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All Doors To Link Building Seem To Be Closed


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40 replies to this topic

#16 chrishirst

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Posted 22 May 2015 - 07:09 PM

 

OK so your advice to people is: "don't do any kind of link building because Amazon, Yahoo, and Google didn't do any link-building"?

 

Nope.

 

You asked for examples of successful websites that didn't do "link building", and that is precisely what you got.

 

 

If you want to "do link building" go ahead and "link build like it's 1999". you have "SEO" in your username so I guess you must be an "expert".

 

The advice given here is free, and you can take it or you can leave it, it's your choice.



#17 AvyGuttman

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Posted 27 May 2015 - 12:53 PM

SEOPistol....Amazon and yahoo et al. Have a flywheel effect, they are authoritative and popular household names. They let others speak about them and further their popularity but at one point, they too needed to build this popularity. You are not Amazon. You are something akin to amazon long before anyone ever heard or knew what amazon meant. Do you have an idea/product/service etc. as good as amazon did in 1994? Great! Then in time you too will not need to worry about tedious forms of link building. When enough of the right types of people eat your delicious food word will spread on and offline...

 

 

Chrishirst is absolutely correct with his comment : "Oh and if you think "Unique visitors" is a measure of success ... ..."

 

 

Unique visitors means very little and is far too broad...unique targeted / unique relevant visitors is ideal. Relevant is the most important type of visitor but it doesnt hurt to have related and unrelated visitors who may in time become interested in what you offer. An atheist is not a relevant visitor to the church....if many unique atheists wind up walking into a church and then leave right away because they have no interesty never have, then these are not nearly as useful as those people who actually want to be in the church engage their time there because they are "relevant" visitors who will donate, interact, bring others, evangelise, make friends etc...

 

Link Building is like real life...

 

Books (made of paper) link to other books....Author A has been around for a while, published 20 books and has been adored by many fans and therefore has a large following who trust what the author says and opinions they may offer. If Author A mentions another author who is an unknown and has one book to their credit, then many people will derive interest and seek out this new author. If the most popular kid in high school talks about you in a positive light to his/her friends, then most likely you will, in some sense, become more popular. If you have a bunch of weird looking or shady types of people speaking about you, then this may lower your popularity because of the value of who is speaking about you....linking is an emulation of real life. People get all up in arms about it being something it isnt. It is about popularity and the value of being mentioned by trusted and authoritative sites or people, means you needed to earn it. Earning links means offering something worth linking to. Forget white hat or black or gray hat. This is logical thinking and in the end every human being in some form or other derives their trust, authority and interest based on citations, mentioned and links... be it digital or not. Tooting your own horn is less valuable than when someone with authority speaks of you in a positive light.



#18 SEOPistol

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Posted 01 June 2015 - 05:36 AM

Don't get hung up on the "unique visitors" comment - my point was simply that I'm not quick to take advice from those who have poor performing websites that get barley any traffic (including relevant visitors) and which don't rank for much.

 

Links are the most important ranking factor - so if you are going to tell someone that they shouldn't be actively trying to attain more links (by any method, then you better be giving them an alternative. I don't believe Chris gave an alternative method in his post to the OP.



#19 chrishirst

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Posted 01 June 2015 - 09:05 AM


 

 

Links are the most important ranking factor 

 

 

No they aren't, the right kind of links are useful but in no way are they "the most important" 


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#20 Jill

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Posted 01 June 2015 - 09:10 AM

Links are very important.

 

But sadly, most link building is simply spam.



#21 SEOPistol

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Posted 01 June 2015 - 09:53 AM

Don't spam your own site then.

 

That's the great thing about SEO, it isn't easy to create original and highly shareable content, and it isn't easy to acquire high quality and long-lasting links.

 

The title of this thread is "All doors to link building seem to be closed" and instead of giving the OP some advice he/she can go out and use, you've pretty much said "build content and do nothing and wait for purely organic links".

 

That's bad advice.



#22 Jill

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Posted 01 June 2015 - 10:29 AM

you've pretty much said "build content and do nothing and wait for purely organic links".

