Competitive, not-so-competitive, Fortune 50, Fortune 500 – 1000, mid-size, small, affiliate and sole proprietor. I’ve worked with the media, individual journalists, well known celebrities, rock bands, TV shows, movie launches, book launches, bloggers and local politicians. I’ve worked on planes, train, and automobile sites, in food, baby, finance, printing, online gambling, offline casinos, theme parks, solar, gift baskets, nuclear conductors, health care, telecommunications and laptops. If it’s manufactured, printed, displayed, projected or sculpted, I’ve probably worked on it.
Based on my experience I’ve found when it comes to link building strategies and tactics, what works in one industry doesn’t always work in another. I’ve also found what works for one website in a given niche might not work for another in the same niche. There’s no guarantees with any of it due to the physical and historical differences behind each site and because of the size of the current and ever growing link graph.
If you consider there are 274 million websites online and each has links to, from and within it, trying to comprehend the size of the link graph and the pages they connect is close to impossible. There are trillions of connections and almost two billion people using the Internet, it’s huge, it’s massive and continues to grow. There’s no way to predict how a web page/site will react to any marketing campaign, regardless of the tactics and host sites used. As SEO’s and link builders, we see a snapshot of Web/Net through the tools we use, but we’re never sure we see everything. This is why it’s not a good idea to depend on any one set of marketing tactics or depend on one source for your link building information.
Normally, I’m not publicly critical of link building articles written by others but lately there seems to be a rash of them with content like this one and I find it concerning. The obvious mis-statements aside, it’s interesting how a person can provide a list of tactics and then outline what they do, their effectiveness, and how they’re viewed by the search engines when they don’t work for a search engine. I’ve used the tactics outlined in the article for a long time and never had issues with any of them, they all work. How and to what extent depends on a great many factors.
If you come back at me and say I’m suggesting comment spamming is ok, I’m not. They might be “bad” under certain circumstances but overall? Definitely not. But don’t take my word for it, here’s what Google says about comment dropping:
Comments are a great way for webmasters to build community and readership.
Bold mine to point out a lot of people agree with the idea you can drop comments and build brand without being a spammer. Granted, Google also says comment spamming is a no-no but you can’t make a blanket statement all comment links are “bad” without mentioning why and under what circumstance.
I’ve never met a link I didn’t like, comment, directory, reciprocal, paid, content…even the broken ones can be used to build links and create buzz. To not use a “type” of link is to leave equity on the table. If you understand the basic concept of link popularity, then you’ll understand why most link building techniques will work. That includes the good, the bad and the ugly. Again, don’t take my word for what link popularity is all about, check out Google ’s definition:
It is not only the number of links you have pointing to your site that matters, but also the quality and relevance of those links
Like I said earlier, the link graph grows daily and with all the social media, local and real time “stuff” being added, there’s almost no way you can’t be successful, at least short term. And therein lies the rub for many in our business.
There’s always going to be a facet of people who build crappy sites or use mass comment links (etc) for the sole purpose of hosting links to their profit centers. That’s life. It’s not my job to call them out or tell people it’s not a good way to do business. That’s the search engine’s job or, your parish priest. I don’t promote that type of linking because my strengths are in other areas so I don’t write about it or do it professionally. But I also don’t tell people they shouldn’t do it. There’s a measure of risk involved in creating networks or doing massive comment spam, the people using those tactics are well aware of that fact and don’t need the likes of me to tell them otherwise.
Which sort of dovetails into my final point with this lovely, uplifting post :) To all of you out there bashing people who speak at conferences and the conferences themselves – bite me. I speak for the same reasons YOU would speak if you were asked or if your pitch was accepted. Not everyone spends panel time pimping their companies and those that do? Usually don’t come back. And so what if they do take 30 seconds to let you know who they are and where they can be found? If you don’t promote yourself, no one will.
I present material per the session outline and take GREAT pains to work with my co-panelists not to duplicate material. We’re not always successful but the vast majority of the time, we are and a wide cross section of content is shared. Do I share my best tips and secrets? WOULD YOU? I doubt it and if you tell me you would, put your money where your mouth is and leave them here in the comments. Most people want easy, fast and cheap tips they can run home and implement, well, me too. Fact is, there aren’t any “new” tactics being talked about because there aren’t any. What people hold close to their chest are sources because sources are the magic bullet these days; if something new does pop up it’s because the source presents the opportunity. If you need to rely on conference presenters to tell you how and where to find links, you’re destined to fail.
We work in an industry where we have no control over the outcome. This is no different than the rest of the world if you think about it, doctors can’t control how a patient will react to medication, retailers can’t make people buy. They can predict outcomes based on historical and tested data but like us, they’re never certain of the outcome until it happens. I never hear professionals from other industries telling people what they should and shouldn’t do without disclaimers and/or printed research, why should we be different? If you’re going to publish link building comments as fact, back it up with data or at least a disclaimer that it’s your opinion.
Until next time, good linking!