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Some of those guidelines are good but others are very misleading and written too authoritatively IMO ("must not...").
- Pages where the links will live must be indexed by Google, Yahoo, MSN and Ask.
What about new pages? I would simply say the pages should have internal links and preferably external inbound links as well.
- Page Rank of the page where the link will live, should be visible in the Google Toolbar.
Again, what about a new page? For example would you reject a link on a new main category of nytimes simply because they added the category last week and it does not show external pagerank yet?
- Domain must be at least 2 years old or must not be expiring before 3 years.
This one is just too off base to begin.
- Should not be living on pages with which end with links.php or links.html, links.asp, links.jsp or so ever. Also not in subfolders using those words.
Can't count the number of sites ranking dominantly as a result of tons of links from pages like this. IMO it matters what else is on the page and what page the site is on. For example there are some /links.html pages on some highly authoritative sites which themselves have become highly referenced (linked) documents.
- The pages the links will live should have maximum 60% OBLs of the total links of the living page (including the internal links.)
In addition those pages should have more than 100 links all together.
See above. Then, I would add that you simply want to be amongst the top links in the code order.
You have to make people gently aware of what you are doing
This is what I love about the internet now...the fact that so much time has to be wasted on this garbage - which is nothing more than a manipulation attempt in and of itself.
Pay for a press release - that no one will read
Social bookmarking sites - something deemed cool by high schoolers
Blog posts - random thoughts no one except 2 of your friends would care about to begin with
Article submissions - rehashed and reworded 'content' of virtually no value to anyone with more than a 3rd grade education
Forum posts - Useless comments added to a discussion to get a 'link'
It's really sad what the internet has turned into, as 99% of the people doing all of these things wouldn't get enough traffic from it to generate enough money to feed their cat.
To me, these are MASSIVE time wasters.
Time is better spent on tweeking Adwords to get the maximun profit return for the buck.
Developing and expanding your content, so the customer has a greater chance to purchasing something they like.
Buy text link ads with the goal of developing qualified traffic, not to manipulate PR.
The free links will come unsolicited, although slowly regardless.
The whole point is to have your business model based on a paid advertising model. If you are doing well in the organic serps, then this is just the gravy.
If your business is based on doing well in the organic serps, you are at the mercy of Google and doomed to failure.
Then you're missing the boat - and probably just because you're approaching it wrong or not doing the work. All I do is ask for one way links. And I get them.
See my first post in this thread. I just did two guest blog posts and they're some of the best backlinks I've developed in a while. And surprisingly (to me anyway) the sites that published my guest post are important enough that their posts get duped on some pretty decent sites, so I got even more backlinks.
Yesterday I asked for a link from one of the regulatory authorities in my niche, from their links page. In addition to asking them for a link to my site, I pointed out two dead links they had in the exact section I wanted to be placed in. I'm figuring the webmaster's likely going to be motivated to clean up the dead links...and since they're working in that section anyway...... Who knows - maybe I will get a link, maybe I won't. But if I hit 5 authority sites in my niche with similiar things maybe I get 1 or 2 links. Lather, rinse, repeat.
I hope you'll agree that neither of those two above links was a waste of time?
As I've noted - this is a sales and marketing problem, not some sort of technical problem. If you automate the link dev. process you'll get low quality links. If you treat this as 'asking for free links', you won't get anything. You have to sell your site to other webmasters. And that requires first off answering the question 'why is it to their benefit to link to me?', and then follow that up with actually making the effort to go out and contact these folks so that you can 'sell' them on your site.
I wanted backlinks from blogs that are authority sites in my niche. But they don't give out backlinks. And I didn't want to pay for a blog link since I'm being very careful (and these bloggers don't take cash anyway). So I said, why would the link to me? What problems do they have? What would they find interesting? Ahhhh - they must get tired of blogging, so some free interesting content might be of interest. And - this is repeatable; hit a ton of blogs and find out what ones are interested. Not all will be, most won't be, but some will be.
From there, there was another blogger who didn't bite on my offer of a guest post, yet I wanted a link from. I'd recently gotten wind of something in my niche that was being brought into the country from elsewhere. So I suggested to the blogger that they might be interested in blogging on this subject that nobody has written about yet (see? interested because they want to be first to blog about something). There's a possibility that they may blog about it. And if they do, there's a possibility that they might drop me a link since I alerted them to it and they know I like links. lather, rinse, repeat.
Is that clearer? I'm always asking for free one way links. But I never just 'ask for a free one way link'. I explain how wonderful life will be for them if they give me a link :).
So much of what passes for link building is actually the expression of a context that, if stated honestly and accurately, would read something like this: "I am doing this because of what's in it for me. I am contacting you because I am seeking a personal gain. My flattery is contrived. My message is that I have no real interest in your website, except for its potential link to my website."
Narcissism is a word that comes to mind as the context of so many link requests. I have no interest in building relationships with narcissists, nor am I interested in linking to a narcissist's website. And when you write or contact me, as a narcissist, "I get you".
