- 10 Key SEO Skills
- Use Your Connections
- SEO, what a nightmare
- Follow or No-Follow Links - Why Use them and Do They Work?
- How Not To Do Link Building
- What Sort of SEO Are You (or want to be)?
- Be Careful With Link Exchange Scams
- SEO Stalking a.k.a. Competitor Back Link Research
- Link Building Failure No.1 - Directory Submissions
- Paid Links?
- What Are the Best Article Distribution Sites?
- Why You Should Outsource Your Link Building / SEO
- Why Outsourcing Link Building is Mostly a Waste of Money
- 1,000 Backlinks for $9.99 - All Backlinks are Permanent
- 10 Unknown Web Directories that are worth Submitting your Website To
- A Clever "Black Hat" Link Scam
- Link Building Conclusion
If there is one paradox online it is the concept of natural link building. For a site to be discovered it needs to have PageRank so that it appears in the search engine (OK, Google search engine). But Google ideally wants only natural link building. So if you have no PageRank, you have no traffic and therefore no chance of natural link building taking place. Classic Catch 22 situation.
So, as every SEO worth his / her salt knows, you have to build your own links. Not natural as such, but consider it a part of your marketing campaign to raise awareness. Over the years I have dipped into link building. My thoughts on various methods have changed over time. Here I simply have compile a list of articles I have written on the topic over the last few years. They provide a good starting point if nothing else!
Topics covered are general SEO research, making use of directories, the pros and cons outsourcing SEO work, what good directories look like, what bad deals smell like and some other link building stuff. What follows was once a series of mini blog updates, now we have one complete resource. The dates below the titles are the original publication dates. Rather than list them in chronological order I decided to list them in the most logical order. I have no time for Chronos here!
10 Key SEO Skills
There are a few key skills that you need to get to grips with to ensure that you are capable of transforming a website into a high-ranking masterpiece.
- Researching markets to determine what is popular and where new opportunities lie
- Analyzing competitor sites – what they are doing, what they are talking about, who they are partnered with
- Identifying keywords – which words are the winners in the search engines?
- Building titles, descriptions and keyword sets – using the keywords to enhance the on page SEO factors of a website
- Using correct HTML to layout a page to enhance each page – headers, paragraphs, lists
- Writing on-page copy – new content that is engaging, well written and targeted
- Selecting evocative images – Image search is often underrated. More images can bring more interest.
- Planning predictive click mapping – Usability, understanding where the user is likely to be looking for the next click
- Undertaking link building campaigns – Off page SEO, increasing awareness, trust and authority for a website
- Understanding the importance of redirects, server reliability and speed to ensure maximum up time and limited 404 errors.
Master these, and you will be a successful SEO professional!
Use Your Connections
The first thing to be aware of is that the advice for link building that you most often see, including the advice below, is geared towards people running websites as seperate businesses that often have no previous connection, or business, with the rest of the world, either offline or online. So someone will buy a domain with the intention of “making money online” and then start asking how to get it to rank, and how to build links.
If your business is not like this and you have been trading for a while, you most likely know many other people who have websites. Many of them may have outsourced their sites entirely to web design agencies and have little control over what is done. However, you should consider all of your contacts as a possible link. It really makes sense for people who do business with each other to link to each other – there is nothing more natural really.
So before you carry on reading, ask if your accountant, supplier, marketing team, manufacturer, retailer etc. would be interested in exchanging links. It can be discreet, such as a link on an about page that states you do business with company X and supplier Y, and they can do similar. You scratch my back and I scratch yours!
Once you have gone through your contacts lists - remember, consider everyone, many people have blogs, and friends tend to help each other out when asked nicely – start working through the following notes.
SEO, what a nightmare
Jul 9, 2006
I include this blog update from July 2006 just to emphasis that SEO is a steep learning curve. In the 5 years since I have got a little better myself, which means that you can too!
I guess I underestimated the difficulty in getting a website listed. I have read the SEO (search engine optimisation) forums, read Google tips and hints on submitting websites, produced site maps, but still cannot see my website in the search pages. Oh well. If anyone has any tips, please enlighten me ! All this hard work and my sites will be lost in the maze of the Ethernet for eternity. Or at least until my domains expire, after being long forgotten. More content, I guess in need more content. And to have denser keywords. Maybe I just need to write smaller….
