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February 24, 2008

SES London 2008: Linking Strategies

By SEOidiot

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

Dixon Jones
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.

Case Studies
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 Paines
Matt showed us some of the old techniques that used to be used with his suggestion in brackets: -

Reciprocal (SOME)
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 (SOME)
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

Directories (YES)
Google have developed their view on directories and only the major ones now have real value.

Forums (NO)
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.

Articles (YES)
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.

Link power
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.

Brian Turner
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.

Link strategies

  • Submitted
  • Directories
  • Articles
  • Social media profiles
  • Forum signatures

Forum signatures
Easy to create and control
Time consuming
Low impact

Sitewide links
Footer links
Advertiser / Sponsor links

Choice of anchor text
Wide inventory
Traffic potential

Usually strong footprint and easy to spot
Budget dependent
Limited control of format

Natural blog posts
Media editorials
Natural references
Presell pages (Hosted marketing pages)

Keyword association through page
Potential authority / trust
Natural placement
Traffic potential
Linkable content

Difficult to acquire
Most expensive form of link

Presell pages
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.

Link sources
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
Co-Ordinate links


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"Some of the big article sites like PRWeb have had their ability to pass page rank stripped..."

Really? That's news to us here at PRWeb and misinformation to the audience. PRWeb continues to be treated by Google as always and rightly so.

Hi Joe, thanks for stopping by SMG, reading this post and commenting on it.

For the record, we (Paul & I in this case) are reporting on what was presented in the session. We do not tell the speakers what to present. We also do not edit or change their words, nor inject our own opinions into what's written when it comes to live blogging the conference.

If you have a certain issue with what was written in the live blogging of a session, something that you believe is mis-information, please take it up with the speaker who said what you believe is wrong.
Taking that action would be a much better alternative, as they are presenting at a conference - basically it's better to got to the source. Unfortunately, unless the speaker follows up this recap continually for comments, the speaker will say the same information again.

Thanks again,

I completely understand and have reached out to the speaker. My comment here was to provide clarity at a location where the misinformation was being repeated.

I think your audience would appreciate that.

I have checked my notes from the session and I stand by the post as it is. During an in session coverage blog its hard to filter out that which may be controversial.

I do however appreciate that you may wish to clarify the position and I hope this provides an opportunity for you.

Please realize this was never a challenge to your reporting or note taking. I'm sorry to have left you with that impression.

It is great you have provided me with the opportunity to provide clarity both here and with the speaker.

The comments to this entry are closed.

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