We all get you, except when we are asleep at the wheel. :-P
[edited by: Webwork at 2:32 pm (utc) on June 30, 2008]
I have a personal site that is almost purely for fun. I is also a kind of an experiment to see how "natural" links develop.
I established the domain and site three years ago. I set out to do nothing but basic on-page SEO, and just write good content. The topic something I love and know, and others are interested in. The community is very active and many have blogs and there are a modest number of big sites out there.
I have added new pages regularly and now have several hundreds of articles. All of the content is unique.
I often contribute comments on other sites in my area and link home when I can and it makes sense. I am notified almost daily by Google whenever these links are found.
I link out to relevant sites in articles and sites when it is good to do so.
I have never written a "top ten" linkbait article.
The site is squeaky clean. The topic is squeaky clean.
I don't sell anything. I don't even have adsense or other ads on my site.
I have a sitemaps.xml, and Google has indexed every page I want, often within minutes of posting the sitemap. I do internal linking when it is useful to the reader.
I rank in the top 3 for most of the articles using 3 main keywords from the title, and many with just 1 or 2 keywords.
But I am #21 for a largely publicized news story from last week. 21 is good, but useless.
So my SERPs are fine. My trustrank is nowhere.
Only about three sites have links to my site. None shows up in the Webmaster Tools "External Links", and 3 show up in the link:mydomain.com query.
I am not whining. On the contrary: I am thrilled to prove (to myself at least) that if you want links, you gotta go get them, one way or another.
So for links:
False: good things come to those who wait
True: good things come to those who ask
So, like many things, different things work for different people. Sure, if I had spent a lot of time with link development, I'd probably have more links than I do now. But I'd definitely have a lot less content. In the end, that extra content provides a much better ROI of my time/energy.
In an industry dominated by technical people, we have 'technical' solutions to the link building problem. But link building is not a technical problem with a technical solution. It's a sales/marketing problem with a sales/marketing type solution.
I can testify for that. I work closely with a massive branded company that has one of the best marketing departments in the UK.
I just gave presentation to them explaining how we can utilise what they do. For example, for each PR stunt, make it enticing to link to the site. By making minor tweaks to what they do we will be getting 1,000s of natural links a month instead of 100s. Far more than any link building campaign would produce.
Granted every site doesn’t have this luxury but the model / process can be scaled down.
I noticed that an authority site related to my niche is moving domains. The site is super clean, no advertising,been around forever, and has multiple links from the government - that type of site. You can't get backlinks from it. Anyway, they looked like they were going to screw up the move.
So I called the owner. I gave them info on 301's and a bunch of other things. And I offered to find them free nonprofit webhosting and said I'd pay for the domain registration (hey, just trying to be helpful, you know me right?). No mention of a link was made. We had a long conversation also about monetizing the site.
During the conversation, I mentioned a change in legislation from my niche market that will affect their niche market. They weren't aware of this, but were very hungry for information. They *asked me* to write an article on the subject for the benefit of their users....and they would either publish it (presell page) or I could publish it on my site and they'll link to it (inner page linke), my choice. What I'll probably do is write an article for them to publish, and link it to related article on my site.
That doesn't make anybody's top 10 list, but that link that took an hour phone call is worth any list of directories or article/press release links that someone could do in a full day, IMO.
which is nothing more than a manipulation attempt in and of itself.
A lot of what's being discussed is about stirring a site owner to make a decision about what's best for their site and their site visitors. I came across a guy who had a popular site about his life and the world around him, with an emphasis on widgets. I have authoritative articles about these widgets, absolutely authoritative as anything you can read in a book. I said, Hey! and he likes it and spread the word about it. That's an editorial decision based on how good my content was. Good content is voted on with links.
Or, put another way: How are you going to get 'natural' inbound links from people who don't run websites or blogs?
Techie/webmaster/social sites can build inbound links fairly easily because the people who run or frequent them are more likely to say "hey, check this out" than say, grandma.
This is similar to the Alexa effect: sites that don't attract webmasters and the types of people who have the Alexa toolbar (or similar tool) attached to their browser aren't counted. So the statistics are skewed towards certain topics, at least until your site is so massively popular that you end up counted (still, underrepresented, IMO).
So, I think that for some topics, natural inbound linkbuilding is hard to come by. (I know, I've got one of those sites - tons of free traffic from searches engines, relatively few unsolicited inbound links after years of generating unique, quality content.)
My point: Some sites will have to work much harder than others to develop inbound links.
Techie/webmaster/social sites can build inbound links fairly easily because the people who run or frequent them are more likely to say "hey, check this out" than say, grandma.
Funny you posted that because in my case the subject is non-technical, and the person in the example who gave me the link WAS a grandma, over eighty years old to be exact.
Some sites will have to work much harder than others to develop inbound links.
Yes, but in my experience it has to do more with how lucrative a niche is, and the competition for those links, plus other factors such as how narrow the topic is, which can limit the amount of sites willing to give a free or even paid link.
