Aug 23, 2007 114 reads by Navneet Kaushal

No presentations — just plenty of time to put questions to search engine optimization and link building experts who are in the trenches about issues relating to linking.


  • Danny Sullivan, Conference Co-Chair, Search Engine Strategies San Jose


  • Mike Grehan, Vice President, International Business Development, Bruce Clay, Inc.
  • Debra O'Neil-Mastaler, President, Alliance-Link
  • Jim Boykin, CEO, We Build Pages Internet Marketing
  • Greg Boser, President, WebGuerrilla LLC

1. Google is now penalizing for paid links. What is the penalty?

  • Mike Grehan: Three months in jail!
  • Jim Boykin: You have to be really bad to get banned from Google.
  • Debra: Most links are paid links in some fashion, but you might want to stay away from Sponsored Links.
  • Danny: Unless it's AdSense.

2. How will Google Universal Search effect links?

  • Debra: I think that's wonderful. Link builders have always focused on a content issue or a quality issue. But now these are going to show up in your search results – it's an incentive to get that quality content on your site.
  • Mike: I think that you shouldn't think that you're Steven Spielberg. A lot of what comes out in universal results comes from end user data. They're only going to be put in there if they're popular with the end user.
  • Greg: Google talks about universal search as the greatest thing since sliced bread. In the big picture, I don't see it even popping up a lot for day to day queries. But for high profile terms, you may see it.
  • Mike: On a tangent, the end user data will need to be aggregated over time to be displayed on the search results. They need to keep out questionable data like pornographic data, so it will take time. Take notes now and think for the future.
  • Jim: For most of the searches our clients are targeting, video is often going to be ignored by many people anyway.
  • Danny: Universal search is the future, and you really need to get your content out there, regardless of it being image or video. Those are new opportunities.

3. Internal linking. After Google acquired YouTube, they added nofollow to many links on their site. What do you think about this? Can you pass around authority with this tactic?

  • Greg: You can use it to control the flow of juice. You may not want the "About Us" page to rank, so you can nofollow it. Thus, it's a strategy worth exploring.
  • Debra: From my understanding, Google views a page nofollowed as one not to be trusted and they don't follow through with it. If you don't care about the page being indexed, it doesn't matter. But you never get a straight answer about it from them.
  • Mike: Bruce Clay is a firm believer of using nofollow in internal linking and he creates silos where he tries to pass link juice down a specific vertical.

4. What are you best efforts for getting links?

  • Mike – Links are not one size fits all. With some b2b businesses, it’s good to use pr-type tactics. One thing I’ve heard about links is figuring out what your content needs to do for your audience and what content you still need to create for your audience. sometimes you just need to create a great tool or great content for your audience. Find out what kind of content would your audience like to see. If you are a mortgage site, maybe a mortgage calculator on your site would draw people in.
  • Jim – What I’ve seen that works is finding good resources yourself. Don’t go through networks or places that are openly saying “we have resources to make your life easier!” Find real resources yourself, write those people a personal letter, prove that you’ve been to that site, and say why your resource would benefit their site.
  • Debra – Every site is different, every link is competitive. Have your client join associations for their vertical industry, and then use the resources available within the association. So many people belong to these associations and the lists are already there. As long as you have something to offer them and a reason to give the link, places will link to you.
  • Greg – Blogging is hard. It gives you links but maybe they aren’t the best links to increase your website reputation and PageRank. I’m not huge into social media. However, anything widget-based that you can give away is cool, but figure out the core phrases you are trying to rank for and figure out how to best link for those and your website and your industry.

5. What's the best way to get links?

  • Greg: It depends on what your goal is. Blogging can develop links but they may not help you rank for the products that you sell.
  • Jim: Finding good resources yourself (not through networks) and writing to these people proving that you're human may yield better results.
  • Mike: I agree with Debra. There's no one-size-fits-all solution. Look at certain niches: some B2B places might benefit from PR tactics, etc. But you need to think about the content and understand what the content means. Is it compelling copy or is it a great tool? Some services may benefit from having a mortgage calculator. Others may benefit from other products.
  • Debra: You may want to want to set up incentives to ask for links. You can go through a lot of networks and obtain information.
  • Mike: Find niche newsletters and focus on them. There's a likelihood that people link to it.
  • Jim: There's a problem with linkbait. People link to the bait but it's not selling the product. If you link to the wrong page with the wrong text, it may not be good. Getting links is good, but you may want to write to people and request that they place the link a certain way.
  • Debra: Bait is great for exposure but one-on-one linking can be achieved by asking.

6. Q: I have 2 websites that are SEO friendly and generate a good size of revenue. I have to shut down one of them. Can I use the external links into that website and direct them to the other website?

  • Greg: Yes by using 301 redirection on the site you're shutting down. Hopefully the one you get to keep is the better one in terms of links.


Navneet Kaushal

Navneet Kaushal

Navneet Kaushal is the founder and CEO of PageTraffic, an SEO Agency in India with offices in Chicago, Mumbai and London. A leading search strategist, Navneet helps clients maintain an edge in search engines and the online media. Navneet's expertise has established PageTraffic as one of the most awarded and successful search marketing agencies.
Navneet Kaushal
Navneet Kaushal
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