Getting The Kinks Out of Links

    August 11, 2005

Links to and from your site can make a big difference in your business. The “Buying and Selling Links” session gave a lot of great information with an informative Q&A session at the end. The chairs were full and the crowd was quiet at the masters of SEO bequeathed their wisdom to eager students.

Getting The Kinks Out of Links
Getting The Kinks Out of Links

Editor’s Note: Got kinks in your links? Want to know how to stretch out your link building? Talk about it at WebProWorld.

The lineup reads like a short who’s who in SEO. The original WebGuerilla, Greg Boser was there as well as Debra Mastaler at Alliance-Link and Eric Ward of Chris Boggs, the Director of Online Marketing at G3 Group and Mike Grehan CEO at Smart Interactive and professor of SEO-logy were around for the Q&A session. With this kind of roster, you knew the session would be great.

This session had a lot of good information and allowed people to pick the brains of these experts in the field. Eric Ward had some of the best comments and he would know as he helped promote Amazon when they first launched. Danny Sullivan calls him the definitive link building guru.

He discussed the importance of 301 redirects when changing a site domain name or a directory structure. Make sure you reclaim links by using server logs (when sites change domains, you can reclaim the links pointing to the old site). Use refer data and site logs to determine which old link was clicked and implement a 301 redirect.

Sometimes search engines may not find all the links on a site so you won’t get credit. He mentioned a great description of undiscovered links at Non-web based links like email newsletters and forum posts can drive traffic. Search doesn’t necessarily recognize it but they do DRIVE TRAFFIC.

Search engines benefits aren’t the only reason to get links. Traffic is important but they go hand-in-hand really. Much of what Eric focused on was link are really more for traffic as opposed to search benefits.

Debra Mastaler of Alliance-Link had a lot of great information too. Just like she stressed in yesterday’s “Link Building Basics” session, today she stressed anchor text as extremely important. She suggested using it in any link you have, both onpage and outbound.

Make sure you optimize the site keyword-wise before you go on a link building campaign. Links embedded in content with the proper anchor text get more weight than navigation links.

Optimize links on pages with keywords, emulate natural linking patterns and stagger the link text throughout the copy. A wide variety (pagerank-wise) of inbound link are good but stay within your niche.

Linking out is a great way to build trust among sites and it can help you get links pointing to you. Cross-linking, if you own lots of sites, can be great but don’t over do it. Make sure you have some other links besides ones to your sites.

Finally, make yourself an authority on your topic and this will attract the inbound links. Content development is important to linking because no one want to link to a poorly done site. Also, directory links are still valuable but shouldn’t be the only focus. She also suggested finding a list of journalists to send out your press releases to. Include bloggers and more journalists so this should be easier to accomplish.

The Q&A sessions tend to be some of the most valuable to attendees. Some things gleaned during this sessions include:

Internal linking IS valuable. Be sure to use contextually accurate anchor text
While content is king, linking is a powerful queen
Links need to be contextually relevant
“crap links” (link farms and bought links) can still be valuable, quality content will still win out in the end and without it, the links don’t mean much.

Mike Grehan said, “Don’t be a link collector, be a business developer. The quality of a link is more important than the quantity of links.

My take on this is that a well-developed, authoritative site will acquire links without much of a campaign. People like linking to authorities.

The term used during the session, “crap links” referring to link farms and bought links was talked about. They said these have some benefits but without something to
keep your audience in place, they won’t keep that audience. Also keep in mind the way search engines way IBLs. For this reason, the conference has emphasized content.

They also said don’t be afraid to link out even if they don’t link back to you immediately. And remember CONTENT IS KING!

John Stith contributed to this story

Chris Richardson is a search engine writer and editor for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest search news.