Note that the “denser keywords” is in reference to “keyword density” which some SEOs were talking about back in 2006. Nowadays the advice is to not worry about that, just write naturally.
Follow or No-Follow Links – Why Use them and Do They Work?
There are two types of links in the eyes of an SEO, normal links, and “nofollow” links. Nofollow links are bad for SEO. Well, in theory they are good for white hat SEO, as it keeps all the spammy rubbish out.
One thing that continues to puzzle many bloggers, web authors and site owners, is when to use rel=”nofollow” within links to external sites, and when to leave it out. And some simply ask, what is rel=”nofollow”?
Well, rel=”nofollow”, or the no follow link, was introduced by Google to allow site owners to tell the search engines to ignore links that could potentially be spam. The nofollow tag is generally automatically placed on a link out to another website, whenever it is posted on a form by a third-party. For example, the comment forms on most blogs are nofollow, as are the many internet forums and chat rooms, which are often spammed by desperate website owners who are looking to make a fast buck.
Why is nofollow needed?
A few years ago, Google developed a new way of indexing and rating websites, which was its PageRank algorithm method. Google decided that as the web grew, manually reviewing sites for quality of content became impossible, so instead a site would be rated better if more people linked to it. This seemed logical in the early days of the internet, because people used to link to the best sites. In fact, before the first search engine was ever built, links were the only way to find new pages. This gave rise to the human created web directories, some of which are still going strong today, such as the Yahoo! Directory.
However, once people realised that more links led to higher “ranking”, a mad crazed battle started with people building links to their sites in any way possible. This initially led to “Google bombing” whereby people would link to sites en masse to either benefit a site or mock. Once blogs and forums became more popular, with the growth of PHP/MySQL content management systems, “comment spam” started to grow. This started out with individuals manually adding comments, which included a link to their own website, on other people’s blogs, which were designed not to add value to the blog, but only benefit themselves. At the same time, “link dropping” in forum threads became a popular pastime for many. Quickly the spammers started to out rank more respected websites. More inventive spammers started building computer programs (known as spambots) to seek comment forms and forums, and automatically sign in and link drop. The more advanced spambots were designed to bypass security settings, email verification and even some CAPCHTA.
So, the solution? To add rel=”nofollow” to the link, which tells search engines not to look at that link. The rel=”nofollow” tag allows a website owner to tell the search engines (in an automated way) that the link in question is not one that has been reviewed, and therefore could potentially be spam. Once spammers know that sites use rel=”nofollow”, they stop spamming those sites.
The good news is that for many webmasters, the nofollow can be switched off, or removed individually. For example, the comments on this site are nofollow by default, however I can easily remove the nofollow tag from selected links should I feel that they are of value and should be found more easily by others.
What types of links should get this attribute?
Google and the other search engines now encourage you to use the rel=”nofollow” attribute anywhere that users can add links by themselves, including within comments, trackbacks, and referer lists. Comment areas receive the most attention, but securing every location where someone can add a link is the way to keep spammers at bay.
Has it stopped spamming?
No. Many people are very much against nofollow too, as they feel that Google is dictating how they should link. But spammers still leave links, knowing that people will still see them and click them – even if they get no search engine optimisation out of them. But it certainly helps. Although now SEO forums are often found sharing lists of websites that do not have nofollow as default on their links, which means some poor souls who have not updated their CMS’s for a while are receiving unprecedented levels of spam.
For more information see Google’s guide to using the nofollow tag.
2 Comments on this Nofollow
Jonathan – Submitted on 2009/09/04 at 2:43 pm
There is the argument that restricting the links to ‘nofollow’ means that you may not get comments made that might have been of use – for many webmasters and SEO specialists one of the reasons for commenting is to get both natural hits and pagerank.
My preference would be an alternate way to block spam comments. Human review is the best option, but not viable for busy sites or those with part-time administrators. Newer CAPTCHA systems seem to be blocking some of it, but I am sure there is an ‘arms race’ between the system developers and spam bot developers – and it does not stop the manually added spam using cheap overseas labour.
