How To Conduct A Link Audit

In the comments section of my last column, someone asked me about link audits, and after looking around to see if I could find a good resource to point her to, I didn't find anything that was exactly what I was looking for. I found loads of great pieces on SEO audits but not that much specific to links. (Maybe that particular SERP was affected by the latest Google update.) One reason that I've not written much about link audits is that it's a process that's very fluid for me. I love trying out new tools and there are always algorithm updates that favor something more than something else. [...]

Are You Using Gap Analysis For Multinational Linkbuilding?

local-links-panda-penguin-featured Linkbuilding still lies at the core of any successful SEO campaign. Indeed, campaigns at the very top end in the most competitive verticals are all about the effectiveness of their linkbuilding strategy. When you look at delivering significant returns across a range of countries, this truism is even more pronounced: despite all the advances in SEO strategy over the years, without a killer linkbuilding strategy you won't compete at the very top level.   Achieve Lasting Link Value The guts of a solid strategy, for me, revolve around achieving excellence in two areas of your linkbuil [...]

What Everyone Needs To Know About Good, Bad & Bland Links

Links are always a popular topic, and this year has proven no exception including Penguin, links vs. social media, negative SEO and disavowing links. Recently, someone asked me to distinguish between good links and bad links. First, there are really three types of links: Links that help SEO Links that hurt SEO Links search engines ignore Google and Bing have been clear, search engines do not use every link as a ranking signal; they ignore many links. While they are not going to tell webmasters which specific links matter and which ones they ignore, the search engines d [...]

The Domino Effect Of Links & Relationships

Link building can, and should, be a domino effect. A good solid link should lead to more good, solid links, but do we always pursue links with this in mind? I confess that I don't always. Sometimes a link is just a link, and that's where it ends, but moving forward in the wake of the recent algorithm updates, I think we'll all be better off if we try to build links that build links. Along with that, since I firmly believe that building relationships builds links, we'll talk about how to do that, too. It's simple and easy but sometimes the simple and easy methods are the most overlooked. [...]

How To Panic-Proof Your Link Campaign

All too often, I get a fair amount of frantic emails from people who are seeing a dropoff in rankings and/or traffic after the latest algorithmic update and are looking for help or just a second opinion. Sometimes a keyword that has been number 2 for 8 months in a row moves down a spot to number 3. Sometimes one drops off the first page and isn't in the top 100. Sometimes traffic almost completely dies. In any case, it creates panic. Most people don't think very clearly when they panic. Their immediate response is something drastic, their directives are to take place yesterday, and t [...]

How To Creatively & Effectively Build Links Using Public Data

Governments, non-profit and other organisations are under constant pressure to improve transparency and, as a result, are making vast amounts of data available to the public. The range of data sets available is enormous, with 16 nations currently spear heading open data initiatives, and countless private organisations publishing data online - the US alone has published more than 400,000 data sets. This free data presents an opportunity for anyone with a creative mind to produce something of real interest and, in return, acquire quality inbound links to their website. Furthermore, both th [...]

How To Find Link Prospects Without Using Google

I'm obsessed with Google. (I mean, you kind of have to be if you're in this industry.) But sometimes, you need a break from the hand that feeds. There's no denying the power of advanced search queries, but you'd be surprised how many other and different prospects you can find without using the search engine at all. Curated Lists OK, I lied. You do have to use Google for this, but not nearly in the capacity you would with normal searches. With lists, you have less sources to sift through but the value of the sites far outweigh normal SERPs. My favorite searches — thanks to SEOmoz — [...]

9 Free Tools For Link Discovery & Content Creation

Every day it seems that there's a new tool out there to monitor, measure, track, and suggest what we should be doing. Many of these are free or offer free trials, which I love, but finding the time to test out a new tool in order to see if it suits you isn't always easy. My objective in using these tools is, of course, building links, so I'll go over the tools that I use and show you how I'd use them. And hey, they're all free!! For the record, I'm not interested in competitive analysis, analyzing sites, using social media (with one notable exception, and my exclusion here is only becaus [...]

How To Terrify Executives Into Linkbuilding

scared-businessman-featured Much has been written about the poor in-house SEO, fighting the good fight to inculcate SEO awareness and best practices throughout the organization. This is an unenviable task and more than one in-house has shared a narrative with me that sounds something like this:  SEO:  "So, I’m concerned that we’re not proactively link-building and that may have a negative impact on our high quality in bound traffic." Executive:  "But when I type-in the company’s name, we are number one in Google." SEO:  "Yes, well you are getting personalized results AND there’s a lot more to . . ." [...]

How To Canonicalize URLs As Backlinks In Local Search & Online Business Directories

If you read my previous Link Week entry, Why Canonicalization Matters From A Linking Perspective, you know that canonicalization - the process of selecting and using one specific URL for each page on your website for indexing in search - is vitally important for consolidating potential link juice. This is because search engines index URLs to get content, so when multiple versions of URLs point to the same content, that content’s Page Rank is diluted across those URLs. Today, I want to advance that concept a bit more. Let’s look at how the external world of the Web views your business. I [...]

