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Many of you have had your entire portfolio of clients blown up because you relied on several core link building tactics that were doomed to fail. Your job now should not be to blame Google for your situation, but to recognize what matters now, what may matter then, and give sound advice to the clients who put their confidence in us and food on our tables.
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from rickvidallon 2388 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Well said! I have always stressed that at the heart of the matter - (its content - content - content). A well organized website and linking structure is much like a public library. Let’s say the public library computer tells you that all books on ’skin cancer treatments’ are in section 800 rows #7. - You walk to that section only to find books on ’skin beauty treatments’ or ’multiple directory books with skin cancer treatment listings noting information listed in other libraries. Hey, that’s no way to run a library! To quote an talented SEO I know, " Do what you say, Say what you do and do it well".  Speaking of ’directories’. This opens another can-o-worms that burns my biscuits. I think the search engines should add (DIRECTORIES) as a separate search. So on Google’s homepage you would have this - "Web, Directories, Images, Maps, News, Shopping, Gmail, more". Large directories inherently have an unfair advantage over individual websites. Let’s level the playing field folks.

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from GerardG 2388 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Thank you for writing this. I’m sharing it with my co-workers who are spending bucks on services that I consider to be nothing more than a link farm. I have a related question. First, we have to write great content - no refuting that. But if organic links are thing, and you can now hire a social media firm to run up your content on Digg and Reddit and Stumbleupon, etc., how long will it be before that practice is considered spam?

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from SEOish 2387 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Amen, Moses. Well said.

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from chrisg 2387 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Eric, Probably stating the obvious, but many of those who have attacked your philosophy on link building want neatly packaged answers and/or shortcuts. Your link building philosophy is sound, but it requires more thought, time and commitment than blog spamming or mass directory submission. For some that’s a good and thing and for some ... btw, if you do happen to have any neatly packaged shortcuts to SEO success, I wouldn’t mind reading about those in your next article :-)

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from Halfdeck 2387 Days ago #
Votes: 1

"At the heart of the trusted link model is the word trust. But the mistake I still see being made is missing the true origin of that trust. It was never the page itself that was trustworthy. Nor was it the domain. Nor was it the IP block, or the number of co-hosted web sites present or some other silly metric. Trust originates with the steward of the content. The page editor."Spot on. Google cares a good deal about the character of a webmaster. Why do you think Matt Cutts digs up a site owner’s portfolio of domains during site reviews? When David Airey’s site was penalized, why was it relevant that David Airey, according to his posting at several SEO forums, was fully aware of the ins and outs of nofollow? No, its not about trusted "domains" - domains are just extensions of a webmaster.I can understand how ordinary webmasters might want to vent about Google, but if SEO/link building is your business, then doing what you think is ok, getting a client penalized, then blaming Google is what I call incompetence.

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from charlieanzman 2387 Days ago #
Votes: 0

The technology caught up and Eric won.  The rules make sense.  it’s just a little hard work to do it the right way.  Trust can be accomplished in a short period of time.  Buying it is a different story.  This is mandatory reading for the newbies!

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from Yoav 2387 Days ago #
Votes: 0

All true except...You included linkbait in the mix of unhealthy linkbuilding techniques. Why? If you create a highly useful/helpful/informative/funny piece of content and then use social media exposure to get trusted links. Whats wrong with that?

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from AlanCh 2387 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I think you are spot on. However - like all marketing - there is the strategy for building a brand and customer base over a period of years and there is the ’fast buck’ here-today-gone-tomorrow approach. Dodgy link-building tactics suit the latter - but if you are in a business for the long haul, do it on trust. Footnote : again, as with all marketing - it is galling to see a newbie to the market ’cheat’ their way to the front, but just bite the bullet - they’ll be gone before too long.

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from Eavesy 2387 Days ago #
Votes: 0

You have deemed just about every form of link building useless, what links do count?

