them was just making stuff up (or pulling it from squiddoo or some other entirely made up source).
Ok, I am just being sarcastic about that last part. But probably the thing about those very long articles is that they lack a simple enough "focus" for google to understand, because they tend to cover quite a few different aspects of a complex subject.
If I had written them, I definitely would have split the material on to several different pages.
One reason ehow articles perform well is because they are written to match search queries. One weakness I find in competitors is they do not understand the concept of Go Words, which is a phrase I created to refer to words/phrases that are the opposite of Stop Words. Go Words are words or phrases that must be included on a page in order to appeal to search queries.
Maybe Go Words are known as something else to others. It's just a phrase I created for my own use. The concept of adding search query match phrases into content isn't new, nor something I invented. But it's something that online publishers forget to consider. eHow articles are an extreme example of Go Word publishing.
| This 38 message thread spans 2 pages: 38 (  2 ) > > |