SEO Linking Interview Part 1

The guys over at Out Spoken Media put out a new back linking interview with SEO professionals. And NO I didn’t get asked, (go figure) but here is how I answered the questions before reading their answers. I am only going to post a couple at a time so yall can digest.

And sow reading what main stream seo’ers think, (you can read the whole linking interview) I’m glad I rely on testing and experience as I just don’t agree with a lot of what they say. But there are some good tidbits that left me going, hmmm interesting. I can see some testing coming down the pike.  😉

Anyway, here are my answers to three of the questions. More coming later.

1) What are a few emerging link tactics that you’ve seen in the past 12 months providing tremendous value to sites/pages? Can you give a specific example or two?

Dori’s Answer: I am seeing rankings for sites that have what would be perceived as “worthless” links coming into them. When I say worthless, I mean, sites that are NOT indexed or only have a Page Rank of 0. I wouldn’t of believed if I didn’t see it for myself on a friends site who is competing on a mega keyword. This got me to start doing more competitive analysis to see what was really linking to page one sites, and more times then now, 30-40% of all incoming links are from sites that are NOT in Google’s index! So with a swamp of these with PR0-1 set you up pretty nicely to score with a couple of quality links from PR3 and above.

2) What are the criteria for the “perfect link”?

Dori’s Answer: Any link does better if coming from within a text block. Cream is getting them from high pr .edu or .gov sites and what would make it perfect is if it was the only out going link on the page :-) But heck, I would be happy if it had less then 10 other outgoing links. Oh and the obviously.. keyword anchor or link text.

3) How do you go about creating a link marketing plan that will A:) Get tangible search results in a 6 to 12 month period and B:) Create sustainability for the website you are creating the plan for (i.e. keeping the links clean and adding links with long term value)

Dori’s Answer: First, I am ALL about off page optimization so that is what I am going to talk about and assume the on page optimization is good and with keyword title tags. Second, I have to look at the clients site and find out what thier goals are.

This is A huge factor when I start a campaign because some clients will want to hit 1000s long tail and someone else will want 1 or 2 humdingers! So campaign tactics will variy but basically I always like to start getting URL keywords going to their site using my SeoNitro Network of low grade pr sites and a directory submission service. (A URL keyword is using your domain name in the link text. ie, domainname.com, www.domainname.com etc.)

Once I determine the goals we start linking from within SeoNitro Network. I normally get movement in 7 to 10 days.  The first set of numbers tells me how much or how little it is going to take to get their keywords ranked so once that happens we can adjust to accomodate. In most cases, I like to start light and then increase while watching for over optimization. (symptom of this is the site will drop into the hundreds, cure for this is pull original keyword linking and increase URL keyword linking until site returns to past ranking)

I normally get I think what you consider “tangible” results in a campaign in 2-3 months. It just depends on keywords and clients current ranking and site.

Once we get where we want to, for the tough keywords, it is all about keeping and defending that ranking so our the posting from the SeoNitro Link Network continues or increases to maintain. But with longer tail keywords I can lighten up on and work on the clients next 1000.

With mid-range keywords I typically like to go after 5-10 at a time, nail those and then move on. Once we do enough of the mid-range, often we naturally rise for the MONSTER keyword of the market which is always exciting. 😉


30 Responses to “SEO Linking Interview Part 1”

  1. Dori says:

    Let me know what your answers would be!

  2. DMIntl says:

    to #3: I start with KW research using the wonder wheel and related searches tools form G. I drill down 2-3 levels below the 1st tier and then begin looking for blogs PR3+ that rank for these words.

    I then begin commenting on these blogs. I take a lot of time in creating these comments so that they get approved and hopefully noticed by the blog owner.

    In the cases where I get a return comment or even a direct email from the owner, I work hard to build a relationship with them that will last.

    I then will use part of one of their blog posts, as a block quote, hyper-linked back to their site. I also use open URL links at the end of the post so that the owner knows I am giving full credit to them. I will also ask them if they’d like to do guest post on the blog I’m working on.

    This takes time, but builds quality links…so far! I don’t like the services that bombard a site with junk links. My favorite was a recent request for a link exchange to a homeopathic products site from a pest control website!

  3. Kurt Schmitt says:

    With respect to number 1, just because we don’t see a page in the index doesn’t mean it’s not there, or that it wasn’t in the index when Google took note of the page. As for ranking, PR helps with authority and ranking overall, but link reputation can get you ranked for a specific keyword with no PR at all, so yes many lesser sites can help you in the short term.

    As for number 2, Google have stated publicly that .edu and .gov sites are no more powerful than any other. Perhaps they’re just trying to dissuade spammers. What they do state, though, is that relevance is important. So, all things being equal, a veterinarian’s site linking to a cat site or vice versa has more power than an ice cream site linking to a cat site.

