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How do you find links to boost Google rankings?

     
3:18 pm on Apr 19, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Back in dinosaur days, you could submit your site to directories and get a bunch of links that actually boosted your Google rankings. Today directory links are so dead that even the DMOZ directory has closed shop. To make it even more interesting Google removed the toolbar pagerank which wasn't being updated but now we have few clues to figure out which pages can actually boost our Google rankings. So how do you find & evaluate links to figure out which ones will boost your Google rankings?

Do you use Alexa or similar service to figure out the traffic to the site?
Do you chase after the pages that rank for the keyword or related synonyms?
Do you reverse engineer your competition backlinks?
Do you rely on the guesses from Majestic, Moz or Ahrefs?
Do you do nothing and hope links will magically appear?
3:40 pm on Apr 19, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Good questions.

I've used Alexa and similar services to figure out traffic and have also looked at the competition backlinks.

For the most part I don't do much to chase down links. What I do is provide useful content that sometimes gets linked to by major media outlets (and others). This approach works for a well establish site that is over a decade old.

It doesn't work for newer sites that I have which don't have the backlinks. Google ranks these pages but only as high as page 2 and 3 which means almost zero traffic.

I am interested in finding out what white hat approaches work for people.
3:54 pm on Apr 19, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Great Question goodroi!
as background, i'd say i'm not in a super competitive niche - although like everything it is more competitive than 10+ years ago.

Do you use Alexa or similar service to figure out the traffic to the site?

no, i'm not convinced that traffic alone is a key factor (in sales) - the right kind of traffic, yes, absolutely but i don't think alexa tells you that!

Do you chase after the pages that rank for the keyword or related synonyms?

no, i've been trying to think in 'wholeness' rather than keywords alone - also see below anyway.

Do you reverse engineer your competition backlinks?

no, i think copying or mimicing is not the way forward

Do you rely on the guesses from Majestic, Moz or Ahrefs?

no, additionally i do my best to block those type of services.

Do you do nothing and hope links will magically appear?

yes. although not magically! i don't have a content is king mantra, however i do think you can write content that naturally attracts backlinks ... (not always but you certainly can write in such a way as to attract backlinks on some occasions)
5:07 pm on Apr 19, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Good questions, good thread. The more things change the more they stay the same; nothing will help your ranking more than some quality back links. And that hasn't changed one bit through all the changes over the past 15 years. The changes have been in our ability to track their impact, not in the impact they have. Sure theres lots of other things you can do to help, but nothing packs the same kick.

What do most people do to overcome this? Adwords.
5:13 pm on Apr 19, 2017 (gmt 0)

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For the most part I don't do much to chase down links. What I do is provide useful content that sometimes gets linked to by major media outlets (and others). This approach works for a well establish site that is over a decade old.

That's my approach, too, and it's been working pretty well for 15+ years.

I suspect that public relations is more effective than trolling for links, assuming that you have the type of content that people want to cite as additional resources for whatever they're writing about.
7:51 am on Apr 20, 2017 (gmt 0)

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You guys are doing it the hard way. I step next door to Madam Sophie's and use her crystal ball. Works a treat!
11:46 am on Apr 20, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Crystal ball? I have better results with emails saying you must link back within 24 hours and forward the email to 3 other websites or you will have bad luck :)
9:26 pm on Apr 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@goodroi, in the day and age of "social" and the .com 2.0 age of eyeballs you find what makes one most likes, pics of the cats.

Isn't getting links to boost ranking against Google TOS?

Let me translate: isn't marketing against internet marketing monopoly's TOS?
9:31 pm on Apr 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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As I mentioned in the other thread.

You do nothing only if you have this unique situation: you own a generational business (or decades old) that you know every detail about, and you also can write top notch content.

The other 99.9% of the web does marketing.

Example. I have seen a business go from 0 to $250K per month in sales in one year, thanks to awesome marketing. So that you have an idea which level is achievable.
10:57 pm on Apr 24, 2017 (gmt 0)

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First, two general observations that have been alluded to in many threads this year already:

1. There is a somewhat sensible somewhat harmful mental categorisation that we webdevs do: splitting sites broadly into eCom (goods/services) and info (ads/aff). It is revenue model sensible but has the unintended consequence of many, especially newer, webdevs believing that eCom doesn't have an important, even critical, info component. And that severely limits their upside. It also allows specialty info sites such as those focussed on product manuals to thrive (symbiotically? parasitically?) by filling huge unanswered information needs.

