SES London: Link Building And Domain Name Issues

    June 8, 2004

The Search Engine Strategies London conference started a week ago and I’m glad that Alan Webb attended and shared his observations over at SEOChat. I’ve gone through his posts and lifted what I think are the most important SEO tips – be sure to check out his complete posts.

Did you attend? Tell WebProWorld all about Search Engine Strategies London.

Optimizing for London? If You're a Lumberjack, It's OK...
Optimizing for London? If You’re a Lumberjack, It’s OK……

Webby (as he’s called in SEOChat) attended two sessions on link building, and, as search engines pay so much attention to who’s linking to you I thought that’d be a good place to start.

From the basic link building session he reiterated an old link building maxim he thought was the “general thrust” – “create quality content that is going to get linked to naturally from the same or similarly related themed websites.”

Matt Cutts, a Google developer, said that “thematic incoming links from authority sites carry more weight than on-page optimization.” Wow! That’s something I’ve suspected for some time, especially after watching the Nigritude Ultramarine contest rife with wiki blasting, but to have Google say it is certainly reason to start beefing up on your inbound links.

Thomas Bindl of OPTOP suggested donating your services to a charity site. Especially if they give you a link, as charity sites are often both considered authorities and have high PageRank.

I found it interesting that, in addition to link farms and guest book entries, forum posts are “increasingly counting for nothing.”

In the advanced link building session Mr. Cutts emphasized that the quality of links is more important than quality. But again, as demonstrated in the Nigritude Ultramarine SEO challenge, quantity clearly has an effect.

If you’re not alternating your link text, especially if you’re buying links, you may be harming your rankings. Identical link text, “looks like (and 9/10 times is) a sign of manipulation of its PageRank algorithm.” Natural links, such as those appearing here in this article, use varying link text. Be sure to mix things up if you’re linking for the express purpose of raising PageRank.

It was also suggested – by Google I assume – that you only buy links for the traffic they may provide. It’s apparently easy for Google to tell when sites allow links for pay because the links go off to such unrelated sites. Not that this changes the fact that links to your site give your site better ranking. I guess if Google can tell they may work something into their algorithm, but link vendors will just spread out their links more, or create themed sites based around their clients.

The sandbox theory got some talk, though Matt Cutts denied it existed. On one panel it was suggested that sandboxing may only occur when “a site launches and all of a sudden a large number of links point to it with the same link text.”

Alan brought up an issue he has with his own site that he had resolved – he’s got both German and English versions of his site and has separate folders for them. Now it’s considered “better” to have separate domains with “language/country specific top level domains for the different language content.” is his German language URL. is his English language URL.

Here’s what he learned he should do:

Find a web host in the US and/or UK to register my / .com pages. Making sure there are no trademark violation issues first.

Move the english language content from my German tld /en/ directory to the uk/com domains. Change the content to be more in line with the uk market (avoiding duplicate content and helping conversion by specific Geo targeting). If I have a .com then change the content to be more US focused.

Use 301 moved permanently in my .htaccess on the .de domain to make sure that there is search engine friendly redirection to the English language websites (.com or (Never use meta refresh or javascript redirection). (Yahoo has issues with 301s though — ed.)

Pursuade all those linking to my old /en/ folder to switch to the new domains / .com domains.

Alan also included some very specific copywriting advice he heard from Charon Matthew of MediaCo. Charon recommended “four keyword phrases (NOT keywords was stressed) in 250-300 words or for longer pages 8-10 times in 500 words.”

(If you need help in finding phrases consider checking out this keyword formula.)

Ammon Johns, who spoke at the conference and was the inspiration for my no hats SEO article, wrote about his experiences in the cre8asite forum. He also attended the WebMasterWorld Pub Con.

Thanks to Barry and the SEORoundtable for the tip. Be sure to check out his review of Alan’s post.

Again, here’s Alan’s complete posts, and special thanks to his Abakus Internet Marketing. (Alan, just let me know when you change your domain and we’ll get those links pointed in the right direction.)

Garrett French is the editor of iEntry’s eBusiness channel. You can talk to him directly at WebProWorld, the eBusiness Community Forum.