Friday, September 26, 2008

Answer to: After The Basics - Now What?

TravelingNinja asked...

I've taken a new site from 1 backlinks to 350 in five months of hard work. I've done the basics: submitted to niche and free mainstream directories, posted in forums, exchanged some links, and requested some links. What can I do next?

Link building for a new site with no links is my perfect scenario. You don't have to worry about previous mistakes or link spam, and you have a clean slate on which to work. But, as TN notes, after the basics what do you do? Two word answer: vertical publicity.

What's the subject of the site? You mentioned you submitted to niche directories, but depending on the niches these are just as notorious for junk and swaps as the wannabeeyahoos. I suggest you compile a list of the top sites that appear in a both the regular and blog search results for your most important phrases. Look for common citations A site that is showing up in both results, even on page two or three, is doing something right. On the blog results, bookmark every site that has mentioned the site that is also ranking well in regular search. Also compile a list of every niche content site and blog that is not a competitor. This is the start of a publicty and public relation driven link building campaign. You aren't after niche directories here. You are seeking editorial mentions or blogroll inclusions from the key influencers in your niche.

This is just a scratch at the surface, but a good scratch.





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The Link Building Best Practices Q and A is provided free by Eric Ward. For sites with high value content, I offer several fee-based strategic linking services on a project basis.

New Link Building Boot Camp

I just finished teaching a one month link building boot camp, which was a custom training project I created for a specific client in a tight vertical. During the course of the month, it became obvious the boot camp was working very well, the client was learning, becoming self sufficient at link building, and most of all getting results. They told me I should offer the boot camp to other clients...

Hmmm. Now why didn't I think of that?

After reverse organizing the previous boot camp into a service description, I'm happy to announce ...

30 Day Private Link Building Boot Camp with Eric Ward

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The Link Building Best Practices Q and A is provided free by Eric Ward. For sites with high value content, I offer several fee-based strategic linking services on a project basis.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

UPDATED: .edu Inbound Link Fallacies

One of the bigger link building hot topics is the impact that IBL (inbound links) originating from .edu locations can have on your link popularity and search rankings. Lost in the discussion is that the quality of IBL's from within the .edu domain varies significantly.

Rather than making this concept more complex than it needs to be, let's boil it down by example. A link from a student homepage or school paper web site isn't as valuable as a link from a professor's page, or better yet, the University library site. Why? because it's easy for those who are into black hat stuff to buy links from students, wheras a librarian isn't likely to be bought. Thus the content EARNED the link, and the source and citation can be trusted. Engines know this and will tweak algos until they get it right. I hope, anyway. Give me 10 library links instead of 100 student page links any day.

Likewise with .gov and others. Any TLD has crap, and any TLD has gold.

Another linking topic that gets folks excited is geographic IBL variety. This is another way of saying you need links from a bunch of countries. Not true. Links from around the world may not matter one IOTA for your particular site.

More fallacy regarding directory inclusion. I can say with complete certainty that the older the site the more useless those directory IBLs are. I rank 1st for all key terms and I'm in only two directories. Why do I rank? Simple. Because a). I never went after rank, and B). I stayed true to my content and expertise. That said, since I do rank high I can reverse analyze my links and learn why, but just because I can tell you doesn't mean you can get those links. You have to earn them via meritorious content.

For a newer site, the game changes. The new site's IBL profile or "link transcript" or "link signature" needs to slowly percolate towards becoming something that looks natural and trustworthy. I see evidence every day that the links that help me rank 1st will not help every site site rank 1st.

So what works for one site WILL NOT work for every site, which is why it's such a challenge to create software/tools that can analyze links with any degree of confidence. In the end, a human still has to make some very tricky decisions about whether or not ANY link is worth pursuing. The answer will be different for every site, and thus the potential link target sites need to be different as well.

----------------------------------------------

Eric's Note: I included the updated version of the above article as it appears people are as in love with .edu based link targets today as they were many years ago. I base this on several inquiries I received, the last one of which I have included below.

Dear Mr. Ward,
We are a manufacturer and seller of high end playgound equipment designed for municipalities. Our site is http://xxxxxxxx. We would be very interested in a quote from you for the following...
- obtaining 100 .edu based inbound links
/snip

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About The Link Building Best Practices Q and A
The Link Building Best Practices Q and A is provided free by Eric Ward. For sites with high value content, I offer several fee-based strategic linking services on a project basis.

