To buy or not to buy; that is the question in link building today.
- Detlev Johnson in lieu of Elisabeth Osmeloski
- Rand Fishkin, CEO, SEOMoz
- Jim Boykin, CEO, Webuildpages
- John Lessnau, Founder, LinkAdage
- Aaron Wall, Author, SEO Book
The first speaker, John Lessnau, Founder of LinkAdage starts off by saying everyone asks him, "should I buy links? What links? Will I get banned?"
So, should you buy links? Lessnau says it depends:-
- How old is your site
- Number of links in that site
- Are you happy with your traffic
- What is your risk tolerance
- Do you get natural links
- Is your site under the radar?
Does your site receive natural links? If you get links naturally, do not buy them. Most of the time, people buy links as it is the only way to get decent links. It's about instant gratification.
What kind of link should we buy?
- Don't buy links on sites that include many paid links
- Don't buy sites that have no relevance to your site
- Buy links on pages where your link will fit in well
- Don't go to webpages that have unrelated links with an "Add URL" link added.
- Avoid PR8 sites that feature with contextual links and have descriptions
This buys links in the current content of webpages relevant to your site that don't openly buy or sell links. In a situation like this, both buyers and sellers win.
Cutting Boards R Us:
- This site will create a strategy to buy links
- Think up of a bunch of keywords that you want to rank for.
- Start searching for sites that include such keywords. e.g. Clean cutting board, cutting board tips, using a cutting board, large cutting board etc. If someone buys links that are already featured in content, you can rank better.
Why links in content:
- Naturally relevant
- These are real links that created the web
- These aid search engines understand what your site is all about
- This way you're not listed in a large clump of paid links in the footer or sidebar of a website
Finally, you can sleep better at night.
Next up is Aaron Wall, Author, SEO Book, who says there are alternatives to buying links. These are:
- Syndicate content on other sites. This helps in building authority, sends traffic, and flows PR
- Barter. Give stuff away, discounts for certain sectors.
- Buy competing Web sites
- Social Interaction
- Public Relations campaigns: Pump your publicity
How to encourage organic links:
- Justin Timberlake. The cumulative advantage of this was that groups tend to follow a herd mentality and each herd group would vote differently. From one group to the next, it kept changing.
- If you have a continuous editorial voice in your marketplace, it makes more people want to trust you and follow. If you convert a few people over, that is a lot better.
- Show social proof
- A beautiful site design is efefctive
- What are your Signs of credibility – about us, etc.
Within 2007, Google killed off many directories. Choose to buy a spot only if:
- PageRank is where you expect
- Cache date is recent
- Quality of list is good
Aaron approves of JoeAnt, and BOTW. Apparently, there also are good ones albeit small which he won't mention.
AdWords Ads for Linkbait:
- Create industry leading content for authoritative easy-to-link-at topics
- Buy AdWords for a wide basket of related keywords.
For Clean Links:
- Blog about new Google products and wait for someone from Google to blog about your blog post Use Google Checkout
- Sponsor events and advertise
- Contest and award programs
- Donate or give stuff away
- Affiliate programs
- Ensure the links are hidden in content or organic looking links without any sort of disclosure
- Run really dirty stuff through your affiliate program
Next up is Jim Boykin, CEO of Webuildpages who says he doesn't want to anger any search engines. Nevertheless, his points are:
- Don't buy links unless it's in the Yahoo directory.
- Avoid buying reviews unless you're reviewing Google products.
- Links aren't really for free. You have to work for it.
- Stay under the radar. Don't piss off Google.
Next is Rand Fishkin, CEO, SEOMoz, who will discuss how to buy links and get away with it.
Paid Links the Search Engines Catch
- Brokers who don't cover their tracks
- Brokers who display their inventory
- Links that appear on the Web in an unnatural way
Paid Links the Search Engines Have Not Yet Caught
- Direct, one-to-one purchases
- Very, very smart link brokers
- Business relationships where links are a secondary part of the services
Eytan Seidman of Microsoft also gave his two bits.
A solution to the issue of paid links:
What is a way of doing paid links that the SEs are okay with?
Editorial reviews (Yahoo directory – people review the site and if they like it, it will be included). If every site passes the review, then it's not quality.
What is a marketplace for Site Owners who want to link and buyers who want reviews to connect – here's a process:
- The buyer submits a page that needs to be reviewed
- Interested parties take a look.
- The reviewers write about the page – if it's good, use a nofollow. If it's great, take the nofollow off, and if you don't like the content, don't write about the site but we'll still pay you.
IMAGE SOURCE: Andy Beal