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 [...]


How To Rank Nationally With Local Links

When you think "Local SEO", what generally comes to mind is the 7-pack, reviews, local dominated search results, distance from the centroid, and other miscellaneous terms that mean you can rank for "city keyword". Because of this, the strategies between local and national SEO tend to segregate. Not as much as say, PPC and SEO, but the fact that local SEO specialists exist (and thrive) shows that there is a distinct ideology at play there that separates it from national strategies. If your business has a publicly listed physical address, you have some incredible link opportunities that ex [...]


A Link Building Blueprint: The Foundation

Over the next several months, I plan to use my column here at Link Week to lay out a link building blueprint you can use as a guide in your linking efforts. We'll start with foundational tactics and some of the side opportunities they offer, and keep going into the more detailed "advanced" techniques toward the end. If you follow the blueprint and implement what we cover, by the end of the series you should have a nice collection of links. Before I start, let's take a quick look at what happened last week with Google's algorithm tweak, how it may affect your linking and why now more [...]


A Plea To Make Your Links More User Friendly

Have you noticed that it's harder to find critical contact information these days? If you have a question about an online order, finding a phone number so that you can speak to an actual person is a nightmare at times. Some sites are automatically setting ridiculous default options for you (yay spammy and for-sale email lists!) and opting you in for more headaches. My latest flipout occurred when my children's school lunch prepay system wanted $10 to show me my balance, information that is obviously there and easy to display. It's become very fashionable to totally inconvenience consumers. [...]


How To Clean Up Your Link Profile

When a potential client comes to us for a proposal, the first thing that we do is to analyze the existing backlink profile. We used to put an insane amount of time into this exercise, but when that time is weighed against other tasks for existing clients, we decided that it needed to be made a bit quicker. We've explored various methods of doing this, but here's our current favorite, using Raven SEO Tools. If you're not a subscriber you can do a free 30 day trial, by the way. 1. Go to Raven SEO Tools Backlink Explorer (after you login, it's under Links) and enter the URL you wish you examin [...]


How To Help Clients Through Link Building Confusion

This is my first column since returning from SMX East. Thank you to Debra, Danny, Chris, Karen, Elisabeth and everyone else who made this a fantastic show. I even spent time in the exhibitor hall, which I haven't been able to bring myself to do since back in the 90's when a vendor brought in Riverdance for a product roll out at Internet WORLD. It was loud. If one thing stuck with me from my Link Building Fundamentals session, it was the number of people who stayed afterwards to talk. Our session was just before lunch, so that made it easier for people to hang around without missing anoth [...]


How To Use Google Instant As A Powerful Link Building X-Ray

Google instant caused a near freak out within the SEO world, but oddly there has not been a peep about Google instant and link building. Have a look at the below Google search results as of 9/28/2010. Exact Match Search TermResults "google instant and seo"36,700 "google instant and ppc"25,800 "google instant kills seo"2,700 "google instant and link building"0 What? Instant has been out for less than a month and there's already nearly 40,000 articles about the impact on SEO, (some of which have been truly excellent), but there hasn't been a single article about the effect instant mig [...]


How To Use Referrers To Track Link Building Efforts

Last month, I wrote about how to use your site's bounce rate for link building purposes. Someone emailed me privately to ask if there were any other (perhaps not so standard) metrics that I used outside of toolbar PageRank, keyword rankings, and traffic. In an effort to see if I could find something I've never used before, I took a close look at the Google Analytics for a few sites that I work with, and I quickly realized that I could easily get completely bogged down in the data. Some of the metrics that I looked at showed inconsistencies, which could be due to my lack of knowledge about w [...]


How To Identify Industry Specific & Mainstream Media On Twitter

Need authority links? Twitter is one of the best ways I’ve found to get your site (or yourself as the case may be) on the radar of the journalists who decide what topics and websites are discussed (and linked to) in mainstream media. Interacting with the folks who report on your chosen industry on Twitter – through being conversational, helpful and never overly promotional – is one of the quickest, and most cost effective ways to get noticed by your industry media. All you need to do is find them. And here are a few ways you can do so.. here's how. Twitter Directories You can eas [...]


Stuck In Link Limbo? How To Craft Real Business Metrics For Link Building

As the in-house person in charge of marketing the online legal directory, Avvo, I need to have accurate and timely access to all of our performance metrics. Since we launched the site three years ago, finding consistent metrics to evaluate our site’s growing link strength has been a remarkably difficult exercise. We have adopted at least three different metrics and used three different tools, yet I remain frustrated by our inability to develop a consistent model to evaluate our site’s link performance. From a business perspective, something that feels so easily quantifiable should fall [...]


How To Use Goverment Website Information To Create Sticky Link Bait

If  you have a tiny marketing budget but need big links, this sticky link bait tactic might be for you! A recent report from the Pew Research Center found 61% of all American adults (or 205 million people)  look for or completed a transaction on a government website in 2009. This information alone is impressive, but what made the report priceless from a link building standpoint was the breakdown of what people were looking for. As I read through the report, I realized the information had potential to be used to create a great piece of  sticky link bait. I say "sticky"  because [...]


How To Build Links Faster: 5 Tips For Faster Link Qualification

A little over a year ago, we published a guide to qualifying link prospects. That method still holds; however, in the past year, we have adjusted our thinking, honed our processes and most importantly created a few simple, free tools that will make your link qualification phase much faster. Before getting to the tips and tools, we'd like to quickly outline *our* model for effective link campaign design. This way, it will be easier to understand where link qualification fits and why it is such a critical step of any link building campaign. For reference, it might be best to review these p [...]


Another Big Roundup of Link Tools

One of my previous columns here on Link Week showcased a number of tools commonly used in link building. Since that post, a large number of new tools and services have come online, so I thought an update would be helpful. Not all of the sites listed will be traditional linking tools, I've also included a number of social media and general informational sites which can be used to find link partners. Before we move on, the obligatory disclaimer. I have no financial involvement with any of these tools, they are presented as source options only. Some are free, others are not, always read the [...]


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