I’m a content linking strategist, though most industry people call what I do link building. Link building is a vague term that really doesn’t do justice to the process. From my start back in the early nineties I’ve preached that link building is, at the highest levels, a mix of public relations, marketing, branding, and advertising. I’ve been helping site earn links since before Google existed, but thanks to Google’s purchase of DejaNews, you can see evidence of my work as far back as early 1995. I suppose you could say I started the whole link building mess back in 1994, when I was the very first person to create a service that promoted Web sites, before Yahoo even had a category for it, and my clients and references are among the most respected and well known in the industry.
When Google appeared, I was a beneficiary by accident. Google validated what I’d already been doing, recognizing the role merit-based links and citations play in identifying high caliber content. Soon, other engines followed and the linking gold rush began. Everyone wanted more links. But link chasers miss the most fundamental truth about links, which is that the most valuable links will be earned due to deserving content.
A big part of my philosophy is based on the belief that the easier any link was to get, the less value that link will have. Any link that can be had without a mediary scrutinizing the content for quality and relevance is unlikely to be trusted by a search engine’s algorithm or a person. My services are not what brings traffic to your Web site. You must be producing content that someone wants to see, or no amount effort on my part will help. The ultimate success of your site depends on the value and usefulness of the content you deliver. The surfer sees through hype in a minute. It’s about content, not hype. Your site either has it or it doesn’t.
My goal is to help content and the online audience it was intended for learn about one another. It’s that simple. The methods I use to do this are where link building becomes an art. I identify and contact online venues that in my estimation would be inclined to care about the new content enough to write about it and/or link to it. For quality content there are venues, nooks and crannies in the online world that will care about it. The key is to understand who and where they are and reach out in an appropriate way. Never, repeat NEVER, automate this process.
My expertise is in the planning, strategy, and execution of content announcement and natural linking campaigns. Specifically, I make sure your web content is known, cited, and linked-to in the right way, by the right people. I created and executed the very first linking campaign for Amazon.com Books, back when nobody (including me) had any idea what Amazon would become. I’ve worked with hundreds of sites since then. I write or have written for Link Week at SearchEngineland.com, and when I can I speak at conferences. I’ve written web marketing columns for Ad Age BtoB Magazine, ClickZ, MarketingProfs, Web Marketing Today, and print magazine Search Marketing Standard.
I take on limited clients. I don’t have some mysterious “team of experts” or account executives I’ll hand you off to. There is me. Since I come from the marketing and advertising industry (Time, Inc., Whittle Communications), and have been online since dial-up, I bring an unusual blend of skills to my clients. I am online year-round studying linking relationships. It’s the only way to truly know this medium.
Awards and Media Coverage
Back in the dial-up days, I was honored to receive the 1995 Tenagra Award for Internet Marketing Excellence, along with current and past winners like Yahoo, Netscape, FedEx and a handful of others. I also served as the Technical Editor for Macmillan Publishing’s Strategic Internet Marketing, by Tom Vassos. In the late nineties I was named one of the web’s 100 most influential people by Websight magazine (the print pub that died the next year).
Over the years my company and services have been written about and recommended in many online, print, and broadcast publications and outlets, such as Inc. Magazine, THE WALL STREEET JOURNAL ONLINE, Internet World magazine, WDFM, CNet Radio, ZDNet and others. I was one of the 25 people profiled in the book Online Marketing Heroes, from Wiley and Sons.
If you would like to talk, I sometimes answer on skype at eric.ward, but you are likely to get a quicker response via my contact form.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.