Subsribe to LinkMoses Private



The Leading Search & Social Marketing Event
Link Building Basics

2:30 - 3:30 pm

by Eric Ward
President - and Publisher, LinkMoses Private
Chief Link Evangelist

After the conference, this session can be found at

60 Seconds of Link Building History...

This is the exact modem I used to announce Books debut

There Was a Time When Nobody Cared About Link Building

There Wasn't Even A Category for Web Promotion at Yahoo

I had to beg some college kid named Jerry Yang to create it...


There were just a few crawler based search engines, like Lycos and Webcrawler

There were Directories like Yahoo, and very few places where people could announce and seek attention for web sites, like Lycos' TOP 5%

There was no "link analysis", no link popularity and no Pagerank, because there was no Google

SEO was on-page only, and had nothing to do with link building

Link building was practiced by just a handful of people

Link Building In 2011  - Everybody cares

The Big Change?
(original document)

  • The connective tissue of the web itself, links, will act as a proxy for content quality
  • In a spam free world, this would be true. But we don't live in a spam free world
  • Links have become the currency of the web. Beg, buy, borrow, trade or steal, links seem to be the only thing that matters now, along with social counterparts like likes, tweets, and plusses
  • The primary reason for this is links now impact search rank, and everyone wants to put on a link beauty show for the engines
  • The links that point at your site tell a story about your site.  Like a transcript. Or a rap-sheet. 
Has link building become more complicated? 
Yes and No.

Let's say you are trying to spot link targets for the site

Sometimes it can be simple. URLs provide all you need to make a decision about quality. 



Which of the above URLs shows signals of quality?

The Link Building industry has complicated things
Usually by creating services driven my the frenzy for links rather than by quality.

We now have a wide variety of tool and tactics for building links, publicity, and "buzz"

- web directory links
- article links
- links pages
- press releases
- blogs, blogrolls
- paid blog reviews
- link swaps
- managed link farms
- thin content networks
- abandoned site buys
- social bookmarking 
- toolbars and plug ins (StumbleUpon)
- social network link shares, likes, etc. (FB/TW/G+)
- collaborative voting sites (digg) 
- paid links
We also have many linking process management tools

Lastly, we have companies all over the world claiming expertise and selling linking related services which are 100% useless.

How can the same link building package help two sites 
about different subjects?

Answer: it can't




Let's Simplify Things - Audiences for Your Links
You have two audiences for links you post, like, plus, tweet, and share:
1). People...who click them

2). Search Engines...that evaluate and make decisions about them

Links can accomplish four things:
1). Direct click traffic

Can be on obscure pages related to your niche that send you a couple clicks a week, or from higher profile venues like Yahoo Upcoming or FWA, or Kaboose, or even paid links. 

NOTE: I've posted a case study on the positive effect of what I call Twitter Link Waves.  Also read Twitter: Incredibly Valuable Or Utterly Useless As A Link Building Tool?

2). Search rank
Links that help search rank will be earned by content merit, originate from source sites engines trust, and be put in place by people who could be described as "curators of quality".  Here's a great example of a merit based link venue

3). Both
A link that can help rank and send direct click traffic is a rare and beautiful thing.  I'll show you a few thousand of these right now. 

Sorry, just kidding. 

Your niche's most trusted sources are different than the person sitting next to you.

4). Neither
A link that can neither help rank or send direct click traffic. The majority of web content is this.

Effective link building involves multiple strategies, including
- Ignoring the search engines sometimes

Your overall linking strategy should not be dictated by search engines, because all that does is create a dependence on search traffic.  Look at these two traffic stats

- Learn how link building and link marketing and public relations for web content are all quite different but equally vital to your success

- The links anyone can get - like directories

- Merit based from link "curators" - links only your content can get

- Online public relations - press releases

- Different flavors of linkbait or content creation and syndication

- Reciprocal links

- Paid links

***  Perhaps the most overlooked opportunity of all...

- On-site link optimization. Example: The search term is 

link bait strategies

How do I rank #1 when everyone below me has hundreds more links than I do?

- A Few Things to Avoid

Leaping before you look - do some research first. Just because you may not be penalized is no reason to pollute the web with links just to see if it works.  Who ranks today? What is their link profile?  How credible is it? 

Make some, but not all, of your linking strategy decisions based on search engines. 

Tactics which the engines have stated are against QG

Automation. Any tool with the word incredible, instant, overnight, while you sleep, it's just that simple, revolutionary, game changing, or unprecedented in its advertising copy

- Remember
In general, the easier any link is to obtain, the less useful that link is likely to be (for a person or a search engine)

The specific approach used for any given web site should be different based on each site's focus, content, and intended audience


What is a high value link target for this site?


Would it be a link from some web directory like this

Would it be a link from a topically relevant and "curated" site like this?

The paradox of trust - no traffic can equal high trust

What is a high value link target for this site?

Is it a link from a site devoted to upcoming movie releases
Is it a link from a Yahoo fan/discussion group for Zac Efron ?
Is it a link from a site devoted to Dr. Seuss?

- The Most Crucial Takeaway? 
The type of links that help one site reach its goals are not the same types of links that will help another site reach its goals, and every site has its own linking potential.

- Closing thoughts
  • Since the linking approach required for any given web site will vary dramatically depending on that site's focus, content, and intended audience, then each site deserves it's own link building and content publicity plan or blueprint. 

  • In general, the easier any link is to obtain, the less useful that link is likely to be 

  • Links tell a story about a site, like a transcript or "rap-sheet"

  • Engines use that story to make decisions about your site

  • Strive for that which is different, because common link profiles ultimately cancel each other out.
Five Outstanding Reads

- Relationship Link Building: Paul May of BuzzStream Interview by Garrett French
- 30+ More Tools to Automate Your Link Building by Jeremy Bencken
- How to Develop Link Marketing Ideas by Justilien Gaspard
- Why Your Link Requests Are Failing by Kristio Hines
- 44 Local Link Building Queries for Citation Prospecting and Opportunity Analysis