Moderator: Mike Grehan, Co-chair, SES London; CEO Searchvisible Limited
Dixon Jones: MD Receptional Limited
Ken McGaffin: Internet Marketing Consultant, LinkingMatters
Brian Turner: Director, Britecorp Limited
Matt Paines: MD, XSEO Limited
Proverb: "The bigger they are the harder they fall on you" - Google are huge and if they think you are trying to game them they will fall on you pretty hard.
Getting indexed was the easy bit, then its all about getting the users to the site.
Google has 90% market share because they understand more about the users intent and they understand the relationship between the two. The differential factor is the reputation of your site online in relation to the sites above and below for that query structure.
In the last 12 months links has gotten absurd due to things like the influence of social media and the change in the way that we use the internet.
Receptional do try to record and differentiate the quality of the links that they get for a client. Recording things like the number of gov or edu links to the site linking in as well as things like references within wikipedia etc.
Build techniques that give people the incentive to link to you rather than going and asking for them.
Some links give quality real people and traffic of value and many others will simply bring junk traffic.
Think up strategies that it will be hard for competitors to simply copy
Dixon showed us the example of when Maxim magazine got the Eva Longoria image on Google earth and how many people have linked to them from that piece of innovative marketing.
Stop dead links using .htaccess to send a 301 for commonly mistyped URLs that may have links pointing at them.
Cleaning your site needs a good understanding of 301 redirects and helps prevent duplicate content.
Use RSS to allow people to have live news etc from your site by building things like widgets to help your link building efforts.
Matt showed us some of the old techniques that used to be used with his suggestion in brackets: -
Whilst this is a mainly dead practice now there is still some benefits in terms of strategic partnership. Where its a natural thing to do and adds value it can still have a valid reason to be there but its not a good thing to do if the engines can view it as inappropriate.
Blog spam has killed this in many ways. Most blogging providers have exclusions on text links. Seek out blogs that don't exclude with nofollow and engage with the blogs content, don't pollute.
Guest Book (NO)
Now completely dead in Matts opinion
Google have developed their view on directories and only the major ones now have real value.
Very much like blogs many of these have now nofollowed the links, can also be dangerous from a reputation management point of view due to the nature of the conversations on forums.
Social Media (YES)
Whilst many of these sites don't pass link value they do pass traffic and conversation.
Link Baiting (YES)
Difficult to control the anchor text but a extremely valid way to build incentives to link.
Some of the big article sites like PRWeb have had their ability to pass page rank stripped but they do provide a good method for getting the word out about your site quickly.
Paid For (YES)
Valid but avoid networks. We have been paying for advertising on and off line for many years, Yahoo for example charge for the review and addition of your site to their directory.
Ken McGaffin (www.linkingmatters.com)
Ken came into link building through traditional marketing. After writing his report (Linkingmatters) he built sales for the report by getting links and yet even when he stopped asking the links still kept building.
Links without asking is what its about
You have to make content that people want to link to without having to ask them.
Make sure that your Marketing, PR and SEO/Link Building people meet together and develop a common strategy.
Majority comes into the home page and make sure you are using the link power to highlight the pages you need to.
Find out who links to you now (And who brings you traffic)
Get the most from the sites that link to you already.
When someone links to you it shows the start of a relationship with them.
Encourage deep links
Ask for keyword rich links
Explore relationships - business or otherwise
Consider joint publications
Look at market segments where you are weak
Carry out the keyword research
Find the authority sites
Test markets on and off site
Explore relationships, business or otherwise
Customize product offerings
Use public relations to establish position
Look for emerging markets (And establish your position early)
Microtrends by Mark J Penn is a good example of this technique.
Does the market exists and is it relevant
Plan initiatives for the year ahead
Link building isn't an SEO trick its a way of establishing your position in a market.
Google is a links driven search engine, instead of looking at what the page said about itself they looked at what other sites said about it.
- Social media profiles
- Forum signatures
Easy to create and control
Advertiser / Sponsor links
Choice of anchor text
Usually strong footprint and easy to spot
Limited control of format
Natural blog posts
Presell pages (Hosted marketing pages)
Keyword association through page
Potential authority / trust
Difficult to acquire
Most expensive form of link
Most powerful tactic
Write an information rich piece of content were perhaps you link to other useful resources within the content as well as to the paid link page, thereby pre-qualifying the traffic.
Different Class C (/24) IP Ranges
Varied anchor text
On Topic if possible - but not required
Quality, not quantity
Geo-target - UK domains for UK searches
Treat as PPC