 

 

I'd have to go back and read what I wrote (which I'm not going to do), but I am quite positive that in my entire career as an SEO and beyond (I'm retired) I never ever, ever, ever said create content then do nothing! That's just stupid advice and I've prided myself on mostly providing good to great advice.

 

I guess you must have missed the part where I always say "GET THE WORD OUT ABOUT IT TO YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE" after the "create amazing content that goes above and beyond what anyone else is doing."



#23 torka

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Posted 01 June 2015 - 10:50 AM

you've pretty much said "build content and do nothing and wait for purely organic links".

That isn't what I said, either. Just because nobody here has given you a list of sure-fire "link building tactics" that doesn't mean we rely on the "if you build it, they will come" method of site promotion.

 

The thing is -- and forgive me if I am misunderstanding you here -- you're coming across as though you want us to give you some handy-dandy list of new ways to create your own links. Because, essentially, that is what "link building" has come to mean.

 

What we've said is most of the links you "build" yourself aren't worth the electrons they're encoded on. The goal is -- and has always been as far as Google is concerned -- to earn editorial links. Not links you place yourself, but rather links that other people give you because they like what you offer or they think your content is useful or they're your brother-in-law and their spouse has told them to link to you "or else." :)

 

So the only avenue of "link building" that is still open and will remain open for the foreseeable future is "marketing." Good, old-fashioned marketing. You don't promote your site, per se. (Unless you're trying to sell your website itself.) Promote what you offer: your products/services. Work through:

  • advertising (print, online, outdoor and/or broadcast as appropriate)
  • developing relationships with journalists, bloggers and others who can write about you and what you offer
  • developing relationships with other business owners who might be inclined to cross promote your offerings along with their own
  • placing your own content in outside publications (print and online)
  • publishing your own content yourself (blogging, newsletters, your own magazine, whatever)
  • social networking (on platforms where your prospects are active)
  • delighting your customers so they talk about your positively with their colleagues and friends.

 

Some of these will be things you can do for free. Some of them may require payments. Some of them may need to be disclosed according to the trade laws of the country/countries in which you do business.

 

All of them are a lot more work than dropping a link on a directory or social bookmarking site, or submitting a spun article to a repository, or spamming a blog comment stream or forum, or any of the other "tactics" that I've seen touted as "link building" over the years.

 

And all of them have the potential to earn you links -- the kind of natural, editorial links that all the search engines (not just Google) are looking for. The kind of links that don't tend to get zapped en masse in an algo update, as being "low quality." The kind of links which give you a link profile that can easily counterbalance any sort of "negative SEO" your competitors might try to throw at you.

 

The point is, there may be a few more channels available, but essentially it's exactly the same sorts of things that smart companies have been doing to promote their products and services since the dawn of business. It may be a faster turnaround, it may be easier for a small business to obtain worldwide reach, you may have different competition, but the basic strategies and most of the tactics are the same. You just have a few more weapons in your arsenal now.

 

"Link building" is dead. Long live marketing!

 

My :02:

 

--Torka :oldfogey:


Edited by torka, 01 June 2015 - 10:52 AM.
Clarification


#24 SEOPistol

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Posted 01 June 2015 - 11:17 AM

Below is the post I was referring to. It was the initial reply to the OP and does not contain any advice or suggestions, despite the fact that this is what the OP had asked for.

 

Ironically though, Chris has managed to plug a link to his site!

 

 

As we keep saying, ... YOU don't.

 

Your job is to provide content on your site that IS worth linking to.

 

And stop thinking that Google is THE only way to get converting visitors! Links have a secret life that nobody seems to know about.

 

How is this post helpful?

 

And the article about the links that have a secret life I'm not even going to comment on.



#25 chrishirst

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Posted 01 June 2015 - 02:59 PM

 

 

 it isn't easy to create original and highly shareable content,

Of course it isn't, it simply take a little thought instead of thinking it can't be done.

 

 

 

 

And the article about the links that have a secret life I'm not even going to comment on.

