Earlier this week, this year’s edition of “Link Building with the Experts” was spear headed by Sugar Rae on her blog. It’s a question and answer styled post featuring 10 of the top link builders out there – all these names should be familiar to any link builder out there so if you don’t know these folks time to step up:
- Aaron Wall of SEO Book and Clientside SEM @aaronwall
- Dave Snyder, Managing Partner of the Blueglass Agency – @davesnyder
- Debra Mastaler of Alliance Link and the The Link Spiel – @debramastaler
- Eric Ward, Ericward.com Linking Strategies and Chief Link Evangelist at advertising intelligence firm AdGooroo.com – @ericward
- Justilien Gaspard, Link Columnist for SEW and owner of Justilien.com
- Michael Gray of the Graywolf SEO blog – @graywolf
- Rae Hoffman-Dolan, aka Sugarrae, CEO of MFE Interactive – @sugarrae
- Rand Fishkin from SEOMoz – @randfish
- Roger Montti, the founder and owner of martinibuster.com – @martinibuster
Although it wasn’t so much a “give-it-up” styled post it did offer some great insights into what some of the top link strategists and experts have to say about the future of link building. It’s a great read to be sure to check it out.
And now for my answers 🙂
1.) It’s always important to include the brand in your anchor texts when link building. It’s just natural – I always have to explain that link building should always appear organic – ideally with no detectable patterns. So historically speaking, most of your links should come from your brand or even www.yourdomain.com – if the majority of all your inbound links are only using your targeted keywords as anchor texts you are in trouble my friend. Always important to mix it up, so “brand”, “www.brand.com”, “brand – keyword”, “keywords from Brand”, “shop for keyword at brand” and so forth. Don’t get too aggressive and forget about building a brand focus.
For smaller sites (maybe you don’t have a brand!) or even adsense sites I’ve seen (and felt first hand) the dangers of going too aggressive with links, just the other week a MFA site of mine finally reappeared on the SERP’s after a couple months of dwelling in the dark – and I barely even did a lot of link building, I just focused only on the targeted keywords and I wasn’t using an exact match domain – it was “homeproductABC4u.com (example) and I only used “homeproductABC” and whammo.
2.) Well I sure as hell hope this doesn’t happen – I for one am not the biggest fan of Google +1 just yet as not enough of my true social network even has google accounts and truthfully I don’t really care what they like > I prefer an unbiased search results that isn’t influenced by what my friends or peers like/dislike. But you got to change with the times so if and when this indicator is “the new link” there will always be a way to become a player and make things happen, I just hope it doesn’t get nasty and people start selling retweets and +1′s through Mechanical Turk and DP, although I’m pretty sure it’s already begun.
3.) I haven’t really changed up my link building strategies that much, I still use the same mix of strategies although I am testing out different proportions of each mix across my network to see if some of the old techniques such as article syndication still carry the same weight. If I find anything earth shattering – I probably won’t share it 🙂
4.) I’ve seen link wheels work, and not work. Like anything else with link building if done properly and blended in nicely (link velocity, link variation folks I’ll always preach it!) it can definitely help. More so for non competitive keywords, but for competitive keywords it’s still a different source for links so in the grand scheme of things – go for it > but just make sure you are aware of what you are doing when it comes to link wheels.
5.) Yeah it can be possible, but really depends on what strategies they were implementing, they probably got hit if they were only focusing on a couple, so once again = link variation.
6.) Probably, although I haven’t done any testing. I’ll be honest I didn’t use Twitter for about a year because I paid some outsourced freelancer kid $20 to get me a 1,000 followers. Little did I know he got me a 1,000 followers by following 1,500 – awesome… after a few nights of cleaning up my list lesson learned but hey, you got to try right?
7.) Don’t waste your time, hire a link building expert instead and focus on your business! Seriously though, I’ve been approached a couple times by business owners who wanted to learn SEO (or thought they knew already and just wanted some tips). Don’t waste my time or yours, seriously focus on your business. If my car breaks down I don’t go and read online how to fix it, where to get the parts > I go to a mechanic or garage. If a drain bursts, I don’t go and try to find tips online, I call a plumber. So if you think you can handle SEO and link building on your own, once again – don’t waste your time and hire a professional.
8.) Yeah they probably count for something, but when you want to deliver results to a client it’s hard to say, hey look I got you a citation, but no links! Tough play, I rather focus on building links and figure that somewhere down the road the citations will happen organically. I’ll put this on my things to test list though.
9.) Link variation, link velocity. Watch going too aggressive with anchor text.
10.) Because I’m selling them! Haha kidding, but the real reason is because there’s so much shit out there now and the marketplace has become flooded with dropped domains and sites purely made to sell links. As a result, there’s now a premium to be paid on sites that are actually legit in terms of posting valuable content without placing links in most of the posts. These sites are good for links, but they are expensive so if you want to battle it out for tough keywords you better have the resources to do it.
All in all I think the keys to take away from the excellent answers provided by the panel and yours truly are to:
- don’t forget about building links around the brand
- social metrics are starting to have a place in the algorithm
- Panda update was for real, if you got slapped you need to adjust
- ABT!!! Always be testing
- Google Places is vital for any small business owner with a geo-targeted focus
- focus more on media outreach as opposed to straight up link building (brand, citations) (*depends on the competitiveness of the keywords and if you actually have a brand though)
- links are expensive
- LINK VELOCITY, LINK VARIATION