In busy site there is the option of allowing ‘peer review’ and flagging for deletion comments that are notified by users, but again this can be open to abuse.
Submitted on 2009/09/04 at 3:08 pm | In reply to Jonathan. From me.
I have heard that argument before, i.e. allowing links to be followed increases discussion. But this is only true for the techy / web design / SEO sites (where people discuss this topic). On non-techy sites discussions are generally more genuine, on topic, with people asking for and offering advice. Many people do not even have websites anyway. So allowing link juice from comments may increase conversation on SEO sites, but not anywhere else.
We also always moderate every comment. It does not take time. Another reason to do so is simply that so many people cannot construct a sentence or spell, and comments sometimes need a tidy up to allow other people to understand. Maybe smart phones are making it worse, I get so many comments that are in SMS/text-speak. U R gr8, thx 4 hlp. All that nonsense. Seems a shame to delete such comments, but no way you can publish so many spelling errors on a page,as before long the dictionary-rank-factor will kick in and you will slide down the SERPs.
Another thing that I do, which you may have noticed, is remove “sig links” when not required. So readers, if you like what Jonathan said, check out his site, available by clicking his name!
How Not To Do Link Building
Sometimes people will send you emails offering the chance to exchange links. These should be avoided at all costs! This is from August 2009:
Just had one of those emails, but this brought email link requests to a new low.
I recently visit your blog, its looking very cool and use full. dear bloger I am related to web development and me and my team going to creat a IT training website which could also called IT portal, which have blog review section also. I like your blog so i really like to include your blog to our blog review page where find Nice IT related blogs and find good blogs same as like yours, but because of articale writing effort we are charging a little price which is 50$ per year, it mean your blog review articale will be placed in our site for 1 year in only 50$. so i hope you will got more traffic from there. please contact me if you are intrested.
Problems with this:
- If you really looked at my site, why call me Bloger? Sounds like an insult
- What is your site called?
- Why can’t you spell?
- Why are you charging me to advertise on a site that does not exist yet? In fact, you are charging me the cost of you building your site!
- Stop being such a cocker spaniel.
Often I also get ones that start with “I have read through your site….”
What? All of it? It must have taken a week!
In short, ignore such approaches, they only have their own interests at heard and you will not benefit in any way from attempting to make a deal with them.
What Sort of SEO Are You (or want to be)?
Aug 20, 2009
This post was less about link building and more about the nature of the SEO community. It was more of a rank than anything. Feel free to skip this!
OK, I have been learning about SEO for a few years now, and I am still surprised at the little things that I find out for myself. I sometimes wonder to myself, should I tell people? I invariably do, in SEO forums and the like. But some people just keep quite on SEO. Others seem to be full of “BS” (off-topic: has anyone else noticed the increased use of BS these days, especially online. Why not just say what is it – bullshit?).
Anyway, the question of people’s attitude towards sharing SEO knowledge online. I proposed that there are 4 types of people:
- The one who has years of experience and is happy to tell you what to do and why, and help you understand why is does / does not work in your case.
- The one who has years of experience and tells you to buy his eBook
- The one who says that he has years of experience but is really still in college doing A level Biology and tells you to buy his eBook that he copied from No.2 and spammed all over the place
- The one who tells you to go and test it all for yourself, as it is different for every site, every niche etc.
It is the No.4 type that gets to me. Almost every successful person online has gained their success due to the altruistic nature of others online. The most wonderful thing about the Internet is that not only can you learn so much from so many extremely knowledgeable a kind people, but you can turn that knowledge into a business, literally make money from home. So why are some people online so cagey?
One forum member mentioned that in Germany many of the SEO experts are type 4′s. In some communities arrogance supersedes altruism. Why is this? There are some exceptionally helpful places online, such as Michael Gray Graywolf’s SEO Blog; dazzlindonna and SEOigloo from Cre8asite Forums.
One suggestion is that people are cagey with regards to SEO as they are often making a living from providing such information. However, generally people who come across as open and professional are more likely to build important business contacts than those that close their doors and shout “work it out for yourself! (or hire me)“.
So, in an altruistic Internet, how and why are there such people who refuse to help anyone other than paying clients? Did they learn it all by themselves? Are they on to some sort of super knowledge that only they, and their closest clients, know of? Or are they just a bunch of miserable, arrogant, selfish web entrepreneurs?
