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February 2014 Link Building Blog Post Roundup
The Best & Controversial

 2:16 pm on Feb 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

The link building month of February 2014 actually started in late January when Matt Cutts called for SEOs to stick a fork in it. [mattcutts.com]

Okay, I’m calling it: if you’re using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop... So stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy.

Eric Ward's response was to wave the white flag. Sort of. 11 Reasons Link Building Is A Futile Waste Of Time — And One Big Reason It Isn’t. [searchengineland.com] Eric Ward's advise is to be awesome. Skip the entire article and go to last couple paragraphs where Eric shares a link beg email. That's the meat of the post and well worth reading.

Being awesome is a given. So let's move on. Adam Riemer picks up the dropped ball and runs with it in, Guest Blogging Is Not Dead – 10 Reasons Why You Should Do It. [adamriemer.me] No need to quote from the article, the title says it all. I followed up with actual examples of how I created traffic and increased sales with non-SEO link building, How to Grow Your Business (Not SEO) With Link Building. [adamriemer.me].

If you know of any good link building articles published, please share them. I will share them as I find them.


[edited by: martinibuster at 10:15 pm (utc) on Feb 15, 2014]



 1:59 pm on Feb 10, 2014 (gmt 0)

Link Fixation – What To Know, What To Do, by Duane Forrester, Bing [bing.com]

Duane Forrester of Bing rolls his eyes over a link building presentation he witnessed, dismisses several link building tactics, then asks companies to stop building links for search rankings and instead focus on content.

That bratty kid in pre-school
When my kid was in preschool there was a kid there who used to sneer, "I know that" whenever anyone cautioned her. Teacher will tell her to wear a helmet when riding the tricycles, "I know that." Her parents would tell her to watch out on the monkey bars, "I know that." Don't eat too fast you'll choke. "I know that." Annoying.

Yet, put yourself in her shoes. It must have been annoying to have grownups hovering over you wagging their fingers over things that are so obvious you figured it out on your own. The kid had a point.

Grownups: The way to get natural ciations is good content.

Marketer: I know that.

But it still needs to be said, so thank you Duane for saying it. It can't be stressed enough. :) The article goes on to discuss link building tactics that don't work (or shouldn't). What I enjoyed were little distinctions he made here and there. And I will go beyond what Duane wrote and say that for me, creating good content, cultivating fans, cultivating a brand image, understanding what sets you apart from other sites, all of that will amplify your chances for cultivating un-earned links.

Unearned links
The effectiveness of your link building campaign will improve if you get those ducks in a row because it will help it grow exponentially with earned citations, beyond what you are trying to cultivate.

Its time businesses stop fixating on tactics like link building. In the Air Force the term “target fixation” refers to a situation where a pilot concentrates so much on the enemy they’re trying to shoot down, that they lose situational awareness, allow enemy planes to actually get behind them and take shots at them.

Too many SEOs have lost situational awareness. If you’re building links today, do so as part of a direct traffic acquisition strategy. Not to boost rankings.

Read the article. Duane Forrester posts some good stuff!

[edited by: martinibuster at 3:00 pm (utc) on Feb 10, 2014]


 2:29 pm on Feb 10, 2014 (gmt 0)

Good read.


 11:00 am on Feb 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

Great roundup here! Thanks.

Lots of talk going on around this subject.


 4:33 am on Feb 15, 2014 (gmt 0)

Less is more

In 2014 you will need to have relationships with well trusted site owners in order to get the type of links you want(need?).

Why? Because Google isn't targeting just sites anymore, they are attacking entire linking methods. Your links are in that minefield, less is more if they are well placed.


 10:00 pm on Feb 15, 2014 (gmt 0)

MartiniBuster I must say this is about the best read in the webmaster industry I've had in a long time.

Eye opening, stimulating and a kick in the pants to start thinking out of the box.

Many thanks sir.


 6:03 am on Feb 16, 2014 (gmt 0)

"Your competitor would love it if you stopped building links to your content." by Arnie Kuenn [marketingland.com]

A rebuttal of recent overused and unorignal clickbait headlines proclaiming link building is dead, an affirmation of the importance of links for ranking and the consequent neccessity to cultivate quality links. Arnie discusses why social signals are not a ranking factor (with citations to authoritative sites and statements).

Arnie follows up by making the case that being awesome is not enough. Promoting your awesomeness is required:

“Build It And They Will Come” Doesn’t Exist

Link Building is Obsolete
Though quality content creation can make link building easier, it does not mean that proactive link building shouldn’t be part of your content marketing strategy. Publishing quality content should result in links based on its own worthiness; but, that is often not the case.

The author clears up some confusion that exists in the industry regarding links. I found it refreshing that he backed up his statements with links to authoritative sites and quotes. He's not just expressing his opinion, he's sharing information that he has researched, conclusions reached after consideration of authoritative statements from Google and elsewhere. Worth reading.

[edited by: martinibuster at 2:15 pm (utc) on Feb 17, 2014]


 6:53 am on Feb 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

If social signals are not being used and links are becoming less important, what is becoming more important?


