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Old 11-07-2004   #1
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Link Building 101

Link Building can definitely be an extremely difficult task if you want to take it on based on purely human labor to go out and request for links, whether they are one way or reciprocal. Do you actually have to spend large amounts of human resources on this? Well, from my own personal experience I can say “yes” and “no”. This is one of the topics I enjoy the most, aside from search engine marketing to the Hispanic market and Internet strategy of course. Web links is what makes the web. Without these links . . . . well, let’s better not think about that, as it would be a very sad present for all us of that love this industry we are in.

The great attraction about SearchEngineWatch Forums thanks to our editors Danny Sullivan, Chris Sherman and of course our BIG Chief Elisabeth Osmeloski is not only meant to bring together search engine marketers from all levels of experience together to learn from one another openly, but also have allowed us to link to useful resources on the web to help other members find additional useful and relevant information that would add or support a point discussed to the thread’s topic. This goes exactly in link to the purpose of the web. I have never been able to understand why most forums don’t allow it. I’m sure they have their reasons, but I sure love SEW Forums for being different!!!

When I first did the Search Engine Marketing 101 thread I wanted to take FULL advantage of that, because there are so many intelligent people here and out there that deserve credit for such incredible knowledge that has helped me understand our industry a lot better. I was also hoping that someone would have seen the example of the “101” style posting that knows a lot more about link building than me would have started this thread, but I’ve been out of luck. Therefore, my hopes now are that those experts see this post and help me share with all readers and participants the very best and most useful resources on the web to understand and effectively take on a Link Building campaigns.

Where to begin??? There are so many resources out there that I’m sure might be missed, but I’ll try my best. They are listed in random order and rather not say one is better than another, because they are all recommended reading. However I would like to begin with a few things to keep in mind:

1) Links should be used only for ethical purposes to point web users to useful and relevant information and not to deceive the search engines.
2) Links can be bought, sold, traded or received/given away for free. Being creative and thinking outside the box will most likely get you very many of them no matter which of the hundreds of strategies you choose, just do it or your competitors will do it before you.
3) Don't only think about link building only for the purposes of search engine algorithms or metrics such as PageRank. Same rule applies: Think what is best for your users first, the search engines will adapt.
4) Stay up to date, search engines change, users change, businesses can change for the better or worse if not up to date. Like my friend Brett Tabke says, “read, read, read until your eyes hurt”.
5) My Golden Rule for Link Building: FOCUS ON PERMANENT LINKS.
First I would like you to start on some basic reading from experts:Link Building and Popularity Tools
  • Quick survey: Which of you have used Marketleap’s Link Popularity Check? Don't raise your hands, I thought so . . . Noel McMichael and his team did an incredible job with this quick and easy to use web tool.
  • MarketPosition.com with http://www.linkpopularitycheck.com/ and http://www.linkpopularity.com/ where the other pioneers to provide a useful tool.
  • Arelis Link Builder - reciprocal links solution from Axandra/Voget Selbach Enterprises GmbH
  • Zeus Internet Robot automatic reciprocal link generator and link directory creator from Cyber-robotics.
  • One free tool you can use is Tilman Hausherr's Xenu's Link Sleuth, which analyzes and reports on your links to for proper functionality and internal backlinks. A great tool to build a site map by the way.
  • OptiLink Software is a link analysis program that reveals how top ranked pages achieved their search engine rankings. Here is a good review you can read.
  • The guys at RustyBrick continue building great websites and tools, on of their latest was the Google Link Popularity Analysis Tool and a paid version which really rocks! I use it every week for all my sites.
  • Danny cought a blog on the Deep Link Ratio tool that will calculate your "deep link ratio." It tells you of all the links pointing at a domain what percentage of them point at the home page.
  • More and more I find myself using the PRSearch.net and this new tool that checks the different number of links from C Blocks.
  • Tired of doing research for reciprocal links? Try LinkExplore and it will solve your nightmare. Here is an outstanding product review by my good friend Christine Churchill.

Last edited by Nacho : 08-22-2006 at 02:33 PM. Reason: Added more useful sources
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Old 11-07-2004   #2
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I had to split the post in two parts because the software will only allow a limit of 10,000 characters.

Books

Unfortunately, there are not that many books that talk about link building because it requires the author to have knowledge much more in depth than just useful tips about link strategies.