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from ethtar2004 2387 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I respect you a lot Eric, however I do believe that Article Marketing works. I would appreciate if you could confirm why you do not believe in this as a way of promoting a website.Many thanks,Steve

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from seofactor 2387 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@ethar2004,    He already did...sorta. I think it was about 2 ’Search Engine Marketing’ magazines ago where he had an article explaining why a simple press release or article doesn’t work, and conversly how they could.

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from ethtar2004 2387 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Thanks,I will continue to submit them in any case as they are working for my site. Was just wondering why Eric did not agree.Writing articles enable you to obtain one way links that are not paid for. The majority of the links are quite poor, however if you stick with it, you are sure to gain some goods ones as well.I would like to hear Lance Winslow have a debate with some of these so called seo experts, about the merits of article marketing.I personally submit five articles that are unique, each week, to ezinearticles. I have been doing this for the last three years and the results have been superb.Steve

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from EvanIslam 2387 Days ago #
Votes: -1

Hi, for the life of me, couldn’t figure out why our site wasn’t on top for all the keywords in google... there were stupid gay sites with no contents were ahead of us for many keywords... i am in connecticut and attend the SES in NYC and other events and do everything right... try to keep the integrity as much as possible... yet, other sites are ahead of us... RECENTLY... our sites are starting to coming up very well in the search engines... i mean very well to put a smile on our faces... we spent couple of hours putting informative contents in our sites and finally it’s paying off...they were right from the beginning i suppose... CONTENT IS KING. now i know.the only place we paid links for was at business.com and yahoo directory. not for link building purpose but for internet presence... and we stopped yellowpages.com because they have the NO-FOLLOW links now... at the end... thank you for this article Eric, I can print it out and gloat as well :)

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from linkmoses 2387 Days ago #
Votes: 5

Some clarificationsYoav asked...You included linkbait in the mix of unhealthy linkbuilding techniques. Why? If you create a highly useful/helpful/informative/funny piece of content and then use social media exposure to get trusted links. Whats wrong with that? Eric’s reply:The term Link bait encompasses an ever-widening variety of content/approaches. There are some types of link bait that are sublimly clever, do work, and make the web a fun and useful place. Often these happen by accident. Others can absolutely be engineered. But be honest, if you are creating link bait not becasue you have a passion for the content but because you are chasing links, then join the 40 million other web sites that are just in it to make a buck. Analogy. When I was a kid I desperately wanted a pair of these Puma Clyde sneaks. My mom, always frugal, would never spend the money, becasue at K-mart they had these kinda sorta looked like Puma Clyde sneakers, and she would tell me, with conviction, that none of the kids on the playground would know the difference between real Puma Clyde’s and my K-mart knock offs. Yeah, right. Same with Link bait. You have the real deal that was created with purpose and function, you have the fun and playful, but 99% of Link bait is of the the K-mart knock off variety. That’s what I was referring to.Eavesy asked...You have deemed just about every form of link building useless, what links do count? Eric’s reply: I mentioned only a few forms of link building. What works? Recognizing the content value and intent of your client’s site, say for example, this site, and then doing the heavy duty research and analysis to identify the exact editors who would be most inclined to care about it, like this. Bingo. Link happens. Do this enough, and even a site less than 2 years old can dominate the rankings. ethtar2004 said...I personally submit five articles that are unique, each week, to ezinearticles. I have been doing this for the last three years and the results have been superb. Eric’s reply: ezinearticles is a terrific site, and I did not mention them by name and did not mean to imply they were useless, however...even at ezinearticles, the positive effect will only be as good as the particular subject niche you are writing articles for. If you are writing articles about marital problems so you can drop links in them to your viagra store, then yawn. if you are writing articles about deaf children and classroom listening systems, then there are high trust links to be had and go for it. The reality is that just about any technique can work - or not work - depending on the content, intent, target site quality, and many other factors. What troubles me is when I see a company not taking the time and effort to do it right, choosing instead to take the easy way out, because the client has no idea what the true potential for link building for their specific site really is.-Eric Ward

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from ventureN 2387 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Eric,Right on as usual.  Keep up the great work.  More guys like you would make this business a lot easier to navigate.  Thanks for sharing your link knowledge.Bob L.