 

I guess you didn't understand the point of it then and obviously STILL don't grasp that links are not just for search engines, given this comment from you.

 

"Links are the most important ranking factor "



#26 Michael Martinez

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Posted 01 June 2015 - 04:08 PM

It would be great to see someone recommending not doing any linkbuilding who has a decent website with traffic.

 

A lot of people on these forums claim that SEO in today's climate should not include any link building, but these same people do not seem to be having a lot of success with that. 

 

I think if you are going to recommend that someone just write high quality content you need to explain a bit more about what the next step for them is other than "just wait for people to come to your website".

 

I am one of the few people I know of who actually practices and believes in "build it and they will come" Web marketing.  I have built successful Websites without any link building several times.  But that's not the only way I market my Websites because, frankly, self-promotion can be very helpful and it certainly produces traffic faster than waiting for the crowds to come.

 

My most recent successful example of "build it and they will come" is a personal blog where I write articles about Middle-earth and J.R.R. Tolkien, if 100,000+ visits per month is an acceptable measurement of success.  The blog doesn't make much money but I think that's part of its appeal: that it doesn't try to shove ads into your face with every scroll of the page.

 

I published new content on that site 3 times a day, 5 days a week for six months before it started to receive any appreciable traffic.  I could have speeded things up by asking people who knew me to tell their readers about it but I wanted to wait and see what would work best.  I published all sorts of content including old essays I had taken down off another site (that once received 30,000 visits a week), interviews with scholars, news about stuff, videos, and types of articles I cannot recall off the top of my head.

 

Instead of building up a lot of links I just let the site roll on with occasional Tweets on a couple of accounts I maintain.  I was waiting for the right content to show up, which it did (eventually).  I had to find something where people would start to sit up and take notice.  I wanted to be the producer of content that people wanted to recommend to others.  I have always been able to earn links and with this blog I just wanted to do that again.

 

What works best is when you create content that resonates with people and which they cannot find elsewhere.  Many others have done much the same thing without resorting to link buying, swapping, spamming, etc.  Sure, it always helps to have a network of friends who will promote your site but I have found many talented people from cartoonists to editorialists to simple bloggers have earned thousands, sometimes millions of annual visits without all the SEO tricks.

 

Having built links for clients I know exactly what they can do in the search results.  But with every client I share the same advice: create a Website that people want to recommend and you will never have to build links again.  It's just that there is no formula for creating what people want that they cannot find elsewhere.  It takes time, work, and experimentation to do that.  But the common ingredient in such sites (so far as I can see) has always been that the content was something the Website owner really, really cared about.

 

A local restaurant Website may never earn 1,000,000 visits a year.  But if it does would that really translate into a booming business model?  Sometimes the small business owner needs to focus on the business and keep the Website as one of several channels.  If you get all your traffic from the Internet you need to earn it in as squeaky clean a way as possible, because once you get caught breaking someone's rules and you lose that traffic your business is sunk.

 

There have been many news stories about "successful" companies that went bankrupt after they were thrown off Yelp, demoted by Google, or otherwise dumped for violating someone's rules.  Is that really the risk you want to take with your livelihood?

 

Someone who just runs affiliate Websites might be willing to dump a penalized Website and start over again.  Someone with a brick-and-mortar business may not have that luxury.  A couple years back a local insurance agent contacted me about doing SEO for his small firm.  He had hired some other SEOs in the past and they had built him a fantastic "national" presence on the Internet.  He took sales calls from all across the country and was doing booming business.  And then all the links those other guys had built for him were hit by various Google penalties.  The phone calls stopped coming in and the guy was back to just doing business with local customers.  He wanted a new magic link building program because he had become addicted to the formula for instant success.  The problem is that there is no magic link building program.  If someone can get you links that the search engines tolerate they won't be many.  If they can get you a lot of links that turn your site into a marketing case study the clock is ticking and sooner or later you run out of time.

