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Link Building Campaigns and Strategies

Link Building Campaigns and Strategies

By Jim Boykin (Webuildpages), Rae Hoffman (, Greg Hartnet (Best of the Web), Chris Tolles, Roger Montti (

Speaker 1 : Jim Boykin:
Some basic questions people may be wondering about that I will attempt to answer:
1)    Which methods have changed?
2)    Which sites should be last to get a link from?
3)    What page?
4)    What is the value of that link?
5)    Am I willing to give out anything in return?
6)    Who should I link out to?

Old methods:  link trading, submitting to 100’s of directories…only a few are good; 3-way linking…Google can map it out; Buying from PRs 8 and 9…they’ve all been blocked; linking sites together…Google knows it’s all you; linking your friends together…Google still knows. Link brokers…up to you…no comment (J/K); paid blog reviews is the new fad.

Things that have always worked:
Write the most amazing content, best pictures, attract links without having to ask for them!

Jim’s 1000 days of link building:

Day 1: Directories: only a few good ones: DMOZ, BOTW, Yahoo,, and a few industry related.

Day 2: Make intelligent comments on related blogs and forums to pick up link value.

Day 3: Advertise in major portals.

Days 4-20 and occasionally throughout time: Write link bait articles, create free tool, widgets, social media etc.

(Jim: a side note from a link builder addict – shortcomings of link bait: hard to get links to the pages you are targeting, hard to get links to phrases you are targeting. You don’t have cont over how people link to you.)

Days 21-31: analyze high ranging sites – use tools to help find what sites are linking to relevant sites, but not to you! Or linkdomain:, linkdomain:, linkdomain: – linkdomain:  Check page rank, Google cache, and decide if it’s a links page and if you want it or not. Make lists of sites you want your links from and contact them.

Days 32-1000: Go to Google or Yahoo and do searches for related pages. Write to those people, tell them what wonderful content you have and why they should link to you voluntarily. Call them, email them. If you have to contact people by email, PROVE YOU’RE HUMAN and your response rate will go way up. You may want to recommend to them how they should do it.

The value of a link: how relevant is the link as far as the value?
–    How old is the website? If the site has been around since 1996, its worth a lot more than a site that has been around since 2005.
–    How many back links and what kind? How well trusted is the website? How many .edu or .gov are linked?
–    How well is that page interlinked with the main site?
–    Do other sites link to that exact page you are getting the link on? Extremely important.
–    What does that page link to? Extremely important. Your site should be related.
–    Where on the web page will your link be? Also important.
–    What do you have to do to get the link? i.e. Build content tailored to someone to get the link.

Chris Tolles – side note:  It’s more different to ask a large site to exchange links than a small site.

Speaker 2: Greg Hartnett, President of BOTW: speaking about directories.

Popular question- isn’t a directory just a paid link?
No way – directory submissions are different in that a successful transaction results in a review for possible inclusion in the directory. Very important.

What’s a good vs. bad directory? Common sense. Good directories have a history, track record, providing users with quality content, great resources: does your category have a lot of good resources or a few? Good directories have an abundance of populated categories. If you see thinly populated categories, you may want to think twice. Also good directories add sites on their own and don’t just add paid submissions.  Categories should be designed for the user. If the directory feels good, submit, if not, move on.

What kind of traffic can I expect from a directory?
–    Digg effect (j/k – BOTW doesn’t drive much traffic, but it’s highly targeted)
–    Minimal compared to search engines, even the most pop will send a few. Usually advanced users use directories.
Can I list my website multiple times?
Yes – some have only 1 site/1 listing, but others allow multiple pages from one website but needs to be relevant, and you can submit as many pages from one site if you want. i.e. BOTW linked ith CNN 700+ times.  If content is unique and relevant and valuable, the search engines and directories need you as much as you need them.

Is the yahoo directory worth it?
Yes – especially with commercial website ($299/year). You decide based on your site. Questions are b/c it’s the largest and the most expensive. BOTW – $80/year, Business – $200/year.
Yahoo directory is worth it.

