Friday, October 17, 2008

Backlink Research Best Practices - Linkscape

(updated August 24, 2009)

My silence regarding Linkscape has been mistaken by several people as meaning I don't like it. Quite the contrary. I do like it, and I'll post here what I've posted on a few other blogs, almost verbatim.

Over the years I have lost count of the 3rd party link building and link analysis tools and software I've tried out, many of which are long gone. What is most telling to me is that I abandon them when it comes time for
heavy lifting deep vertical link target ID and evaluation. I wont go so far as to say "All you need is Google and your brain", but it's close to being true, at least for the type of client content I work with. Linkscape is outstanding and useful for a very specific set of metrics and measures, and for a certain type of link builder will be quite helpful. I commend Rand for it and I will use it to augment my own personal approach to the link building research process when I feel it will help me.

Old School Link BuildingOn the other hand, I'm old school and have never been a big user of any tools other than my own privately created (and really simple) scripts. As much as I want and look forward to every new tool, I keep thinking about Rocky IV, where Ivan Drago was using every cutting edge tool and training method available, while Rocky Balboa ran around in the snow with a log on his back. The savviest link builders know how and when to use tools and logs.

Lost in all this tool talk is that it doesn't matter how rockin' your link intelligence is if you don't have meritorious content that can earn the types of links that matter in the first place. I have my own methodology to ID the exact set of targets that will allow just about any site in any vertical to rank extremely high. But this information is useless unless it is used by a truly meritorious site that also knows how to seek and get those links. No tool can finish this journey for you, and like Rocky in the snow or a marathon runner, the first part is easy. It's the last few miles that are hard, and where the battle is won.

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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.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Joe The Plumber and Link Building Best Practices

Right now, tens of thousands of Americans are searching for Joe The Plumber. You can thank John McCain for this, though I'm not sure Joe will in the long run. SEL is live with a post about the search impact. See Joe The Plumber, The Presidential Debates & Search.

The sudden spike in searches for JTP (That's my shorthand for ole Joe), can help illustrate the Search Flow Link Building model. Yesterday, nobody had heard of Joe. Today, everyone knows Joe. While this will bring out the worst in the SEM world, it can also bring out the best. So what's the best? What's a 100% white hat method of taking advantage of Joe's good fortune?

The obvious beneficiaries are Joe himself, or this site http://joetheplumber.com (ironic isn't it that the Joe mentioned during the debate is not the Joe who owns JoeThePlumber.com). But, other sites specifically devoted to plumbing, like this one Plumbing Supply.com have much to gain, if they know what to do and how, when, where, and why. And I don't mean the thousands of soon-to-be-issued press releases that will have the "Joe The Plumber" phrase all over them in deep anchored glory. Not at all. And I don't mean the thousands of blog posts, just like this one, that will use the phrase "Joe The Plumber" in their titles. That's just pandering to the search flow, rather than utilizing it strategically.

One way a plumbing supply site could take advantage of the Joe frenzy is this. Set up a Google news alert for the phrase "Joe The Plumber". Toggle to by sort by date. If you are confused, here you go http://snipurl.com/4ewqi.

Now, as those alerts arrive, visit the sites found and look for a contribution opportunity. If the site is the New York times and the article allows for comments, you go in with this one or something more to your own opinion.
“ Listnening to the candidates say Joe The Plumber over and over in many ways demeaned Joe and for that matter the plumbing industry. I know I felt sorry for Joe after the 18th time McCain said it. Our industry is not a bunch of idiots. We know when we are begin used like a volleyball for someone elses purposes. Exactly like what I'm doing here. Regards, the staff at PlumbingToolsAreUs.com
Before you jump me about nofollow and linkjuice, I know this type of link is not going to help your rank. I'm not after rank. I'm after the traffic flow. Publicity driven link building. If I wanted links that would help rank, I'd use a different tactic, and I know what it would be. Do you? I'll follow up with it here soon. Eric

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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.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Outlinking Best Practices - Rule 1

Some people hesitate to link back to a site that is of really high quality, out of worry that by adding a link they create a recip loop, which they think devalues that high value link in the process. I look at it another way. There are many reasons why you might link out to another site that's linking to you. For example, what if my site at EricWard.com was mentioned in The New York Times, and they linked to me as well. I'd be insane if I did not include a blurb about this on my site, with a link back to it where readers on my site could go see it. When I do this, it is no different than any other reciprocal link loop, except that the two sites doing the linking are of highest quality in their respective niches. There is no reason to let any engine dictate high level linking like this.

Rule of Outlink #1 is...

Link freely and often, but first apply a degree of scrutiny similar to that used when selecting a new suit, engagement ring, or proctologist.

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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.

FYI - The Great Link Race Has Begun, But To Where?

I'm getting some amazing private feedback about my column from yesterday at SearchEngineLand

The Great Link Race Has Begun, But To Where?
http://searchengineland.com/the-great-link-race-has-begun-but-to-where-15003.php

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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.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Link Building Podcast and Transcript with Eric Ward

Thank you to Jerry M. for alerting me to this podcast transcript. It's a couple years old but still 100% on target.

On April 5, 2007 Eric Enge and Eric Ward, aka Link Moses, spoke about some of the latest events affecting the world of link building. Here is the transcript of that podcast.

http://www.ericward.com/link-building-podcast.html

Here is the original audio
http://www.stonetemple.com/podcasts/Eric-Ward-Podcast-040507-Transcript.shtml

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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.