What sort of SEOer are you? And why?
Be Careful With Link Exchange Scams
Feb 1, 2011
I get several emails every day asking me to exchange links with people. If I accepted all the “offers” there would be thousands of links on my site now cluttering the place up.
Today I had one of the really scammy ones that annoy me, so felt it was time to blog it!
This is a slightly edited version of the email I just received. At first these offers seem pretty good, but they are not.
My name is Billy and I’m the webmaster for spammersltd.com we target the SEO market. Simply, my job is to find new solutions to provide our customers on our website. I just did a search on Google.com for “some random keywords that you may rank for” – Anyway, there you were, webologist.co.uk, and yes here I am too! Well, I just thought that since we are both targeting pretty similar web visitors on our web sites.
Would you ever consider doing a link exchange with us?
I took the time to add your site on our Link Exchange page in which i will remove if I don’t hear from you, take a look: http://spammersltd.com/partner/webologist.co.uk
By the way I was not quite sure which email address you could be found (so I spammed about 100 different ones for your domain), I hope this gets to you.
So, at first you may think, what a nice chap Billy is. He has gone out of his way to contact me (sending mails to mail@, admin@, webmaster@, support@, info@, enquiries@, mum@, thedog@ and spam@) and created a nice page dedicated to my site with a screen shot, description and links! Wow!
Of course, this is a scam. Why?
- This is very likely to be automated, Billy is a computer, part of a program built to get links
- The page that “Billy” created does not actually link (in the SEO meaning of the word) to your site. It links to an internal page on his site, and redirects to yours. This internal page does not pass “pagerank”. There is a setting in the robots.txt that says to Google and other search engines, “do not go here, nothing to see, move along”. Meaning, it has zero benefit to your site.
- The page that they create is often an “orphaned page”, meaning that they do not link to the page from anywhere on their site. Sometimes there will be a very temporary link on the home page, but this will soon vanish. This means that the page with the link on will never carry any weight (SEO weight).
- All they want you to do is link to their site, usually from a “blogroll” or some other link that will be on your homepage, which will send maximum “link juice” back to their business.
So yes, they are linking to your site, but in a way that will not actually benefit you. Nobody will find their page either while looking at their site or through the search engines. You will never get any referrals and you will not receive any SEO benefit either. Therefore, it is an SEO Spam Scam. Just ignore theses mails.
SEO Stalking a.k.a. Competitor Back Link Research
Aug 5, 2010
Today I have been doing some very simple SEO work. It simply involves analysing backlinks of a competitor and when a blog comment crops up going to the blog and adding a comment of my own. People do this all the time in the world of SEO. It makes me feel a bit dirty though. I feel like I am stalking the competitors!
What is most amusing about this method is not so much that fact that I am stalking a competitor, but that while reading the comments (yes, I read the entire article and the comments and then add value to the discussion) I see that other people have done the same. The same names keep coming up following this first party. Seems that they have a whole group of stalkers trying to muscle in on their territory.
All good fun. Back to writing some content now. Oh. Done it. Time to stalk again…. but remember, always add value to a conversation and only enter the conversation if you are genuinely interested.
Link Building Failure No.1 – Directory Submissions
Nov 11, 2010
My opinion of directory link building fluctuations wildly. Currently, I think that they may actually be useful. Although I do still wonder!
Many so-called SEO services will kindly spend your money on building useless directory links. You may think that link building is still a case of “the more the merrier” but anyone telling you that is just giving you a sales pitch for their hopeless service.
This is what Google has to say about link directories:
“If you decide to submit your site to a directory, make sure it’s on topic, moderated, and well structured. Mass submissions, which are sometimes offered as a quick work-around SEO method, are mostly useless and not likely to serve your purposes.” Google – Quality Links to Your Site
So what do they mean? Well, this is simple, sort of. Firstly, they will only value a link from a niche directory or a high quality directory with a lot of content that adds value.
Secondly any directory that automatically accepts a link is worthless. It is very easy for Google to check this automatically (they are pretty good with the techy stuff at Google). So unmoderated link farms directories are a no go, and a waste of time and money.