2. An aspect of blogs that I found (when they first began to proliferate a decade ago) fascinating was the way in which 'SEO' content mirrored AdWord landing pages: pick a keyword and build a page. Instead of one's ad bringing interested/qualified visitors and one's copy then making the sale it was one's copy being very specific such that it (1) ranked high for queries about a chosen keyword and (2) attracted AdSense ads that would appeal to interested/qualified visitors.

Being so specific such pages tended to be quite short. A couple hundred words perhaps. Very focussed. And as the intent was always arbitrage very thin. Which eventually hurt many.

And now to the OP question:
I offer long form copy with custom imagery and multimedia. There is an initial easy to skim summary followed by expanded dense reading material for those wishing to delve deeper. Think a middle ground between Wikipedia and a couple dozen subject books on a library shelf. And, as with Wikipedia, is a natural place to link to in niche online discussions, reports, etc. (if not as frequently).

If step 1 is huge: build the copy so there is something for them when they come, one needs also let them know where to come - and why. And that involves marketing. SEO is, obviously marketing. And I initially paid great attention to SEO; it was one of the reasons that I first lurked and then joined WebmasterWorld.

What I quickly learned was that with a properly architected site with decent navigation and 'deep' pages that gradually grew 'broad' as pages were added SEO was free and both 'head' and 'long tail' queries were accommodated. I simply built what I wanted to read and found myself ahead of the SEO curve.

I admit that I bought links. When a site first went live it had a half dozen niche oriented edu and gov links pointing at it. Yes, there is an advantage to being old and having friends in low places. No 'rent' was for more than 6-months, most only one. Just to get found and be appreciated. And skip the sandbox effect of the time.
Note: except for that initial boost buy I've never bought links or ads.

I also did outreach to niche journalists, initially local (in a great many localities but individually local) whenever there was a news story I could piggyback on. Journalists collect resources, I collect journalists. Now, I'm the first or second call for a great many national and international reporters. Because I'm not interested in seeing my personal name or quotes it allows the reporter to shine as expert with me behind the curtain. Perhaps 20% of stories get a site mention and/or link back.

I only place 10-15% of slideshows and videos on third parties, i.e. SlideShare, YouTube. It is added expense and tech debt but hosting my own means that I'm using the third parties as marketing vehicles and not hosts. Something like 4% of third party viewers come directly from viewing to see/read more on site but in absolute numbers it's fairly substantial. Haven't a clue whether the links in creative or in description have SEO value; they do deliver decent traffic.

And that is the only links I care about. If a link shows in my log file because someone visited from somewhere I'm thrilled, if not I don't care at all. Yes, there may be links that Google loves that have never sent anyone - but I'm hard pressed to say why they should.
Note: a while back I was hit hard by negative SEO backlinks and it was an eyeopening heart pounding rollercoaster of a week to get sorted but that truly was the only time I've used Ahrefs/Majestic/Moz. Glad they were there to speed causal determination.

How much of where SEs like cites and links in SM I, again, have little clue. I am after traffic and if there are additional benefits I'll take them gratis no problem at all. :)

As to my competitors: I check them for how they look and what they offer and their ease of use, etc. Never ever at their backlinks or link profile, except in passing not even interested in their ranking for what queries. If I can maintain or improve on my benchmarks of traffic and traffic conversion I'm happy. It's a big pie. And frankly I'm better then them. :)

Most of my SE time is not acquiring links it's defending content. I send so many DMCAs it isn't funny.

Ah, time for a delightful cuppa tasseomancy...
8:30 am on Apr 25, 2017 (gmt 0)

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agree with guys) you need quality backlinks for better ranking
I use for it some of tools you've mentioned and also <snip> The last one is relatively inexpensive compared to some others

[edited by: goodroi at 12:47 pm (utc) on Apr 25, 2017]
[edit reason] Welcome to WebmasterWorld, please follow the forum charter rules [/edit]

1:45 pm on Apr 25, 2017 (gmt 0)

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The other 99.9% of the web does marketing.

Example. I have seen a business go from 0 to $250K per month in sales in one year, thanks to awesome marketing. So that you have an idea which level is achievable.

