Some blogs are out to lunch on their price. Some blogs are exceptionally link-
heavy and provide almost no value on a per-link basis, yet still want to charge
hundreds of dollars per month. Some other blog-type sites don’t know their own
value and will give you a link for a small one-time donation or review fee. Many
bloggers are just having fun and are not out to make a ton of money. An
additional bonus with blog advertising is that blogs are viral in nature, meaning that
if you have a viral-type product, then you may get many ongoing secondary links
Just to give you an idea of how cool Blogads are (especially for cause-driven or fun-
type sites), I got many additional bonuses for my first ad set I ran. Over half of the
sites I ran my first ad on extended my ad longer than I ran it for, completely free.
In addition, one site provided me a permanent static text link and another site
placed my ad on multiple sites free.
If you have a message worth spreading, bloggers may help spread it. A couple of
the more popular blog ad networks are Blogads and AdBrite. Some of the links
provided by these blog networks may go through redirecting ad servers (and thus
not count toward your link popularity), but the viral nature of blogs make them an
ideal marketing channel for many messages.
Rent Static Links
When renting links to improve search engine placement, ensure they are static
descriptive links versus links with a tracking code or links that get redirected
through some sort of ad server. Search engines usually do not evaluate most links
that are redirected or sent through an ad server.
Also, think of creative ways you can induce free inbound links before heavily
renting links. The best ideas tend to find ways to spread themselves. Money spent
improving the idea behind your site is better spent than money spent on renting
links since improving your idea or site builds recurring value without as much
Links with Tracking Codes
When buying regular ads from websites, if you use tracking URLs, you may not
want to point them at your home page or other pages that already rank well in the
search results. Some webmasters have bought links from authoritative pages using
tracking URLs only to find that some search engines would spider that link and use
THAT page as the canonical URL.
Search engines only want to include each document in their search database once.
If a document is available at multiple different locations, like site.com,
site.com/index.htm, and www.site.com, the search engine will choose the page that
has the highest authority score, which is usually based on link authority.
That may not be a problem in some cases, but one of my friends had over 100,000
links pointing to his home page, and his rankings disappeared because the high-
authority link rental from a site like CNN.com had a tracking code. Google and
Yahoo! thought www.site.com/?source=cnn was his home page.
Some search engines will usually use the highest PageRank URL as the canonical
URL for a given page. If that URL version does not have good anchor text from a
variety of websites, then you risk tanking your rankings if you link to a high-
ranking page using a tracking code.
As stated in the above section about links with tracking codes, search engines only
want to index one URL for each set of unique content. The “www.-” version of a
domain is a subdomain of the root URL. Sometimes the contents are the same,
but they are not always on all sites.
It is in your best interest to 301 redirect the URL you are not using to point at the
in-use version of the URL. This way, you do not run into canonical URL and
duplicate content issues. It also will help unify your link popularity if Google is
unaware that both URLs are the same site and some people are linking to different
versions of the URL.
Make sure you know what your old .htaccess file is, read about modifying it, and
know what you are doing prior to modifying your .htaccess file. Always back up
your old .htaccess file before modifying it.
Renting PPC & Contextual Ads for SEO
While PPC ads run through ad servers, and thus do not aid your link popularity,
buying targeted ads can still help boost your exposure. If people find your site they
may be willing to link to it.
I buy over $1,000 worth of AdWords and AdSense ads each month for this site
because I know it will lead to sales that roughly pay for the ad cost, and I get
further mindshare and free links from the new readers out of the deal.
Currently, I do not use any linking network to boost the rankings of my sites, but
there are a few innovative new linking networks that are worth mentioning.
Digital Point created a free cooperative advertising network where text links are
randomly rotated across thousands of sites in the network. The advertising
network does not focus on relevancy much yet, so currently it amounts to a big link
farm, but since it is so well-integrated into the web and spans so many sites, it is
rather powerful. Some search engines, such as Google, look at temporal effects of
linkage data and are not likely to place much trust on new rotating links. In a
Threadwatch post, Matt Cutts may have also hinted that they could use rotating
inbound and outbound links as a sign of a lack of quality and lower a site’s crawl
priority based on that.
Link Vault in another link exchange network that acts similarly to Digital Point’s
network except that it provides static non-rotating links.
Before joining any linking network, I would read the pros and the cons listed in this
high-quality Threadwatch thread at http://www.threadwatch.org/node/808
Ideas that Lend Authority to Themselves
Some ideas are great link sources. They are easy to build links to and perhaps
provide underpriced ad inventory if you buy ads on them.
Stats, numbers, and surveys that sound official
History of _________
Association of _________
Demographic xyz is _____________________
If you cannot see any low-hanging fruit ask yourself the following questions:
How can I make an idea appealing to the local or national
How can I make an idea appealing to colleges?
How can I make an idea that appeals to bloggers?
How can I make an idea appealing to a specific demographic?
Want a good example? Salary.com conducted a survey that reported that the
average stay-at-home mother would be paid $134,121 if she was paid for all the
work she did raising kids. Mom bloggers probably gave them about $1,000,000
worth of links for that research.
Want another good example? There are numerous tools that aim to help bloggers
determine how valuable their blogs are based on how many people link to them.
Not surprisingly, most of these tools estimate exceptionally inflated values, which
in turn cause the bloggers to go “Wow, look what I am worth.”
What is the bottom line? People like to feel important. If you make others feel
important, they will do your marketing for you.