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from JstaTad 2387 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I’m going to have to respectfully disagree about some directory link building.  Free one-way links are still giving all of our clients great value and great ranks.  Yes, its a hell of a lot of work, but contrary to all the talk abut directory link building being dead...its just not.  It still works, and works quite well if you stay in the right neighborhoods.

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from Eavesy 2387 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Good response, I already do that to an extent, an email or two never hurts, but some sites that I work on are really not newsworthy in any kind of way. For others it is much easier to get those types of links.

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from ethtar2004 2387 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Thanks for your reply Eric. I do mainly concentrate on my niche, concentrating on the main keywords but also some of the long tail phrases. It works for me. Maybe I am just a top quality article writer!Are you able to confirm which link buildings methods you use or agree with? Or do we have to pay for this information. Paid links and link exchanges are out, the only other way a novice webmaster like myself is aware of is via article marketing.Steve

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from Halfdeck 2386 Days ago #
Votes: 0

"I’m going to have to respectfully disagree about some directory link building."I tell people to submit to directories but guess what? There aren’t an infinite number of directories out there that pass enough juice to justify the time spent submitting to them, even if the cost is $20 bucks to submit to 1000 directories.

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from deezin 2386 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Great article. I own a 9 year old graphic design resources directory that isn’t like most directories. It is sort of like about.com in that there is original content AND directory links. Anyway, I decided to add nofollow to all the links. However, I have about 10 sites and I have link partners as well. I don’t want to place a nofollow on these links. How do I keep Google from thinking that these are paid links?Thanks.Rachel

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from mooreseo 2386 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I completely agree Linkmoses!. The biggest problem with a lot of link building programs is that they are not diversified enough to handle changes coming from the search engines. If you put all of your stock into one single component like directory building, press releases, or articles that are not on trusted sites, everything falls in on itself when an algorithm or PageRank update hits the Web. Then, the scrambling begins. Link builders hit every social media outlet they can find, drop links, and hit the road without adding any value whatsoever.The key to link building is constantly testing. The topic of link bait is (it seems to me) still in its infancy and only grows over time. By investing some time (and possibly some dough) into learning new methods of baiting, there can be a neverending supply of links heading your way. That’s why there are only a few GREAT link builders out there. They take the time to learn, make mistakes, share their experiences with those who are still learning, and then start all over again.

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from Outtanames999 2386 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Well, Eric, you are certainly drinking the Googlejuice. As for the rest of us, if one believes that Google runs the internet and the rest of us are just playing catch up, then perhaps Eric is right. But, Eric, aren’t you the one that invented using pr to pitch media links in the first place? If on the other hand, one believes that the rest of us run the web and it is Google (and Matt) that is playing catch up, then Eric’s advice is irrelevant because we already out thought Google’s next 15 chess moves. All advantage is temporary, including relevance, authority, and trust. By the way, who wants to attend any search engine confab where Google and Yahoo are hanging out, eavesdropping and spying? Do they invite you to hang out at their confabs? (Maybe so if you’re on their payroll or accept favors from them, otherwise probably not.) Think about it.

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from WebmasterT 2380 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Eric, this is the first time I’ve read something of yours and thought "what’s he smoking?". A lot of what you claimed aren’t important like domains, C blocks etc. are indeed factors so saying its all about the author is well... misleading and oversimplifying! I agree with some of what you say about author... but if only people with a list of editors could do link building then you’d be swamped because that list is likely a list of one. Many of the things you said don’t work, I do agree on their own they don’t. When you use them all and submit to maybe 100-200 good directories (NOT 1-2000), do real research, not the research many do on Yahoo! (ie: who links to competitors). I agree author is important. I disagree it is the only consideration. Google is so whacked right now that they think because I hide my domain information I’m hiding it from them. No, I’m hiding it from the Aholes who send my clients bogus domain renewals! Author I agree is a factor it is obviously no more important than having a link profile that includes a little of all the different types ie: it looks natural not contrived and promoted!

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