    I don’t necessarily agree with this from a reader perspective (I can like ice cream and like cats, and I don’t mind if an ice cream site points me to a resource about cats), but that is the way the search engines value things (or so we’re told).

    In theory, if the sites that link to you are either more relevant or have more PR, it will take fewer links to do the same job. What’s amazing, though, is how much power a themed site with proper internal linking can have. The better your site is, the easier it is to dominate with very few links.

    Another thing of value is if the inbound link is on a page that is no more than 2 hops from the home page, and, for PR purposes at least, is not nofollow. I don’t think all the data is in on that one either, though, but we’re all just guessing here anyway. Remember that no matter what, links can have exposure power so that you can reach new audiences. So, each link you get may lead to yet another person who recommends your site.

    In that respect, even a link in an email only newsletter with wide readership can have value. There’s no search engine value directly, but imagine an active 100,000 reader mailing list in your niche being exposed to your site for the first time. Many of these people will pass your link via email to even more people, and your link will end up on blogs, forums, and social sites and in RSS feeds.

    With respect to number 3, a diversified linking strategy is always best. As I mentioned, though, planning and building a themed site with good internal linking will allow each link you get to work that much better for you. The most important thing, of course, is does your site add value and give your readers what they want?

  4. Brad Dudley says:

    I think the thing most webmasters have started to overlook is what you said about question number 1. You have to have links from PR0 sites. Lets face it search engines know that no site should have a bunch of PR 6+ links and no PR0-5 links, that just makes no sense.

  5. Dori says:

    @Brad, I agree! 😉
    @Kurt, I don’t believe anything Google tells us. I have too much evidence of the contrary! =:0
    @DMIntl, I LOVE the wagon wheel! Glad you mentioned it. :-)

  6. George says:

    All things being equal, I think site has to be on-page optimized first before going with link campaigns.

    I agree to what @Kurt-Schmitt said about themed sites.

  7. @George: Dori and I have proved for a long time that you can rank a page with very little on-page optimization.

    @Kurt @DMIntl: Not sure about the relevancy issue. You can have let’s say site 1 with an article that’s about site 1 then have it go over a topic that’s not totally about site 1. For example, I could have a Halloween costume article on site 1 and discuss materials and equipment that I used to make my own. If I linked out to some sewing machine article on site 2, that link would be relevant within the context of that article or paragraph.

    @Dori: Thanks for your insight…especially touching on the idea of domain/non-optimized anchor text to boost rankings on over optimized sites.

  8. Mike says:

    @kurt @charles – I don’t buy into the relevancy thing. I have never seen one instance where relevancy matters for backlinks. The text wrapping your links (your anchor text) defines the relevancy, not the text wrapping your anchor text. I can place a link for cat lovers with anchor text “cat lovers” inside an article for tonka trunks on a tonka trunk website – and the relevancy will come from my anchor text of cat lovers – not the tonka truck website theme. And that is why it will be a relevant link. Too many people, spend way too much time worry about relevant links from relevant sites – and it doesn’t make a lick of difference. That’s my two cents…….

  9. @Mike Dont agree. I use majesticseo.com to analyse backlink date. (They have over 1.9 trillion urls indexed).
    For some very competive terms I found that 100K of links get better rankings than 900K of kinks just beacuse the outbound “page/site” relevance is matched with the same keywords, theme.
    However it proves both, you can get a great ranking with low value links, but lots of them or with targeted links in fewer numbers.
    You`ll notice a lot of seo firms now offering contextual based article links for sale. Its common knowledge the G like anchors surrounded by paragraph text.

    Interesting that more domain based urls over anchor text can pull back over seo. Thats an easy fix using directory submission services on a url basis.

  10. Mike says:

    @Kent – I use majestic as well and just about every tool you could imagine, and I have analyzed plenty. LSI has been debunked – and while I agree Google likes contextual links wrapped in text, I don’t agree that the text surrounding matters so much.

  11. Steven says:

    There is one tool that I use that I won’t mention unless I’m given permision. It shows your top 10 placements in google for that key word. It shows how many backlinks and were those backlinks come from to any of the top 10 web sites. It shows domain age , page rank, when the last time google spidered it. There is other things it does to numerous to mention. It showed me one web site that has only 37 back links and is in the number 1 and number 2 position for the hard to position for casualty auto insurance in google. It out does web sites that are in the 5th position with over 88,000 back links. By the way those 37 back links are worth less. So is the web site.

  12. rafael says:

    The google is a robot,and the main thing that this robot will see in your website is the outbound links.

    The major question is,What kind of links this robot accept ?What kind of strategies i can use ?

    If i spam 400 bookmarking links would this robot accept or i will be filtered ?

    If i spam 100 profile links this will gave me any juice ?

    If i use spun content this robot can detect this ? or maybe this robot aplly the same juice value to unique and duplicate content.