How To Capture Broken Inbound Links

Everyone in our field knows that inbound links are an important facet of search engine optimization (SEO) – search engines regard them as votes of approval from the linking sites. That’s why webmasters and optimizers invest so much work on link building. Unfortunately, with link building, you are usually left counting on someone else to do the job that’s so important to you. You actively ask another webmaster (or blogger, online author, or worse yet, a casual, social media user) to link to a page on your website. You depend on them to do the job right. You can even give them explicit [...]

How To Use Q&A Sites To Help Build Better Links

Asking questions is considered to be one of the most basic yet the most effective ways of learning. Whether you ask questions to better understand a technique, an event, or a motive, you're gaining insight that should help you in the present and the future. It's no wonder that question and answer sites continue to gain in popularity, and while I've viewed them as a great free or inexpensive marketing and personal branding tool for awhile now, it's only recently that I've come to see how useful they can be at helping everyone build links and do better SEO. Think about how you'd search onl [...]

Hard Thoughts About SEO & Link Bait

Is creating link bait good SEO? Emphatically, yes! If it does not get links it is not link bait. If it does, then people are finding value, which is exactly what the search engines want to reward. Whether you call it white hat or ethical SEO, link bait fits the bill. But what is link bait, what makes it work and why does it fail? What Is Link Bait? Link bait is content designed from conception to go viral. The goal is to produce something so awesome your friends will share it with their friends, your friends’ friends will share it with their friends and so on. In theory, if you to cr [...]

Creative Tips For Link Building On A Shoestring Budget

shoestring-budget-featured Since "how much would it take me to get started?" is a common question that potential clients ask me, I thought I'd expand a bit on my original answer to Debra Mastaler's forum questions. I love the idea of only having $100 to get started because many times, having less money means you have to get more creative. So, since I've spent my theoretical $100 already (in the post above), everything else I'd advise is free. So far we've set up social media accounts, used a few free tools in order to find more Twitter followers, analyze our Twitter work, and keep abreast of all of our online ment [...]

How To Use Free Alerts For Link Discovery

Although my agency does use a variety of paid and free tools for various purposes, by and large, we do most of our discovery through manually searching the web. If you've done it, you will know that while it's fun and interesting at times, it's also a serious pain. It's inefficient, it's tedious, and you're likely to keep running into the same sites over and over. Sometimes it's nice to sit back and let the link potentials come to you using a variety of free alert tools. Alerts are a great way to stay informed about what's being said. You can use alerts just to monitor your brand or a ke [...]

How To Find The Right Local & Vertical Sites For Your Small Business

Most small business owners understand that they should be listed on major national search engines such as Google and Bing, but how do they know which local directories and vertical sites are important for improving their SEO? If you’re a dentist in Boston looking for local sites, you could look at the listings of other Boston businesses, such as Boston Standard Plumbing: If you want to find vertical sites, you could look at the listings of other dentists, such as Tribeca Dental Associates in New York: Even better, you would want to look at businesses that are in both your locale a [...]

Proven Ways To Use Content To Attract Links

This article is really part three of our Link Building Foundational Blueprint series, and will focus on using content to attract links. Here are parts one and two. There are many ways to generate links using content, you're probably familiar with article writing, guest blogging, link bait, white papers etc. All of these content tactics are fine and still work, but since they're talked about frequently, I won't go into the basic mechanics behind each. Instead, let's take a look at a handful of tips and twists you can use with these foundational tactics to generate additional links. Use W [...]

How To Scale B2B Link Building Across An Organization

B2B search engine marketers understand the value of inbound links but may struggle with execution. With an ever increasing plate of responsibility, emerging search industry trends, and the balance between short-term and long-term goals, it is easy to let a link building program fall to the wayside. Link building does not have to be perceived as a singular, daunting task. Through the identification of key personnel, communication, and coordination of tactics, the B2B search engine marketer can successfully integrate link building campaigns that scale across an organization. Here are some way [...]

Indistinct Links & Link Building In Difficult Verticals

Link building in social-unfriendly verticals can be a heartache. At one point, before the reasonable surfer concept was implemented, it was possible for many websites in taboo verticals like poker, payday loans and pharmaceuticals to get by on footer and sidebar links alone – meaning links that never saw the light of a user’s eyes could still pass enough value to rank for the most difficult terms on the Internet. Now, that’s simply not the case, and those websites trying to get by solely on the same tactics are assuredly going to get swept away onto the second page of the search resul [...]

A Link Building Blueprint: Utility Linking

Almost every SEO I know spent the better part of last week discussing recent changes Google made to its ranking algorithm. This update hit some webmasters hard while others went unscathed, and results still seem to be settling out. Nothing I'm working on was impacted (knock wood) probably because I tend to use a wide variety of linking tactics over a broad spectrum of sites. I think it makes a lot of sense to diversify my linking efforts,  if any of my partner sites are dinged in an update, I'll be fine since I have a lot of additional links out there working for me. This week's bluep [...]

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