Friday, July 31, 2009

Re-Thinking Link Building Commentary

Posted by Sage Lewis on 30 July 2009

There is little more gratifying in the blogging world than when people take the time to comment on something you've written. That's especially the case when the comments are kind and thoughtful.

I was fortunate enough to have that experience with my last column, "Re-Thinking Link Building." People took a great deal of time to offer their thoughts and opinions on what it means to be a link builder.

I'd like to highlight some of the thoughts that came out of the comments from that article.

On outsourced link building, Christine wrote:

Couldn't agree more -- leaving this important task to people who don't care about your business or your site is not a good idea. I tried it once -- what we got were 200 links of such poor quality I was so embarrassed that we were being linked to from such rubbish. That was the first and last time we tried something like that. And guess what? None of those links exist anymore! So not only is it not worth the links you get, they do not last either (because spammy, poor-quality sites don't stick around for the long haul). I would rather spend my time and effort getting 1 quality link than paying for 200 poor links. Be warned -- it is not worth the risk of being "associated" with poor quality sites.

I liked the point that the links don't exist anymore. The longevity of the work here definitely should play a role.

Gerry wrote about his experience with a link building contract:

I was disgusted with the quality of links being submitted to me, including sites whose link pages weren't even in Google's indexes.

If a page that you get a link on doesn't have any value in the eyes of the search engines, then you're really wasting your money.

Jim's view of outsourced link builders is this:

They are adept at buying up the expired domains of websites with page rank, uploading a free template and filling it full of links. In many cases if you view the cached page you will still see the original webpage of the expired site. In a number of cases they haven't even bothered to replace the 'Lorem ipsum ...' holding text from the template!

Arun Gangwar correctly pointed out that we can't blanket an entire country as universally bad:

Lewis, I totally agree with you, though I am India but I believe in each and every word of you. Companies are using interns for developing links. They are not contributing to our website. Some companies submit at 200 places with in day or two. Curse!

ldpk is a link builder and wrote:

I have tried unsuccessfully in the past to hire someone to help me link build, but the skill set is very unique and when done well actually requires a lot more creativity and skill than given credit for. I have been successful in competing with much larger companies, and much larger budgets by emphasizing quality, relevant links and applying best SEO practices on the sites themselves (good copy, clean sites)... It is MAJORLY time consuming.

He also pointed out that small companies simply can't afford this kind of detail.

Spencer Rose made a similar point saying:

Seems to me like much of the internet is losing its "field leveling" quality and link building is directly responsible for that. Are ldpk and Spencer correct in this? Does quality link building only get done for companies with big budgets?

Eric Ward, one of the leading, if not the leading link building expert, had a thought on this:

99 of every 100 clients I work with are little guys. Little guys are who I prefer to work with... the little sites are what make the web great, and the little sites are the ones that can change lives. Big brands rock, but small brands are how I roll :)

Eric offers a $1,000 linking strategy session, co-citation analysis, link analytics, and recommendations report. This includes competitive citation and linking analytics for your site and up to 20 competitor or industry sites, delivery of two custom link strategy reports created for your site, and two hours by phone with live screen sharing to personally go over findings and suggestions.

That might seem like a plug for Eric. I don't know him other than what I've followed of his online. The point: $1,000 isn't a lot of money for two hours on the phone and a custom report. All of his services actually seem quite reasonable and doable for a business of any size.

I'll give the last word to Eric, who focuses on merit-based link building:

Love it when others express that link building is public relations... I still call it link building because sadly that's still what everyone is looking for. The terminology may still be evolving, but a merit based approach never goes out of style, and is all I do, year after year. I suggest we all do.


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