    So for me the major thing in the seo is to discover the weak points of the google robot.

    Once you found a weak point you can sploit it and manipulate the serps.

    Who i do this ?

    Make 10-20 keyword based websites,and use different strategeis to see what google robot filter and what he dont.

    Sorry if the english is bad,i’m from brazil

  13. Steve says:

    Lori,

    There could be another benefit to your strategy in question 1. What if, over time, some of the PR0 sites (that link to you) turn into PR1 or PR2? That should provide even more juice over the long term.

    Steve

  14. Dori says:

    @Mike very well said
    @Web Designer Kent interesting and I think I will test it.
    @Steven, yes you can mention the tool, in fact, please do. Also the 88k links could be site wide and there for REALLY worthless. And or, to the site and not to the page that is ranking. I don’t count links so much and when I do for competitive research, I really have to look at the anchor and uniques coming in.
    @rafael, don’t worry about your english and thanks for your comment!!
    @steve, very true

  15. Dori says:

    Oh and YES @Charles, thanks! Yep we did! 😉

  16. Going back to the question about which site will you prefer getting a link from one that has no pr and lots of traffic or from one that has a high page rank but generates no traffic to your site. I will have to go with site number one, give me a site that has a low pr but yet will generate a ton of traffic my way. More traffic hopefully equal to a better R-O-I!

  17. Trevor says:

    Dori, can you give Steve permission to mention the name of that tool?

    Steven, I think i know the site that you are talking about.
    That site with its 37 backlinks proves that on page seo coupled with “searched for term” in the domain name is actually significantly stronger than a site with correctly seo’d title and keyword density.

    Further the creator of that site has gone on to build a multi-million dollar business which oddly enough entails putting NO emphasis on backlinks whatsoever. A few backlinks appear but the owner isnt the one putting them on.

    Suppose google’s algorithm looks like this.

    Start with domain name age, years left, DNS changes, etc.
    DF = Domain Factors ( Weight = 5% )

    Then go with onpage title and award points for onpage seo as its relevancy to title, keyword emphasis, ( found in h1 ?, found in h2 ?, found in alt tags ? for blind and impaired ? ) Trying too hard? Spamming Google ?

    OPS = OnPage Score ( Weight = 35% )

    OPS + DF = OnPage Score+Domain Factors ( Weight = 40%)

    These are arbitrary numbers but I have seen someone else quite respected throw these exact numbers around.

    Then suppose Google looks at number of keywords in backlinks, backlinks, number of unique domains and link distance to High Trust foundation sites to create both PageRank and DomainTrust. Lets call this BLT ( Backlink Trust )

    And lets arbitrarily weight that at 50% leaving the remaining 10% as unknown ranking factors.

    If the formula was 35%+5%+50%+10% this would be interesting since most of us dont usually rank onpage seo that highly ( but IBP – [internet business promoter] from germany does and has for 10+ years ).

    But if the formula was actually something that used the onpage seo as a multiplier then most of us seo guys would be sh*tting our pants – wouldn’t we?

    Something like this

    OPS+DF*BLT
    OnPageScore+DomainFactors Multiplied by BackLink Trust

    Would this mean that a page that was internally optimized using something like IBP or Tan’s new wordpress plugin and only had 20 PR1 backlinks might actually outrank sites having thousands of backlinks !! ?

    For those that missed Steve’s post above.
    This is PRECISELY what happened in the highly competitive insurance area.

    Someone was tired of guessing at what the algorithm was and simply wrote a set of retrieval analytical programs and set it loose on the google network using the google api legally.

    My understanding is that it takes more than a week to get a full run but after analysis of tens of millions of search results this program statistically lays to rest many myths about what it takes to rank.

    That particular program distinctly shows that Google has a preference for well formed onpage content sitting on a .org domain over backlinks. Crazy, huh?

    There are some 200 onpage factors and most of us simply hook up the correct title and call it a day, lol.

    If this gentleman is correct, and the onpage weight is multipled ( NOT ADDED TO ) by the backlinking factor it means that some extraordinarily optimized sites with very few backlinks will KILL off sites with hundreds if not thousands of optimized backlinks.

    Anyone care to comment on whether onpage scores are used as a multiplier and not simply added as an additional weight factor ?

  18. Trevor says:

    Sorry, correction “correctly seo’d title and keyword density.”

    Should be “correctly seo’d title and correct backlink keyword density.”

  19. Great idea Dori!

    I took a stab at answering them too, plus I credited you for the idea with a backlink, here are my answers: http://mentormate.com/blog/link-building-experts-link-building-tips-strategies/

  20. a search result I ran across a while back that I still get a kick out of is this: Google “custom cms” . Pretty comptetitive; lots of ads, 2 mill+ results. There is one site that is usually sitting at about #6-8, custom-cms.com That when you click on it, it a blank page. A blank page with a LOT of inbound links and a really good url. Link: http://www.google.com/search?q=custom+cms

  21. Steven says:

    Ok the tool im talking about that is the greatest thing made is Market Samurai! http://www.marketsamurai.com/
    watch the videos, there great.

