Live from #SMX East: Link Building – Why You’re Doing It Wrong

September 15, 2011 | 3 min read
By Sarah Lokitis

Oh wow, only 15 minutes before the next session. I just ran over to get a front row seat for charging my laptop and learning about link juice. There are lots of best practices for link building and everyone has their opinion about what works and what doesn’t work anymore. I hope to gain new insights from Link Building: Why You’re Doing It Wrong rather than just the basic things I’ve heard time and time again.

Starting this session off is Jenny Halasz, Director, Nine by Blue

Why should we care about links?

“The heart of our software is PageRank…” So let’s link with everyone and cross links – it’ll be awesome! Then things changed and algorithms updated.

Now, Google uses social as a signal in our organic and news rankings. Rand Fishkin said social correlates with higher rankings. Again, correlation is not causation.

Link Building Myths:

  • Link Bait – Don’t create content just for this concept. Also, if it works it’s just once and done.
  • Viral Marketing – You may or may not succeed. You can’t just try one viral thing and then end the marketing strategy.
  • Link Sculpting – waste of time to use no follow on all links
  • Cross Linking – Google can figure out what you are doing. They know what you own.
  • Toolbar Page Rank – Not valuable as a major ranking factor.

Remember with links, quality over quantity.

Rae Hoffman-Dolan, Sugarrae SEO

There are bad guest posts, and there are good guest posts.

  • Don’t just sell; create an informative article with one good link back to your site.

If there is no traffic to it and no one is sharing your guest post it might not be worth your time.

Good guest posts can lead to a long term relationship and you can gain traffic and an audience you didn’t know you could have.

Rae admits that yes, guest posting takes time, but the value derived could be important for your sites rankings. SEO is not a fast process; it takes a lot of work.

Separate yourself from the competition with “horizontal guest posting.” Take a general topic and find a way to intersect it with yours creatively. Provide quality information for users to prove you contribute value to their site too!

Scour for potential guest posting gigs. Search for “guest blog” and similar words to see if you can write for them and don’t forget to check for existing writers guidelines before crafting the pitch. And make sure the pitch is good!

Up next is Byrne Hobart, Digital Due Diligence

TechCrunch, Mashable, NYT, Marginal Revolution, Matt Yglesias and Andrew Sullivan gave him links. Wow. That’s a win.

He shares a lot of case studies and says if you are willing to speak up and create content, you have the potential to see results. Check from legal to make sure you aren’t stepping on any toes in regulated industries.

He suggests trying outrage instead of black hat. It’s:

  • More fun.
  • There’s less competition.
  • The search engines will still be friends with you.
  • It’s better for your career. Set yourself apart.
  • **You need to be ready to handle your reputation and don’t do this without a plan.

My favorite points from Q&A:

If you rank better, do you care why it happened? There is value in any link even if it’s no follow:  traffic and moving up the search engines.

But also, how do you know if that one link had value – should you pursue this again? That’s difficult, but measure what you do and the signals like where users are coming from.

For more insights on this session, follow #SMX and #32A on Twitter.

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Live from #SMX East: Link Building – Why You’re Doing It Wrong

September 15, 2011 | 3 min read
By Sarah Lokitis

Oh wow, only 15 minutes before the next session. I just ran over to get a front row seat for charging my laptop and learning about link juice. There are lots of best practices for link building and everyone has their opinion about what works and what doesn’t work anymore. I hope to gain new insights from Link Building: Why You’re Doing It Wrong rather than just the basic things I’ve heard time and time again.

Starting this session off is Jenny Halasz, Director, Nine by Blue

Why should we care about links?

“The heart of our software is PageRank…” So let’s link with everyone and cross links – it’ll be awesome! Then things changed and algorithms updated.

Now, Google uses social as a signal in our organic and news rankings. Rand Fishkin said social correlates with higher rankings. Again, correlation is not causation.

Link Building Myths:

  • Link Bait – Don’t create content just for this concept. Also, if it works it’s just once and done.
  • Viral Marketing – You may or may not succeed. You can’t just try one viral thing and then end the marketing strategy.
  • Link Sculpting – waste of time to use no follow on all links
  • Cross Linking – Google can figure out what you are doing. They know what you own.
  • Toolbar Page Rank – Not valuable as a major ranking factor.

Remember with links, quality over quantity.

Rae Hoffman-Dolan, Sugarrae SEO

There are bad guest posts, and there are good guest posts.

  • Don’t just sell; create an informative article with one good link back to your site.

If there is no traffic to it and no one is sharing your guest post it might not be worth your time.

Good guest posts can lead to a long term relationship and you can gain traffic and an audience you didn’t know you could have.

Rae admits that yes, guest posting takes time, but the value derived could be important for your sites rankings. SEO is not a fast process; it takes a lot of work.

Separate yourself from the competition with “horizontal guest posting.” Take a general topic and find a way to intersect it with yours creatively. Provide quality information for users to prove you contribute value to their site too!

Scour for potential guest posting gigs. Search for “guest blog” and similar words to see if you can write for them and don’t forget to check for existing writers guidelines before crafting the pitch. And make sure the pitch is good!

Up next is Byrne Hobart, Digital Due Diligence

TechCrunch, Mashable, NYT, Marginal Revolution, Matt Yglesias and Andrew Sullivan gave him links. Wow. That’s a win.

He shares a lot of case studies and says if you are willing to speak up and create content, you have the potential to see results. Check from legal to make sure you aren’t stepping on any toes in regulated industries.

He suggests trying outrage instead of black hat. It’s:

  • More fun.
  • There’s less competition.
  • The search engines will still be friends with you.
  • It’s better for your career. Set yourself apart.
  • **You need to be ready to handle your reputation and don’t do this without a plan.

My favorite points from Q&A:

If you rank better, do you care why it happened? There is value in any link even if it’s no follow:  traffic and moving up the search engines.

But also, how do you know if that one link had value – should you pursue this again? That’s difficult, but measure what you do and the signals like where users are coming from.

For more insights on this session, follow #SMX and #32A on Twitter.

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