Mass submissions – some SEO services simply pop you URL and title / description into a program that automatically submits your links to hundreds of worthless phpLD (and similar) link directories. Waste of time and money, again.
So how do you choose a directory? Well, the obvious way is to ask Google. By that, I mean search Google.
Searching Google for your chosen niche (keywords) with “submit link” or “add url” will show up the link directories that Google ranks highest. These are the only ones worth going for.
An example: “christmas cards” “add url” directory – a Google search
Similar searches would be “submit link”, “submit website”, “add website” etc,. etc,
This brings up a list of directories and other sites in Google. One of them is actually called www.christmassites.net – this could well be the best option, even though it is 8th on the list. It has a page rank of 3 on the home page, not great, but a lot better than 99% (made up statistic) those free directories. It is a US directory, so maybe not so good for UK business sites, but it is a paid directory (so definitely not free / automatic) so could be classed as “moderated” by Google. Sponsored listings are for 90 days, and only $9.99 which seems reasonable. But this leads to a new question.
Google hates people buying links. One thing that is not clear is what the role of the paid link and paid link directories is. Paid link directories fall under the “moderated” category of directories, but at the same time, surely this is just buying a link?
But then if the directory is not passing any link juice, what is the value for you? I my experience most directories are useless, as least far less useful than organic listings. I have been advertising in the Yahoo directory for several years and probably get no more than a few visitors a month. But, maybe all those links are useful.
My hunch is that Google feels that people buying links on info sites is a sign that they are trying to game the search engines, so that is best avoided. Google make this clear too:
Buying PageRank-passing links or randomly exchanging links are the worst ways of attempting to gather links and they’re likely to have no positive impact on your site’s performance over time. If your site’s visibility in the Google index is important to you it’s best to avoid them. - Google – Quality Links to Your Site
That is crystal clear – don’t buy links. But, my hunch (disclaimer – this really is a hunch, no idea really, could cause you to get banned, although unlikely). Google respects proper businesses, and proper businesses are willing to pay for advertising to get greater market exposure.
So links discovered in directories that are moderated may give you a little lift in the search rankings, as it is a sign that you are interested in paying for direct traffic and not paying to get higher rankings. Sort of ironic, that people who pay for traffic will be rewarded while people that pay for rankings get punished, but the world and the Internet is a funny old place.
Anyway, in a nutshell – directories are good only if they are moderated and relevant to your business.
What Are the Best Article Distribution Sites?
Oct 20, 2008
In the days before the infamous Google Panda Update writing one article and distributing to many article directories was an effective way to build backlinks. Nowadays it is not so effective. But writing an article for 1 directory is a way to get 1 link, and sometimes every single link counts!
Through my years of experience, and many conversations with the top Internet Marketers, in order to have the greatest impact, you need to use a 3-tiered article marketing approach:
- The major article directories like Ezinearticles.com, Goarticles.com, Ideamarketers.com and Articledashboard.com
- Smaller niche directory sites that are related to your content
- Niche website publishers who need and want quality related content that will add value to their website or email newsletter audience
We have also found ArticleBlast.com and Isnare.com to be useful free article distro sites. ArticleBlast will publish articles immediately, whereas Isnare have a manual review process. Many publishers feel that they can trust sites with a manual review to be offering genuine articles from the authorities in the field, rather than poorly copied and plagiarised articles, that often appear on other article distribution sites.
Why You Should Outsource Your Link Building / SEO
Sep 19, 2009
Here I was pro outsourcing link building. It was before my bad experience.
Link building is unfortunately a necessity for improving the search engine rankings (performance, results page positions) of your website. In and ideal World, quality websites would naturally rise up above all the chaff, and healthy competition would be driven by consumer demand for a particular brand. However, the Internet is less about word of mouth marketing, and more about search engine optimisation.
Many companies do some in-house link building, targeting a few general directories and niche websites. However, many SEO’s prefer to take the carpet bombing approach, that is build links in as many areas as possible, in the hope that some of them will eventually become valuable inbound links. It is worth reminding readers here that not all links are equal. Apart from the “nofollow” trend that means a link passes no link juice, links on irrelevant pages that are not well ranked well are also next to worthless. The days of link farms are gone (a good thing), Google Bombing is dead (partly due to rel=”nofollow”) and reciprocal links are also discounted. The search engines like “natural” one way links from relevant, high-ranking websites.
