Friday, April 13th, 2007

Web Site Linking Strategies

Conference notes from the "Linking Strategies" session at Search Engine Strategies New York '07.

Jim Boykin, CEO, We Build Pages
Justilien Gaspard, Principle Justilien Internet Marketing Solutions
Greg Boser, President, WebGuerrilla LLC

Justilien Gaspard, Principle Justilien Internet Marketing Solutions


Go for directories that are geared for people, not bots. Go for the old directories that have been around a long time. It puts you in "the right neighborhood" so the search engines understand the theme of your site.

Go for niche and vertical directories - they're often overlooked - example: [travel directory] - only use ones that are well ranked in Google. City directories, state directories, hobbyist directories are all good.

Avoid ones with nofollows, or only have a few pages indexed. Go for ones that are human edited, static links, and have high quality backlinks for the pages you want to be on.

Follow their guidelines, and appear natural.

Content + Research = Links

Solve problems

Do keyword research (what are people looking for?)

Research what is attracting links in your industry (each industry will be different).

Blogs, Wikis & Forums: Content, Links, User involvement


Don't just wait for the links to come - promote your site. Even go after reporters and A-list bloggers. Look in media directories to find people to target. Be helpful, write timely, newsworthy content and let journalists you've talked to know about the article.

Use social media - the reporters watch the various sites to find stories.

Press releases are good too. Do separate press releases targeted toward social media.

Jim Boykin, CEO, We Build Pages

It's not the number of backlinks - it's the quality of the backlinks.

"If other sites don't link to you your great content, you won't rank for squat."

Best way to look at backlinks is

Linking your own sites together doesn't work. Google is a registrar so they can see who owns what.

Link trading is dead.

Buying links on "big ole" PR8, PR9 pages is dead too.

You just can't get ranked quickly for big terms.

PageRank is dead think TrustRank - get links from trusted sites, and try to get links from the page content, not the sidebars.

"Similar Pages" -> Pages that share common backlinks. If you link within a network, you'll see your network...

He pays sites for ads that are paragraphs with links to his sites. He wants to be in the content section. The paragraph will also link out to other reputable sites.

Think neighborhoods...

Link out to trusted web sites within your content.

Adds lots of text to your home page. Make sure pages have good content.

Greg Boser, President, WebGuerrilla LLC

They focus on competitive analysis when starting a strategy for a client. Good links for you can be very different than what would be good links for your competitors.

Older sites have more leeway in terms of backlinks. If a new site gets a lot of bad backlinks it can kill them. Older sites also get to rank easily on competitive terms. Gradually this will get improved so they'll only get credit for subjects that are consistent to the theme of the site.


It's not necessarily bad to interlink your sites it just may not help you as much as links from different sites.

What you can do is look for and buy the site of a competitor with lots of decent, relevant backlinks. Leave the site up for users but do a 301 redirect for the spiders to the relevant pages on your older site so the old site gets a bunch of new backlinks.

Especially on Yahoo!, a single domain is better than a number of subdomains.

Spider-sensitive 301s are better than using robots.txt because you get the benefit of the link.

"Leaking PageRank" is still a bit of an issue. Make sure you trust the sites you link to and that they're on-topic for the page. Beyond that, a lot of outbound links shouldn't be a problem.

To do competitive analysis... Start with the 50 terms for your site, figure out who's ranking best in those terms (in the aggregate), then look at the backlinks for the top few sites.

If someone tries to hurt your rank by giving you a bunch of negative backlinks they may actually help you rather than hurt you. It all depends on how old your site is. If it's young it can hurt, if it's old it's likely to help.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. If subdomains are working for you, don't combine into a single domain unless you see a problem cropping up.

If you're up against a bunch of old sites (from the '90s), and you have a new site (a few years old), good luck... Look for other sources of traffic.

Ads that bring you traffic are fine, but an ad that influences your ranking is often better.

There is PageRank shadow... If you get a big link that only lasts a while and then goes away - it will still help in the future. Same goes when you mess up - it can hurt you in the future.

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Categories: Link Building

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