In London at this moment the ProSEO seminar, organized by Distilled, is going on. There is a great line up with great content. Our blogger Annabel Hodges is there. She will be writing about several sessions there.
Next up is a session on advanced link building by Wiep Knol, the Dutch link builder extraordinaire. Time for a quick quote:
“Links are still king. Not content. Content is just the king’s bitch.”
Wiep’s talk is all about specifically using content to get links, predominately through natural baiting rather than direct requests or ‘working’ the system.
According to SEOMoz’s most survey, most SEOs believe that up to 70% of all important factors are related to links.
Wiep breaks ‘links’ down into 3 major elements: relevance, authority, uniqueness.
Having a combination of each of these 3 aspects is what will get you a great backlink profile and so better rankings. So what do these mean?
- Crossover of information
Every website is unique, but think of a venn diagram – somewhere among all of those unique qualities, there’s also some crossover and that’s where you can start to build relevance. Focus on your specific industry niche and make sure you are there for every crossover point.
Compare several websites to each other, find where there are common points that overlap, and work to get links back from each of those same websites.
This is an easy and quick way to build up you’re site’s relevance within your specific niche. You can use any number of common tools: Majestic, Adgooroo, Hubfinder etc.
A note of warning: link analysis should only be for inspiration and cherry picking. It is time inefficient and easy to get lost in. Be aware of how much time and energy you are putting into it, don’t get distracted.
- Anchor text
Google needs some help every now and then. Anchor text counts! Wiep shares 5 easy ways to get more keyword rich anchor texts
1. Temporarily change your page title or logo.
Try adding a keyword-focused descriptive tagline of what your company does under your homepage logo – people tend to link to your ‘official’ name, this will inlude the added tagline.
2. Temporarily change your email signature
Try adding a keyword-rich anchor text link to your email signature. This can be a quick, easy way to get anchor text links from media partners for example.
3. Find dead links with the same or similar anchor text
User Pinger (FF plugin) to find dead links on strong resource pages. Contact that site’s webmaster and let him know the link is broken. He’ll be more likely to be keen to fix his link and the bonus is he even doesn’t need to change anchor text, just the destination url.
4. Low end stuff (directories, comments, article directories, etc.)
5. Guest blogging!
Simple yet effective. You can easily exactly control what the link back to your site says
Next we move onto:
With the right status, you can get away with almost anything and still make loads of money. Think Paris Hilton – what an example to follow!
You could buy authority…. but not all of us have the deep pockets for that.
At this point Wiep shares some interesting tactics but I would be hung, drawn and quartered if I shared it. Nobody wants to see a quartered panda right?
- You have to be different, stand out from the crowd.
Some useful simple searches in Bing are an effective tool, e.g. –hotel OR travel linkfromdomain:bbc.co.uk
You’re looking to find out WHY certain blogs got great links from high authority sites, then repeat the process they used. It’s about consistency. Think about targeting more relevant, less out-linking blogs.
Remember also to always aim to network with your link target site. Getting to know them may not get you a link now but don’t forget about getting links in the long run. Build up relationships.
- Think Visibility (No not that Leeds Conference!)
Use Google alerts to find places not linking to you (e.g. people removing link from press releases). Call and ask if they would mind re-instating that link.
Visibility is never useless. People will still start searching for it. If a lot of people start to do this, Google will notice it and take search behaviour into account. e.g. Think Google Instant – it will show up when people start typing.
The Case Study
A brand new Dutch travel site, aiming to build ONLY natural links. How? Putting the focus on targeting new audiences.
Find and define your audience
Key here is to move away from traditional SEO-focused techniques. Don’t use Adwords keyword tool/Google Trends seo-focused approach. Use a link building approach with a focus on link graphs.
Use directories, try to find interesting groups of sites that you can make relevant to yours then create a shortlist of possible niches. Then:
1. Find content ideas that match both niches
Brainstorming, historical analysis of the site and competitive analysis.
2. Aim, fire. Next target
Religious sites: Why successful? Thoroughness, targeting an audience who are known for their willingness to share
Content: ’70 most beautiful churches’
Why? Ask a Christian about his religion? Grab a chair, he’ll be happy to share.
Food sites: Why successful? Emotional sharing triggers: humour and disgust. Entertaining a relatively un-entertained audience.
Content: Find weird and wonderful products: e.g. maggot cheese.
Trainspotter websites: Why successful? Chauvinism, ego, luck
Content: Stations (e.g. Liege) celebrating their 10th anniversary, featured them in a piece on Top 10 Most Beautiful Train Stations in Europe . Ended up featured on government press releases.
Go the extra mile
Make sure everyone knows about the content you’re producing. Think about who you’re targeting. E.g. Who to target? If one site has a ‘in the media’ page and one doesn’t – focus on being able to get a link.
Let everyone you mention in a top 10 list know you have mentioned them. Make contact, build relationships.
- Attract links from important hubs in your industry for optimal relevance
- Tell Google what your site is about via anchor text
- Getting links from authority sites is difficult but not impossible
- Differentiate yourself from competitors by getting links they don’t have and/or can’t get.
An extra comment Wiep made which I found interesting with regards to traditional heavy focus on anchor text links: Anchor text is only ‘fine-tuning’, if you have the trust and domain strength, it is not the focus.