There aren’t too many really, really good link builders out there — and of those who are, most are overbooked with clients, or spend most of their time on their own sites.
The best way to retain the likes of Caveman, Aaron or Todd is to get in early, before they’ve been overwhelmed with thousands of service enquiries.
Which is why you should run, not walk, over to Graywolf’s consulting page. (Maybe this has been around a while, but I only found it just now.) Besides SEO phone consulting and site reviews, he’s offering a link baiting service which covers several areas of SMO, and is geared towards a strategy encompassing multiple baiting efforts over a period of time.
If you’re having a hard time beating the ‘box, or if you’re losing the SERPs battle to uber-trusted authority sites, I suggest you whip out the checkbook and send Graywolf a retainer, before a dozen other people do
I’m not really much of a "tool guy" — I still use Notepad and FireFox for "just about everything" — but WeBuildPages continues to bring the good stuff.
Check out the Top 10 Analysis Tool. Great for quick hit competitive analysis.
Jim, do you even have time to do SEO anymore, in between making all these wicked tools?
I talked to ShoeMoney yesterday, apparently there are a few spots still open in the Elite Retreat but they are going fast. If there is one piece of advice I always give to new SEOs–especially if they work in competitive areas–it’s that networking, and getting connected to the right people, can make or break you, your site, and your rankings. The ~$5k price is cheap to get quality time with the likes of Aaron Wall, Shoe, Lee Dodd, etc. Wish I could go! I still have a lot to learn.
Reserve your spot at the Elite Retreat
In case you missed it, Jim Boykin wrote a great post this week, Why that site with 50 backlinks beats your site with 1000 backlinks. I think we all ocassionally tend to overcomplexify SEO and link building, focusing on numbers or other mostly meaningless data, when instead we should be focusing on macro-trends (in this case, the trend is quality over quantity).
I would also like to use this post as a time to start a little petition for one of Jim’s former projects that he canceled:
That is all, please resume your weekend relaxation.
My recently published article, 101 Ways to Build links, shows that you have many, many link building tactics at your disposal. For any given website, you probably need to use at least a few dozen link building different tactics over the course of a year or more to rank for anything remotely competitive.
One thing I didn’t mention in the article, though, was that for a brand new site you need to build certain types of links first. Why? Thank TrustRank/the sandbox. To even get fully indexed (now that we have sandbox crawling), let alone ranked, you’ll need to get the domain some trust right off the bat, and this is only going to happen by building certain types of links in a certain way.
OK, so what is “certain types of links in a certain way”? Basically, we need trusted links to happen first, and then a “natural growth curve”. Want specifics?
When I launch a new site, I go after two types of links right away:
- My short-short-very-short list of trusted paid directories (Business.com, Dir.yahoo.com, sbd.bcentral.com)
- Link begging/buying/bartering at sites which already rank in the top 1-200 (if they’re ranking, they have some trust)
The latter is time-consuming and frustrating — but it has to be done, and sooner is better than later. From Stuntdubl’s recent post:
Other Notes: Authority links are an absolute must for improving your trust score these days. This is a MUST for a new site, and should be where you start your efforts, and always be dedicating SOME time. Suck it up, and take the time it takes to get some quality, trusted links. The existence of trusted authority links will make or break your site. Find the 800 lb. gorillas in your field, and **find a way to get on a dozen or so of them. Failing that, hunt their backlinks, and find a way to get on some of those pages. Use some creative queries with the combination tool. Give the tattler a shot.
Anyway, once I have a few authority links (even getting 3 is quite an accomplishment), I wait a week or two, make sure the site gets indexed deeply, and then move into other types of link building tactics — article syndication, social networking gaming, quality reciprocals, etc. Even if a few (or more than a few) low quality links make it into the link profile, it’s not going to kill anything, since I gave the site a spine first.
I think we have enough "news roundup" SEO blogs around. At least, if you ever take a look at Patrick’s Bloglines, I’m not sure how he’s able to ever stop reading! (I think he must ‘skim’ a lot).
