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.

Did Hummingbird Eat Link Building?

Did Hummingbird Eat Link Building? [caption id="attachment_173839" align="alignright" width="300"] Did Hummingbird Eat Link Building?[/caption] Panda squashed bad content. Penguin froze low-quality links. And now, did Hummingbird eat link building? Hummingbird wasn't just another algorithm update. It was more a re-tooling, behind-the-scenes adjustment to make Google faster and smarter. And it most likely opens the door for a lot more change to come. Let's take a look at what Hummingbird means for the future of link building. What Is Hummingbird To Online Marketers? It's a new engine, not a new paint job. It was in ef [...]

How Will Google Hummingbird Impact Links? Here Are 6 Ways

google-hummingbird2-featured So you have a question you would like answered, and that question is: "How Will Google Hummingbird Impact Links?" It's still way too early in Hummingbird season to fully understand the impact of the new algorithm, but I've spotted a few clues, and the title of this column is a direct result of those clues. I wrote the title of this column in the form of a question, and I'll write the body of the piece in the form of an answer. And my guess is in about 48 hours, if you type the above question into Google's search box, or speak it into your headset via Google voice search, this very column' [...]

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 [...]

Updates To Old Link Building Practices That Score Wins Today

link-building-student-chalkboard-featured Everyone is itching for new link building ideas.  Google is getting smarter, and the game is getting harder. What worked five years ago -- shoot, what worked last year -- isn't going to work today. Except, that's not necessarily true. Sometimes, it's not the tactic that stops working -- it's the way people approach it. SEO got the reputation it has because people started gaming the system. They started taking the easy way out. Below are 4 outdated link building practices and how to update them for sustainable SEO. Resource Listings The Old Way Scrubbing every page from an [intit [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

9 Link Building Lessons We Learned As Kids

link-building-student-chalkboard-featured Do you remember the life lessons we learned as kids? Sayings like, "Treat others the way you want to be treated," and, "Don't count your chickens before they hatch," were taught to us at a young age to guide us, help us make better decisions, and remind us to be nice to one another. I can't speak to whether or not those lessons actually stuck with you or helped you throughout your life. But I can tell you that these lessons can help with your link building... both right now and in the future. Here are a few of those lessons you may have forgotten: 1. If At First You Don't Succeed, Try, [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

7 Real Life Ways to Build Links

relationship building pyramid The majority of the time when we're discussing link building, we focus on things like outreach, content strategy, tools and, in general, ways we can acquire links online. Which makes perfect sense since links are… well, online. But what about the offline, or "in real life" opportunities? According to a recent survey featured on eMarketer, the average American spends a little over three hours per day online. That leaves quite a bit of time not spent on the Internet. That also leaves quite a bit of time to get out and build links through live events, partnerships and the magic, link-buildi [...]

7 Ways To Get Links When Launching A New Website

Launching a new website is one of the hardest things you do. It's also one of the best ways to get a nice influx of links pointing your way. I know this because for the past 2 1/2 months, I've been living it. On Tuesday, July 16 at 3:52 p.m., 352 Media Group officially became 352. Our new name came with a new brand and a new website. It also came with more than 3x the traffic that we typically see. [caption id="attachment_167723" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Tapering off, but still seeing a solid increase[/caption] There are thousands of things to think about when you're launchin [...]

Link Building Outside The Box: Outreach & Content Refreshing

Screen Shot 2013-07-22 at 12.37.34 PM Link building is a staple of most SEO campaigns. Some methods are scalable and automated, while others are similar to old-school public relations. One thing most can agree on is that methods always need to adapt to keep up with opportunity and algorithm changes. Building Links With Content Google has made it harder to build links without content. Many links without surrounding context have gotten devalued, leaving many SEOs to adopt the "content is king" mantra into their link building world. Guest posts are flying into the hands of prospects, link bait is being created by the ton, and br [...]

To Build Better Links, Stop Focusing On The Bad Ones

broken-links-featured Over the past year, I confess that I've spent way more time digging into bad links than good links. I've conducted audits with the specific goal of finding problems -- not finding links to emulate or identifying awesome links that the client should go to great lengths to keep. I've written more about problem links than about beneficial links, and the second I get on the phone with a prospective client and we start talking about his or her link profile, I zero in on the low-quality stuff. Being so negative really can wear you out. In light of that, I'm going to spend some time focusing [...]

Link Building Campaign Design: How To Scale Outreach Today

Community "Scaling link building" is a buzzword that died a slow but well-deserved death over the course of the last several years. Panda, Penguin and common sense were nails in the coffin for many wild link building schemes advertised as "cheap and scalable." But, if you're shrewd, there are still a few opportunities to scale remaining in today's world of authentic, quality, natural link building. Link builders have to be very careful about what they choose to scale. Scaling the wrong thing, or not scaling properly, leads to a quick disaster. Low-quality, template emails = bad. Beautifully wordsm [...]

4 Link-Tastic Tips From SMX Advanced

As most people know, SMX Advanced took place out in Seattle a couple weeks ago. While there was only one session truly dedicated to link building, link building tips were still flying around the Bell Harbor Conference Center! Thankfully, I was there to catch them. From simple tactics to outreach advice, here are four of the best link-building tips from the show: Tip #1: Site Before Social We are all aware that link building is now about the people. You have to find the right person, connect with them, and then work on building a relationship. At some point, you may even get a link! Bui [...]

11 Things We Should Never Ever Do In Link Building Again

broken-link-featured Okay friends, we need to have a little talk. I am frustrated. All of us Link Week columnists genuinely care about giving away good (and free, I might add) information on how to do link building the right way. So why, why, pray tell, do we continue to see so much crap? Clearly, we're going to have to try another approach to turn link building into a "legitimate" online marketing tactic. [caption id="attachment_164920" align="aligncenter" width="560"] "We gave you all a chance, but since you little **** teases can't follow INSTRUCTIONS, I guess we'll have to try something else, won't [...]

The Problem With Identifying Problem Links

AG Risk Since the last Penguin update, there has been a lot of chatter about examining your link profile in order to identify bad links. Whether you've been hit by that update or your site remains unscathed (for now), the potential danger of "unnatural" links is top of mind. Many people who've never given a second thought to their link profiles are running backlink reports and trying to identify whether they stand a chance of being hit by a future update or manual penalty. However, if you've ever used a tool like Link Detox or LinkRisk (for the record, I do use both), you might have noticed somethi [...]

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