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.

Link Building & The Power Of The Customer

With the growth of social networks and the ability to instantly tell the world how you're feeling, we've watched power shift from brands to consumers. No longer can companies simply rely on their marketing to do the talking -- they now have to rely on what their customers are saying. Why? According to American Express, the average person tells 15 people about their good experiences and 24 people about their bad experiences. More importantly, a recent report from Forrester showed 70% of consumers trust brand recommendations from friends; but, only 10% trust advertising. Yikes! The great t [...]

3 Ways To Break The Link Building Block

fist-break-through-wall-featured We've all been there -- that moment in any link building campaign where you hit a wall. There are so many things that you want to do, but there is so little time or buy-in to do them that you settle on just doing the things you need to do. That sucks. It gets tedious, and it will eventually wear you down by sucking all of the creativity out of link building -- which, let's face it, is the best part of link building. You end up doing one thing over and over again because it works. You stop iterating. You stop testing. You stop being creative. Plus, you lose sight of the big picture -- of [...]

Are You Taking Advantage Of Content Byproducts?

what would you like to see In my last column, I discussed how to create linkbait by writing about other people. Shari Thurow made a comment that fits in perfectly with an idea I had about finding ways to expand existing content and better market the byproducts of your business: "Instead of linking to the link-bait article, I'll write my own POV (point of view) in the proper context and promote it elsewhere." Shari's idea was to respond further to interviews by writing more on her own site. This allows you to clarify any statements you made that were possibly taken out of context or misquoted, for example. But, I thin [...]

Where Have All The Linkers Gone?

A unique combination of factors is having a profound effect on the "link graph" being created today, with many implications for those of us in the content publicity/link building field. [caption id="attachment_158973" align="alignright" width="300"] Mobile devices are impacting URL sharing[/caption] First and foremost among these factors is the "device effect." The device effect means that a huge number of us are now consuming our content on a mobile device that fits in our hands, such as a smartphone or tablet. A decade ago, if you wanted to go online, you generally had to do it on y [...]

5 PR Strategies You Can Use To Build Links Right Now

There’s been a lot of talk in the search industry over the past year regarding the overlap of public relations and SEO, particularly in the area of link building. As a Public Relations major, this couldn't make me happier -- not because I feel like my college degree can finally be justified to my parents; but because, as an industry, we're finally embracing PR and learning from it, even though it’s always been a part of SEO. Public relations professionals have spent years perfecting their outreach strategies, building relationships and finding press opportunities for their clients. Sea [...]

The Hitchhiker’s Guide To Internal Linking Strategy

It’s not the first thing you think of when you hear "link building." It’s definitely not the sexiest aspect of link building. But, I'd argue it’s among the most important components of a solid link building strategy. That’s right, folks: today we’re going to chat about internal linking. Cue the communal groan. It's okay! I'm not going to talk about anchor text. Instead, we'll dive into how to set up a logical internal linking strategy, as well as some of the more technical aspects to keep in mind when it comes to your internal linking. Why An Internal Linking Strategy Impor [...]

How To Get Links By Writing About Other People

People usually love talking about themselves, and most people are naturally interested in the intricacies of others, whether it's business or personal. When you do an interview or put together a crowdsourced piece (and yes, I know many of you hate that term!) you're linking to the people involved. At first, this may seem counter-intuitive to earning links for yourself -- however, linking out to influential people while pumping out great content can be one of the best link building tactics out there, and here's why: Some people find it easier to promote themselves indirectly. By promo [...]

Risk Management for Links – How To Prepare For The Next Penguin Update

links-danger-risk-featured After 2012 being dubbed the “Year of the Penguin,” Google’s Matt Cutts has already hinted that the next “Penguin 4” update will be bigger and more devastating than ever. We have seen big brands like Interflora get penalized and bounce back pretty fast. But how did that work? And what’s coming up for the rest of us? After the havoc wreaked by previous Penguin updates, how should webmasters prepare for what Google has in store next? [caption id="" align="alignright" width="300"] Matt Cutts has more in store for us webmasters....[/caption] Toxic Link Cleanup Phase Over the past [...]

9 Netiquette Reminders For Today’s Link Builders

[caption id="attachment_152995" align="alignright" width="267"] Image via Shutterstock[/caption] For many years, email was one of just a few ways you could share a URL with another person. And, people were far less accepting of link request spam than they are today. So, for today’s column, let’s talk about the ancient concept of net etiquette and link building. In many ways, it’s come full circle and is as relevant today (if not more so) as ever. Net Etiquette & Link Building There was a thing called "netiquette" back in the day, a concept that today seems almost quaint. [...]

Public Relations For SEO: The Complete Guide

seo-microphones-pr-featured This is the first of a three-part article about Public Relations for SEO. Let me start by saying that a press release written, issued and leveraged properly, can result in word-of-mouth, articles paraphrasing the release, and at a minimum, at least some backlinks. But, a press release alone will get much less exposure than one coupled with outreach to individual journalists and bloggers directly prior to issuing it. A few years ago, I launched a website called FindHow, and we gave it a full-court press from a PR standpoint. In this series of articles, I’ll run through all the best practi [...]

