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Old 08-22-2006   #1
Malaga
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Outsource Link Building?

We have lately been thinking about outsourcing the more basic parts of our link building (submitting to directories, link exchange, finding free links, etc) and wanted to know if someone has some comments and experience in this area.

The main reason for doing this is that it has been very difficult to maintain employees who are only working with basic link building and our experience is that they do not last for more than 1-3 months in such a position. With the more creative parts of link building like article writing, etc. we have no problems.
Are we the only ones facing this problem?

I have been investigating some companies offering link building services in India as this was recommended to me by a friend but it seems like all of them are focus strictly on PR when charging for links and nothing about relevancy, number of outgoing links, etc is taken into consideration.
Someone knows about companies offering a good service?
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Old 08-23-2006   #2
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The main reason for doing this is that it has been very difficult to maintain employees who are only working with basic link building and our experience is that they do not last for more than 1-3 months in such a position. With the more creative parts of link building like article writing, etc. we have no problems.
Are we the only ones facing this problem?
No, you're not the only one. It takes a special kind of person to do the basics of link building, really it does, but you're best bet might be to combine to basics with the more creative stuff. The creative types may not like the monotony of some of it but they can use their creativity do get out of the monotonous mode and turn it into a truly creative position. I'm convinced that link building requires more creativity than anything else.
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Old 08-23-2006   #3
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So you wouldn’t recommend outsourcing?

We have two journalists that write articles, web content, news letters, etc and I just can't see the benefit of them spending their time with link exchange or submitting to directories!
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Old 08-23-2006   #4
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We have two journalists that write articles, web content, news letters, etc and I just can't see the benefit of them spending their time with link exchange or submittin
Well I certainly understand that. Outsourcing might be a good solution, though my personal experience in outsourcing link buiding has been pretty unsatisfactory.
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Old 08-23-2006   #5
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It may be worthwhile to just focus on the more quality links and leave behind the link exchanges, directories and free links pages. The value of submitting to directories diminishes after a while as does the value of exchangine links (indeed, exchangine links is becoming less and less valuable as the search engines update their algorithms - however, if you are exchanging with related sites within your industry and to pages that relate to the content of your site then this is valuable, regardless of whether or not there is any ranking benefit). As to free links pages, my understanding is that Google doesn't like them so much anymore. I would focus your time and effort on other techniques which can produce higher quality (and perhaps even higher quantity) links for your time and effort. Here are some suggestions (some of these ideas are based off of seobooks 101 links suggestions for 2006 - the article can be found at the following link: seobook.com/archives/001792.shtml

1) Create new and better content for your site (the seobook article has a number of good suggestions for useful content that you may not have thought of)

2) Create and distribute useful software programs which relate to your products or services

3) Improve and/or expand upon your article submission campaign (move beyond article submission directories to news sites or authorative sites in your industry)

4) Submit press releases - write your own or hire someone to do it for you (btw, check out Brad Callan's new book Press Release Fire for info on how to properly write a press release - I haven't finished the book yet, but it looks pretty good based on what I've read so far).

5) Participate in related blogs and forums. If you don't have the time to do this, then hire someone to - this would most likely be a far better use of your resources than hiring someone to post links on free link pages and the like as it helps to make relevant people aware of your site (what's more, if they like your commnents and/or contributions they are not only aware of your site, but they have already have a positive association with it). While you are at it, create your own blog (if you don't have one) -- again, you can hire someone to help you with this if need be.

See the article for more suggestions.

In addition to the above ideas you can also use allocate these resources to a pay-per-click ad campaign (either starting a new one, or improving upon an existing one). This doesn't necessarily have link building advantages (although it may indirectly), but it can bring new customers to your site, which is certainly worthwhile. The point is that you if you are considering investing resources into link building, you should investigate what other ways you could use those resources to make sure that you maximize your return on investment.

Hope you find this helpful.

All the best,

Moshe Morris
SEMBasics.com

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Old 08-25-2006   #6
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Refining Article Link Building

You might also consider lobbying some of your industry publications. This is really true PR. Find the editor of a magazine, blog or forum and take a genuine interest. Give them some ideas on stories (2-3) that you're thinking of and see if they think they have promise. It's one thing to write up and distribute a press release, it's another to actually figure out the need of information and fill that need yourself with an article.

