Link Building Basics

Aug 21, 2007 • 2:07 pm | comments (1) by twitter | Filed Under Search Engine Strategies 2007 San Jose
 

Link Building Basics Discover how search engines rely on link analysis as an important component for rank web pages. Learn also how to increase traffic to your site by building quality links in an appropriate manner. Moderator:

* Kevin Heisler, Executive Editor, SearchEngineWatch

Speakers:

* Mike Grehan, Vice President, International Business Development, Bruce Clay, Inc. * Christine Churchill, President, Key Relevance Eric Ward couldn't make it again. :( I will never meet Eric in the flesh. I wish you well, Eric.

Mike talks about why your pages should be ranked higher than others. Search engines look at the web as a graph. We spend a lot of time talking about getting indexed. But on the other side, what is it when someone does a search that makes one page come higher than another?

Search engines build an inverted index. Search engines keep only one occurrance of a term. There's no point for them keeping 30 billion copies of the word "the." TThe best way to imagine how this works is that if you look at a textbook and you look for the word hemaglobin, and it says it appears on page 172, 195, 213, etc, the word is pointing to the page. A page becomes known for the importance of the word and the word points to the important pages. The more times the word is on the page, the more relevant the words are for a search query. I learned this in 1997.

In 98, a professor named John Kleinberg wrote a paper about the prevalence of words on a page and how they should rank in the search engines. In the same year, a couple of students wrote a paper called PageRank about the communities surrounding particular pages. A search for "Japanese auto manufacturer" didn't bring up pages like Nissan, Toyota, etc. But if you add a hyperlink with that text to that page, it shows up. The point is that it's not about what you say about yourself on the page, it's about the other people in the community says about you.

Sometimes in this industry when you talk to SEOs, they'll talk about reverse-engineering the algorithm. It's not possible. Search engines can see links in many different ways. The more people who link in related areas (cocitation), the more relevant the search engines believe they are.

Google Anxiety Syndrome = GAS.

The new science of networks: hubs and authorities. Not only do we spot the hubs and authorities, it has evolved into becoming topic-specific. Now you think of quality of links, not quantity. The more quality links, the better. How does that work in the real world? 40 million web pages were crawled and 100,000 communities. Communities can be very broad: computer makers branch to software makers, hardware makers, digital camera makers, etc.

10 essential takeaways: 1. Remember it's quality material that attracts good quality site links. 2. Search engines look at the anchor text in links. 3. Search engines have already decided who they think is important. Use search engines (link:www.yourcompetitor.com) to find linking partners. 4. Reciprocal links and buying links - major directory such as Yahoo. Yeah, Matt Cutts says it's wrong. I don't mind buying links at all if it's a good site. Reciprocal links are okay if you don't overdo it. Look for vertical directories: submit your site + Golf, for example, for a golf industry site. 5. A well run affiliate program can bring you plenty of traffic and deliver plenty of sales. But an affiliate porgram can also cause havoc with your linking strategy. A redirected link like Commission Junction or ClickBank, for example, can deplete the power of direct links you may have already had. 6. Don't be choosy about who you link to. 7. Don't try and fake your linkage data of fake domains simply to point back to a page on your main site. If nobody is linking to your fake domains, it's considered a spam island. 8. How do you ask for a link? Asking for a link is about asking if you can do business with somebody. Be careful. 9. Acquiring links is time consuming. Should you get someone else to do it? 10. Unless you want to be Yahoo, why waste time building a link directory? Build time spending content.

The internet is all "about connections, nothing else" - quote from Tim Berners Lee, inventor of the WWW.

White papers: Underneath the hood - link quality explained; Filty Linking Rich.

Christine Churchill is up next. The reality of getting links, you realize that you get a lot of traffic but you get a lot of bounce rates unless the linkbait is quality. You can't do it overnight and have a ton of links that push you up in the rankings. You have to have quality.

Tip: a lot of times companies have existing links from good sources but they may not be great links. I recommend that you go back to those sources and negotiate those links - ask them what you want. Tell thm what you want it. A lot of time people will do it simply because you've asked.

Tip: Look at sources of links. Pick up the phone. Emails are often disregarded. Pick up the phone and form a relationship with them like a business relationship.

Tip: Look for links in your vertical. Look at results pages - find what people are linking for in the same terms that you want to rank for. If they are not competitors and they're potential partners, form a business relationship. I'm not a fan of reciprocal links.

Tip: Don't get all your links from one place. When you are doing your link building, go to a variety of sources. You don't want only blogs, or only PR sources. Make it look natural.

The reality with link building today is that you have to budget for it. It's not cheap. People burnout very easily. It's intense work and takes a lot of drive.

Don't overlook sources in your local community. Local businesses can take advantage of chamber of commerce and professional organizations.

Previous story: Keynote Conversation with Jim Lanzone of Ask.com
 

Comments:

Heather

08/23/2007 09:53 pm

Thanks for sharing your takeaway. I wasn't able to attend SES so your points are well taken. Link building is an art, not a science. Thanks!

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