• thomkennon

    Eric,

    You are bumming me out, man, and it’s not even 9am ET on a Monday morning in otherwise buzzy Manhattan.

    So, your apocalyptic, frighteningly accurate, assessment begs the question: ok – so now what?

    Is it what I think it is – applying one or two smart and savvy content specialists/marketers full-time in researching, acquiring and managing our brands link program?

    I think that it is, and I’d like to see if we can figure out an ROI model that will allow us to convince oursleves and then our client partners/corporate handlers that there is a way to imagine and manage these programs that are measurably justified by bottomline returns.

    Shall we?

    TK

  • massa

    You are exactly right, but it’s the same as it ever was. Before the toolbar, it was reports on how to create meta tags and submit your site to 92,000,000 quality directories.

    Buying links is a little 2005, but off site optimization is here, it’s been here and it’s here to stay. The more any search engine tries to control it, either by FUD or by algorithms, the more value it has. If you don’t know what embedded links and content hosting are, maybe it’s a good time to learn.

    Page rank is dead, but getting other webmasters to talk about you or your product is not. Never has been and never will be. Search engines may come or go but people telling other people about you is the real word of mouth and it will be just as powerful in 1,000 more years as it was 1,000 ago.

    Credibility and trustability is what is important. Google’s toolbar may have shifted the focus of the value proposition for a time, but those things have always been the most important in terms of marketing. Sites that get real people reading real content is gold! It is gold in terms of increased traffic and conversions and it is also gold in terms of getting search engines to think highly of your site. And nothing is going to ever change that.

  • http://www.demib.com Mikkel deMib Svendsen

    Very good article, as always, Eric. However, in linkbuilding, as in any marketing aspect, many poeple of forget that not all strategies are long-term. Not all have to be!

    I have worked in a lot of “hit-and-run” verticals (we all know the ones I talk about) where the easiest way to make good quick money is to think super short term. It works! And if you look at the bottom line it often makes a lot of sense. I have aoperated hundreds of sites of the kind that only stay alive for a few weeks but the money I can make in those weeks devided by the time it takes me to make them still gives me a better hourly rate than any major corporation will pay me for long-term strategies …

    So, I guess my point really is that even the best general advise, even yours Eric, do not always apply to YOUR business :)

  • http://www.ericward.com eric_ward

    “…So, your apocalyptic, frighteningly accurate, assessment begs the question: ok – so now what? Is it what I think it is – applying one or two smart and savvy content specialists/marketers full-time in researching, acquiring and managing our brands link program?…”

    The perfect link building scenario must be different for each site, which is part what makes staffing and ROI measurements so hard for link building activities. Why? If you are managing a site that’s designed to compete content-wise with a popular brand already entrenched, then you may well need 5 full time content publicists and link builders to compete. But if you are running a 12 page site for an Athens TN Bed and Breakfast, then frankly every link building tactic most people use are pointless. Companies selling link building services try to commoditize it into a nice neat package, i.e., x number of links built for xx number of dollars. Neat packages are easy to sell. But in putting together that nice neat link package that can be sold to anyone, you have to pursue target sites that are willing to accept links from anyone, and that’s exactly where it all fails. That Athens B&B site needs a links from niche targets like this site here, not hundreds of easy links from here.

  • http://www.luckylester.com Lucky Lester

    Good story and one that most businesses are going to have to deal with in the near future. Myself, I work in the much maligned and despised online gaming industry. This industry has been set upon from many fronts and has always managed to stay on top of the SEM game and will continue to do so in spite of anything the search engines throw at us. PPC was taken away from us, no problem. Affiliate marketing is slowly being taken away from us — once again no problem as we will take our vast SEM experience and move into mainstream industries just like we are with the so-called “skill games”.

    The point is this… evolve or die. If the engines take away their simplest way of maintaining their “mechanical search” platform we will find another way to achieve our rankings. Personally, I hope that Google does reduce the value of linking as it will certainly have a culling affect upon the SEM industry.

  • http://www.thebassman.ca thebassman

    A little late on reading this, but a great article as always, Eric.