• http://twitter.com/enzenhofer franz enzenhofer

    i would even go further: competitive linkbuilding is the root of all (SEO) evil. just because your competition has that many link (or you presume that they have that many links thx to the very poor tools out there) you think you need the same amount that they have.

    and as soon, as two or more competiters think this of each other, it’s a stupid arms race, the linkbuilding escalates, both companies waste an unbelievable amount of money and ressources in idiotic linkbuilding, first only via linkbait, then paid links then link-netoworks.

    competitive linkbuilding is the root of all SEO evil, and competitive link research tools are the propaganda.

    please prove me wrong.

    my name is franz enzenhofer, i’m the most successful SEO of europe (culminated totale visits wise (of webpropertis i substantially optimized)).

  • http://twitter.com/BritneyMuller Britney Muller

    Such a great point Franz! Backlink Analysis can send SEOs in all sorts of different directions based on erroneous assumptions. Good SEOs benefit their target audience in one way or another, provide some sort of value. Links will coincide great content.

    Great Article Eric! Happy Linking!

  • http://twitter.com/sharithurow sharithurow

    Hi all-

    Franz, I have never focused so much on the quantity of links. I have always placed emphasis on the quality of the link.

    I, personally, have seen 25 high-quality links outperform over 50,000 low-quality links. And that is only one example from one website I worked on years ago. The same principle seems to hold true most of the time: quality trumps quantity.

    As my colleague Garrett French once said to me during a phone conversation, what we (as SEO professionals) should strive for is a “quantity of quality.” I like the way Garrett phrased that.

    Data without proper context is what leads us down the “wrong” paths. That is the reason why I continue to practice, implement, and continue to study website (and HCI) usability because usability professionals’ methodology seems to provide better context for certain data than context from a technical person or even an SEO. A technical person’s mental model is generally not the same as the users’ mental models. And even an SEO’s mental model often differs from searcher mental models.

    I don’t believe link building will “die.” It’s a form of validation. Search engines are trying to validate the aboutness of our web documents. There is the author’s aboutness. And then there are interpretations of the author’s aboutness.

    Now, whether Google (or any search engine) gets the author’s aboutness and validation correctly? Well, we all see search results. Are they good/bad? One person’s “good” search results might be another person’s “bad” search results.

    My 2 cents.

  • Guest

    Franz – valid points. The crucial skill a linking strategist must have is being able to determine the proper course of action to take based on the competitive linking data they are able to obtain/possess. Sometimes a competitor’s links don’t tell you what to do, but rather what NOT to do. I don’t advocate chasing links multiple competitors already have. That’s the low hanging fruit approach and of little value to the engines. The way to glean strategic insight is to understand that the data is telling you a story, you just have to know how to read that story before writing your own. I don’t mean to be coy or evasive. I know what I know and I would say I’ve studied more link profiles than any other person on the planet. Thousands over 19 years and millions of URLs. Millions. And yes, competitive link data can be a trap. That’s why I wrote this article. But it can also tell you so much more, if you understand what you are looking at.

  • http://twitter.com/ericward Eric Ward

    Franz – The crucial skill a linking strategist must have is being able to determine the proper course of action to take based on the competitive linking data they are able to obtain/possess. Sometimes a competitor’s links don’t tell you what to do, but rather what NOT to do. I don’t advocate chasing links multiple competitors already have. That’s the low hanging fruit approach and of little value to the engines. The way to glean strategic insight is to understand that the data is telling you a story, you just have to know how to read that story before writing your own. I don’t mean to be coy or evasive. I know what I know and I would say I’ve studied more link profiles than any other person on the planet. Thousands over 19 years and millions of URLs. Millions. And yes, competitive link data can be a trap. That’s why I wrote this article. But it can also tell you so much more, if you understand what you are looking at.

  • http://www.brickmarketing.com/ Nick Stamoulis

    I think you make a great point Franz. I’ve had to tell many of my clients that such and such a link wasn’t going after, even if the competition did have a dozen more like it. There is nothing wrong with using a competitive link analysis to get a few ideas, find some opportunities you may have missed and so forth, but just because they are doing it that doesn’t mean you have to!