Monday, September 15, 2008

LBBP - The Weekly Delete - Avis Edition

You would think the fine folks at AVIS would know better. Once upon a time Avis used the tagline "We Try Harder" in their TV ads. I wish that ethos carried over to their online marketing efforts. The below link request from AVIS's SEM firm is truly insulting. It's a great example of the Lying Link Building Liar approach (Apologies to Al Franken). Why? First, within the first 25 words they lie. After a dehumanizing greeting, the parade of lies starts with I have visited your website. No, No you haven't. Nobody could visit my site, see my picture, see my name appearing 10 times before the scroll, see that my site has nothing to do with Israel, or rental cars, or travel, and then think they could reach me via an email address with the word webmaster in it. That is, unless they never looked at my site in the first place.

You are a liar. Lie lie lie, you good-intentioned but nonetheless lying liar.


The kicker is after all that, they then write
Competitive compensation is offered. Nice. So here's what this email tells us about Avis: They are willing to buy a link on a site that they have not even seen, have no idea what the subject matter of that site it is about, and are so eager and willing to do so they will offer top dollar to whoever runs the site, which again, they have no idea who is.

All this, and we haven't even touched on the comically-long-and-strategically-kiss-of-death URL they are seeking links for in the first place.

Below is the full email, and I close with DELETE.
__________________________________
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Placing our link in your website
Date: Sun, 14 Sep 2008 23:38:44 +0300
From:
Reply-To: lxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxxractive.com
To: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Dear Webmaster,

My name is Xxxxx and I am a member of online marketing team who handles Avis Israel.
I have visited your website and would like you to consider placing our link in your website. We are open for other options as well.If you would like to take a look at our website please do so and let us know what you think.


http://avis.co.il/avis/site/local/avis/english/Israexxxxxxxxxxxx.jsp?

Competitive compensation is offered. An answer would be greatly appreciated. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Best Regards,

Lxxxx

Avis online marketing team

Lxxxx@xxxxxxxxxractive.com
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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The Link Building Best Practices Q and A is provided free by Eric Ward. For sites with high value content, I offer several fee-based strategic linking services on a project basis.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Reply to Link Building Best Practices Question: How do I determine good link targets?

Asked by Steve...

"What signs do you look for to determine what a good link is?"

First my generic answer then I'll be more specific. Generic answer: A good link target will be different for every site you are seeking links for. Specific answer: For example, let's say the site you are seeking links for is devoted to everything about the history of Jazz music, like this one http://www.apassion4jazz.net, then an example of an absolute highest quality and trusted target site would be
http://www.wku.edu/Library/dlps/rsrchguides/dept/html/music.html

Why? Many reasons. First, always look for the INTENT of the target site. In my example above the intent of this library based music web guide is pretty evident. That site isn't there to sell links, barter links, swap links, trade links, triangulate links, or any other silly link scheme. The intent has nothing to do with any search engine. That site exists as a resource to help people. And whether or not this target site EVER sends even one visitor to apassion4jazz.net, really isn't important from a link building standpoint. What's important is that a link from that site and others like it send incredibley powerful signals of trust to the search engines.

The beauty of this is it doesn't take many such signals/links to get to a point where the engines will then, by extension and association, trust apassion4jazz.net as well.

And as this search result shows, they obviously do.

Eric Ward
Link Building Best Practices


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The Link Building Best Practices Q and A is provided free by Eric Ward. For sites with high value content, I offer several fee-based strategic linking services on a project basis.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Link Building Best Practices - How Failure Makes You Better

Life here is good again, and I'm taking new business in selected verticals. I'll also be speakng at SMX East in New York, in October.

However...

When I don't manage my business well, I admit it. When I fail my clients, I admit it. And I also send them money back. And it hurts.

This past April, May, June, and July, were torture. The scheduling challenges posed as a result of assorted family emergencies really came home to roost. I take the blame. The idea that I could keep clients happy while going dark as I tended to family matters across the country was foolish.

I should have pulled down my site, or at least the paypal buttons, until I was ready for new business. The bottom line has two parts. Part One is I let too many client communiques slip through the cracks. Part Two is I refunded many clients for consulting calls that have not been able to happen at the speed and depth with which I'd hoped. So I've lost income and annoyed clients at the same time. Ouch.

Lesson after lesson after lesson learned the hard way. I have failed wide and deep for three months running.

But...I'm back and I'm not budging until I make it right. That's how you do it. So come back. There's a bonus in it for those who do.

Eric


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Comments link below, or the Post a Comment link at the bottom of any individual post.

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About The Link Building Best Practices Q and A
The Link Building Best Practices Q and A is provided free by Eric Ward. For sites with high value content, I offer several fee-based strategic linking services on a project basis.