However, saying that, employing a company to look after your link building, and do so in a professional and logical way that tries to mimic a more natural organic growth can work in your favour. The most important advantage for any business is the time saved. Link building is a time-consuming process. You first need to identify websites, directories, forums and other Internet sites that you can benefit from. The most common approach is to first research your main competitors, to see where their links are coming from, and then match them. Then the actual job of submitting links to the sites, making the requests etc. needs to be done. Who has the time to do this? A full-time employee skilled in SEO will cost you about £6000 ($10,000) per month, whereas a company in India or the Far East can cost in the region of $400 per month. It really is a no brainer!
Reasons Why People Do Not Outsource Link Building:
Generally people do not outsource these services because they fear that somehow is could damage their reputation if done badly. Fears include:
- Fear of automated systems – always check with your outsource provider that it is all manually performed
- Fear of black hat SEO – if the link builders employ techniques that are banned by the search engines, you may be removed from the listings
- Fear of spammers – if the link builders just spam forums and blogs, it could hard your reputation
If you ask the right questions, speak with the company, and if they provide detailed reports on all work undertaking, hours worked, attempted links, failed links etc. then there is little to worry about. If you run more than one website, it is always wise to start with the least important, and if a good job is done, work up the list to the most important site.
Do not fear outsourcing SEO. In fact, do not fear outsourcing anything. A good business knows when to contract out tasks. You cannot do everything yourself.
Why Outsourcing Link Building is Mostly a Waste of Money
Oct 26, 2009
This post was written after a bad experience with some hopeless and lazy link builders from India. They were all talk, but their work was nothing more than completely useless.
I have now been messing about on the Internet for about 3 1/2 years. I have over 30 domains under my belt now. This sounds like a success. It is not. Of these 30 domains, and believe me when I tell you that Webologist is not the one, only one domain has proved to be a success. All the others get a few lousy hits a day and raise next to no cash whatsoever. The one that is doing well currently averages 5300 hits a day, which is nice.
Anyway, recently I have been forced into a situation where I need to start making more money online (I was made redundant). I have learnt a lot about SEO, I have done all my own SEO, so getting new sites ranking well should be a breeze? Not so.
Firstly, I realised that I need to determine why my good site is good. I meditated on what I used to do in the early days – lots of mistakes I know – but figured where I was failing was that I could not be bothered to do link building any more. In the early days I submitted my website URL and its RSS feeds to many directories. I also used article directories, left blog comments and joined countless forums. This I determined must have been where the success came from. But link building is boring, so I did not bother with my new sites.
After speaking to a pal who had, in his opinion, successfully used link building services, I opted to get some lovely chaps out in India to do link building on 4 websites. So, what was the result?
After a month of link building (OK, maybe too soon to tell, but we are living in the Caffeine world now) 1 of the 4 sites is doing much better, but the other 3 are pretty much static. The one that is doing better is responding to a huge content drive on my part, and promotions locally (it’s a local directory / portal site). If anything, one of the other sites is worse.
On analysing the link building, the outsource company is placing links on a huge number of free directories. They have a spreadsheet (I get the copies in daily reports that do not always come daily) with over 1500 directories listed. An insane number. But why am I convinced that it will fail? Well, several reasons.
- I just found in My Yahoo a list of directories that I submitted links to about 3 1/2 years ago. From that list, all but a few of the directories have been totally abandoned (either a new site in its place, or domain dropped).
- My pal that thinks his link building has been a success has done a lot of his own work, networking with other companies, doing interviews, and even has a few of those Government links that so many people rave about.
- If these manual link building services were good, then by now my good site which no longer has many directory links would have been knocked off the top SERPs in Google. There is just so much competition, and so many new sites popping up everyday.
- From the link building results so far, there are a very low % of confirmed links. Hundreds of links submitted, but only a dozen confirmed links from the same few directories, which all have pretty dubious titles.
