Link Building looks at one of the most fundamental and yet challenging aspects of search marketing: Building and nurturing those all-important inbound links to your web site. Columnists offer insights and tips for effective link building and discuss controversial techniques like linkbaiting and buying links.

Creating Content For Your Users That Will Also Get You Links

Sephora existing customers When you're crafting content, you obviously want to create something that your users want to see; but, that's not always as easy as it sounds. How can you tell what they want? How do you know what they need? Perhaps just as important is this question: how can you craft something that appeals specifically to them but also appeals to a broader group (like potential customers)? Find Out What Your Audience Wants Ask Your Customers. If you send out an email newsletter, ask them to contact you and share ideas of what they'd like to see on the site. Ask them on Facebook and Twitter. Ask them in [...]


Matt Cutts Video: How Google Determines What’s A Paid Link

google-war-links-featured Google head of search spam Matt Cutts released a pretty detailed video discussing the Google webspam team's criteria for determining whether a link is considered a paid link or not. There are five basic criteria Google uses in this determination. The first is the most obvious, is the link an explicit link for sale; then, the others are less obvious. The others include: how close is the value to money, is it a gift or a loan, what is the intent of the audience and is it a surprise or not. Explicit Link Sales Links that are explicitly sold for money are the most obvious. A webmaster sells a [...]


When To Consider A Backlink Cleanup

backlink cleanup If you've been paying attention to the SEO world over the past year and a half, you know that link removal is all the rage. There are countless tutorials that detail how to go about identifying and getting rid of harmful backlinks. If you have the tools, time, patience and ability to follow step-by-step articles, backlink cleanup is arduous, but doable. What these guides fail to mention, however, is when it's best to cleanup your backlink profile. Is it best to wait until you've received an unnatural link warning from Google? Or should you proactively deal with the spammy, paid link filled ti [...]


How Fast Is SEO Really Changing? A Look Back At Search Ranking Factors

seo-600 Ready for a walk down memory lane? The Search Ranking Factors studies by well-known SEO Rand Fishkin started in 2005, and he and his group have been churning out perceptive insights every two years ever since. If you take a look at how the findings have changed throughout the eight years that the studies have published, some interesting trends emerge. And, if you’re struggling with justifying SEO investments with the C-suite or investors, a historical perspective might be just what you need. Quick Background Don’t get me wrong: just one year’s study is packed with mountains of info [...]


When The Best SEO Move Is To Kill The Site

computer-destroy-smash-600 The contents of the following column are based on real circumstances. Certain elements have been changed to respect the privacy of each site. Imagine there are two websites. Here are their basic profiles: Site One is an e-commerce company and website launched in 2013 that sells nutritional supplements, based in Atlanta, Georgia. They sell to anyone in the US and are heavily dependent on PPC and organic search traffic for their revenue. Due to their insanely high monthly PPC spend, they have also been link building since the day the site launched. They hired a local SEO firm to d [...]


Google Targets Two Polish Link Networks While Continuing To Target German Link Networks

google-poland-600 Google lead of search spam Matt Cutts posted on Twitter that Google has taken action on two link networks operated in Poland this week. Matt wrote that Google is "not done with Germany yet, but we just took action on two Polish link networks." The Google Poland Webmaster Blog posted a reminder today about unnatural links and how to submit a reconsideration request. Matt Cutts didn't drop a hint on which Polish link networks were specifically targeted, like he has done in the past. But he did specifically say Google did take action on two link networks within Poland. Here is Matt's twe [...]


5 Tips For Working With A PR Firm To Build Links

Do Not Cross We've talked recently about the overlap of SEO and Public Relations, and as companies continue to shift away from old link building tactics toward more outreach-focused tactics, the landscape becomes even blurrier. While SEO isn't taking over PR any time soon (or ever, for that matter), we are increasingly working more closely with our marketing brethren. For search marketers, this means having a better understanding of how we can best work with PR and communications teams to get results, avoid overlap, and make the client (or your boss) happy, specifically when it comes to link building. [...]


How Agile Marketing Changes Your Link Building Process Forever

link-building-student-chalkboard-featured After a year of working in agile marketing, I can't believe I ever used another process. Efficiency is increased. Morale is improved. Clients are happier. Links seem a little bit easier. Okay, the last one may be a bit of stretch -- getting links is still hard. But the process of link building when you're following agile marketing makes it less monotonous. Let's take a look at the seven principles of agile marketing and how they'll help you see link building in a whole new light. Validated Learning Over Opinions & Conventions Typical workflow processes are viewed in a linear fashion: [...]


Google Penalized A Germany Agency & Their Clients For Link Schemes, Says Matt Cutts

google-war-links-featured Soon after Google has warned Germany SEOs about paid links and link schemes, Google's head of search spam, Matt Cutts, posted on Twitter that they took action on a German agency and their clients for link schemes. Matt Cutts wrote, "this week we took action on a German agency's link network/clients." He added that Google will be going after more Germany link schemes in the near future. This was not unexpected, the other week, Matt Cutts also announced on Twitter that they targeted a French link network, that shut down shortly after the announcement. This time, Matt Cutts did not spec [...]


The Link Builder’s Brick Wall, And How To Vault It

brick-wall-ladder-featured After having more of a management role in my company for the last few years, I'd almost forgotten how easy it is to burn out when it comes to link building. But lately, I've been in the trenches myself, and I've approached that brick wall that we all hit at some point. Luckily, I've learned a few tricks to help me, and my employees, whenever we're ready to throw our hands in the air and walk out. And I'll share them with you here. Try A New Tool Every now and then, I'll dig through my emails and resend something to my team where I'd listed a few tools that I'd recently discovered (after [...]