Is the ODP corrupt? NO
Maybe you’ve heard of bribes or corrupt editors – there might be a handful of bad seeds – but the overall value of the project should not be reflected by the individual representative. As an org, the ODP is not corrupt.

Which directories are most trustworthy? I may be biased about one of the four – but its typically Yahoo, Dmoz, BOTW and and the common denom is that they are all there to provide good content and resources to the user.

How can I get into DMOZ? Short answer – Prayer!
Could be a test of patience but a handful of things to speed itup:
-find most relevant category
-read the guidelines
-properly title and describe your listing – should be the name of your site, not anchor text, keywords etc. no marketing hype in the description i.e. #1 company b/c the editor has no way of verifying.
-submit and move on, don’t obsess
-you can become an editor!

How can I ensure my site gets listed?
You can’t – no guarantees.

Where can I submit my blog?
Yahoo and DMOZ have categories for blogs
BOTW has a blog directory
SEJ has a great post “20 places to submit your blog”

Rae Hoffman – Sugarrae:

Outsourcing link development can take on a lot of forms.

Avoid triangular. Buy links under the radar. Avoid spam. The right firm can do you a lot of good. Wrong firm can give you damage. How to find a good link builder? Look at vendors from sponsored lists at SES – must make money to float. Ask for references. Check backlinks and buzz of the firm. Make sure you hire the right people and chose carefully.

Questions to ask link development firms:
– Do you use automated programs?
– What types of links?
– How well do you speak English?
– What training is provided?
– Will you require access (if yes, find a new firm)?
– How do you limit clients to avoid competitors getting the same links?
– Costs, confidentiality agreement.

Not a fan of outsourcing. If you have the knowledge but no time, hire someone in house. Hire the right people. Train them well. Task them efficiently. Monitor their progress. Have an expert. Create training documents. What might be in your development manual? Media intros. Have them create relationships in communities. Train them to be traffic developers – no email bots. Think of angles that they can take with content.

A link developer should not start working on a site that is of high value to you.

Roger Monti –

Outsourcing is a good idea if you want to take control of the campaign. He has trained people to hunt down links – and get BCC’s on every email so the quality is there. Has team in India and here getting links from .edu, .govs etc. Train and keep control.

Alternative link building strategies:

– Advertising – great sites sell ad space in the form of links
– Newsletter space – sent to email list but get archived on the site and live there – pay once and link stays for the life of the site.
– Link buys – big fan of paid links. How else can you get anchor text you need? Suggest look at the blogs – if they give you a run of site link as a friend – also good way of getting anchor text. Go to a directory of blogs – great starting point for link hunting. Find a blog that has Adsense – preferably below the fold. This means they are indicating they want to monetize and sell you a link. Approach and ask for advertising space. Don’t talk about PR or anchor text. Often times they will suggest other blogs and sites they own. Package deals. Suggest once a year payment – looks bigger than monthly.

What should you look for?

– Good on page relevance. Don’t use sites that mention PR or Google or are part of a paid link network. Might be above the radar.

– Search queries:
“advertise with us” + keyword – CPM
“rate card” + keyword – cpm
“allintitle:”sponsors” – cpm + keyword – might get charity sites which can be a good deal.
“copyright 2004”

Buying websites:

– buy inactive sites
– search: down for maintenance, site is offline
– under-performing website – sites that were built but no one came and it sits there. Has links but webmaster gave up – check last post date,
– contact domain from owner using a whois

Things to look for:

– Archived links
– Ideal if dedicated to a nice
– Search “site of the month/day/week” + keyword

Industry associations – chamber of commerce – charity groups – concentrate on dot or – search: keyword sponsors job fairs

Youtube: The money shot – can put videos on Youtube and the link is nofollow but if it gets popular will get clicks. The video could bring you traffic. In the description – drop your URL and title.

Selling software? BOTW has – find a site that ranks for your terms – purchase a position. Not a link but leads. Create a PAD file and submit it to directories of software.

Charity site design: an option that’s out there. A free link.

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