Link Building
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Link Building

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Given at the Austin SEM meetup on December 4, 2008. http://www.meetup.com/seo-austin

Given at the Austin SEM meetup on December 4, 2008. http://www.meetup.com/seo-austin

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  • Nice presentation! What I wonder, though is what the effect of 'nofollow' is on backlinks. Every blog/social network seems to be using it... is their a way to overcome this?
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    Link Building Link Building Presentation Transcript

    • Here's why it's worth it and how to do it. Link Building the Right Way Laura and Adam Alter for the Austin SEM Meetup meetup.com/seo-austin @lauraa / laura@notebookforums.com [email_address]
      • Why link building is critical to ranking in Google.
      • Basic on-page SEO refresher.
      • Link building theories, myths and facts.
      • Real world ways to get links.
      What we will talk about tonight:
    • Relevance Rules Google returns web pages in the order of perceived relevance to a user's search query. Do you want to rank #1 for Austin Cat Therapy? Google had better see your page as the most relevant page on the Internet to that phrase. But how?
      • Think like a bot!
        • On-page stuff (title, meta data, content, H tags, etc.)
          • keyword usage (proximity, placement, frequency)
        • Incoming links (anchor text, linking domain quality)
        • Domain age and history
      • You certainly can fudge some of this, but not other stuff, so do what you can to be relevant with what you have to work with.
      How does Google decide relevance?
    • Being #1 Matters According to the leaked AOL data... #1 position gets 42% of ALL clicks #2 position gets 12% #3 position gets 8.5% (and they go down from there...) If you aren't #1, you are missing out big time.
    • - On-Page Optimization - Incoming Links (lots and lots) Rankings ONLY come once you have:
      • Each page has a theme. Choose a keyword/key phrase and stick to it.
      • Use your phrase in each:
          • Title tag
          • Meta description
          • Content (bold, italics)
          • H tags
          • Image name and alt
      • Do this methodically to each page on your site.
      On-Page SEO Overview
    • Because links are the currency of the Internet. "But why do links matter so much?"
      • Pages that are linked to by a lot of websites are probably worth reading.
      • Likewise, if a site that is linked to often links to another site, that site is probably worth reading. Chances are low that the linking site would send their visitors somewhere poor quality intentionally.
      • Inbound link anchor text is a great indicator of what's on a page to determine relevance.
      Link Love
      • Related websites
      • Directories
      • Blogs
      • Social networks
      • Press releases
      • Articles
      • Widgets
      • Wikis
      • Forums
      • News articles
      Sources of Links
    • "So where do I start?"
      • Research
          • What would a "natural link profile" look like for your site?
          • Research competitors' links (more on that soon)
          • Compile list of 'targets' for links.
      • How will you get your links?
          • Link baiting, dir submissions, link requests, pay for posts/reviews, articles, write reviews of others, etc.
          • Many more to be given later.
      • Follow-up, analyze, be patient.
      Phases of Linkbuilding
      • Use Excel to help manage data about sites and what your relationship is with them.
        • Note URL, name, contact info, how to get/you got a link, and if it's an important link, check randomly that it's still there. Always have a plan before you start! Don't shoot in the dark.
      • Do linkbuilding daily. I know it's painful, but it makes a huge difference.
      • Understand that this is the BEST thing you can be doing, so it's worth your time.
      To be successful at link building:
    • "So how can I tell if a link is a *good* link?"
      • One-way
      • Links to an interior page
      • Anchor text should be relevant, but varied.
      • Link is ideally within content.
      • How many pages is it on?
      Attributes of a Good Link
      • Where does it rank for the terms you want? The higher the better.This can have a big impact on results.
      • Domain is aged and has a consistent history.
      • A relevant topic to your site.
      • The site has a design that provides a good user experience.
      • How many outgoing links on the page?
      Attributes of a good linking domain:
    • Linkbuilding Myths and Mysteries
    • Verdict: Myth #1: You shouldn't link to other sites because you will 'bleed' your PageRank.
      • Often people fear linking out to other sites. No reason to fear this. Linking out brings links back.