So this way, not only do you get the relevant link(s), you get the relevant traffic. Hope this helps.
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Old 08-25-2006   #7
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Outsourcing dangers and advice

I hesitate to be so vocal, but here goes.

Many of you know me. Danny calls me Lnk Building Moses Been at it since the big bang.

Outsourcing is dangerous. I have countless clients for whom I'm having to clean up the mess made previously by other so called link building experts. Just because someone has more knowledge than you do doesn't mean they have enough knowledge to help you. No single linking tactic is appropriate for every site. Article marketing is stupid and smart, depending on how you go about it. Recips are bad, or good. Paid linke are evil. No they aren't. It all depends on a variety of factors.

I've found over the years that not every site needs a full blown link building campaign, while others do, and others need more subtle tactics. No two sites are the same. Some sites need to protect the link and trust equity they already have. So don't be too eager to outsource. Maybe a better approach is to spend a little time to learn what will help your particular site the most and then learn how to do it yourself, or if you do outsource, learn how to outsource
Eric Ward

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Old 08-25-2006   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricWard-LinkMensch
Outsourcing is dangerous. I have countless clients for whom I'm having to clean up the mess made previously by other so called link building experts.
I do not understand your point that outsourcing link building can be dangerous. If no direct link exchange is involved it should in the worst case be useless but I can’t see how it can harm our sites. I thought that one of the basic guidelines of Google is that you can’t be harmed by somebody else pointing a link towards your site unless you of course return the link.

The only time I have discovered that incoming links can have a negative effect on rankings is for new sites which will go into the “sandbox” if they initially receives a number of none quality links.
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Old 08-25-2006   #9
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Outsource Link Building

You definitely need to be careful. If the company is not willing to provide you with details on how they research potential links, that's a big red flag.

Not all links are good links. Several links from a "bad community" are far from helpful.
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Old 08-25-2006   #10
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When incoming links can hurt you

People who say you can't be harmed for who is linking to you are dead wrong. I'll stake my entire 13+ years linking career and my dog on it. One link or a few wont hurt you, however what the engines are looking for is a pattern, or what I call a link signature or link imprint that shows a pattern of bad links. EVERY site has bad links, after all, we can't control that. But at a certain point it becomes clear to the engines that a site is actively engaging in tactics that are suspicious. If your site has a bunch of FFA links, a bunch of blog comment links, a bunch of paid links, a bunch of forced links (form spam), and a bunch of links from unrelated sites, the odds that this happend naturally are ZERO. You made it happen, and you get busted, even though none of those links are recipped...

One last note. Fair or not, older sites are given a greater latitude for bad links, but that doesn't mean older sites can link spam without fear. Bottom line, any form of link spam is bad for the web at large and the search engine user experience in particular.

Eric


Last edited by Elisabeth : 08-25-2006 at 05:09 PM.
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Old 08-26-2006   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricWard-LinkMensch
People who say you can't be harmed for who is linking to you are dead wrong.
You are dead right about that. I've never known a search engine say that IBLs can't hurt you - because they can. People often misquote Google on that, but what Google has always said is that IBLs can't usually hurt you. There's a very big difference. And with Big Daddy, they can hurt you by causing some or many of your pages to be removed from the index.

Outsourcing directory submissions works very well, and they are very cheap, but care should be taken. I posted this in my forum a few days ago:-

Quote:
The directory submission services are excellent value, but there are some things that you should keep in mind when buying the services.

1. English is not the native language of the submitters, so you need to write the Titles and Descriptions yourself. Don't rely on the submitters writing the best Titles and Descriptions for you. Write several Titles and Descriptions for a site, so that the link text isn't all the same, and make sure that the submitters know that they must not change or add anything. Also make sure that they know to use all the Titles and Descriptions, and not just one pair.

2. Titles are the link text in directories, so, when you write them, try to incorporate keywords/phrases - sensibly.

3. Different submission services are bound to submit to many of the same directories, so don't have two services on the go for the same site at the same time. When a job has been completed for a site, get a list of the directories that it was submitted to. If you want the site to be submitted to more directories, give the list to the service and tell them that none of the directories in the list should be submitted to.