[edited by: martinibuster at 4:28 am (utc) on July 7, 2008]
over eighty years old to be exact
Love it! Don't discount those grannies. I'm one, tho a generation younger. A link from me is great for anyone in textile hobbies. Want to get in the top 10 for about any three word search make me happy. Only thing is I don't take money, you have to have great info.
I guess what I am saying is if you are at all niche it's worth making friends in the field. I know it's a different game for those of you in highly competitive fields but for those of us who are small time some friendly writing back and forth is worth your time.
When it comes to link building, I think it's more about having a good ratio of quality vs quantity, diversity, regularity and good anchored text. While it is important to have quality sites linking to yours, on-page SEO, quality content and the way you circulate your PR juice is still very important.
In noncompetitive fields this is true. In competitive fields link development is all that matters - onpage stuff makes little difference.
I have little in the way of quality content on my main site, my onpage SEO is limited to a few paragraphs of relevant text, good title and meta tags, and tight HTML. That's it. The folks that rank in my industry rank due to backlinks, not onpage SEO. You can't beat 2000 one way links from authority sites with onpage SEO :).
You still need to take into account all of the advice mentioned above (e.g. you don't want to get 100 links today and zero for the next week).
[edited by: engine at 4:42 pm (utc) on July 18, 2008]
[edited by: martinibuster at 5:51 pm (utc) on July 18, 2008]
[edit reason] Needed a little more off the top. ;) [/edit]
As I noted in the site supporters area, I have a client with a really old domain that's been sitting vacant for years. I've suggested they put up some content, sell me the domain, anything other than leave it sit.
I'm going to call them and see if they want to work a deal where they leave me to handle the content. Business from the site we'll split somehow.
Oh, and I'll want a link to my own site while we're at it. Maybe even a page of content with my link from within the content.
All I'll do is probably throw up a wordpress install with 10 posts or so and a way to convert. A couple hours work since I can write articles in my industry pretty much as fast as I can type.
And voila. Another one way link embedded in content from an old site with good quality backlinks, in the same industry as me.
Find the sites. Find the reason for them to link to you (in this case, it's not going to cost them anything and they may get some business). Contact them and tell them what's in it for them. It's the same formula applied individually.
Check backlinks of people that rank. Check the backlinks of the people that link to the people that rank.
Check search terms of mildly related stuff. red widgets. Blue widgets. reddish-blue widgets. widget farmers. widget manufacturers. Widget financing. Widgets for webmasters. widget books. And if widgets are installed on a gigamometer near the doohickey, start googling doohickey related terms. (Your competitors, and the low end link monkeys they hire aren't getting the authority links from the related doohickey industry).
Search for blog directories and see who's listed.
Search for blogs in your niche. Check their blogroll. Check the blogroll of the people they blogroll. I could spend days just doing that, and would if I could.
Look at really old directories and check who they list and check their backlinks (the directory, and the sites they list).
Watch Google alerts. Watch the news. Watch your industry and search on anything new.
Actually, I don't do much of that specifically anymore. I've done it all many many times. Once you've gone that far down into an industry you'll start to see the same or similiar sites repeatedly and start to know the players. And you should start to develop a methodology of doing those searches. So now something through the day will trigger a thought,and off I'll go on google looking for sites that match that thought.
And a lot of the contacts I've built through the years come through. People I've called through the years, or met, or emailed. Go to pubcon and make an effort to get involved with others and network. Call them regularly. Speak to others in your industry and share with them freely - even your competitors. Some will share back more than you could ever return. Others will never. Others will not immediately, but next year give you a helping hand or a pointer.
Personally that's really what I do more of now. But I start with the stuff at the top first.
Other times, I'll think of a neat idea. Let's say I write an article on 'history of widgets' because that's unique. Or I do some research on widgets. Then I start Googling 'history of widgets'. And I check all their backlinks. And the backlinks of the sites that link to those sites. And I google 'history of widgets blogs' and so on like at the top of my post (a vicious circle).
I guess it boils down to:
a) search Google on a term, find sites that rank
b) check the backlinks of those sites in Yahoo.
Expanding on that. Some webmasters are reluctant to come out and play. They miss out on opportunities. I organize quarterly get togethers of site owners and Internet workers and several people have come away doing business with each other.
Conferences are good for this, too. It's even better at a conference where your normal hoodlum friends won't be attending because it forces you to create new connections.
In the next little while I'm doing an SEO presentation to a linux user's group. These guys are hardcore anti-seo, and they've all got authority sites I'd drool over.
I'm going to show them the soft, good side of SEO and PPC. They'll be enthused (I'm a decent public speaker and talk enthusiastically about SEO, I've captivated audiences on the subject before). Somehow, someway, a few of them will either link to me. Or they'll stay in touch and we'll chat once in a while....and someday something will come up and they'll drop a killer link to their old buddy wheel.
And that reminds me. Now that I've got an office of my own, I should call my local chamber of commerce and offer to hold a presentation for their members here at my shop.