      • PR is a score given based on incoming links. "Better" incoming links have more PR. As you gain PR, you have the ability to send out better links, too, but you won't lose any when you do.
      • Always link out when it benefits your users' experience.
      "Bleeding" PageRank
    • Verdict: Myth #2: Don't get links from low PR sites.
      • A natural linking profile contains sites of all different levels of PR.
      • A low PR site today could have high PR in a year. Likewise, a high PR site could have low PR in a year.
      • Forget PR. Make your decisions based on relevance, quality, placement, etc.
        • So many things are subjective in SEM, so people tend to cling to PR since there is an assigned value.
      Low PR Sites
    • Verdict: Proceed with Caution #3: Never, ever buy links.
      • A "paid link" is one bought with the intent to influence search engine rankings. Paying for a link to drive traffic alone is okay.
      • Individual sites could be penalized by removing their ability to pass rank, but a year ago Google confirmed they were manually reducing PR on select sites.
      • Know the problem and play smart. Avoid paid links if you aren't sure about it.
      Paid Links 101
      • Labels/content in proximity ("Advertisers" "Sponsors")
      • Information on the page about how to buy a link.
      • Relevance of nearby links/copy.
      • Paid agency code footprint.
      • Someone reports you.
      How can Google tell it's a paid link?
      • Buy direct from the site owner.
      • Ask bloggers for reviews of your product.
      • Sponsor a site, event, or contest.
      • Donate to a site, event, or contest.
      • Create a contest where entries require a post or link back.
      Making paid links look free:
    • Researching for Links
      • Google will only show a sampling of backlinks. For this reason, many use Yahoo! for a wider link profile view.
          • Yahoo shows no-followed links, so not all links 'count.'
      • Don't take your competitors' backlinks as your link building blueprint. Start there, but you have to do better than they do.
      • Get comfortable with the different link operators you can use to reveal potential partners.
      How to research for links:
    • "Who links to me? Who links to my competitors?" linkdomain:site.com
      • You can easily remove sites from the list by adding:
        • -removedsite.com
        • You can remove, for example, the company off-site blog. That will show you all sites that are linking to them besides that one. If you see many duplicate listing for one domain, filter it out to see how many there really are.
      • Do the same search in Google with link:site.com.
      linkdomain:
    • "What .edu and .gov links do my competitors have?" linkdomain:site.com site:edu OR .gov
      • Show all .edu or .gov sites that link to me or my competitors.
      • Often these sites have resource lists for students or the public where your competitors are listed. If you find this, you can contact them to be included as well.
      • .edu and .gov domains tend to have higher PR not necessarily because of their extension, but because they often have more trust and inlinks, and thus more PR.
      .edu and .gov
    • "Where are my competitors listed together, but I am not?" linkdomain:theirsite1.com linkdomain:theirsite2.com linkdomain:theirsite3.com -linkdomain:yoursite.com
      • If you can locate lists, blog posts, news articles, etc. where your competitors are listed, you may be able to be include as well.
          • These may be "trusted resources" or "preferred resources," or something similar.
      • You don't want to miss opportunities to be mentioned in places relevant enough to list your competitors.
      Where the Competitors Are
    • "How can I find pages that might be relevant to mine?" linkdomain:competitor.com -competitor.com "keyword phrase"
      • Use this to find sites that are linking to your competitors already, but you will also need to do basic keyword searches to find new sites.
      • Go through a handful of competitors and find discrepancies and patterns. This will better help you understand their linking profiles.
      • Use a spreadsheet to help you manage what you find for different phrases.
      Relevant Pages
    • How do I find pages that might be relevant that have my keyword in the URL? linkdomain:competitor.com -competitor.com inurl:keyword
      • Link building takes time and it's not worth rushing.
      • You absolutely won't achieve search engine results without links. How you get them is up to you.
      • Do no evil. If you want to rank in Google, you have to play by their rules. If you know you are breaking them, don't be upset if you drop in the SERPs.
      Final thoughts:
    • Slideshow link will be emailed after the meetup along with a list of our best link building ideas. Laura and Adam Alter @lauraa or adam@adamalter.com Thanks for coming!