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

Are You Building Links Or Building A Business?

Build a Brand I think many of us can agree that the great thing about this industry is that it's constantly evolving and new elements are continuously being added. For example, I love the role social is playing in helping companies connect with customers and the effect it has on search (links, mentions, content generation, etc.). However, I think many of us would also agree that this evolution has its downside…and its name is Google. Now, I'm not a Google hater. I don't believe that they are out to get SEOs or ruin businesses. But I do think there is a problem happening around links at the moment th [...]


The War On Links

shutterstock_104739881-fear-of-links In case you didn't notice, we are waging a war over links. Some would say that SEOs are at war with search engines, but I disagree. Search engines and SEOs have a symbiotic relationship; and without meaning to, we've killed the value of the link. The link, once a simple connector from one site to another, has become the subject of intense scrutiny by SEOs, Google, and even the US Copyright Office.  Do you remember what it was like to really "surf" the Internet? The way you could bounce from site to site simply by following blogrolls and webrings? The rush of energy and excitement that [...]


How To Repurpose Content Without Looking Like A Total Jerk

recycle-shutterstock When content first hit the search scene, search marketers wanted to produce as much content as humanly possible. That's a lot of work -- so much so, in fact, that it's ushered in wave after wave of crappy content. The great news is that you don't have to create a lot of content to rank well and reach your users. You just have to better use the content you already have by repurposing it. First, let's make a key distinction: Spinning content is rewriting your content just enough (usually with the help of some automation) so that search engines think it's a new article. This includes thi [...]


Link Building Fundamentals To Future-Proof Your Online Business

shutterstock_178290377-chain-link-old-text Google launched in 1998 and has grown steadily to become the most popular search engine in the world. Over 2,161 billion searches were run on their engines in 2013, and the company corners a 67% share of the global search market. As it grows and evolves, Google search is well and truly on its way to becoming humanity's most treasured "personal assistant," helping users find answers to their questions, discover solutions to their problems, carry out research and even get feedback, recommendations and suggestions from friends and trusted advisors. As consumers increasingly use search e [...]


How To Massively Scale Ethical Link Building FTW

shutterstock_105475358-chain-links

The linkbuilding toolkit is broader than most commentary suggests, and once the concept of quality and appropriateness (AKA relevancy) is truly embraced (and not just paid lip service to), then the dynamic, cutting edge solution to linkbuilding in 2014 is obvious: scale your processes that generate high quality targets and content opportunities for linkbuilding across the spectrum of all types of linkbuilding.


Adopt A Contingency Search Marketing Plan Before You Get Dinged

shutterstock_101441059-emergency-preparedness What if you were penalized or deindexed in Google? What if you accidentally blocked everything in your robots.txt file? What if you didn't know you had done something wrong, and you were hit with an algorithmic update that crushed you? For every one of you who sees it coming, there are a ton that don't. Loads of people will tell you that doing poorly in Google would crush their business completely. Are you in that position? If so, have you made a contingency plan for how you'll keep moving if the worst happens? What If You Got No Traffic At All From Google? Imagine that, for whatever reas [...]


Still Newsjacking For Links? Forget That, Make The News Instead!

business-insider We all know that Google frowns upon trying -- in any way, shape or form -- to get links (they're serious, guys). Yet, links still play a very large role in determining SERP rankings. If you can't ask for or chase down high-quality, authoritative links, what's a marketer to do? You have to earn them. In this case study, I'll share with you the spectacular story of how I earned a ton of fantastic press coverage and links from massive publications -- and got the CEO of Groupon fired in the process (ok, perhaps I can't take all the credit, but...). 1. Finding The Right Story For Your Indust [...]


Turning Old Content Into New Links

old-new-hardware-600 It’s no secret that in order to build good links, you typically need to build good content. The problem is creating good content takes time and resources, and after the piece has gone live and been promoted, it’s often forgotten about. What a waste! One great way to put that content to good use and build new links is to revisit and repurpose. After all, if a piece was successful once, it probably was successful for a reason. Take advantage of what you already have. Audit Existing Content Before you can start repurposing your content, you have to identify what content should be repurpo [...]


It’s Conference Season! 5 Ways To Build Links At Events

relationship building pyramid Spring brings more than just a (long-awaited) reprieve from this intense winter we've been having. It means conference season is upon us, which means a (much-needed) break away from our computer shackles for some good ol' fashioned networking. It's also a perfect time to build links. Yes, conferences are a fantastic opportunity to build links. How? Meet People I know. This seems obvious, but I can't tell you how many people I see at conferences who don't make an effort to actually talk to the people they're sitting next to in a session. Or worse, don't break away from the people they trav [...]


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 [...]


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 [...]


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: [...]


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 [...]


4 Content Marketing Strategies That Still Build Links

man standing with idea balloon Does anybody else hear R.E.M. (video autoplay) playing in their heads every time they open a post about link building? Link building as we knew it is changing drastically; and seriously folks, it's getting hard to write about. What's the latest breaking news? Spammy guest posting for links is dead now! No surprise there -- that's been a long time coming. (My magic eight ball says infographic links have been on the chopping block for a while now, too... along with nearly everything else we used to call "link building.") I think we are watching SEO practices dissolve into the broader framework [...]


11 Reasons Link Building Is A Futile Waste Of Time — And One Big Reason It Isn’t

railroad_link I don't have to build links anymore, and I have never felt so liberated. So free. All the years I spent endless hours trying to help content get discovered -- and I didn't realize I didn't have to do any of it. Those 163 conference gigs? Waste of time. 300+ articles, columns and posts? Digital litter. The massive project I just wrapped up for the Sochi Olympics? I'm sending their check back. Why? Because it's been made clear by everyone that link building is now dead, the last nail in the coffin being the guest blog post, hammered in by my friend, colleague, and occasional co-panelist, Matt C [...]


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 [...]


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