Oct 10, 2014 113 reads by Navneet Kaushal

The session held at Salon C and focused on link building without incurring penalties. Current link building methods need to be oriented towards ensuring zero penalty from Google in the present and future. The speakers at this session discussed how this can be accomplished. The tactics for zero penalty link building in this session included mind hacking methods such as Reddit Mind Hack and current tech trends such as link building and content marketing through Facebook Graph Search, Pinterest and Reddit.



  • Rhea Drysdale (@Rhea) – CEO, Outspoken Media
  • Russ Jones (@rjonesx) – Chief Technology Officer, Virante, Inc.
  • Joe Youngblood (@YoungbloodJoe) – Founder, Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Rhea spoke of the need to follow laws and build a good business while pursuing link building. Russ mentioned that keeping in line with Google guidelines and Panda updates can go a long way towards effective link building and laid emphasis on broken link building. Joe spoke of the need to use interviews and photo credits for link building. Bruce also offered his inputs at the start of the session.

Moderator's Comments: Bruce indicated that those dealing with inbound links should consider whether these are inorganic/organic for the theme of the link. Use any technique in moderation, Bruce cautioned. He also indicated that it was imperative to follow Google Guidelines and links should make sense, enhance user experience and add to the content of the site.

Actual Law Vs Google Guidelines

Rhea said that Google Guidelines were not the only important criteria for judging link building. She suggested that paying attention to the actual law was equally important.

Follow The Law

She said that link builders should comprehend the expectations for giveaways and contests completely.

She also advised them to follow the stipulations of the Federal Trade Commission as completely and “seriously (if not more seriously) than you do Google Guidelines.”

Building A Real Business

Rhea provided inputs about building a real business and having a firm grasp and comprehension of the brand and the business.

The Perfect Business Strategy

Rhea criticized how the “what we do as marketers ends up becoming business strategy.” She then spoke of how SEOs should not be asked to build backlinks only in every meeting.

What SEOs Must Know?

She said that SEOs needed to be aware of the following:

  • Nature of the client's audience
  • Content resources which can be provided to them which are present

Diverse Growth Strategies

Rhea also stressed the need to invest in versatile and diverse growth strategies. To succeed, she feels, marketing strategy has to be “robust.”

She highlighted how link building is all about knowing what is best for the business.

Broken Link Building

Russ started his presentation with the following link from Moz “Broken link building is a link building tactic where a marketer contacts a webmaster who has a broken link on his/her site and recommends one or more alternatives that include his/her target site.”

Broken Link Builders Win

Russ then highlighted why broken link builders succeed where others fail. Here are some of the ways they win:

  • Prospecting
  • Following the rules
  • Excelling in content outreach

Prospecting Is Important

Russ outlined why and how prospecting is important. He then asked the link builders to find broad and associated keywords to prospect for resource pages pertaining to a particular topic.

Tool for Prospecting

Russ asked the audience to use nTopic for finding words as well as phrases that are found in content similar or same to you.

Resource Pages

Another important point in effective link building is the use of resource pages. Smart search queries are employed to identify resource pages pertaining to the topic.

Tool For Resource Pages

Brokenlinkbuilding.com is the perfect tool for this, said Russ. He also spoke of how outreach is possible to the resource page so that website administrators can be told about broken links.

Users can also try and look up backlinks to broken.com on Majestic as well as Moz and other sites and inform persons about their broken links, he said.

Panda Rules Must Be Followed

Russ asked the audience to ascertain what the page used to appear as and examine its content. He also asked users to follow the Panda rules to make the page look better.

How To Make The Page Better

Russ spoke of how website designers and SEO content creators need to consider the following while designing the page:

  • Whether the content was composed/created by experts or authority
  • Is the content considered trustworthy?
  • Is the page an authority for a particular theme/issue/topic
  • Will this content be seen in print as well?
  • Does the page have any obvious errors?

If the replacement of the content is even better than the original, success is more certain, explained Russ.