Last edited by PhilC : 08-26-2006 at 01:53 PM.
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Old 08-26-2006   #12
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*Outsourcing is dangerous.*

Bit odd coming from an "outsource" ;-)

Mind you, I came across a Gift Basket site that dealt ONLY with the continental US whose links were all Indian, so point taken...

*2. Titles are the link text in directories, so, when you write them, try to incorporate keywords/phrases - sensibly.*

Should that not have been "descriptions", Phil?

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Old 08-27-2006   #13
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You are dead right about that. I've never known a search engine say that IBLs can't hurt you - because they can.
The flip side to that is - I've never publically heard them say IBL's can hurt a site. Several years ago I listened to Craig Silverstein (who was on the linking panel with Eric and I) tell the audience if all you had was "skanky" inbound links, you probably wouldn't see any ranking benefit from that. The comment is paraphrased, but the word skanky is a quote!

Sites with good content that work to attract "good" links - those sites shouldn't be hurt if they get some "nasty" links pointing at them. The White House site didn't drop out of the serps for it's keyword terms, it just showed up for a set of interesting ones!

If the word "hurt" means those links are ignored then yes, I'll agree with the statement, but if you're suggesting a site can be removed from the index for having a number of bad links pointing at them then I disagree especially if the site has "good" inbound links as well.

If people could get rid of their competitors by driving them out with nasty links, I think we'd hear more about it.

Quote:
The directory submission services are excellent value, but there are some things that you should keep in mind when buying the services.
1. English is not the native language of the submitters, so you need to write the Titles and Descriptions yourself
Good point. I'd never leave the promotion of my business /name to anyone without guidelines!
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Old 08-27-2006   #14
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*..however what the engines are looking for is a pattern..*

I'd be with Eric on this, if my linkage pattern is already pointing towards a links scheme the arrival of something like ROS links could well tip it over, I saw it happen a number of times at the height of the ROS craze a couple of years ago...
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Old 08-27-2006   #15
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Hi debraM.

The engines (it's Google really) don't need to say that IBLS "can" hurt a site, as they use the words "can't usually hurt". There would never be any reason to include the word "usually", if IBLs can never hurt a site, but they always do. Certainly one way that IBLs can hurt is known, and has occasionally been discussed in forums, and it can be applied to competitor sites.

A more recent way that IBLs can hurt a site came with Big Daddy's linkages evaluation. It caused IBLs, together with OBLs, to hurt many sites by causing some, many or most of their pages to be dropped from the index. Of course, the hurt was to sites that were already fully indexed. It's debatable whether it can be called 'hurt' or 'harm' when a previously unindexed site can't get all of its pages into the index because of the nature of its IBLs and OBLs.
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Old 08-27-2006   #16
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Hey back Phil.

Quote:
The engines (it's Google really) don't need to say that IBLS "can" hurt a site, as they use the words "can't usually hurt".
Well, even the Google boys understand the only true constant in life is death and taxes eh?

Quote:
Certainly one way that IBLs can hurt is known, and has occasionally been discussed in forums, and it can be applied to competitor sites.
A more recent way that IBLs can hurt a site came with Big Daddy's linkages evaluation. It caused IBLs, together with OBLs, to hurt many sites by causing some, many or most of their pages to be dropped from the index..
The earlier posts weren't discussing both IBL and OBL, they were focused on IBLinks. I think OBL and their effects onsite and their link-out power is a whole different topic! Still maintain that a site with mixed in-bound linkage won't be penalized (dropped). If that were the case, we'd be seeing sites tank left and right.

I think it's tough to say, in a true algorithmic sense (since there are supposed to be multiple factors used to determine rank) that IBL alone could affect a site negatively. We have best guesses but don't really know for sure especially if a site also has "good" links pointing at it.

Quote:
*..however what the engines are looking for is a pattern.....if my linkage pattern is already pointing towards a links scheme the arrival of something like ROS links could well tip it over, I saw it happen a number of times at the height of the ROS craze a couple of years ago...*
How true, that's what algorithms do, they analyze data. And if a site with a lot of nasty IBL also had a bunch of ROS links on it then chances are it never ranked well to begin so it's fall in the index forest won't make a sound.