Okay, my analysis is not scientific. My reasoning is not entirely clear. But I really feel that outsourcing link building to a company that just submits links to free directories is a waste of effort. Google knows what these directories are trying to achieve. Some of them even call themselves “SEO Friendly Directories” which is like having a giant sign saying “SPAMMERS CONGREGATE HERE, PLEASE GO AWAY MR SEARCH ENGINE”. No search engine would take such directories seriously now. Maybe 5 or 6 years ago they were still worth it?
But, even if all these free, crappy links did help today, how many of the directories will still be active in 4 years time? 2% of them maybe? The domains come up for renewal and the owners generally realise that they were themselves scammed into buying a get rich quick scheme. Just imagine it: “GET RICH BY WORKING FROM HOME. BUY THIS DIRECTORY SOFTWARE AND YOU CAN QUICKLY BUILD A SEARCH ENGINE TO RIVAL GOOGLE.” People do fall for this nonsense. Desperate people are gullible people. After 2 years they generally discover that their $500 software will never make enough money to recover the costs, and they let the domain expire. Your links disappear.
So, what does work? Well, who knows (other than a bunch of Googlers locked away in a bunker somewhere in California). But one thing is sure, paying a few hundred dollars for someone to spend a month building links may seem like a bargain, but if the results are as poor as mine, then it is still a few hundred dollars wasted. Spend some time writing 20 new articles and submit them to the article directories. Suggest some link exchanges. Leave some blog comments, even participate in forums. Add value everywhere you go though, do not just spam.
I am still unsure why my main site is a success. But I am sure that it is not down to a bunch of crap links. Probably 3 1/2 years of hard work, almost 1000 unique articles, a great design and lots of fresh content. Plus it is not a “made for Adsense” site and I never spam it anywhere. That could be it. But a link in a phpLD directory is certainly not the reason for its success.
Maybe the next 400 dollars I spend will be on getting some new content written. I hear that there are some pretty cheap writers in Thailand……
Xaby said on 2009/11/02 at 6:34 pm
Well i stumbled across this article about 1 hour after engaging the services of a company for link building.
We don’t leave all the seo work to them as i have the same beliefs as you. It’s slow and sheer hardwork.
Writing original content and promoting this (over time slowly as you mentioned) is the surest way to build up your rankings over time.
The problem is most people are always too keen to get results and have the wrong expectations.
Something else I have learnt is that not all outsourcing is equal. The quality of the individual link builder goes a long way, and as with any business, you could find that the service you receive is not as good as the service that someone else getting.
Aug 14, 2010
I posted this first after repeatedly seeing adverts offering this. Sounds to good to be true doesn’t it?
This sounds too good to be true, and frankly, it probably is. This is from a Google Adwords advert currently running here on Webologist.co.uk. Now, I know a bit about SEO and these sorts of adverts really concern me. Why? Well, here goes:
- Although a key part of SEO is building links to improve page rank, cheap links are really next to worthless.
- 1,000 cheap backlinks are going to mostly be from sites that Google does not trust, or does not know about
- This advert claims that “all backlinks are permanent”. This claim is impossible to keep. Domains are abandoned, business models change, websites get hacked, deleted, replaced. I did some basic SEO in 2006 which involved submitting sites to a list of directories that was doing the rounds in the SEO forums. When I reviewed the list in 2009 I found that about 95% of the directories were no longer active. Either the domains had been totally abandoned or the owner had replaced the directory with a blog on “making money online” or some similar nonsense.
There is no easy trick to get your website to rank well in the search engines. Simple SEO tricks like this worked 6 or 7 years ago but Google has moved on since then. Now for a website to perform well you need quality content, fresh content, quality links from sources that are used be real people and followed by real people.
Back in the day before search engines sites relied solely on direct links from other websites. Directories of websites developed to help index sites so that people could more easily find websites that they were interested in. The development of search engines (there were many before Google took the World by storm) meant that directories mostly became obsolete. However, people still build new directories with the hope of making money, and many cowboy SEO’s utilise these worthless directories to make an easy buck.
Don’t fall for the simple solution, instead work on your website and build fantastic content, build a loyal community and generate a few natural and high quality links.
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10 Unknown Web Directories that are worth Submitting your Website To
I am no longer sure these are as useful as I first though, although still, not a bad bunch.