 2:19 pm on Feb 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

Links are still very important, as affirmed in Arnie Kuenn's blog post. Please take a moment to read it, it's a good post. ;)

Links are still a major ranking signal. There have been affirmations of that out of Google within the past few months. The day links play less of a role is the day Google stops cracking down on link schemes.

Moving forward:
No self-promotion please. If you wrote something that is original, unique and awesome then let me know. This isn't a list of all link building articles in February. Just what I/we think are notable. This is an experiment so bear with me! ;)


 9:27 pm on Feb 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

thank you Roger.


 9:42 pm on Feb 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

Hey Roger - thanks for the nice shout outs. You and I have been doing this for a long time, unfortunately the phrase "link building" gets tarnished by spammers and lazy SEOs.

All of the changes in our industry have made building links harder to do, but the value of a rock solid link is still there. In fact, I think they may be worth even more these days.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for a link to your content. You cross the line when you offer money or inkind trade for it, or when you start spamming blogs and forums to get links. But if you reach out to a writer on Mashable to make them aware of your useful, fun, amazing (insert more superlatives here) content --- and they link to it, you have just performed totally whitehat link building.


 1:48 am on Feb 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

welcome to WebmasterWorld, Arnie!


 3:23 am on Feb 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

Thank you. I actually have another account from the past, but it was sort of an "anonymous" one ;)


 2:08 pm on Feb 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

Eric Ward's story about doing SEO for the Sochi Olympics seems to really deserve being told.

Or not.

I don't know the specifics, but as one who follows him, reading his post as above sure has me thinking that is probably a GREAT story.

Hope to read it soon!


 2:35 pm on Feb 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

Eric Ward's story about doing SEO for the Sochi Olympics seems to really deserve being told.

I agree, that would have made it a more useful article. Nevertheless one can make a hearty stock from gristly bones. So let's get to work making something useful out of Eric Ward's article. I mentioned that the meat of Eric Ward's article is at the end of it, where he publishes an email response he received from a teacher outreach campaign. But he left the useful details out. Well, I'm putting them back in!

1. It's a link beg outreach to teachers to publicize school related content on the Sochi website.

2. What I call "bona fides," the characteristics that make someone say yes to a link campaign, are already baked in. Sochi is a link magnet because of those characteristics that make it bona fide.

Here is another lesson that Eric Ward left out: The bona fides should get you thinking about how you can create the same kinds of impressions. That's what I meant when I said there was meat at the end of the article, you just have to reconstruct what Eric Ward left out. Here is the nutshell outline for the outreach Eric Ward likely followed.

1. Create a state by state list of schools.

2. Craft an email outreach template

3. Press the send button.

[edited by: martinibuster at 5:27 pm (utc) on Feb 20, 2014]


 6:30 pm on Feb 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

Lee Odden published an article about link building with some good insights! New Rules for SEO Mechanics & Link Building [toprankblog.com] it's a two part article focusing on on-page SEO first then moving on to Link Building but read the first part, too. It's good!

For building natural links it is important to think in terms of building awareness. People need to know about your content before they can link to it naturally! Here's what Lee Odden has to say about it:

...social networking and community is a content distribution channel that can drive search as well as awareness of content to be linked to. For example, I’ve heard about numerous tools and resources through Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus and then linked to those resources from our blog within an article.

Read the article! Points he discusses are:

  • How can you tell the difference between good and bad links?

  • Links that might get risky in the future

  • Tactics for safer link building


 9:54 am on Feb 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

@martinibuster, I realise links are still very important, but even if they are only a bit less important than they were, then something must have got more important.


 2:17 pm on Feb 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

That's a good question, thanks for asking it. Anyone have answers, suggestions or theory? Please share your thoughts. ;)

The distillation of links results in?
It is apparent to me that the history of Google and links is one of refinement. Back in 2004, at an SES Q&A, Marissa Mayer responded to one of my questions that Google was depreciating links where the context did not match, like footer "powered by" links. She was talking about how links can pass full, partial, or no PageRank. That was a revelation at the time but it matched up with what we were seeing at the time wrt the fluctuations of PageRank values. That's one example of Google's relationship with links, of how they have been refining the signal over the years, in the true sense of the word, of removing "unwanted elements." What is left is a refined signal, what they were looking for all along.

Citations outside of social?
There is a possibility of this. But it's not confirmed. Methods of cultivating natural links is an important trend that I have been working on for awhile now.

Social signals a ranking factor?
Does something have to replace hyperlinks? There has been speculation that social media may play a role. Some social media signals are easier to manipulate and understandably the industry sprouted a social media optimization head (SMO) to sell SMO services. However the idea that social plays a direct role as a ranking signal has been discredited.


 3:59 pm on Feb 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

I actually don't think links are "less important". However, low level, manipulative, anchor text rich, spammy links no longer work. In fact, now they hurt.

But if you have rock solid, freely given links to a page, they count as much as they ever have. And based on the elimination of all the lowly links, I would argue that good links are even more valuable today. So good link to good content now trump everything.

Since some of this discussion still questions the value or use of links in the Google algo, be sure to watch this very recent video from Matt Cutts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NCY30WhI2og

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