• http://www.ericward.com Eric Ward

    Adam, you know I respect you and weve known each other for ages, so no offense intended. Your column certainly contains some insightful and though provoking ideas. However, there are some link builders, like myself and many others, who never fell for the many link building fringe services that did not genuinely reflect content merit, but rather were created merely to fool google. Some of us actually DO work the natural link side of the street only. And it’s not a paradox or oxymoron to call a pursued link unnatural just becasue it was pursued. When PBS launches a site about the Civil War, and I ask for a link to that site from the Library of Congress’s online libraian for Civil War resources/links, is that in any way unnatural? I say no. It’s a matter of introducing meritorious content to the exact person who curates links to that type of content.

    What I’m getting at is the only link buiders for whom there are new paradigms are those link builders who were using pretty weak techniques in the first place.

    A couple of your comments really resonated…

    “That’s not to say you can’t build links in 2010. ”

    Absolutely. I do it every day. Slow and steady wins the race for merit based content.

    “In this climate natural links have become a distinct competitive advantage.”

    Amen brother. And those of us link builders that have focused 100% of the natural link side of the street are noow reaping the rewards of smarter algos.

    “Your link profile is a living record of the choices you’ve made along the way.”

    Yep. Like a college transcript of rap-sheet.

    The one comment I must wholeheartedly disagree with is where you state

    “Meritocracy is a myth”

    This may be true for web users at large, but within verticals where key influencers hang out, merit based linking and link sharing thrives more than ever before. I’m originally a librarian by trade, and I have a few hundred libraian colleagues I share links with on a weekly basis. Those shared links end up on library based web pages. And it’s natural, earned, merit based. And they help rank.

    So while I have great respect for you and your skills, I wanted to make a stand that for those of us who stuck with earned natural link strategies and never opted for the low hanging fruit link building tactics, life (and business) is very very good.

  • http://www.audettemedia.com Adam Audette

    Thanks Eric, I appreciate your honesty and very much respect your input here. You may be right about my #4, “Meritocracy is a Myth.” Actually you *are* right… as you say you live it and do it every day. So I can’t argue with that. I think the web at large could learn a lot from the kind of link building you do, which in essence is exactly the same as it has been since the ’90s! Slow, steady and solid, and nothing risky or irrelevant.

    I can’t argue with your approach, experience or results. Thanks a ton for taking the time to share.

  • http://www.search-usability.com/ Shari Thurow

    Hi Adam-

    Great article on link building. And great follow-up post by Eric.

    Many people do not realize that link building existed long before Google came around. Remember when Multimedia Marketing Group (MMG) had their Top 100? That was link building. The players change but link building principles still exist and are stronger than ever.

    I didn’t know that Eric has a library science background, like yours truly. Hmmm…maybe something that people should know — librarians have great knowledge and insight into various aspects of SEO. Librarians should realize it, and I think SEOs should, too.

    Nice work!

  • http://www.ericward.com Eric Ward

    Shari – my biz was actually the result of a Info Science course about Entrepenuership in the Informoation Industry. This was 1993. It was supposed to be my class project. It ended up being my career. :) Hit this link

    librarians eric ward – Google Search http://bit.ly/bV43C9

    and you’ll see how often over the years I hint at the underappreciated and crucial role librarians play in the search quality. There are roughly 500,000 librarians around the world. They are trained at “finding the good”, regardless of the medium, Web sites included. I would love to see a search engine where the only sites crawled were those discovered on the millions of library based vetted/curated web resource pages.