A Data-Centric Approach To Identifying 404 Pages Worth Saving

A critical part of doing a site or link audit is checking to see how many 404 (page not found) pages there are in a site. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen an audit that lists the total number of 404 pages and advises developers to find appropriate pages to redirect these 404 pages to. That’s no big deal if we’re talking about just 20 to 30 pages. But, when a site has 404 pages in the thousands, and you tell the developers to fix these pages, you’re going to look more than a little ridiculous. So, how can you find out which of those 404 pages are actually important? Two [...]

How To Create A Sustainable Link Plan

it's not sustainable I've recently spoken with three business owners who have approached me in a fairly atypical way: instead of asking me for a proposal, they've given me theirs. It's been a fascinating glimpse into the dangers of thinking that just because you read a lot about link building (and by and large, most people who tell me what they "know" will work say that they read every link building article that comes out), you're equipped to run a successful campaign. Here's the most common thing that these guys have in common:   They have a link plan that is absolutely and completely unsustainable [...]

20 Resources To Add To Your Link Tool Arsenal Right Now

tools-featured I love reading articles about which tools different people use for link buildng purposes. In trying to put together a recommended list of tools for a client who wants to do part of his own link building in-house, I realized that this might be a helpful way for someone to easily build a nice little arsenal to help make the most of his or her link campaign. I'm a firm believer in the idea that no one will care as much about your site as you will. I've also never been annoyed when a client suggests an idea or gives me feedback on my links. The more we all think about link building, the better. [...]

The Art & Science Of Storytelling As Told By Journalists

As SEO becomes more about good content and outreach becomes more about relationship building, the gap between link building and journalism continues to shrink. Where once I cursed my journalist background (because of the lack of job opportunities it brought me), I now adore it because it’s taught me how to tell great stories. Storytelling is an integral part of marketing. Great stories bring great links. Storytelling, like marketing, is both an art and a science. There are pieces that are inherently in you — copywriting and creativity — that can be fostered and sharpened, but not n [...]

Interflora Is Back: What Did They Fix & How Did They Come Back So Fast?

flowers-featured Interflora got penalized only 2 weeks ago, right after Valentine’s day with a huge coverage in the media and also a some-what indirect statement from Google’s Matt Cutts himself about Advertorials also counting as paid links if they pass Page Rank (i.e. do not have NOFOLLOW tags on them). Now, just this past Sunday, a week before Mother’s day in UK, they are already back for most of their rankings. Many wonder how that recovery was possible so quick and we’ll look at what was changed and what was cleaned up. More Than Advertorials As we could see in the Interflora Deep Dive Analy [...]

The Link Shrink Is In: Is Starting Over The Best Option?

We just came upon the two year anniversary of what came to be known as the Google Panda Update. Between then and now, a seismic shift has seemingly taken place in the link building and SEO industry. Many of you reading this know the gory details, but if you don't, I recommend reading Vanessa Fox's excellent post, Your Site’s Traffic Has Plummeted Since Google’s Panda Update. Now What? [caption id="attachment_149681" align="aligncenter" width="320"] The answer is usually no[/caption] I've read many Panda recovery stories, read about sites that claim to have fully recovered, partial [...]

How 5 Years Of Doing The Right Things Can Be Undone In 9 Months Of Doing Nothing

We’ve all seen those one-and-done link building campaigns. Maybe even some of us have had clients push for them. They never work. It’s like Matthew McConaughey’s abs. Do you really believe that he only goes to the gym for a two-month stint to maintain those perfect pectorals? Doubtful. Why do people think that SEO, and in particular link building, is the same way? Let Me Tell You A Story We knew a guy. This guy had a company, a company where 3/10th of their new business comes in during January. Needless to say, January is an important month. For years, this company was doin [...]

3 Quick & Easy Link Fixes Many Websites Still Overlook

Rex Swain HTTP Header Tool While I hesitate to define anything link-related as being easy, there are definitely a few things that can be easily fixed, things that can make a sometimes small and sometimes major difference in how your site performs online. Link builders are certainly not miracle workers, but much of the time, links are still seen as being the way to the top of the SERPs. It's extremely common for people to say "I know I just need links. Everything else is fine." Well guess what? It's not always fine, and many times, there are issues that need to be fixed on-site, ones that can make link building work s [...]

The Link Shrink Is In: 3 Crazy Linking Assumptions

Building on last month's column, Five Linking Myths That Need To Go Away In 2013, one of the best and worst things about the Web is the never-ending supply of absolutely horrifying bad information that must be clarified. This helps keep people like me in business. I feel like a link doctor. A Link shrink. So thank you to all the folks who love to make completely unsubstantiated claims about links and linking strategies. Here's a few more things about links I have been told recently by content owners (who were told these things by their SEO or linking strategist). 1.  Anchor Text Will Ceas [...]

5 Tools You Never Thought To Use For Link Building

Link building tools are everywhere, so much so that it’s safe to assume we’ve saturated the market, and it’s time to move on to building something else. While I rely on some of these as much as Instragram relies on selfies and food photos, some of the best tools I've found for link building were actually created to serve a completely different purpose. These are my faves. 1.  UberSuggest I love UberSuggest. I love it in a box. I love it with a fox. Most love it as a keyword research tool — can you blame them? But, it also has some amazing link building capabilities for content ide [...]

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