Waiting for Results
Patience is a Virtue
SEO is a marathon not a sprint. Impatience causes many webmasters to grow
frustrated and give up early or use techniques that have a high risk to reward ratio.
Many people want to change and change and change until they get to the top.
Keep testing new ideas and hope that a few of them catch on. That is just smart
marketing. But as far as SEO goes, you will want to wait a few months after your
initial optimization before you really start changing anything. Create new content
and new good ideas, but do not worry about going back to your content to re-
tweak it over and over again. Rather than tweaking your site, you are probably far
better off learning more about your topic, making friends, or creating new content.
After you feel the page copy is decently structured for usability and SEO, then you
do not need to change it over and over again unless you are trying to test it for
conversions. Often times, one of the better ways to test conversion rates is
through a split A/B test using pay-per-click search engines (will be explained in the
pay-per –click chapter).
You have to give search engines a chance to react to what is there. It would be
much harder to list well for a competitive term if you used 100 different anchor
text combinations. It might be useful to use a half dozen to a few dozen variations.
As such, you have to pick and choose. Using a few variations may be a good idea
to make your linking appear as natural linking, but you should focus your anchor
text around related niches. After you master a few related term sets, you may want
to diversify, but you want to choose wisely and stick with it for a few months.
Search engines change their algorithms many times each month. Ranking changes
you see are often due to algorithmic changes and not changes in relevancy based
on small changes in page copy.
Why Frequently Changing can be Bad
If you write a blog or a site with rapidly rotating content, it makes sense that your
copy will constantly be changing. That is not a problem. People run into a
problem when they waste time obsessive-compulsively tweaking the same page
copy over and over again. The time spent doing that might be better doing other
promotional activities or creating new content.
If you keep changing your page copy before you establish your online presence
with good links, you will never know what the best page format or layout is. You
will not be sure how you would rank or convert if you stayed with your copy.
If your site is completely hosed, it might make sense to do a major improvement,
but otherwise it is a good idea to change only one thing at a time since you cannot
isolate the effects if you change everything at once. If your site is a complete
disaster, a makeover may be necessary, otherwise just give it time and keep working
on building relevant inbound links.
Buy an Old Website
If you feel you are waiting too long for results, it might be worth looking into
buying an established site that is not leveraged to its full potential. Most of the sites
at sale at public auctions are not worth buying, but that doesn’t stop you from
searching Google or other major search engines for sites that might be worth
buying. If people are not using their sites they may not appreciate what they are
301 Redirecting a Website
If you own multiple websites it might make sense to consolidate their trust and link
equity. The easiest way to do this is by placing 301 redirect codes in your .htaccess
file of the site you are moving. General tips:
Make a backup of your .htaccess file before changing it.
If you are afraid of moving the whole site, you can move one portion of it
first, and see how search engines respond.
I like to do a bit of link building after I move a site to help speed along its
indexing. I also ask a few friends linking at my old URL to link to change
their citation to reference the new URL.
When I 301 redirected a website in March of 2007 Microsoft did not
follow the 301 redirects. Both Google and Yahoo quickly indexed the site
at its new location.
Customizing Your Browser for SEO
I created free Google Toolbar buttons that make it easy to use some of my favorite
free SEO tools. This will make it easy for you to quickly look up a site’s age or
inbound link counts.
I list my favorite Firefox extensions and bookmarks to help you customize Firefox
to make it SEO friendly on this page.
SEO for Firefox allows you to import competitive research data into the search
Godin, Seth. All Marketers Are Liars: The Power of Telling Authentic
Stories in a
. New York: Penguin, 2005.
---. Purple Cow. (http://www.sethgodin.com/purple/
Lakoff, George. Don’t Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and
Frame the Debate--The Essential Guide for Progressives
Chelsea Green Publishing Company, 2004.
Backlink Analyzer: like OptiLink and SEO Elite, but free
Backlink Watch (http://www.backlinkwatch.com/
Digital Point Google Ranking Checker
Espion: tool that allows you to search through sites as if you were a
Free buttons to add SEO tools to your Google toolbar
Free extension list and bookmarks for making Firefox more SEO-
Google Toolbar 4 beta (http://www.google.com/tools/toolbar/T4/
Hub Finder (http://www.linkhounds.com/hub-finder/
Link Harvester (http://www.linkhounds.com/link-harvester/
OptiLink ($224) (http://www.optitext.com/
PageRank for Safari (http://www.digitalpoint.com/tools/pagerank-
RoboForm: form filler (http://www.roboform.com
SEO Elite ($167) (http://www.seoelite.com
SEO for Firefox (http://tools.seobook.com/firefox/seo-for-
Server Header Check
Show IP: Firefox extension shows what IP Google results are coming
Tattler: similar to OptiLink and SEO Elite but free
The Google Toolbar (http://toolbar.google.com/
Top 10 Analysis Tool (http://www.webuildpages.com/cool-seo-tool/
Yahoo! Developer Network: various tools
Yahoo! Site Explorer (http://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/
Coverage of Google’s new patent
Dan Thies’ link building videos
Digital Point’s Cooperative Advertising Network
Eric Ward’s NetPOST linking strategies website
Google Custom Search Engine (http://google.com/coop/cse/
Google internal spam guidelines and search review document
Google Search: Miserable Failure that shows the power of link text
Google’s Matt Cutts interview on PageRank and link quality
Greg Boser on reciprocal link networks
Documents you may be interested
Documents you may be interested