Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Link Building Block Link Buys: Just Say No.

My good friend Eric Ward stopped by today and left some sage advice..... Enjoy!!

I'm seeing more and more firms selling services that, and I quote loosely, "guarantee to get 200 new links to your site for xx$) This approach not only doomed to fail, it's just silly. Here's why.

Based on 11 years of building links for every type of content imaginable I've learned that every site has a different type and number legitimate topical links it can expect to attract and obtain. A site about dog adoption and a site about agricultural equipment are very different and the approach taken, while similar, will yield much different link potential for each site.

The bottom line for me is that it is impossible to propose a linkbuilding project for ANY site without first doing some analysis of the site, the site's primary competitors, the specific industry niche key players etc. Then, once this analysis has been done, you have a more focused and site specific set of strategies to pursue. Some sites might require months of link building activities, others only a few weeks. Anyone who tells you otherwise isn't helping you one bit. Also, anyone who sells "packages" of links, like "200 oneway links for $3000", is not helping you in the long run, becausehow can anyone say how many links ANY site could or should have, and how can they arbitrarily select a number, like 100, or 200, or 300? It's simply foolish.

If these services help you in the short run with search rankings, it's all based on fooling the search engines, and it's not an approach I'd ever use for a site I owned.The best link building methods identify the logical target sites that make the most sense to pursue links from on a subject/topical basis. Don't focus on engines or pagerank. That approach will fail in time and have to be repeated over and over, which may be what most of these block link buying services want to happen anyway.

Catch Eric and I talkin' links at Search Engine Stratgies

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Amazon + Reviewers + Links

I was over at Amazon the other day buying something when I noticed my item had been reviewed by a Top 500 Reviewer named Tom. Seems he belongs to an elite group of people who have been picked by Amazon to provide reviews of their products. Here’s what Amazon says about them:

"Let's hear it for our Top Reviewers--selected by Amazon.com customers like you. These clear-minded critics voiced their opinions about Amazon.com items. In turn, they supplied their fellow shoppers with helpful, honest, tell-it-like-it-is product information. Please join us as we salute this topnotch group of review writers."
I scrolled through the list of reviewer bio’s and noticed a large number had blogs/websites directly related to the expertise they were reviewing - or as a result of their Amazon status. Most made mention of other related editorial activities and invited further contact.

What a gold mine of authority figures! It would be worth a look to see if there is a Top 500 Reviewer in your niche and contact them “off” Amazon for:

A product review you can use on your site. Once you have it, issue an...

Announcement to the media you’ve gotten a product endorsement from a noted Amazon authority figure. In the announcement include an action call to other reviewers to contact you and provide product reviews. More reviews……..repeat the process.

At the very least ask to buy ad space on their blog/website/newsletter if they have one. This tactic is obviously less viral than the one above but no less effective link wise.

Win-win here for all involved, that’s the best kind of linking!

Friday, February 03, 2006

Want To Go To China?

My SEO friend and fellow SMA-NA Board member Ian McAnerin has put together a sales mission to China. http://www.chinasearchmarketingtour.com/

"The China Search Marketing Tour is business-focused, providing participants with
cultural, social, economic and political orientations in China.....attend the first Search Engine Strategies Conference and Expo to be held in China as well as the Great Wall, the Forbidden City and other exciting places!"

there's a $250 discount available to any SMA member who registers. Thanks Ian!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Bud TV

My old boss has come up with something pretty cool I think, check this out:


Go stock go!

p.s. Note the misspelling of the company name in adotas's link......how silly for soooo many reasons.....

Appears I'm not alone thinking this is a good idea: http://www.clickz.com/experts/brand/capital/article.php/3584096

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

No Win Links.

Reading along this a.m. I came across a blog post that linked to this article:


"A group of newspaper, magazine and book publishers is accusing Google
and other aggregators of online news stories of unfairly exploiting their
content. They are demanding compensation from search engines

"unfairly exploiting" hmmm... sounds like someone is losing money to me. I guess it's easier to whine about the engines than report to your stockholders you haven't efficiently been able to monetize the web as well as Google has...! Anyway, that article sparked a thought I wanted to share:

There's a real push to publish articles for the purpose of garnering links or to host content and become a resource site that attract links. Either way - I highly recommend you get permisison for what you do. If you're hosting someone's content on your site, disclose the source. Conversely, anyone using your material needs to do the same.

The policing thing is a pain but if you're doing this to attract links, you want to be sure you're getting them. If you don't care and just want the exposure - fine, but still ask for a non-hyperlinked bio line in the event someone from the media wants to contact you.

Poor engines....seems there's a new roadblock everyday. They just can't win!

What's In Your Link Wallet?

Ahhhh, paid links. This time last year they were all the rage and quite the link darlings. Fast forward and we find them being shunned in favor of things like “link bait”, tagging and article writing. What happened? Why did they jump off our link radar?

The zeal to buy links probably died somewhere between being told by a Google rep they were "bad" and paying exorbitant link fees. Not only did we hear the warnings not to buy them, we read about their evilness on a blog… It was enough scary apathy to make us look for the next big “link thing” and follow the herd to the current buzz.

Which is fine really, baiting, tagging and writing are all good tactics and if done with some imagination, will net links. But!! While everyone is away playing with the new toys, let’s go out and buy some links.

Where To Go.

Before we go on, two things. First, I don't want to get into the "link buying is link manipulation which is against the code of the engines" discussion. No thanks. To me this is nothing more than an advertising tactic that supports an ongoing SEO and marketing strategy which by all "normal" accounts - is acceptable.

Second, it goes without saying that any link you pay for should conform to your standards. If that means a clean HTML link, fine. If you want to add tracking code and don’t care about the link pop it passes – fine. Just be clear about your expectations when you dialogue with the site owner.

If your website compliments a bricks and mortar store, your first stop should be the local Chamber or Retail Association. The second should be any local business with a website your customers would potentially visit. Why? Local search is hot right now and the engines are actively looking for content to fill their maps and local sections. The commonality factor is the location so be sure to use your city and state in the anchor.

It makes sense to me that sites hosting Adsense will be open-minded about selling link space. Look for sites within your community with Adsense and evaluate their potential as a link partner.

However….don’t agree to buy space on a page that hosts the words “sponsored links” or wants to add you to the very bottom of the page along with a number of other links. Both of these issues will probably get your link ignored (by the engines) and can be a waste of money.

Want to throw away more money? Then pay for links on sites that don’t host your demographic. Look for sites your customer base frequents and pay for highly visible links there.

One last tactic… buying links in niche and article directories is a great and economical way to get started. Be sure you’re on pages that compliment your products, you're using targeted anchors and those pages are passing some meter of green. Leave all your links up for at least a year and then re-evaluate. If you can’t find a return to your wallet, axe the link.