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Link Development Forum

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Best link dev idea generators
What I'm using right now.

 11:58 pm on Nov 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

Roundup of what I use for link development.

Note: I don't so much use tools for link development. I use tools and sources for link development ideas. I develop my links by hand.

1) Raven Tools. Backlink checker (haven't even looked at any of the other tools) It's either that or majestic I guess, and Raven has a nicer looking website. $99/month is a bit steep for a one person operation and I'd like to get out from under that, but right now, it is what it is. Anyway, the tool's nice, I like that it generates a report I can reference repeatedly. I think my next step is to drag the report into a spreadsheet so I can scale the report back to one line per domain (If you've got a ROS link, the report shows a line for every page).
2) The link dev forum here. I have maintained for years that your first order of business needs to be to read every single link dev post going back 2 years. Sounds corny, but it's true - you'll get ideas by reading this stuff. If you haven't followed all or most of the posts, take some time and do that. Heck, I've posted like 3000 times there, I must posted at least one thing that you'd find slightly above a waste of time.
3) Eric Ward's newsletter. I hesitate to even post this. It's a name I've seen through the years but not often. No idea why that is, and don't care, but I went down the rabbit hole on more than 3 .edu level links just from the welcome email on that newsletter. A fourth one I already knew about. Note: this is throwback link dev. If you still believe in .edu level links, this is a breath of fresh air. This is an example of things I think 'I probably shouldn't post that', then I realize most people don't listen even when you show them directly what works, so there it is. Get the newsletter or don't, but if you don't, well, I got nothing. the newsletter is in my ongoing 'todo' file.
4) Logs. Still overlooked and I don't do it often enough. Logs won't do link dev, but search terms and referrals provide golden nuggets on new content ideas.
5) The phone. Not cold calling - call your buddies regularly. If you just got back from pubcon, pick up the phone and call everyone you met. If you call 10 new friends you met at pubcon and don't get at least one link dev idea thrown at you, I'll eat my hat.

All that together, here's some examples of what comes from all that:
- PR6 backlink, authority site. Cost: $250. Website URL: your local chamber of commerce. Found that looking at *my own* backlinks of all things - then realizing that I could apply to chambers of commerce of locations that are near to me. The next city over is happy to take my clams in exchange for a membership, even if I never attend.
- I have a calculator on my site that cropped up for a really weird long tail term. The logs exposed a related niche to get links from.
- I already indicated how the newsletter helped.
- I actually emailed (not called) someone new I met at pubcon. Got a guest post blog out of them, they seemed less enthusiastic about my suggestion that I bring my family to their house so they can show me how they go crab fishing. People are funny that way. And not funny ha-ha either. Funny sideways creepy look funny.



 7:18 am on Nov 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

For what it's worth:

Development tools

Google Insights
Custom tool

Common Approaches

1. Broken link tool on massive ancient directories and purchase of related domains

2. Broken link tool on the same and the securing of links where domains cannot be purchased

3. 'Links of links' (finding high quality sources and then tracing those back closer to seed sites and working on those grandfather links)

4. Offering value (website fixes, broken link fixes, design assistance

5. Offering value - trading goods or services including SEO services like one-off optimization

6. Ego-stroking. Works often in blog posts and on the phone.

7. Offering tools to help other businesses understand marketing better

8. Building tools

9. Being nice and asking for links


 2:45 pm on Nov 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

Since it hasn't been mentioned yet;

- Finding blogs that are moderated and DO allow follow-able backlinks, then posting a well thought out comment on a blog post.

I try to write a comment that will have the blogger / site owner respond to the comment as well. I figure if it is a well thought out comment (and it elicits a well thought out response), then that particular blog post will 1) be better liked by google, and 2) be better liked by readers, who will (hopefully) link or FB like that page (and possibly visit my page).

I guess it isn't a whole lot different from guest blogging when you think about it...


 2:46 pm on Nov 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

9. Being nice and asking for links

Since this is #9 on the list, does that mean it is a method of last resort?


 3:35 pm on Nov 30, 2011 (gmt 0)


I love your posts... They always get the "wheels" turning in my head (no pun intended). I know I'm not out here as often as I used to be, but when I do pop in your posts really make me think (and miss WebmasterWorld).

Added 1 hour a day indefinitely to my Outlook calender indefinitely to go back and reread the last years worth of link dev posts. Great suggestion.