 

It is, in my opinion, better to build it so that they come.  You get your site indexed and you build your traffic one visitor at a time.  That 1 visitor a day becomes 5 becomes 10 becomes 25 becomes 50 becomes 100 and so on.  I have done this again and again and it always works without earning penalties.  But it takes time.

 

The problem has never been with link building or people who are reluctant to endorse it.  The problem has always been with the greed that people allow to take over their marketing strategies.  It's never THAT simple.  There are too many sob stories on the Internet to justify any belief that all you need is links.  What you need is to believe in yourself and your Website.  If you don't believe your Website can cut the mustard without link building then what you really need to focus on is building a better Website.

 

And always promote a business any way OTHER than through links.  The other ways are more sustainable.


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#27 AvyGuttman

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Posted 01 June 2015 - 08:23 PM

Michael, that is the best advice anyone can offer on link building, hands down.



#28 SEOPistol

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Posted 02 June 2015 - 05:10 AM

Agreed, well said. There is more that people can take away from that post than they can get through researching the net for hrs.



#29 chrishirst

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Posted 02 June 2015 - 05:23 AM

 

 

I am one of the few people I know of who actually practices and believes in "build it and they will come" Web marketing. 

 

That must be a lonely place.

 

In 1990 until around 1994/1995 that was possible, as there wasn't that much choice to be had, but  from ~ 1997 onwards when the Internet really took off with the general public that doesn't happen, you HAVE to announce your presence in one way or another.



#30 torka

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Posted 02 June 2015 - 09:16 AM

I am one of the few people I know of who actually practices and believes in "build it and they will come" Web marketing.  I have built successful Websites without any link building several times.  But that's not the only way I market my Websites because, frankly, self-promotion can be very helpful and it certainly produces traffic faster than waiting for the crowds to come.

Clever! You say you are in the "build it and they will come" camp... but then spend the rest of your post showing how you actually don't just "build a site and wait". :)

 

Perhaps we're looking at a different interpretation of what the word "they" means. In my case, when I say "they will come" I mean "visitors." It sounds like in your case you might be referring to "links" that will eventually show up without being "built." In which case, I think we're essentially saying the same thing...

 

I  totally agree "link building" is -- at best -- a waste of time, and quite possibly dangerous for any business that aspires to long term success). But you do promote your product (in your case, content) to people. You said yourself that you shared on Twitter ("occasional tweets on a couple of accounts"). And this: "And always promote a business any way OTHER than through links."

 

The way I see it, the problem is that a lot of site owners have fallen into the trap of thinking they only have two options:

  1. "Build links" (i.e. go out and spam the web with links to try to build "traffic" fast)
  2. Do nothing (i.e. "build it and they will come")

I hear it all the time, here and on other forums. "Google doesn't like link building any more, so we're screwed!" In fact, nothing could be farther from the truth. Of course, if all someone does is create a website and never puts forth any effort to let anyone know about it, just trusting to the Universe to eventually bring them visitors (i.e. what most site owners interpret as our meaning when we say "build it and they will come") they may be waiting for a very long time.

 

I've said all along (and if I'm reading your comments correctly, I think you might agree) that it all starts with a good offer. Whether you're "selling" your content (such as a monetized blog) or you sell a physical product or service, nothing works unless you have a good offer. As you say, if your product is your content, it had better be the best darned content you can possibly create.

 

But once you have that good offer, you need to let other people know about it. That is, you need to market it. Marketing and "link building" are not the same things, because while "link building" is all about getting links, "marketing" is simply about letting people know about what you're offering. Marketing may involve the occasional tweet from a couple of accounts you have, or it may involve tucking flyers under the windshield wipers of every car in a shopping mall parking lot, or it may involve running a national TV ad campaign -- whatever's appropriate for what you're offering, your budget, and the audience you're targeting.

 

If you do your marketing right, the traffic (and, eventually, the links) will follow. As you (and I) have said many times, it takes longer and it's harder work. But the results are more than worth it.

 

So let's be honest here. I don't think you really practice a strict interpretation of "if you build it, they will come." :)

 

--Torka :oldfogey:


Edited by torka, 02 June 2015 - 09:24 AM.
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