Ahh, but there is ONE. The very best literature that I have read that really goes in depth into understanding what “linking” is all about from the very basics of the web to the search engines views on links and to expert thoughts on the topic comes from my good friend Mike Grehan, author of “Search Engine Marketing: The essential best practice guide”. By far, some of the best reading you can get not only for link analysis, but search engine marketing in its entirety.

Forums and Threads

SearchEngineWatch Forums (These are my favorite threads, but there are many that get added every day in the Link Building forum)HighRankingsSEO ChatWebmasterWorldCre8site ForumsDigitalPointAnd can not leave out one of my favorite blogs: Search Engine RoundtableCouldn't find the information on link building in this thread? No problem, I give you two more recommendations:
  1. Don't forget stay up to date with the Link Building Forum here in SearchEngineWatch.com
  2. I highly recommend you to visit Andy Hagans' outstanding site called The Link Building Knowledge Base. He updates it very often.
Now it’s your turn folks, please add any useful resources for helping each other understand and be more experienced with link building.

Saludos!

Nacho

Last edited by Nacho : 06-08-2006 at 04:47 PM. Reason: Added more useful sources
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Old 11-07-2004   #3
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GREAT post! So much fantastic information in one place. Thanks.

Link building is such a large topic. One thing, though, I often see people forget is how different things work in different languages and target regions. For example, much of the applied semantics we see coming in English hardly ever seem to hit us here in Denmark using Danish.
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Old 11-07-2004   #4
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Hi Nacho:
Quote:
I have never been able to understand why most forums don’t allow it. I’m sure they have their reasons, but I sure love SEW Forums for being different!!!
Really? Which ones? The only one I know of that does not allow links to resources is WMW. Maybe I am not aware of all of these forums that don't allow links?

All the forums you posted are certainly good resources, but the premise of your post is that link building must be an all-important part of SEO? I disagree completely with that assessment. This link exchange stuff has actually ruined the internet. This is why you are now seeing a "De-emphasis" on links coming in from Google, and from Yahoo, and you will see that the new MSN will not be putting much stock on linking as well. The link stuff has been ruined by SEO's, and by some of those software programs you posted.

I also disagree that those auto link type programs are a necessity or good or even should be considered. Knowing that ALL engines state in their TOS's that they don't want or allow auto programs to hog up their server resources, I'm not sure it's a good thing to show those link type programs as being good resources.

Of course, this is simply my opinion, and you all know how much that's worth..... in here.
 
Old 11-07-2004   #5
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I'l bypass dougs post as words fail me

Quote:
1) Links should be used only for ethical purposes to point web users to useful and relevant information and not to deceive the search engines.
...and then i woke up and it was all just a dream lol! 'nuff said.

Nacho, thanks for a great post, again! Neat links. In my 'really good stuff' bookmarks folder i now have 2 of your posts heh!

One from SEW you missed:
The right way to count links
Not just count them, but find them and cover your tracks too. I keep finding myself refering back to that thread, it's a corker..


Nick

Last edited by Nick W : 11-07-2004 at 10:22 AM.
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Old 11-07-2004   #6
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Thank You

Nice job putting all that together Nacho, Thanks
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Old 11-07-2004   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ihelpyou
All the forums you posted are certainly good resources, but the premise of your post is that link building must be an all-important part of SEO? I disagree completely with that assessment.
we could ignore links and think of other ways to rank pages. mix up and repeat words in a contenty SEO manner.
seo
  • seo services offered without link spam.
  • seo posted on a page in many many ways.
  • seo posted in bold, seo in italics, seo underlined, seo linking to itself, all in a bulleted list.
spam
  • links
  • links posted on a page in many many ways.
  • links posted in bold, links in italics, links underlined, links linking to itself, all in a bulleted list.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ihelpyou
This is why you are now seeing a "De-emphasis" on links coming in from Google, and from Yahoo, and you will see that the new MSN will not be putting much stock on linking as well.
I'm not really seeing that.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ihelpyou
I also disagree that those auto link type programs are a necessity or good or even should be considered. Knowing that ALL engines state in their TOS's that they don't want or allow auto programs to hog up their server resources, I'm not sure it's a good thing to show those link type programs as being good resources.
could be worse, we could be showing people "educational" forum spamming scripts or teaching ineffective seo techniques that ignore link popularity.
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Last edited by seobook : 11-07-2004 at 01:09 PM.
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Old 11-07-2004   #8
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I'm not really seeing that.
That's fine that you are not, but many of us are. Those who look after many client sites anyway.
Quote:
could be worse, we could be showing people "educational" forum spamming scripts or teaching ineffective seo techniques that ignore link popularity.
That's very true. However, posting things that are not good resources should be pointed out if it happens and others just happen to disagree with those resources.