( plz excuse typos)
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Old 08-27-2006   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricWard-LinkMensch
People who say you can't be harmed for who is linking to you are dead wrong. I'll stake my entire 13+ years linking career and my dog on it. One link or a few wont hurt you, however what the engines are looking for is a pattern, or what I call a link signature or link imprint that shows a pattern of bad links. EVERY site has bad links, after all, we can't control that. But at a certain point it becomes clear to the engines that a site is actively engaging in tactics that are suspicious. If your site has a bunch of FFA links, a bunch of blog comment links, a bunch of paid links, a bunch of forced links (form spam), and a bunch of links from unrelated sites, the odds that this happend naturally are ZERO. You made it happen, and you get busted, even though none of those links are recipped...

One last note. Fair or not, older sites are given a greater latitude for bad links, but that doesn't mean older sites can link spam without fear. Bottom line, any form of link spam is bad for the web at large and the search engine user experience in particular.

Eric

Valuable and rare advice, Eric.

I guess this is why, for clients who require this type of service, I only advise on how they can "better build links" themselves. Unfortunately some of the advice can come after the fact of following the herd blindly.

Long-term advising is one way to offer SEM consulting that steers companies in the right direction but puts final accountability at their end. "Package deals" and "magic bullets" get a lot of folks into trouble - folks who did not realize the risk. Risk-tolerant players can do whatever they like, of course.

As for what counts as a "Nasty IBL," I think it definitely matters if you're dealing with an old site with an established link profile, or a new site.

For newer sites, I think "nasty" can simply mean "off topic" or "suspicious," since there is so little info for Google to go on and a lot of sandboxing of legit links going on (either explicit sandboxing or s-box-like effect). So -- if you run out and get several links from sites & pages that are actually "about something else" - especially something promotional in nature - I believe that could hurt more than it could help... even if there is nothing particularly malicious going on. Keeping the *same 3-4 links you had* would have been better than adding the new links, as the semantics and quality indicators are getting muddled by the new links. There are no absolutes in all this, but delays in getting your "fair share" of referrals of 6-12 months mean a lot in a business sense. That's my theory this year, anyway.

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Old 08-28-2006   #18
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Here is my interpretation of Google saying that incoming links "can't usually hurt". I do agree that SEs are looking for patters and if the patterns point to a negative link scheme, well it's likely not going to help. But suppose that getting a bunch of bad links does help, temporarily. Then Google makes an algorithm adjustment to improve link relevance (such as Big Daddy) and suddenly sites start losing importance and therefore rankings. While most site owners would look at that and say they were hurt by bad links, Google would probably respond that they are simply just no longer helping.
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Old 08-28-2006   #19
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Long term links vs short term and penalty

I'm re-using a post from my site and paraphrasing here...

"While it is certainly true that all major search engines are on the look out for suspicious linking activity, it's also true that very few sites end up getting busted. A far more likey scenario is that the engines have simply stopped giving you credit for links that they used to give you credit for.

You haven't been singled out or penalized at all. When you ranked on page one it was due to a combination of factors, one of which was the type and quality of links pointing back to your site. If Google or any other engine decides that a particlur web page is not as trustworthy as they once thought, then if you had a link from that page the engine no longer gives as much weight to that link. Your rank drops as a natural result of the de-valueing of the links pointing to you.

This is a far different thing that an outright penalty. An outright penalty is when the engine decides your site has purposely set out to fool them, and they take action against you based on the severity of the infraction.

If you have never set out to fool the engines, then relax. Rankings shift all the time. You may simply need to aquire a few more high trust links to get right back where you were."

Eric
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Old 08-28-2006   #20
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What do you think would happen if you built a load of small spammy doorway page sites, and interlinked them but not all-to-all, and then auto-redirected all of the pages in all of the sites to one central site - your main site - perhaps deep targeting the pages in each small site to the topic page in the main site? What do you think would happen to your main site if the setup was seen by a search engine's spam people?

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