Linking Odds & Ends

Today I have what I hope will be a helpful mashup of link building related notes, news, and tips. This is my attempt to hide that I couldn’t bear to write about link bait again, at least for another week. So onto my prediction of reciprocal Google Bookmark requests, linking lawsuits to perhaps return, cashing in time on link equity, DMOZ as a forgotten resource, appropriate Digging, phase search as a killer link building tactic and mining the 404 mother lode.

Reciprocal Google Bookmarking Cometh

Give the increased importance of Google Bookmarks for ranking, watch Google Bookmarks become the next link building tactic to be abused. Reciprocal Google bookmarks anyone? It can only be a matter of days before I get an email that says…

Dear Webmaster,

Did you know Google bookmarks can help your search rank
Please add our site to your Google Bookmarks, and once you do
please email us to let us know you have, then we will place
a Google Bookmark to your site in return.

Ugh. Can paid Google Bookmark networks be coming soon? Bet on it. This is technically pre-spam, since Google bookmarks are only supposed to affect the results of your searches based on your own bookmarks, not anyone else’s. Yet. Also coming soon? Gadget-itis.

Speaking of Google Bookmarks, if you use the import feature and upload all those crusty bookmarks that have been on your PC for years, half of them never re-visited and the other half 404′s, won’t that pretty much ruin them as a algorithmic signal of interest?  Note to Google: verify and validate every bookmark uploaded via the import bookmarks feature.

Linking Lawsuits To Return?

It’s funny that today people will kill for links, but remember the wonderful Link Controversy Page? It’s still great reading all these years later. People used to get sued for linking. I wonder, with personalized search coming down the mountain, will we have a new batch of lawsuits? If Dad forgets to sign out of Google and Mom happens across his search history, how will he explain that search for "naked hula hoop amazons"?  Gotcha.

Cashing In Time On Link Equity?

Six years ago I wrote

There’s a battle going on concerning dead dot-com site links. Good sites that were around for a few years had built up a nice collection of links pointing to them. Then the crash happened, and content couldn’t pay for itself. But those sites have one remaining asset: link equity.

Link equity?  The term is even more relevant today, but in some ways for the wrong reasons. Combine link equity with the 301 redirect and you have a business. People buy and sell and repurpose older sites/domains that went poof back when link equity had no monetary value.  Today, old sites with trusted links are the web equivalent of prized heirlooms.

Forgotten DMOZ

People love to bash The Open Directory, DMOZ.  I know, the majority of categories are orphaned, and it’s easier to get backstage passes to Beyonce than it is to get into DMOZ. But some DMOZ categories still try to stay current. The category I edit at DMOZ has not had a new site submitted via the submission form to it since the day the editor function went back online. Prior to the crash I received about five new link requests a week.  Now? Zero. And why do people claim that you can only get one link from DMOZ?  This site (disclosure: my client) now has 164 separate pages linked.

Appropriate Digging

I enjoy a good Digg as much as anyone (so Digg this), but I wonder how many of us share common "digg morals" regarding links? Is it OK to place the Digg this! button on your own content and then self-digg it? Is self-digging ok period?  Is self-digging just another flavor of spam? Is it right to digg something you didn’t read? What about diggs from multiple accounts? What about sending email to a handful of "friends" and casually mentioning you’d love a digg?  Regardless of traffic sent or buzz created, when is a digg no longer trustworthy? Is "illegitimate digg" an oxymoron?

Phase Searching For Link Focus

Quick link building target identifier/timesaver: Jim Boykin’s Search Combination Tool. A secret tip:  Once you use it, create the queries and go to each engine, and add quote marks around the search phrases. Now, re-do your search. Bingo. This little tweak really thins the herd. I reduced a one search from 1.5 million results to 17, and all 17 were legit targets for the content I was seeking links for. These and other free tools rock, but nothing works better than your own intuition and curiosity.

I’m doing a project where I have to identify target sites that would be potential link and publicity targets for this content about Percy Julian, the genius African American chemist from 1950s I’d never heard of until four weeks ago. Here’s an example of one of refined searches I used to spot potential venues to reach out to.

"percy julian" links contact

That’s 60 really great targets, not just for links, but for people who would be highly inclined to care about the content I’m publicizing and might be in a position to share it with still more folks with that same interest. Another example? How about this.  Or this easy one.

Mine The 404 Mother Lode

When was the last time you checked your server logs to see which links from around the web are still sending you traffic but to pages that are now gone from your site? The 404 not found error log file is a goldmine. I once saw that an old article I’d removed from my site was requested 200 times in one month. What did I do? I recreated that file, personalized it just for people expecting to find it, and then used it to direct people to my other content/services.

Can You Believe…

The latest "you’ve got to be kidding me link building tactic:" offering to teach those one session non-credit night courses at universities just to get your own .edu web space where you keep course material, and ummm, other things, like links. As Gomer Pyle would say, shame, shame shame!

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Link Building: General | Link Week Column


About The Author: has been creating linking strategies for clients since 1994. Eric publishes the strategic linking advice newsletter LinkMoses Private, and provides linking services, training and consulting via

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  • designsimply

    Great tip about checking logs for the 404 not found error. I tend to 301 redirect those instead of re-creating content for them. Any thoughts on whether one method is better than the other?

  • snailface

    On the topic of DMOZ, since you’re an editor – do you have any advice or inside knowledge on becoming an editor? I submitted an application to edit a category for a local area (my hometown) as it seems to have been abandoned, but other than the auto emails that are generated when you apply, have gotten no response.

  • eric_ward

    The 301 redirect is certainly viable, but I don’t like it when I get 301′d to something that has nothing to do with the page I thought I was going to get via my original click. Thus I’d suggest individual 301s to a page that at least helped the user along the way to what they were after.

    As to becoming a DMOZ editor, it’s easy to see why so many categories are orphaned when they turn down or don’t even reply to qualified potential editors. See this fellow’s experience
    He’s one of the world’s formost experts on CorelDraw yet he got turned down for the CorelDraw category. Now that’s nuts…


  • Kwyjibo

    Been an reader of your blog for a while, but something you mentioned today about DMOZ actually got me to register with TypeKey and leave a comment…

    The reason you are not seeing requests to DMOZ anymore is because the system is still broken. The editors can get in, people can submit their site, but editors don’t see submissions.

    Try is out…suggest a URL for the section you are editor of and then login to see any pending requests. You probably won’t see a thing :)

  • eric_ward

    Kwyjibo – did just what you suggested and the form did say the submission was accepted. I then logged in to see if the submission was waiting for me and this is what I saw

    - Unreviewed sites [Power Unreviewed Edit] (0 new)

    Zero. Zilch. Bupkis. You are right. DMOZ submissions are still broken, and the only way you’d know it is if you are an editor. People submitting are blissfully unaware. It’s a shame really…


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