I don't see anyone actually disproving any of my points either.
 
Old 11-07-2004   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ihelpyou
I don't see anyone actually disproving any of my points either.
That's fine that you are not, but many of us are. Those who look after many client sites anyway.
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Old 11-07-2004   #10
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Yes, some of us are the "link building crowd", and some of us are the "SEO" crowd.

I agree with you.

Let's just agree to disagree. The two groups will never come into being "one", so it's pointless to discuss. It's not just the link stuff that the two groups disagree with. It's over many different things.
 
Old 11-07-2004   #11
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There are, among others, 2 very influencial things that effect the way we all practice SEO

* Disinformation
* and the Power of Belief

>>2 groups

I would not say that there are 2 groups. I would say there are many groups, with a very, very small percentage of people that are outside of all groups.
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Old 11-07-2004   #12
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Nacho,

Once again you have created a thread which in itself is a lesson (and, of course, thank you for your compliment my friend).

This past year I have been looking at my earlier research and re-evaluating some of the main reasons why information retrieval on the web is always going to be different to classic information retrieval, and by that I mean in true Salton vector space model style.

When a page stands alone in isolation then all you can tell about that page is what it says about itself. In a homogenous environment such as a digital library or a CD-ROM where it's most likely that dedication to the science is more important than the sound of a cash register it works beautifully.

But in an uncontrolled, heterogeneous and commercially motivated environment such as the business sector of the web, it falls flat on its face. Why? Because we lie. And why do we do that? Because there are commercial gains.

So, it has been an important step by researchers and scientists to look beyond what a page says about itself and look at what it is that other people say about it. And that's why "link voting" which is a very superficial explanation of what's really happening is so important.

Once the ability, by search engines, to take away the power of a SEO to mess around with a page to make it look more popular because of the number of times a term appeared on it was gone, then link hunting had to become the next sport.

The two issues which worry me for the future from my own personal perspective are:

1) The filthy linking rich are being aided and abetted by the search marketing community, so we are actually creating the artificially inflated linking environment of the commercial web to its detriment.

2) Just as search engines looked for a way to remove the basic ability to manipulate rankings as they did by changing the importance and parameters of "on page" optimisation, the same applies with linkage.

So why will personalisation become so important to the search engines?

First, you have to remember it's not really about customisation, i.e. for one specific person, it's about the preferences of a peer group.

Now, and for the future, we must begin to think about true linkage and not artificially inflated linkage as that won't count any more, simply because a peer group (and that peer group could be as huge as an entire religion) will be the judge of what is and what isn't relevant in PURE information retrieval terms.

Text on a page was the first step... Search engines took those basic ranking principles away from the developing community as it was far too open to... Abuse?

Links as an indicator of human value judgment was second... Now that is slowly eroding as search engines take away another method to be able to manipulate a ranking by giving you less and less information about links.

Now, text matching and relevancy is coming back big time, but only when communities agree between themselves what is and what isn't relevant to specific keywords and phrases. Vector support machines (learning machines) are playing a more and more important role in what really counts to the most important people to a search engine: The end user.

So we either have to really do it, be good I mean, or fake it a lot better than we do now.

And you know, some fakes can be spotted a mile away.

Text matching, linkage data and peer group opinion, for me, leads back to an ideal way of reminding me to do what I've always done...

And that's to be a professional marketer of quality products and services to a deliverable and expectant audience.

Last edited by Nacho : 11-07-2004 at 03:25 PM. Reason: Added link to source
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Old 11-07-2004   #13
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I basically agree with much of what you say, Mike, except when it comes to websites that are not in English. I very much agree that engines will gain a much better understanding of the "quality" and contextual relationship in English but I also believe it will take a very long time before that technology, and not the least the lingustic data it requires, will cover all languages. The largest languages comes first and the smallest ones will not come very soon - if ever. It's basically the same reason we see no sandboxing and such in Danish at all.
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Old 11-07-2004   #14
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Mikkel,

And the fact that the Porter stemming algorithm only works in English ;-)
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Old 11-07-2004   #15
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Quote:
Now, text matching and relevancy is coming back big time, but only when communities agree between themselves what is and what isn't relevant to specific keywords and phrases.
This really intrigues me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Davanzo
The search engines will be assigning value to sites based on user interaction and community factors. Techniques, in terms of code, will have little or no bearing on your ranking, and rankings will differ depending on personalisation factors on the client side.