Anyway, in my opinion the more enjoyable SEO blogs are those with a bit of personality & gossip. Well you can add a new "fun one" to your Bloglines, Cartoon Barry tracks the hijinks of none other than Mr. Barry Schwarz. The new blog links to his writings from Roundtable and SEWBlog, and also touches on issues such as his adventures in mazelink Ikea, a typical day and plans on posting baby pictures (well, to my knowledge, there’s no baby yet).
** update: Barry confirms there’s no baby on the way
"Incoming links can’t hurt you… the most they can do is ‘not count’ ."
In my opinion this used to be true.
In 2006, it’s absolutely, certifiably, completely FALSE.
Your neighborhood better maintain a certain level of trust — both trust IN and trust OUT — or you can kiss your rankings goodbye.
To put it another way…
- You have six trusted links to your site, it’s ranking on page 2.
- Then, add 10,000 untrusted links to your site. These should theoretically just "not count", and you should still rank on page 2… right?
Then why do such sites go byebye? (I’ve seen it time and time again in the last 6 months.)
You know me by now. I’m a link lover, link builder, link swapper, link whore, link monger, link monkey, link-link-link-link-link-link-link-link link-link-link-link-link-link-link I LOVE LINKS.
But there are two situations where I like slowing the linking waterfall down to a small trickle.
- The new site launch – I grab it a Yahoo! directory & bcentral listing plus 1-2 Premium TLA links, then let it bake for a bit… under no circumstances should you push it in Google with tons of low(ish) quality links, as when a new site goes beyond ‘the threshold’ it appears it’s pretty unlikely it’ll ever come back (this year, at least)
- The old domain aquisition – You know the scenario "I just scored the ol’ 2000 pr4 domain (transfered not expired) and bwahahaha boy is it gonna rank" – but in the first 3 months I only go Yahoo & bcentral listing plus 1-2 Premium TLA links, then let it bake for a bit… (why risk the trust you just bought?)
MSN still loves the sledgehammer approach but sometimes in Google you have to think more like a surgeon.
Let’s get one thing straight — I disagree with a lot of what Michael Martinez posts on SEOmoz. But I have to credit where credit’s due and I think his comment on an SEOmoz post should get an award for ‘best SEO advice of 2006′.
When what you’re doing doesn’t work, do something different.
I know, I know, duh, it’s so simple, etc. But when a recent site launch has been mediocre or even subpar, how often do you really step back, overhaul your strategy and tactics arsenel, and then implement the new one without falling back to those same old tricks?
I have to confess I’m guilty of this a lot, especially with churn and burn (not autogen, but thin-ish) affiliate sites. I use mostly the same methodology I used in ’04 (then, targeting Google… now, targeting MSN/Yahoo!). The system is efficient and profitable. Why mess with a good thing?
(For the record, I can still get a site to rank in G. It’s just for many sites I get faster & higher ROI by going for the other 2.)
But anyway back to the subject at hand. For a ‘real’ site for a ‘real’ business, you need to rank in Google. And every one of us — from me, Todd, and Aaron to your local neighborhood amateur SEO — has launched a site this year that’s not performing as well as it should in Google. You readers who do client work, or have several sites- my guess is that you’re in the same camp.
Ask yourself this: “Am I actively using new and different tactics?”
Maybe the extra push you need is something you’ve written off years ago (personalized link requests), or something you think isn’t applicable to your theme (a niche real estate page getting on the Digg homepage?), or maybe even what’s old is new again (need trusted links? Submit to directories).
The bottom line is, if it’s been 9 months and you’re still sandboxed, it’s time to:
- First, admit that the tactics you used were insufficient, and that something needs to change.
- Second, concretely plan some new tactics you will use to to defeat the sandbox.
- Finally, implement those tactics (the perennially underrated step).
I don’t often like to make "me too" blog posts, but in case you missed it on all the other SEO blogs, make sure to check out Jim Westergreen’s guide to building links. It’s a very good introduction to what everyone’s actually doing in the trenches (sometimes different than what you read on ClickZ), and I think there’s some nuggets in there whether you’re a seasoned link hound or a n00b.