“ Eric follows the right link building approach. He's interested in links that are given based
on merit, and those are the links that stand the test of time” — Matt Cutts, Google
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Ten Commandments of Link Building

by Eric Ward

Updated December 2013 (original 2003) 

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I - Linkest not just to seek favor from Google*
(*If your site's success is dependeth on Google alone, it shall destroy you, or worse, be featured in the Knowledge Graph without attribution. The irony...)

II - Those who link in exchange for gold are link whores*
*Caveats:
a) Linking in exchange for return link is sometimes kind of slutty
b) Philosophically, I agree that all links are paid in one form or another, but this discussion gives LinkMoses a headache.
c). Offering discounts to students via links on .edu domains has may have jumped the temple. I recently saw one for paternity testing kits. Demographically relevant? Sure, but slimy. Saving 10% on a paternity test is the least of your worries.

III - Thou shalt not link to thine own site from 367 different social media profiles. And don't get me started on link wheels.

IIIb - Thou shalt not take advantage of Google's current love-fest with Pinterest (look who ranks#1 for link building infographics even though LinkMoses has never created one), nor will thee send an email to all employees telling them to Plus the corporate homepage.
*Caveats
a) It is acceptable to include a couple of those cute little share, add, tweet, plus, etc., buttons on your own content.  They work nicely. Here, try one Tweet this amazing content

b). If you seed YELP with fake reviews, a swarm of locusts will follow you to the next SMX conference. Or worse, you might get sued.

IV - If thou beginest thy link request email "To whometh it may concern", it shall hastily be deleteth

IVb - Please stop telling LinkMoses "You just came across my site". No, you didn't. 
V- Thou shalt not refer to content as "link bait", any more than thou shall refer to your site's users as "carp"

VI - Thou shalt study or analyze, but not covet, thy neighbor's links*
(*if thou doest covet them, please try and limit your desires to highest trust TLDs. Links from .info domains are pretty much penguin bait already.  Extra shame is reserved for those who volunteer to be webmaster at child's school and then secretly add anchor text links back to company site.

VII - Thou shalt never use the name Matt Cutts in vain*
(*at least not where it can be crawled, and be careful with javascript and flash, they can index it now)

VIII - Just because you thinketh MS LIVE! bing search is stupideth does not giveth thee permission to link spameth them

VIIIb - Although if you do so under the guise of "testing", it's not a formal violation of this commandment. 
IX - If thou has truly reformeth, beg forgiveness via the reconsideration formeth
(If you receive no response, do not hang thine head. Contact LinkMoses and he may be able to deliver a formal scroll documenting your heathenism so it can be cleansed in an attempt at link reformation. LinkMoses does of course charge for this as he has three children who require 15 Happy Meals per week) 

X - The link schemer may eat today, but the link earner eateth from a bountiful table for a lifetime*

Link wisely,

Eric
 

About the Author
Eric Ward founded the Web's first services for announcing, linking, and publicizing Web sites back in 1994. Ward is best known as the person behind the linking campaigns for Amazon.com Books, and Weather.com. His services won the 1995 Award for Internet Marketing Excellence, and in 2009 he was one of 25 people profiled in the book Online Marketing Heroes. In 2013, Eric wrote The Ultimate Guide To Link Building for Entrepreneur Press. Eric has spoken at over 150 industry conferences and now publishes LinkMoses Private, a subscription based link opportunity and strategy service. Eric has written linking strategy and advice columns for SearchEngineLand, MarketingProfs, ClickZ, Search Marketing Standard, SearchEngineGuide, Web Marketing Today, and Ad Age magazine. Learn more about Eric and his content publicity and link building services at ericward.com

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Selected Previous Columns 
(Off-Site)

- A Trusted Link? No Such Thing
- Is Your Link Profile Plausibly Deniable?
- 85 Types Of Unnatural Links?
- Stealth Link Marketing
- Link for People, Not Search Engines
- A Few Link Building Predictions For 2012
- The Curly Theory of Link Building
- Who Controls Link Building Success
- Reciprocal Links Will Always Be Viable
- When Cheaters Win
- Riding The Twitter Link Waves
- Seeing The Bigger Linking Picture
- How Twitter Can Impact Link Building
 


 
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“ Eric Ward is THE authority on links” Danny Sullivan, SearchEngineLand