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Setting Up Your Own Link Building Network – A4U Expo London 2010

12 October 2010 BY

Ralph, better known as Fantomaster’s presentation is based on his own self-constructed link network, baptised Link Whisperer. So why should you do it? The simple answer:

You get 100% control over your in-links, which then allows you to fine tune your web campaigns and boosts your ranking potential.

Setting up a link network is not that complicated. Setting up a strategy for it is the difficult part. Without decent content, all link building campaigns will fail anyway.

Conventional link building – the methods and the problems

  • Buying links (yes we know, we’re not supposed to).  Aside from that age-old issue, paid links are also getting increasingly expensive as demand is limitless. They’re also all too often easily detectable and search engines will flag them up.
  • In house link building. It’s resource intensive, costly & slow, there are high levels of staff training, maintenance and recruitment costs involved.
  • Outsourced link building – classic example? SEO Skype spam. It’s a low reliability technique, with a higher risk of penalties. If you get into trouble, you get penalised or you get banned – it’s pretty hard to to track the cause of that back to the original point.

The more crucial point for all three? You will never have full control over  any 3rd party links. Full control is a lot of things: where they are, what kind of environment they’re in. the anchor text they have

So what’s the ideal solution? Your own link network.

What do  you actually need to do this? According to Ralph, you want to be able to:

  • determine the location of your links
  • specify their anchor text
  • roll these out within specific timeframes
  • scale them successfully (e.g. highly competitive environments, focusing on key pages and/or search terms)
  • modify them at will (e.g. keeping up with changes in ranking algorithms)

The key idea is to create the most natural link profile possible – mixing it up, deep links and homepage links or keyword anchor text as well as not. There’s no set formula, it could be something along the lines of deep linking 60/40 ratio in favour of your homepage.

Ralph’s core features for a link building network:

Unsurprisingly these are very much in line with what would be called ‘best practice’ links – working to make the backlinks look as natural and random as possible.

  • Initial competitive link analysis AND regular ongoing follow ups (competitors will also be working, researching, changing and building!)
  • Customised proprietary, topical websites
  • Unique  and quality (there’s the crucial words folks) content
  • A large range of hosts and IP addresses
  • No artificial link structures
  • An organic deployment of yours sites (ensuring you’ve planned a sustainable long-term strategy)
  • Structural variance – don’t make you sites clones of one another
  • Create the least amount of footprinting possible, focusing on making sure search engines cannot see through your network
  • Consistent fresh, updated content and natural linking patterns
  • Fully customisable anchor text links with unlimited keywords
  • Unlimited linking targets
  • Totally flexible and reassignable alternative monetisation options – pre-empt changes in your business model, it takes time to set your own network up so you need to be ready to wait for it to mature.
  • Sustained appreciate, with high investment value.

Ralph’s point to remember:

This is only a mid to long term solution – you need to be ready to invest time and allow things to build gradually.

Question from Paul Madden: Should you place the links in the content immediately or would you publish the content then gradually add the links in at a later date?

Ralph’s answer: He tends to always generate the content with the links in it from the very beginning. However the possibilities are limitless, boxes may be there for a reason but you can think out of them. You can sell a link on one of your sites and use that investment to push back into the next.

Editor’s note: Paul happens to be sitting next to me. He kindly pointed out he also had a ‘a long and rambling stream of thoughts’ on this very topic – Building a Distributed Link Network. Read more at your peril.

AUTHORED BY:
h

Originally from the UK via France and Malaysia, Annabel Hodges is a digital marketer with long experience in the industry now residing in Sydney. She heads up the Digital Marketing at Next Commerce, working across an array of products, channels and brands.
  • Simon C

    Some great points here about the type of links that work best and some techniques to avoid.

    However…

    RE. the point “Create the least amount of footprinting possible, focusing on making sure search engines cannot see through your network”:

    This clearly shows that this whole strategy is based around manipulating the search engines, which would have been obvious without even including this point.

    I’m pretty certain that within Google’s Webspam team, there are very clever people whose job it is to identify and deal with such manipulation.

    This strategy may work in the short’ish and medium term, however creating a link building network purely to increase the inbound link profile to a site is not honest, ethical SEO. It’s a strategy for those who cannot build a good link profile naturally. If somebody had suggested such a strategy in an SMX seminar, they would likely have been politely asked to leave!

    • http://www.annabelhodges.com/ Annabel Hodges

      Hi Simon, the presentation was given by Ralph Tegtmeier, also known as Fantomaster. He is open about his interest in blackhat techniques, which correlates with the talk he was giving at A4UExpo. I don’t think he was in any way trying to promote it as standard, honest SEO. Although I think some would also say that SEO in itself is already about manipulating search engines, no matter how naturally you build your link profile!

      Many may not agree or use the techniques but it should be interesting to learn how others approach the difficulties of link building. The art to Ralph’s link network is also to make it so natural looking that Google’s Webspam tea do not identify it, and he does admittedly seem to be doing a job with that so far.

  • http://www.linkbuildingexpert.nl/ Wouter @ linkbuilding expert

    SEO is all about influencing the rankings, the line between black, grey and white is very thin.
    I think that if you invest in creating valuable informative sites you should be able to link to your own sites without getting punished. Besides that, if you don’t get links to your site your competition will leave you in the dust. Of course you will not be able to maintain your rankings if you deliver crap.