  22. @Kurt
    “and I don’t mind if an ice cream site points me to a resource about cats)”

    It is not about if you mind or not, it is about relevance.

    “The better your site is, the easier it is to dominate with very few links.”
    This should be written “The better your site’s SEO is, the easier it is to dominate with very few links.

    @Dori

    “I don’t believe anything Google tells us. I have too much evidence of the contrary! =:0

    Google is not always honest, that is true, but a lot of what they say is spot on.

    The biggest, most “in you face” thing they say is ‘Build your site for VISITORS, not for the search engines.’ and I am 100% behind that.
    What they do not tell you is that building for visitors means being semantically correct in your visual display. The most important words are in the largest text and the next largest should add to, or describe the primary keyword phrase.

    On page work counts for most of the factors influencing rankings.
    You can get #1 positions with ONE link and good on-page work but there is NO Way to get #1 with poor SEO and a ton of links, regardless of value.

    Building links is a good idea, but it should be done for traffic reasons and not SEO.

    @Charles
    “Dori and I have proved for a long time that you can rank a page with very little on-page optimization”

    Forgive my incredulity but do you have proof?

    @Mike
    Google gives more weight to a link when the anchor text is relevant to the page content. .

    Google is all about relevance and will favor links to more relevant content than to likns to unrelated material.

    LSI has not been debunked and to think that an advanced AI like Google search would not use it is just not understanding the system. The “Wonder Wheel” is LSI.

    Perfect LSI Structuring
    If you’re creating a site with an LSI silo structure, you can receive a big boost in the rankings that you receive in search engines – put simply, because search engines see you as being more relevant to the topic.
    What I’m talking about when I say “LSI silo structure” is categorizing content in a logical keyword structure, and grouping content on similar topics together, in a way similar to what search engines expect to see.
    And, for the most part, they expect to see tree-like category structures – with categories, sub-categories, and sub-sub-categories all branching off one-another.
    From http://www.noblesamurai.com/blog/keyword-research/google-debunks-lsi-then-shows-you-how-to-do-it-532

    @rafael,
    THE main thing Google sees is relevant content.
    Outbound links have almost no effect on SERPs.

    All in all the value of linking to SEO is hugely exaggerated.

    Best:
    Reg

  23. great information sharing.

  24. Dori says:

    @Pedro, I agree about traffic and ROI but the question was directed to “ranking” 😉

    @Andy Excellent! Thanks, and I am on my way over :-)

    @Steven, thanks, I have been hearing tons of great things about that tool and can’t believe I haven’t gotten it yet lol

    @Tom PERFECT EXAMPLE!! :-)

  25. Dori says:

    @Reg, WOW, you about as opposite of my point of view as one can get. But am taking it all in. :-)

    As for proof that I can rank a page that has no on page factors other then title tag?

    Now you know I can’t give out that kind of info for the world to reverse engine. lol But the fact that most people who are lucky enough to get into SeoNitro usually UPGRADE not quit tells me that my linking stratigies work. :-)

    And, I am not discounting what you are saying especially about a LSI silo structure.

    Do you have any examples of NON keyword URLs ranking for mid-range keywords using this method without links?

    And this would be worth testing as well. Hmm, let me know your thoughts on how we could do that.

  26. Dori says:

    @Trevor The site is question is only showing 1 inlink on Yahoo. But I have to put more credence into the fact that it is a exact match keyword .org then anything else.

    Nathan Anderson actually tested the url preference and has been shouting about the .org for a while now, in fact that site looks awfully like a NA template! 😉

    But with you and Reg touting content I do think some test are in order. What do you think? :-)

  27. Art Derfall says:

    Be sure to watch the videos at marketsamurai.com.
    I think the reports from keywordcountry.com are better, but it’s a subscription service. Their videos are good, too. link-assistant.com offers free tools (not a trial). You can print out the reports if you have snagit.com in scroll mode. Snagit is something you can’t do without.

  28. Mike G. says:

    Hi Dori,

    Quick question.. You stated:

    “In most cases, I like to start light and then increase while watching for over optimization. (symptom of this is the site will drop into the hundreds, cure for this is pull original keyword linking and increase URL keyword linking until site returns to past ranking)”

    What do you mean URL keyword linking? We’ve had this happen to a site, it dropped to page 7 from page 1.

    Thanks in advance,

    Mike

  29. It’s obvious that onsite and offsite SEO should collaborate

  30. Halloween dog parade in New York…

    31 Oct 2009 The Queen of Fairies caught me | Andrew Brown 30 Oct 2009 Trick……

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