Google’s Matt Cutts: Don’t Try To Build Links Through Article Directories

matt-cutts-article-directories Matt Cutts, Google's head of search spam, posted a video answer encouraging webmasters not to use article directory web sites with the goal of building links. The question posed was: Links from relevant content in article directories — Seen as good or bad? E.g., I link my beauty website from a cosmetic surgery article on say, Ezine? Would you do that? Matt Cutts responded in short said that his personal recommendation is to not upload articles to article directories. Matt also tweeted his answer to the question, saying "No." [...]


Google Takes Down Another Link Network, France’s Buzzea

google-cop-busted-featured Google's head of search spam, Matt Cutts, announced on Twitter earlier this morning that Google has taken action on another "link network" named Buzzea. His tweet read, "Today we're taking action on a French link network that violates our quality guidelines (Buzzea)." In addition, Matt added that they are working on a German based link network, "today France; Germany soon," Matt added. This is the latest in a long number of link networks Google has been going after over the course of the past few years. Here are some of the more recent stories we have on Google going after link netwo [...]


How To Analyze A Link: Link Building Basics

link-building-student-chalkboard-featured The importance of link quality in SEO cannot be overstated. Before you begin any link building project within SEO, you must be sure you're pursuing links that will not only have an impact today, but will continue to have a positive impact in the future. That means understanding what makes a quality link, and why. Let's take a look at the elements of link analysis, which are: Relevance Link Type Authority Location Smell Test Relevance Relevance should always be the north star of your link building compass. Without relevance, a link will, at best, be sub-par quality and, at wo [...]


Will Link Building Soon Be A Thing Of The Past?

broken-links-featured The other day while working on a client proposal, I came to the section about link building and had to pause. While everything we include in a proposal is relevant, strategic, and in my opinion, a good tactic, I wasn't sure I wanted to position it as link building. As someone who has been building links for almost nine years, lately I've felt as if "link" building itself is becoming a thing of the past. It seems like every day there's a new link that isn't allowed by Google or another "link building is dead" article making the rounds. Someone I consider a very good SEO recently told me they [...]


5 Not-So-Common Reconsideration Request Errors

SEO I've been struggling with a particularly difficult link cleanup project lately. On the occasion of my 100th reconsideration request (4th for this particular client), I thought it might be helpful to share five not-so-common problems that you might run into during your own link cleanup project. [Editor's note: Since this post was originally published, it's received praise from two Googlers: webmaster trends analyst John Mueller and webspam head Matt Cutts! Which just goes to show how important it is that you continue reading!] 1. Don't Block Your Pages With Robots.txt One good solution to [...]


Creating Links That Offer The Best User Experience

links-featured We focus a lot on where we our links should go. We analyze Domain Authority and social metrics until we can spew back a site's numbers faster than our own phone number. We nit-pick sidebars, in-content and author box placements until we're blue in the face. But we don't put nearly enough time on how our links should look. Links build rank, but don't forget the real reason links were created in the first place: to drive traffic. Before algorithms, people linked to something to encourage other people to go there. That should always be your focus when building links. More often than not, th [...]


Google’s Latest Official Stance On Links Within Widgets

google-war-links-featured Just five-months ago Google's head of search spam strongly recommended to nofollow links in widgets because the widget space has been abused with link spam. That may have changed with a small but significant update to the Google Webmaster Guidelines link schemes page. Now, the page specifies the exact type of links that are not allowed within widgets, as opposed to saying any links. Previously the guideline read: Links embedded in widgets that are distributed across various sites. Today the guideline reads: Keyword-rich, hidden or low-quality links embedded in widgets that are distrib [...]


14 Link Resolutions for 2014

new-years-resolutions If 2013's link building industry could be summed up in one word, that word would be "interesting." There were some big shakeups that other people have covered in various locations on the web, so I won't go into that here; but, what I will discuss is what your 14 resolutions for 2014 could be. 1. Check Out Your Backlink Profile If you've never run your own link report, do so now. There are some great tools out there -- some that use their own databases and others that pull from other sources -- and I can't think of any major ones that I don't like. You can get trial accounts, free day passes, [...]


Google’s Rap Genius Penalty Results In Huge Traffic Declines For The Lyrics Site

rapgenius-logo Before Christmas, Rap Genius was outed for link schemes and then on Christmas, Google penalized the site for those link schemes. The penalty is still on and a couple metrics sites show huge drops in traffic for the site, some as much as losing 90% of their traffic since the penalty. Marcus from Search Metrics published the impact this Google penalty had on their search visibility in Google. Marcus noted that there was a 92% drop in search visibility according to their metrics. Search Metrics tracked hundreds of keywords that were impacted by this penalty, not just their home page but [...]


How SEO Greed Can Ruin A Perfectly Good Linking Strategy

rapgenius-logo By now, you are likely aware of the Rap Genius "Tweet In Exchange For Anchor Text" link scheme, hencefore to be known as TieFating. Barry Schwartz reported last week on John Marbach's exposé of the popular music site, Rap Genius, which had started an "affiliate" program in order to get links pointing to their website. After it was exposed, Matt Cutts, head of Google's Webspam team, said, "we’re aware and looking into it." The site was then officially penalized for link schemes. [caption id="attachment_180758" align="alignright" width="300"] Links can do many things, but don't get [...]


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