Real-World Low-Risk, High-Reward Link Building Strategies

Nov 13, 2008 - 5:33 pm 2 by
Filed Under PubCon 2008

This is a follow up to last year's highly popular linking session.

The panelists in this session are experts on linking and will take a critical look at linking strategies including outbound link optimization, outsourcing link building, old-fashioned linking via directories, and hiring an in-house link developer.

Moderator: Chris Tolles Speakers: Eric Enge, President, Stone Temple Consulting Rebecca Kelley, Search Marketing Consultant, SEOmoz Roger Montti, Founder and Owner, Greg Hartnett, President, Best of The Web

Eric Enge: some ways to use social media as a link building strategy

Think big! Companies can be like Blendtec.

Social News Sites: the opportunity includes tens of thousands of visitors but the traffic sucks -- but there's also the opportunity for links

Match the Digg demographic 13-28 year old males They like Google, Apple, novel technical thing, open source, Gmail..

Some other tips: - Study what has worked before - Write a compelling title - Write an interesting description - Vote for posts in front of you on the upcoming pages - Make sure you stand out!

Case study: a website that has a restroom photo. Was it successful? 2/3 of a year later, it has 159 links. It's prominent in Google results. - But ask: is it helpful or relevant?

Authoritative content can win: for example, how to solve a Rubiks cube that was posted on a howto website. Why did it go hot? It was relevant to the audience - Rubiks cube had a resurgence a year ago among high school/college males. There were other great articles that predated it. It was authoritative and unique.

Was it a success? Yes. - Fits theme of site, content was credible, still has 147 links 2/3 years later, does rank for Rubiks cube related search terms, term gets 40-50 searches a day.

One more example - 45 excellent blog designs on the front page of Digg. It was more successful and here's why: fit the theme, credible content, 1160 links more than 1 year later, it's relevant, authoritative, high rankings, and there are 645 searches per day!

Doing this for yourself - interest the audience, be authoritive, reflect well on your business, use titles targeted at BIG search terms - it needs to be in the article title and the Digg submission title (those are in anchor text)

Another case study: Sports stock market - fantasy players would buy/sell players and see trends. They became social media powerhounds - how? - They created great apps primarily on Facebook targeted to sports fans - March Madness app with 150k users, Fantasy Football app with 350k users - there are apps for every sports team - 6m-7m users! - They also succeeded by integrating ads into the environment.

Why is this link building? - Got a link from, a PR7 page; ESPN, TechCrunch, Google, Battelle Media

Success story: They built content that built their reputation - authoritative, right image for company, related to business. They matched the demographic.

Rebecca Kelley: Traditionally, link building sucks! It's repetitive, time consuming, risky, and there is low ROI.

But we need links - links are votes, they give you better rankings. You will want high quality links, not low quality links. Links bring traffic.

Strategy #1: Find brand mentions - find people talking about you who don't link to you. Ask them for a link. Go to Yahoo SiteExplorer; do a search like ""

Strategy #2: Identify broken inbound links. Use Google's Webmaster Tools Crawl Error Sources, COntact linkers and ask them to fix the link.

Strategy #3: Take advantage of broken links to your competitors. - Search for things that are "no longer available," or "no longer offered [keyword]" - If the product is discontinued, contact the site's owner and see if they're willing to link to you instead. Contact sites linking to the broken page.

Strategy #4: Find out who is linking to your competitors. Try Yahoo! Hubfinder. - Find out who is linking to one site and who isn't linking to other sites. Ask for that link!

Strategy #5: Take advantage of confirmation emails. Customers who like you will comply. Links are editorial and relevant. It's a scalable strategy.

Strategy #6: Embed links in widgets, badges, and banners. Create a quiz, poll, shareable content. Offer embeddable tools and programs. Include a link back to your site.

Strategy #7: Create some linkbait - brainstorm content ideas and host it on your site. Promote the content via social media sites, forums, blogs, etc. Profit! - Identify linkbait opportunities - research your sector's link worthiness; discover the big players in your firled; target social media/social news sites. - Analyze current trends - Don't neglect your own industry.

Handy resources - - - - - -

Blog posts: - - - -

Greg Hartnett: link building via directories - A directory is not a paid link. A paid link successful transaction results in a link on the page. A successful transaction on a directory is a review. - A directory is not just a link farm. Link farms are a collection of links that are on a page that are categorized haphazardly without editorial discretion. They're created to manipulate search results. - How can I tell a directory from a "directory?" Good directories have a history, contain great resources, have populated categories, are designed for the user, add lots of sites and not paid submits.

What kind of traffic can you expect? Not the Digg effect. Can I list my website multiple times? Yes, it's called deep linking. Is the Yahoo Directory worth it? Yes - it's an aged, trusted domain and the primary hub for internet mapping. Is the ODP corrupt? No. Which directories are considered the most trustworthy? Yahoo, DMOZ, BOTW,, Librarians Internet Index

How do I ensure my site gets listed if I go and pay these review fees? Follow the rules. There's no guarantee of listing, read the direcotry guidelines, good titles and descriptions, and beef up your content.

Where can I submit my blog? - Yahoo and DMOZ have categories - BOTW blog directory - - Search Engine Journal has a list - Lee Odden has another list

Roger Montti: - Traffic and links with pop.

.edu links are popular but they're not special. - The page may not be authoritative, they may be link farms, and they may be poorly linked to.

Tips you can use: - Industry heavyweight backlinks: check backlinks from the most important companies in your sector [keyword] - e.g. sponsors, donors, benefactors, events Bronze sponsorships are cheaper than the diamond ones and you can get a good link regardless.

Use the following with your product/niche keywrods and .edu modifiers: hotlinks, bookmarks, links, directory, resources. Pay attention to what kind of sites the targets are linking to - if they're only liking to govs and edus, they may not want to link to a commercial site.

White Hat Black Hat strategies: almost every blackhat technique can be turned to white hat by using nofollow or rendering link with javascript. Blog widgets, counters, calculators, and wordpress themes.


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