Tool for Content Improvement

For content improvement, Archive.org was recommended by Russ. He also spoke of how this tool can be used for assessing the improvements in terms of:

  • Quality
  • Relevancy
  • Potential

How Contact Finding Works

Russ also spoke of how finding good webmaster contact details is a difficult part. Outsourcing this may be a more effective method. Tools such as Mechanical Turk or the outreach app are perfect and they can be found in Brokenlinkbuilding.com.

Finding The Best Outreach Style

Finding the correct outreach style can lead to vast improvements in conversion rate, Russ discussed. He spoke of how one can go about gaining the best outreach style:

  • A time consuming but effective method is the long form wherein a long email explaining why content is better is sent to interested parties
  • Short form is where easy and fast heads up works best
  • Slow play involves using emails to say there is a broken link but not offering to explain where the broken link is or providing a replacement. This opens the door for webmasters to interact with you, said Russ.
  • Double tap is where webmasters are given a complaint instead of a nudge. Russ suggested sending complaint emails from those which are not owned by you.

Follow Ethical Rules

Russ cautioned the link builders to follow ethical rules which included:

  • No spamming
  • No fraud
  • No content theft

The Royal Guide to Google Safe Link Building

Joe offered a profusion of link building strategies through his presentation. He suggested the following key link building strategies:

  • You can establish a scholarship through scholarship management service
  • Create pages on the website giving a complete description of the scholarship
  • Identify targets on .edu sites to link to the scholarship page
  • Listed in directories and scholarship search engines
  • Scholarship linked content to be used for driving links

How Interview Link Building Works

Guest blogging has received a slap from Google, Joe said but he provided a similar concept called interview link building which is far better.

Here's how it works, explained Joe:

  • Use FindExpertsToInterview.com email list as well as MyBlogU
  • Use interviews from experts through methods such as phone, email, Tinychat, Google Hangout, in person and so on).
  • Write questions down before the interview and have the expert know what to expect during it
  • Publish the interview once it is completed and ask experts to share this socially
  • Use interviews as outward facing communication communicating you are the first and final point of contact for this content

Photo Credit Link Building As A Strategy

Another technique espoused by Joe was the passive strategy of photo credit link building. For this, Joe suggested Ubersuggest.com.

  • Find highly trafficked images, Joe explained. He then asked the user to use this online tool for setting images and typing in basic questions or queries.
  • Joe said the next step was to create a list of applicable keywords and put them through Google AdWords Keyword Planner to find the search volume of the keywords.
  • He then advocated sorting by search volume and hitting upon image keywords that match content being created such as blogposts, articles and so on.
  • He also asked users to find those image queries which are not associated with good results. He then asked the users to make images and publish them on the site with ALT and Title Tags.
  • Reverse image searches once a month are a good idea to find new websites that use images from you and link you for photo credit and original article

Reddit Link Building Has Immense Scope

Joe also spoke of Reddit link building as a good move. He mentioned how Reddit was accepted by Google News and journalists are paying increased attention to it as a result of this. Some points to watch out for here, Joe felt were:

Reddit was accepted into Google News, and journalists are paying increasing attention to Reddit.

  • View the types of content shared at the default sub-Reddits like DataIsBeautiful.
  • Create content that is in line with sub-Reddit and target Reddit users who will then share the content on from you and allow self submissions as well under certain cases
  • Join the conversation about it once the content is shared
  • Use upvotes on content by sharing them through social media but don't ask for upvotes, Joe said
  • He also asked users to try employing Reddit ads to target a sub-Reddit with thank you's, special discounts and the likes for shares and likes for your content.

Joe ended the session with this discussion on link building tactics that work.

Link Building Without a Penalty: #pubcon Las Vegas 2014, Day 3!, 5.0 out of 5 based on 2 ratings
Navneet Kaushal
Navneet Kaushal is the Editor-in-Chief of PageTraffic Buzz. A leading search strategist, Navneet helps clients maintain an edge in search engines and the online media. Navneet's expertise has established PageTraffic Buzz as one of the well know digital marketing blog.
Navneet Kaushal
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