• http://www.ericward.com Eric Ward

    Really good stuff Stephan. More than anything else, I wish the “sellers of the ueseless” would just go away, but sadly, the frenzy for link building is like what I imagine the gold rush was like in the 1800′s. You could probably pick from many different types of gold digging shovels, all claiming to be stronger or better than each other, all making sale after sale after sale. Only after you got to the desert did you realize your shovel was made of tin. In my industry niche, I can spot the tin, and I’ve saved many a company from making a very expensive link building vendor mistake. At the same time I’m not so vain as to think I have what everyone needs, because I most definately do not. But what I do know better than most, perhaps due to longevity, experience, and trial/error. is what type of link building approach and service(s) is most suited for any given content deployment scenario. Call it a link building blueprint. Every site needs to have a link building blueprint, and that blueprint will need to be 100% custom to each site for it to have maximum effect. And sites that have been around a long time need more than a blueprint. They need a link portfolio evaluation and a forward moving strategy that maxiumizes what they already have, and augments it with all they have missed. I hate to beat this horse, but it is true. Every site has specific optimal inbound link potential. Few sites ever reach that potential, because they don’t know what that potential is, or they spend too much time (and money) chasing the wrong types of links. My job is to show them what their site’s true link potential is, and help them get closer to it, even if that means sending them to a provider other than me.

  • http://www.brickmarketing.com nickstamoulis

    Hi Stephen, This is a great article that makes sense…personally I think ROI can indeed be determined as visitors and conversions are driven as a result of on-site and off-site relevant link building efforts. The one thing that you did not mention was links are very important, but establishing a company in a niche, industry/vertical is about developing search engine and visitor “trust”. Quality and quantity growth over time. And it is indeed 100% different for every client. Also I too wish (like Eric mentioned) that all of the useless link building services would go away, it would help us all in many ways…

  • http://rimam1 rimam1

    Useless link building services actually help in many ways too. They separate real link builders from the impostors. As the search engines mature, they impostors will fade away or their efforts will be neutered.

    My question is this: If you’re charging $20k/month for social media marketing, why are you even concerned about links anymore? Why not just forget it and focus on social media, on and offline branding, and paid search? It seems that search engines are making SEO much harder and that the way to go is to make your site sticky, and generate a LOT of traffic to it.

    Rae Hoffman did a post in January called “You Don’t Need SEO to Rank in Google” The point is that lots of traffic to your site is a positive signal to the search engines. She says in the post:

    “My nofollowed link from Twitter is more valuable to me than my dofollow link from TechCrunch because it sends me traffic on a regular basis that sends the right signals to Google while bringing actual human beings to my site.”

    As the search engines get more sophisticated, do you think they’ll still use links as an indicator of authority, versus traffic?

    Valuing links is like Thomas Edison valuing each of the 2000 failures that finally led to the successful invention of the lightbulb, isn’t it?

  • http://www.lamps-lighting.com DaveD

    Great article, I think the “free business cards for life” campaign was a great idea for generating links. I have e-commerce websites, and getting natural links has always been a huge problem. I will keep this in the back of my head as I try and come up with some similar ideas for my business.