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.

Ezine Articles & Press Releases Supplied As Bad Backlink Examples In WMT

Ezine Articles and Press Releases Bad Link Example Ezine Articles and press releases have long been utilized by SEO professionals for building backlinks. In late July 2013, news broke that links should be no followed in press releases. Right around this same time, Google also mentioned that if you are guest blogging for links this could be a violation of their guidelines. Apparently, the Google folks meant what they said. Now, Google has supplied example backlinks from Ezine Articles and a press release in Webmaster Tools. These are examples of links which Google felt were against its quality guidelines. You can see this notification below. [...]

Are You Setting The Right Link Building Expectations?

Link Building Expectations In the world of search and online marketing, we talk a lot about the evolving landscape, particularly when it comes to link building. Tactics that work one day can stop working with the switch of a Google button. Tactics that you think are legit can suddenly be deemed a "link scheme." On top of that, there's so much misinformation out there that the thought of just explaining link building can be daunting. Now factor in your clients.  How much do they know about link building? How much do you tell them? Do they have a full understanding of what's actually required to obtai [...]

Google’s Matt Cutts: NoFollow Attributes On Internal Links Don’t Hurt But Generally Don’t Do It

google-matt-cutts-sitedown In a video, Google's head of search spam Matt Cutts published today an answer to the question, "Should I use rel="nofollow" on internal links to a login page?" Matt Cutts basically said you shouldn't, but said it won't hurt you if you did. Matt said, "It doesn't hurt if you want to put a nofollow pointing to a login page or to a page that you think is really useless." But Matt said, "in general" it also doesn't hurt to not add a nofollow, and in general, you should let Googlebot crawl and explore your site. In most cases, using a noindex may be better than using a nofollow on the link at [...]

Google May Have Penalized Another Major Link Network: Ghost Rank 2.0

google-bomb-fuse-featured Google has significantly penalized another underground link network over the weekend and we believe that one of the link networks targeted by Google is named Ghost Rank 2.0. A few weeks ago, Matt Cutts, Google's head of search spam, tweeted "Thinking of ghost-related puns for a spam network. "They try to look super natural, but using them will dampen your spirits." Then I noticed a nice number of webmasters complaining about a weekend Google update. From there, I received an anonymous tip from an SEO I trust in the industry that told me at least two link networks were significantly targe [...]

When Looking For Links, How Can You Predict A Site’s Future?

no tweets I was recently asked how to make sure that each link you build (however you do it) remains a safe one -- and I have to say that I truly had no idea how to answer that. A few years back, my answer would have been different than it is today. Remember when we all said that any free link was a good link? Today, things are more tricky. How can you do the best job possible at judging a site that isn't an authority? And what about those pesky little new sites that are happy to link out but aren't yet established? How can you tell what the future holds for them? In this post, I'll focus on analyz [...]

How Search Engines Work — Really!

how-search-engines-work For those of us in SEO (or aspiring to be), there are a lot of little details that fill our days. Server architecture, 301 redirects, 404 errors, title tags, and various other things. Sometimes, we forget to sit back and figure out what it all means. Add to that the fact that most SEOs were never trained, but just picked things up "on the job," and it's no surprise that most SEOs don't really know how search engines work. When's the last time you sat down and considered how search engines (like Google) really work? For me, it was last month, while writing the post about a recent Google W [...]

4 Ways to Wash Away The Link Building Hate This is a post from one link building nut to link building nuts everywhere. You know who you are. Link builders love building links -- most of the time. But there are lots of reasons to hate it, too. If you hate link building and you're a link builder, you'd better take a serious look at what's going on inside your head before you develop a more serious condition. Think of this as a free counseling session. [caption id="attachment_171588" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Most of the good link builders hear a lot of voices in their head.Some say that's what makes them good.Image via Shutt [...]

Google Webmaster Tools Now Provides Broader & More Diverse Link Data

google-webmaster-tools-featured Google announced today that the link data within Google Webmaster Tools is much broader, more diverse cross-section of links. What does that mean? Well, instead of showing you links in alphabetical order, exported in "lexicographical order" - Google is now showing you sample links "uniformly from the full spectrum of backlinks rather than alphabetically." Google says this means you links will be more diverse, showing you links from different top-level domains (TLDs) as well as from different domain names. The max number of links Google will export from Google Webmaster Tools still is [...]

Changing Course In The New Linking World

In the wake of the Great Google Massacre (i.e., everything that's happened over the past couple years since Google got serious), there are many sites that survived the carnage but aren't as successful as they used to be -- and they're looking for ways to get back to where they once were. [caption id="attachment_171494" align="alignright" width="300"] Image via Shutterstock[/caption] The scenario most often encountered sounds like this: "Our site used to dominate for all our keywords. Ever since (choose your reason) hit, we lost rank, but didn't receive any unnatural links warnings or [...]

Bing Details Four Ways Not To Build Links

bing-links-featured Duane Forrester, Senior Product Manager at Microsoft Bing, wrote a blog post on the Bing Webmaster Blog, detailing four ways you do not want to build links to your site. The four ways not to build links by Bing include: (1) Blind Requests: Don't simply mass or template email web sites blindly for links. Don't buy email lists and send out a mass email asking these webmasters and web sites to link to you. (2) Blog/Forum Comments: Don't drop links in blog comments or forum threads, said Bing. Duane said it simply will not help you rank better in the search results. (3) Link Injection [...]