The future lies in publishing content that people read. The past lies in code tweaking.
Im still not certain whether he was joking when he wrote that but the basic concept seems to tie in with some of what mike is saying.

Comments Mikkel/Mike/Anyone?

I hope im not reading it all wrong and it means what I think it does, it would make search very, very exciting
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Old 11-07-2004   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikkel deMib Svendsen
One thing, though, I often see people forget is how different things work in different languages and target regions.
Mikkel, that’s an excellent observation! It used to be one of my trade secrets, but I guess now its not. Requesting for links or most link strategies mentioned in those threads need to done in the country of origin’s native language. You can’t just say “Me da un link por favor?” It takes translation into an entire degree of complexity if you don’t really know the language. In many countries out there where English is not the 1st language, the website owner/webmaster could either not respond because it can be thought as a spam email or be taken as an rude to come do business in another person’s language. I know this is very true in Brazil and France for example, but it’s not a rule engraved in stone, so anything can happen. However, limiting your skills will most likely a limiting result to your link building performance. This is one more reason why it’s better to outsource to the local professionals and why niches do exist in SEM/SEO. I know I would definitely come to you if I need help in Denmark, rather than trying to figure it out for myself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ihelpyou
the premise of your post is that link building must be an all-important part of SEO
IMO, until the search engines completely ignore links into their algorithms, YES link building as well as many other elements of an SEM strategy is one of the very important parts to SEO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ihelpyou
This link exchange stuff has actually ruined the internet.
This is exactly the reason why I recommended two forums mentioned above:
  • A Positive Step Forward in Link Strategies
  • How Fair is the Link Popularity Algorithm?
To not repeat myself to much from what I say in those forums, I will summarize to say that I agree with you in part with that. I discourage my teams to get links from these typical “links.html” or “www.domain.com/links/resources.html” (and many other example) pages out there. A link should be given on the page(s) that are most useful to site owner’s website and not among a grocery list isolated on a deep “links” page. I’ll give you example that does this very well: SearchEngineWatch.com.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ihelpyou
I also disagree that those auto link type programs are a necessity or good or even should be considered.
Doug, you are welcome to use whatever you like, as well as anyone out there. I am just listing a few tools that might be useful for one way or the other. Each of us is capable of making our own informed decisions. Like just about anything, abusing any one tool will most likely to be hurtful.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick W
One from SEW you missed:
The right way to count links
Not just count them, but find them and cover your tracks too. I keep finding myself refering back to that thread, it's a corker..
I very glad you pointed it out Nick. Yes, that is an outstanding thread and I have a subscription in my favorites. Thank you for your compliments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Grehan
1) The filthy linking rich are being aided and abetted by the search marketing community, so we are actually creating the artificially inflated linking environment of the commercial web to its detriment.
I have added a link on your post to your article as it is more than useful for link building. I completely agree with you! Additional to that, here is the discussion at SEW.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Grehan
Now, and for the future, we must begin to think about true linkage and not artificially inflated linkage as that won't count any more, simply because a peer group (and that peer group could be as huge as an entire religion) will be the judge of what is and what isn't relevant in PURE information retrieval terms.
Words of wisdom! Great post Mike!
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Old 11-07-2004   #17
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Excellent thread Nacho!

A great resource for the long haul.
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Old 11-07-2004   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ihelpyou
Yes, some of us are the "link building crowd", and some of us are the "SEO" crowd.
Actually, I think it is more of some of us are SEO's and some of you are copywriters. An SEO makes sure that he ranks his clients well. To do that today, it takes relevant links, sometimes lots of them. If link building is not a major part of your SEO campaign, then you are doing a major disservice to your clients.

Nacho: Excellant topic.
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Old 11-07-2004   #19
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More Link Building Articles

We've got another forum thread that lists a bunch more link popularity articles, which may also be of use to the folks reading this thread.
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Old 11-07-2004   #20
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Linking is here to stay

There is no doubt linking is and will continue to be an important strategy in SEO.

I think the future holds that RELEVANT links will rule and irrelevant links will fall by the wayside, knocking a lot of the current wholesale linking into the dustbin.

Thanks for the excellent post Nacho. Great resources in the post Jill linked to as well.
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