 4:43 pm on Nov 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

Don't forget to drop the dime on #3 as well.


 4:56 pm on Nov 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

Love Eric Ward aka Link Moses... I have read tons of his stuff. Another one that gets my "wheels" turning with ideas. Totally agree.


 6:04 pm on Nov 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

Back when I was doing affiliate marketing many, many, many years ago, #4 gave me a keyword that drove 5 figures a month in profits. It was a "new" keyword in that nobody was optimized for it.

I firmly believe to this day that the affiliate manager of that program told his buddy "hey, go optimize for this keyword as BaseballGuy is making a ton of money every month" and he used a very spammy throwaway domain (with some of the most innovative tricks in the book at the time). My "white hat" site could not compete for fear of getting dinged by Google.

Those were the days...


 9:02 pm on Nov 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

Would be super cool to create a WebmasterWorld "master list" of ways to acquire / generate links and tactics that we share within the community.


 11:32 pm on Nov 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

Would save me having to read 2 years of posts! ROFLMAO


 2:50 pm on Dec 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

Hi guys,
Thanks for the great tips, especially CainIV with the round up of tools. I've actually used broken link checkers to successfully 'drop' and 301 loads of domains which are already getting links from sites like the BBC and the million dollar homeopage. Never thought about directories though, great idea!


 4:13 pm on Dec 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

How about contests?


 4:25 pm on Dec 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

Very hard to get the right hook even if you do have the visits viralvideowall..


 3:22 am on Dec 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

Badges, anyone?


 3:28 am on Dec 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

One method that is more "passive" than the others...

Allowing visitors to "mash up / personalize" your content

I think Amazon and some of the big retailers allow users to create their own suggested items list (I forget what they call it). Then amazon encourages those people to share their lists with friends, relatives, etc., though their blogs and facebook pages.

So if somehow you can get visitors to feel like they have "ownership" over a small section of your site, and you encourage them to promote it, then you can apparently get some links (according to some of the backlink checking I've done).

They probably don't get GREAT links, but once the initial setup is done, their probably isn't a whole lot of work that needs to go into it.

I think that ecommerce sites could probably also do this with "wish lists / gift registry" where the visitor has a stake in publishing that information.


 5:30 pm on Dec 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

I don't do a lot of link development. (I don't think I have the patience for it) But one way that has proven to work for me time and time again is to LINK OUT to people. Reputable resources that are an enhancement to the user. I don't make a big deal about it, and I don't even tell them I'm linking to them - but often enough, they'll notice that I'm sending them traffic, and they'll come check me out and link back. It *does* still work; I get a couple new .gov links every year, plus .ci.whatever.us type city or co.whatever.us type county links.


 5:41 pm on Dec 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

But one way that has proven to work for me time and time again is to LINK OUT to people.

Great advice.


 3:01 am on Dec 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

Badges, anyone?


Membership badges
Widgets (Booking, informational)
Author badges


 4:21 am on Dec 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

But one way that has proven to work for me time and time again is to LINK OUT to people.

I'm seriously considering this. I've got a page ready to go live with some good links. Just nervous , I've never really linked out to anyone.

Another link development idea that I'm considering is, taking some of the really good links people point to (e.g. out of that newsletter) and then try and see if I can generalize finding sites that are similiar and might give me a link. Haven't done this yet, planning on doing it soon - spend some time looking at a really good link opportunity from someone else and saying "can I find another 10 like that. Is there a technique here?"

For example, someone shows me a link from a library. Can I go looking for other libraries?


 6:10 am on Dec 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

Not link BUILDING really, but...

Go to webmaster tools and look through the crawl errors for your site.

You will find crawl errors for pages on your site that don't exist. See how many links there are to those pages. Often, someone makes a link improperly to a page on your site and they mistype the URL, goolge follows that link to a non-existent page, and tells you there is a 404 error when it can't find a proper page as a destination to that inbound link.

create a 301 redirect to the proper URL.


 6:37 am on Dec 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

I go to amazon see which books (for my niche) are soon released (2 to 4 months), I contact first the author if he is willing to do a book review of another book (thats also exposure as he gets of course talked about, link back to his book etc.) and or interview with the author.

Once i have that I show that to the publishing house of the reviewed book. Now i have already two parties who do the link building for me (book author who posts on his blog, his fans may link again etc...) and the publishing house, which almost always cites but often links too (and always retweets and post on FB)...