The trick is a holistic approach to marketing, not obsessing about link building or trying to game Google.
1:52 pm on Apr 25, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@goodroi, it is a very hard question to answer.

You have to remember it is 2017 and Panda/Penguin updates are running. So, it is VERY EASY to get wrong links. I'd say if you hire an average SEO email spammer, you are guaranteed 100% you are going to get hit negatively. Some of the common places that offer them "for sale" are also very dangerous. If you want to venture out and try, I STRONGLY recommend using a throw away site or domain for this, as you WILL get hit.

With established sites, if you own the niche, I would do nothing right now. Or there are ways to write "exceptional" content . Quotes are here because truly EXCEPTIONAL content is written by itself, it is not written because you have to by Google's rules because Google wants you to be content mill or an online publisher and not be widget expert - this is the sad current state of affairs.

not Alexa, do not chase pages that rank.

with competitor backlinks you have to be careful too, are you chasing someone's ranking and is going to be happy #2 or #3 behind them? If yes then maybe. And with Panda/Penguin you don't know which links help and which hurt. If you want to dominate, you don't mimic their link profile, you make your own.

Majestic , Moz and ahrefs are better tools than to have nothing.

>> Do you do nothing and hope?

In the last several years sometimes it's easier to do nothing and hope. But as there's no hope to recover from Panda/Penguin penalties, you have to start doing something. So.. marketing that brings conversions trumps all the rest.

Look at post above by @iamlost, he reaches out to local journalists and places 10%-15% of slideshows to Slideshare and Youtube. I also like his tea leaf readings approach to SEM , whatever works :)

If you have friends in edu and journalism who can use you as a source and resource, by all means that's a method. Again, it isn't applicable to the 99% of the rest of us (for instance to me as english is not even my native language).
2:05 pm on Apr 25, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Let me throw one more out there. You have to figure out yourself first.

What are your top two best skills that are applicable to web marketing.

If it is writing great content, then write content.
If it is sales, then make sales copy etc.
If it is photography, then make photo imaging section of your site the largest.
If you are good at videos, then start making them and posting on Youtube.
If you are marketer with some money and an idea (probably very few people here are), then you hire out site development and content writing.
If it is SEO , then do SEO and again, outsource content.

Let's say your best skills are programming. Then make a great website(s) and figure out how to dominate your niche from this technical angle (very possible, and my approach). And hire content writing out.

In either case if you are after INCOME you have to learn basics of the online business. And understand which activities will bring the most ROI, because your time is the most precious resource. And if you have no money to spend, time is your only resource.

I said two best, because just writing great content doesn't work for 99% of the people. Some level of marketing and basic Photoshop skills are required, you have to learn and apply them to be successful.
3:30 pm on Apr 25, 2017 (gmt 0)

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The other 99.9% of the web does marketing.

If you're after quality links, public relations is likely to be a more effective approach. Editorial coverage often (usually?) results in organic links.
4:21 pm on Apr 25, 2017 (gmt 0)

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The world is larger than any algo ... pr (radio, tv, print, word of mouth) will do wonders. But more importantly, have reasonable expectations. There is pie in the sky, it just isn't served on a platter. You have to earn it (apologies to that stock broker company). :)
11:31 pm on Apr 26, 2017 (gmt 0)

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It depends on your niche if the site is high-authorized and is not relevant to your site it won't be effective at the same time the are lots of ratings of the sites which can give a high-effective backlink
4:40 am on Apr 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Sure natural links have only been the Constant at Google, everything else have changed. In my experience I've always found some quality back links doing more miracles than everything put together on a side. For that we keep chasing sites & sources.
5:40 am on Apr 27, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Hi SimonnBB and welcome to WebmasterWorld [webmasterworld.com]

How do you find links to boost Google rankings?
They've always seemed to find me. Content is king. Also, it helps to have been around for 20 years.

I did get my site into the US Library System early on. That really helps if you have an info site. Not much of a gain in product sales, but a huge authority factor and traffic builder which can boost ad income.

I was also sucessful in geting in the Library of Congress because of the national library listing.

How'd I do that? I found out the contact info and submitted my site... that simple.

I've always blocked Alexa, Moz, and the other so-called traffic sites. I don't want them guessing at my traffic. I also don't want low quality sites linking to me because of that bogus info.
 

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