SMX East 2011: Link Building: Why You’re Doing It Wrong

SMX East 2011: Link Building: Why You’re Doing It Wrong

19th September 2011

Coverage of SMX New York 2011 is provided by our guest author Jackie Hole.

What not to do when approaching established webmasters, and how to gain some extra potential links using simple methods. Speakers included:

  • Jenny Halasz, Nine by Blue
  • Byrne Hobart, Digital Due Diligence
  • Rae Hoffman-Dolan, Sugarrae SEO Firm

Speaker #1 Jenny Halasz – A History Lesson & Myths Dispelled

History Of Link BuildingWhy should you care about links?

A long time ago in a faraway land, there were other search engines besides Google… Between 2003 – 2004 the difference in the market share for Google soared from 29.5% to 56.4%, Shortly before that, PageRank had formed the basis of linking to and from everything in order to get a part of that market, so when in 2003 came the famous ‘Florida’ update suddenly it was important to think about links and more importantly links with Google.

Florida was one of the first major algorithm updates happenning just before Christmas sparking conspiracy theories – the most popular being that Google decided to de-value a load of sites before Christmas so that they would spend more on Adwords! There were also papers written, including one based on the idea of ‘topic sensitive’ page rank ie not just getting a link from another but also considering the content that surrounds that link and the anchor text that is used within that link. This is closer to the link building we know today.

There have been a lot of link techniques come and go, from Google bombing, nofollow, link sculpting, link bait, paid links but with Google changing guidelines every time the fences are tested – Jenny discusses what works and what doesn’t anymore?

Common Misconceptions

  • Link Bait – does not automatically happen with your content so do not write just with that in mind
  • Viral Marketing – you can’t just try and do one viral thing as the only marketing strategy longer term link building strategy is required
  • Link Sculpting – Does not work any more
  • Cross-Linking – It’s a nice idea cross linking by buying domains, getting them ranked in order to get cross links – but bear in mind that GOOGLE KNOWS EVERYTHING
  • Toolbar Page Rank – is not a major metric any more but it is an important factor in the algorithm but toolbar page rank means nothing.
  • Directory submissions – are generally a waste of time


Quality over quantity. 4 bad links are not as good as 1 good link – work hard, get good links of high quality.

View Full Summary and PDF presentation: [For SMX visitors needs login]

Speaker #2 Rae Hoffman-Dolan – Link Building with Guest Posts

SugarRaeIf you’ve tried guest posts and they didn’t work, you may need to talk to Sugarrae. This session covered bad guest posting techniques vs good guest post strategies for ultimate link building success.


  • A Good guest post is there to inform the user not to advertise yourself
  • Great guest posts are more likely to get you additional guest post opportunity
  • Take a general topic and find a way to intersect it with yours
  • When looking for places to post use search strings such as “guest post” topic as many blog posts have a statement ‘todays guest post is on the topic of X’
  • Go to top lists and find blogs that you ‘could’ write for
  • Craft the pitch, check for guidelines – if you’re not smart enough to follow instructions you may lose your opportunity
  • ‘There is nothing a blogger likes more than talking about themselves’, so ask a genuine question, make that connection
  • Include an example post – send the most popular, not your most favourite

Quote of the session: “No one is going to link to crap, no one is going to Tweet crap, no one is going to Facebook like crap”

For more infomation visit:

Speaker #3 Byrne Hobart – win Links and Irritate People

Byrne HobartOutrage is the new black (hat) and there is no doubt that controversy promotes. From racy photos, to ‘interesting’ titles, embracing the art of irritating people may get you more attention and a lot more links.

This tactic may not work in every marketplace and there may be some boring things like regulations, crossing the line and slander to watch out for, but if you upset enough people for them to take the time out to write a blog post about how terrible you are (with a lnk!) your work is done.


  • Pick areas that are data driven, subjective and full of nerds (they love to argue) – sports, politics, gossip, apple users.
  • Stick to low risk easy to approve areas
  • Push people’s buttons not Google’s buttons
  • Once you have a reputation you may have to get a lot more boring
  • Know the potential risk this strategy carries, there are ways to be controversial without damaging long term reputation

View Full Summary and PDF presentation: [For SMX visitors needs login]

More posts about SMX East 2011


Be sure to also look at our overview page of SMX East 2011

The coverage of SMX East on State of Search in part made possible by a sponsoring from Majestic SEO who have the largest Link Intelligence database in Search. To get your free trial, give a card to this blogger in person at the conference or drop us an e-mail.


Written By
Jackie Hole is an Award Winning Search Marketing consultant specialising in Paid Search, Conversion Improvement and Organic Search / SEO for the USA, Canada and European markets. Starting out in Multimedia & Interface Design, Jackie has over 15 years experience in online marketing and was recently awarded European Search Personality...
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