A while ago I wrote an article which basically slated web directories. It was not a scientifically reasoned argument, but came about because I hired someone to submit my site to some directories and they did such a bloody awful job that I went of directories par se for good. They just seemed utterly pointless.
Why submit your site to web directories? Why are there any web directories?
It is still my opinion that they only reason why there are so many web directories is because they must feature in some of those “make a million dollars online in one week by harnessing the power of the Internet for only $39.99 reduced from $599,99 for one day only” ebooks (note to self, if I ever jump aboard the “make money online” bandwagon I need to work on my titles).
Basically, people build web directories because an ebook or secret forum tells them to do so. What makes most directories totally useless is not that they provide no SEO benefit at all, but because people just do not use them. Hands up if you know someone who uses a web directory on a regular basis (or ever) to find new content online – anyone? No, I thought not (if you do, please tell me below, I would love to hear from you!).
However, some directories are not so bad as others. Some do seem to send a little traffic, albeit a tiny, tiny little bit, which suggests that they are used by some people (haven’t you heard of Google!!?!?!!). Here is my list of the top 10 web directories that may be worth taking a few minutes to submit to. If you keep your site, description and keywords etc. in a notepad then you should be able to submit to all within an hour, if you are like lightning and the directories respond reasonably quickly.
Of course, the point of this article is to introduce you to the idea of submitting to alternative directories. If you are totally new to submitting your site to directories, then you still need to look at Yahoo! Directory (although if they continue with their current trend of closing down Yahoo! products, it may not be such as good investment!), Best of the Web, GoGuides and Joant – all good (and premium, i.e. you have to pay to be reviewed / listed) directories.
I hope to add to this list as I review the logs to see where else traffic is coming from. It is always worthwhile looking at them access logs!
Disclaimer – there is no guarantee that submitting to any of these will help you – the experience of one person / one site is not a reflection on what “works” or does not work on the Internet.
A Clever “Black Hat” Link Scam
Feb 7, 2011
I just had another of those “we love your site and created a fan page, please link to us” emails.
It is obvious to an experienced webmaster that they are scams, but I must admit that until now I never worked out why. Now I know.
So, I just got another email saying to me;
I was just checking out yoursite and I wanted to say I enjoyed it. I just found it on Google.com when searching for “how to dance like a Pirate” (who would have thought right ).
We focus on Pirate dance lessons and reviews of DVD courses, and I know that helping each other could get us both more traffic. I went ahead and setup a page about your site on our site: http://www.piratedanceschool.com/resources/google.com
Our site has been around for over a year, and gets a lot of traffic.
It would be great if you could link to my site with something like “Pirate dancing lessons” or something similar as the anchor text. You know how hard it can be to get found online nowadays.
Well I wish you the best of luck and if you need anything just get a hold of me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Now, in the email they provide the link to http://www.piratedanceschool.com/resources/google.com, which you follow and see your page, with a nice photo and link back to your site. If you then navigate to the homepage, you will see in the side bar a link to “Check Out yourdomain.com”. So it looks like they really are promoting your page. But….. if you then put the domain direct into another browser, or a browser with privacy on (such as Chome’s Incognito) the homepage link is gone!
The cheeky spamming SEOers are trying to fool you into thinking that the link is there for everyone to see, but in fact it is only visible if you have just looked at the “resource” page. There must be a referral command in the page, which says something like “if coming from resource page display link to resource page“.
This is very, very cheeky. It must happen a lot. In fact, according to Yahoo the last website that sent me an email (and remember, definitely an automated email) has 1866 backlinks according the Yahoo! Most of these backlinks are indeed from related businesses, all relevant. Big plus for Google rankings.
Link Building Conclusion
One effective method that I have not mentioned here is guest blogging. This is like article marketing, but rather than randomly spreading articles far and wide and hoping some catch, you build a relationship with the editor of a website and have your article published with an author byline. As the editor still has total editorial control over the article, i.e. they decide to publish your work, it is within the Google guidelines and an ethical and white hat way of building links. No money changes hands, links are no “placed” on pages with PageRank already, instead new pages are created.
That is all for now. Some good advice here, some not so good. All from personal experience in trying to get sites to rank well without breaking the rules. If you enjoyed the article, link to it, or Tweet, Like, +1 or whatever else you enjoy doing!