9 Things We Should Never Stop Doing in Link Building

link-building-tactics1 A couple of months ago, I went on a little rant. (It happens sometimes; I'm looking into it.) I was overwhelmed by the responses that little column generated, with others picking up my rally cry to eliminate super shady link building practices. But commenters were also quick to point out that there is a lot of focus these days on what not to do. "We know (or should know) what not to do, but when left with only those options, you're peppered with client requests to bulk up link building efforts." He's so right. It seems as though for every 15 articles there are about what not to do in lin [...]

Penalized & Sad: When To Abandon The Sinking SEO Ship

Penalized and Sad Sometimes the captain can’t afford to go down with the ship, no matter the temptation or emotional investment. Every few weeks, I receive another hopeless phone call from another desperate webmaster. Since Penguin, I've seen more ships go down than I care to count. Websites that have delved too deeply into black hat SEO and spam tactics of the past have paid a heavy fine -- for many, the ultimate price. So, how do you know when it's time to abandon the sinking ship? Well, let me walk you through it the same way I do on calls. But please, bear in mind that this is only my professi [...]

50+ More Things Every Link Builder Should Know

Bing SEO A year ago, I wrote a post about 50+ things that every link builder should know. Over the past year, link building has definitely gotten a lot tougher -- it's been renamed several times, become more vilified than ever, and generally taken a beating. However, it still holds up as a viable way to market a website online. So this year, I'm adding 50+ more things that, as a link builder, you need to know. 1. How To Get A Bad Link Removed Without Being A Jerk About It If you want to get publicly shamed, then go get rude with someone who owns a site that gave you a link, regardless of how it go [...]

Demystifying Link Disavowals, Penalties & More

disavow-links-featured [caption id="attachment_169618" align="alignright" width="269"] Google Webmaster Hangout[/caption] Findings from a recent Google Webmaster Hangout on Air (video) demystify link disavowals, penalties and more. Read on for the official word from John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst from Google and friend to webmasters everywhere. First, Some Background Last month, I introduced Five Steps To Clean Up Your Links like A Techie. The commenters on the post had a lot of good questions, and I wanted to begin this month with a few clarifications. First, the development of that list was meant [...]

5 Ways To Get Way More Results From Link Building Outreach

Spread a little link love If you've heard me talk, you know that I'm ridiculously passionate about link building that, ahem, works. I mean, getting a couple links out of a campaign is nice. After all, a link is a link. But if you've done all the work to find 100 "webmasters," researched their background and contact info, sent each of them the best link request email you could muster, then a follow up, then another follow up... that's a lot of work. Are you happy if you walk away with only 3 links? If so, congrats! Well done. After all, three links is way better than zero links. But, I'd rather have 50 links. M [...]

Google: We Prefer To Assess Reconsideration Requests On Links Within Webmaster Tools However…

google-webmaster-tools-video-1330350240 What do webmasters do when receiving a manual action from Google telling them they have a penalty because of paid or bad links pointing to their site? Google told us back in June that we should use Google’s “links to your site” report within Webmaster Tools to analyze bad links pointing to our sites. In fact, earlier that month, a Google engineer who works in search quality named Aaseesh Marina told an SEO named Marie Haynes that using Google Webmaster Tools "Links to Your Site" section would be enough to discover the bad links pointing to your site and to submit a reconsideration [...]

Is Paid Social Media The New Paid SEO?

PRWeb SEO and Social Media Brands have a new way to pay for external or offsite SEO, a path to influence rankings. It follows the search engines’ terms of service and can lead to the type of links Google says are among the most valuable. Google spokespersons even endorse the principle behind this new paid form of SEO... well, sort of. Can Paid Offsite SEO Be Legal? Yes. Let's begin this exploration with one of the oldest paid SEO channels of all: press releases. Old style press release optimization was straightforward. Write a press release with keyword anchor text links to your website. Place these release [...]

Understanding Google’s Latest Assault On Unnatural Links

google-war-links-featured Without much fanfare or publicity, Google quietly updated the Link Schemes/Unnatural Links document inside the Webmaster Tools section of their site last month. If not for the excellent work of Barry Schwartz, many of us would have missed it. (I have a page change tool app set up for that exact URL, and it didn't catch it for several days.) Since this news hit the mainstream linking/SEO community, there's been no shortage of reporting on the changes themselves, with nearly 6,000 results for the exact match search phrase "google updates link schemes." The Web is certainly a remarkable e [...]

Google’s Matt Cutts: I Recommend NoFollowing Links On Widgets

links-danger-risk-featured Matt Cutts, Google's head of search spam, posted a video answer this morning strongly recommending that those who place widgets on their sites, or those who distribute widgets, should place a nofollow on the links within the widget code. Matt Cutts said, "I would recommend putting a nofollow, especially on widgets." The reason is because he said most people who embed the widget on their sites do not realize what else they are embedding on their website outside of the functionality of the widget itself. So, if the widget is to embed a poll on your site, it may contain a link back to the p [...]

Google’s Cutts: Got Bad Links To Your Site? Don’t Fret It, Disavow It!

disavow links penguin In a recent video answer from Google's head of search spam, Matt Cutts, Matt said if you have bad links pointing to your site, don't worry about it; all you need to do is disavow those links. Matt Cutts said, "just go ahead and disavow those links," even if those linking to you do not remove the links. "At that point, you should be in good shape and I wouldn't worry about it after that," Google's head of search spam said. Here is the video: Here is the transcript: Today's question comes from Jay in Spain. Jay asks, "Recently I found two porn websites linking to my site. I disa [...]

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