There’s something really comforting in creating lists as far as I am concerned – they give you purpose, keep you on track, and even make you feel guilty when you mess up.
Perfect for my type of personality.
I’ve been thinking a lot about link building recently, like since about 10 am this morning, and it suddenly dawned on me: why not take my link building to a whole new level and see where it takes me?
There is a lot of talk about the quality and relevancy of links.
Some think a link is a link and it’s the quantity that matters. Yet others believe that it’s all about the kind of links you get, not necessarily the number of them, unless you are talking about a number of quality links of course.
We can sit and argue the merits of each point until we are blue in the face, but this is my blog, so I can take whatever point of view I wish to take and it’s up to you to take it or leave it.
I am already looking forward to the comments on this one…
My Link Building Theory
Not all links are created equal.
Larger quantity of whatever links doesn’t equal higher PageRank or higher search engine rankings.
I’ve been watching a lot of websites making it to the top spot in Google that had very few links vs many websites with thousands of links ranked much lower.
Also, one site could have only 3 backlinks with one of them being PR6.
The second site has 500 backlinks total with one of them being PR6.
The first site ends up with PR5.
The second site ends up with PR2.
The only possible conclusion is that Google heavily favors the quality of links over their quantity. Additionally, it almost looks like the pagerank flowing in is evenly distributed among the number of incoming links.
Now, mind you this is a theory, but it’s based upon close observation, experience, and similar opinions from bloggers I look up to and respect in the field.
Here’s another observation: a few month ago I decided to try out Unique Article Wizard on one of my sites.
For those of you who are not familiar with UAW, it’s an article spinning and automatic submission software. My objective was to build links to one of my websites and push it up the Google ladder; at that time the website was ranked #10 for my main keyword. Besides taking up all my time spinning the articles until my head was spinning, UAW did the exact opposite of what I expected: it pushed my site further down, all the way to the third page as a matter of fact.
Since back then I didn’t have enough experience to analyze why my website went down like a torpedo, I kept spinning and submitting article until one kind soul who knew a thing or two about SEO told me to stop. Within that week, my site was back on the first page. Soon after it was in the top 3.
One might certainly might argue it was a coincidence or there must’ve been other factors that came into play.
But remember, my blog – my story – my conclusions.
So if my observations hold water, it might mean that Google has finally come up with a way to deal with link spammers.
Let’s get back to my love for lists now and see what kind of lists I can come up with for naughty and nice links (I know, I know, Christmas is over, but hey, it’s catchy and nothing else comes to mind…)
Which Links Are Naughty?
In my book, these are the ones I am not going to waste my time getting.
Inclusion in this list doesn’t necessarily constitute that there is anything wrong with these links per se. (sounds like a bad disclaimer)
- Article directories. I will continue submitting to EzineArticles, for no good reason really, just because I feel like I need to pay my dues to the article mogul. However, I will stop wasting time submitting to a thousand and one directories.
- Directory listings. Some directories rock. I would definitely love to have a link from DMOZ, for instance – what blogger wouldn’t! However, I am not going to waste my time submitting my blog to a thousand and one directories.
- Forums. I know, I know, many of you are still fond of forums, BUT it’s extremely hard to get a decent link from a decent page with your keywords in it. My time is simply better spent doing other things.
- Social Media/Forum Profiles. Many SEOs still believe that getting useless links from deep no PR pages of well-ranked websites is a good thing and that the home page PR will somehow rub off your teeny-tiny profile, hidden amongst millions of others. I’ve seen all kinds of “research” on the matter; however, most of the times they target very obscure keywords that I can probably rank for without a single link.
- .EDU/.GOV Links. Don’t get me wrong: I won’t turn one down if it comes my way, but I won’t waste my time intentionally searching them out. It’s getting increasingly difficult to get your comments approved on both .edu and .gov blogs. Creating profiles on those sites just doesn’t work too well – see my point above. Too much work and doubtful results.
- Automated Submission Software of any kind. Self-explanatory, assuming you read the first part of this post.
- Reciprocal/Paid Linking of any kind. I can’t believe I still get those questions: do you think it’s OK for me to do some paid linking? Let’s put it to rest once and for all: DON’T do it. PERIOD.
Which Links Are Nice?
Let me define my perfect link, first of all.
My perfect link comes from within content (as opposed to comments, for instance), PR4 +, DoFollow, from a relevant website (for instance, a blog on traffic generation or SEO) or at least, a relevant page for sure.
Now, this almost never happens.
So what link building strategies do I plan to focus on this year?
- Guest Posting. This is the single best way to get great DoFollow one way links from some of the best blogs around, PLUS “borrow” their traffic. The possibilities for this strategy are endless; they are only limited by your “I don’t really have time for this” excuse. I used to have it, but no more. I am writing this post on January 1 and I’ve already written and submitted (and got accepted) a blog post to a PR6 blog with 20K Alexa traffic ranking.
- Selective Blog Commenting. Now there is blog commenting for the sake of networking and just getting your name out there and there’s blog commenting geared specifically towards link building. My goal here is to build 10 quality links to each post I am working on ranking for with my keywords as anchor text. Ideally, I’ll be looking for DoFollow blogs with PR4+ for THAT PAGE (not just overall blog PR) that allow keywords in name field. It goes without saying, I NEVER spam. Link building or not, I leave thoughtful comments.
- Link Bait Posts. There’s plenty of info written on the subject; however, I know there are many new bloggers reading this, so let me tell you what it means one more time. Link bait posts are very well-researched one of a kind posts that readers would naturally want to link to since they are SO good. The trick here is not to sit and wait for people to find those posts and link to them.
My very first link bait post was actually one of the first ones I ever wrote for this blog: 202 Bite-Sized Tips to Insanely Increase Your Blog Traffic. It is a great post indeed.
However, I decided to take “natural” link building (meaning, readers naturally linking to you because of good content) into my own hands and contacted Kristi Hines of Kikolani.com, letting her know of my post and why I think it would be so great to be included in her Friday Mashups.
My post showed up in her next Friday Mashup and many other posts after that.
Let me stress one more time that there is nothing wrong with these links in their own.
My list is simply based on the fact that:
- I am too busy to waste my time building low-quality links
- I don’t believe those links have positive effect on your optimization efforts
- They might actually have negative effect on your SEO
- I’d rather have 10 quality links than 100 junk ones
Love it or hate it? Comment to show me that you’re alive!