Link Building Methods and Risks

A special session at SES London 2010 was completely ‘hosted’ by Webuildpages. Jim Boykin, CEO and “Link Building Ninja” of Webuildpages tried to give the listeners more understanding in the why and how of linkbuilding. Below a wrap up of the session by Sam Murray.

Jim starts off the presentation by asking “does anyone work for Google” and continues by asking any new audience members who walk through the door the same question. It has clearly set the tone for the session as buying links is the first topic for conversation.(*I think it is important to highlight at this stage that Jim doesn’t condone buying links.)

Jim feels that if you are targeting competitive short-tail phrases and you are not buying links then you should probably give up aiming to rank #1. Jim continues to state that a lot of companies out there are still buying links and even the ones that have stopped were previously purchasing valuable links. So if we can’t rank #1 for competitive key phrases what do we do? Aim for the long-tail.

Aiming for the Long-Tail via content writing

  • Research long tail phrases and develop content which would contain these keywords
  • Carefully target authorative sites such as .edu, ac.uk, .gov, .mil (international)
  • Look at the websites they link out to, understand why they link to them and also patterns of content that the linked to sites have. This will help you develop your article
  • Host the content on your own site as this will bring more value to your domain and boost authority

Jim says this approach normally has around a 5% conversion rate in getting a link.

Buying Links
Exact anchor text links going to exact keyword pages you are targeting. You need to understand there is a risk versus reward.
Odds of getting penalised is very low, all top phrases are buying links yet are still operating. However here are the top 10 ways that will get you banned.

Top 10 ways to get banned

  1. Trip a link buying filter
  2. Your broker gets mapped, analysed and buyers penalised
  3. Someone blogs about you buying links
  4. You’re number 1 for very competitive phrase and you’re not best site in the world
  5. #1 for competitive phrase, get reported for SPAM
  6. Buying links from a broker who sells links to everyone
  7. No natural backlinks
  8. You start shouting and bragging about your rankings
  9. Reporting spammers when you are buying links
  10. Show your site to Matt Cutts

You’re penalised… What then?

Apologise, explain your knew nothing about it and blame a SEO company!

Does buying links work?
Blog reviews do work however it is very important to realise they increase ranking initially but when the link drops off the homepage it gets buried under various subfolders, once you’re off the homepage then the value decreases and your initial burst in rank will go.

More blog reviews you submit to the higher the chance of tripping filter and increase risks. The value of links from press releases is not as strong as the amount of pages that link to you, due to duplicate content.

Trust is Important in Links
Jim states it is important to realise that Trust relates to what quality sites link to the website that links to you, it doesn’t just take into account sites that link to you.

Step Away Theory
Over all the years that Jim and his team have been involved in link building he says he has developed a theory called ‘Step Away’ and feels this is how search engines are now beginning to measure the importance of a link.

Step away theory is similar in nature to when SEOs used to try to sculpt PR by using no follow links in their site to assign more value to pages and set a hierarchal structure.  Jim feels that search engines no longer reduce the value of a link by amount of links on page but is merely devalued in relation to how many steps away from original source.

*On a personal note I would like to say that the session by Jim was inspiring and also made me thirsty to start link building again as he showed such passion. If you agree or even better disagree with any of the theories above then let us know.

About Sam Murray

Sam Murray graduated from University with a BA (Hons) in Marketing in 2007 and wrote his 10,000 word dissertation on Search Marketing. Sam is a freelance search manager.