After a while you get such a reputation that publishing houses, book authors are coming to you asking to promote, this or that upcoming book.

Almost every University (UK and USA) has a publishing department (Oxford Press, Yale Press, Harvard Press etc..)

Many of those University sites also have blogs, where they mention your review, author interview...

Thats the only linkbuilding I done in the last 6 years. Let authorities write about other peoples book and tell that the publishing houses, the author (the reviewer and the reviewed) and the publishign house do all the link builidng for me...

Takes time but its much more fun than chasing links...


 10:29 am on Dec 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

Oooo viggen, that's a good one! Thank you for sharing that. :)

Here's one that merely costs pennies but will reward with site growth, particularly if you run a community. Advertise on "niche + blogs" so that publishers of sites trying to rank for that phrase or looking for link partners related to that phrase will find your site. Have the ad link to a page that discusses blogs in that niche. If you operate a community it's a good way to encourage knowledgeable people to join and become assets to your site as well as pick up visitors to their sites (with every post).


 12:13 pm on Dec 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

Viggen, that's gold right there - I can see how that alone would be an entire link building strategy.

I'm going to have to chew that one over, I know quite a few authors. Normally I just buy some copies of the book and offer it to bloggers as review copies. You've got that much more formalized.


 1:43 pm on Dec 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

@martinibuster and @wheel
thanks for the kind words...

what i forgot to mention is that apart from having linkbuilding i get high quality unique content.

Another very good approach i have is, that once i am a friend with an author i feed them with research books in return for more reviews. We talk about 100 dollar plus books that i get for the author for his research. (and many authors do lots of research, i have several authors i could manage to get books worht thousands of dollars in return for reviews) Not once have i gotten a NO from a publishing house when i said i need a review copy for published author xyz.

Over the years i built up a nice network of contacts from authors and publishers... Content and Links both done by others paid by others, only thing i do is encourage the involved parties to do it and to do it on my site...


 11:01 pm on Dec 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

@ Viggen:

Just so I understand:

I contact first the author if he is willing to do a book review of another book (thats also exposure as he gets of course talked about, link back to his book etc.) and or interview with the author.

You have the author of an UPCOMING book review someone else's book, right?

How do you get the author of the UPCOMING book to agree to that? Is it just so they can get a blurb on YOUR site that says "John Doe is the author of the upcoming book, 'Blah, Blah, blah' by XYZ Publishers."?

Thanks in advance for any clarification.


 3:53 am on Dec 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

Hmm, already trying out a few of the suggestions here.

  • Linking out is working quite well for me at the moment. I linked to well-thought out sites, and all but one responded kindly. One went on to highlight the plus sides of my services on his blog, which generated a lot more traffic for a day.
  • Being nice and asking for links rarely works for me (1 in 20 or so). The ones I acquired were by offering slightly exaggerated compliments on the good jobs they have done with the website.
  • Definitely will try out @viggen's idea too.
  • I've known about Eric for a while, and this post has pushed me into signing up. Resisted it in the past no matter how low the fees were. The plus side is that I have learned to watch every dollar, a skill I've been struggling to master for years
  • Panthro

     7:53 am on Dec 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

    Excellent thread wheel! Getting in for future reference.


     7:56 am on Dec 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

    You have the author of an UPCOMING book review someone else's book, right?

    How do you get the author of the UPCOMING book to agree to that? Is it just so they can get a blurb on YOUR site that says "John Doe is the author of the upcoming book, 'Blah, Blah, blah' by XYZ Publishers."?

    Thanks in advance for any clarification.

    I simply ask him;

    a) it is his topic, so he has a natural interest in it
    b) it might be a book he needs for research
    c) he gets free exposure on my site which i explain to him
    d) I encourage to interview the other author

    I must be honest three years ago this was hard work, today i have a mailing list of all authors/publishing houses involved and send out regualr mails of who wants to do what...


     3:30 pm on Dec 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

    Thanks for the clarification, Viggen.


     3:42 pm on Dec 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

    I have a couple of sites that link to me unsolicited. I was surprised to see they link to me. And they don't link to anyone else on those pages.

    There are other sites around the web that would possibly link to them but not to me, since their site is non-commercial / non-profit, while my site is an ecommerce and a for-profit (on good days) site.

    Anyway, I am seeing about building links to those pages that link to me. Since they are someone else's sites, I need to be careful about that and I think that link begging just might be the best.

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