Archive for Link Building

When Google Underappreciates A Website

One of my favorite blogs that we run here at SeaWaves is called One Big Health Nut. From the summer of 2007 to the summer of 2008 it was updated daily with really interesting health facts.

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Local Search and Local Niche Websites

SeaWaves Technology has focused almost all of its efforts on doing SEO for local niche blogs and websites. The great thing about local niche blogging is that the competition is much less fierce, the advertising dollars are much more targeted, and the path to success is much clearer.

In fact, with every project we’ve taken on, we’ve managed to get front page Google results for some important local search phrases.

Most online experts agree that the next major revolution on the web will be the local web. The development of networks and websites that facilitate local interaction. We’re excited to be positioned to help businesses leverage search as this trend continues.

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Not All Linkbait Is Shorterm

When customers come to us looking for linkbait, they are usually really looking for a short term spike in traffic from Digg or some other social media venue.

But the short term traffic spike from Digg is not worth very much on it’s own. In fact, there only two reasons that we continue to use Digg:

  1. Authority link snowballing
  2. Branding via Mainstream media recognition

Authority Link Snowballing

This is the idea that if your article is good enough to get a few solid mentions on some well read sources, you’ll likely get picked up by all the other sites that use them as sources. As an example, we recently had an article picked up by Sports Illustrated. Within an hour, the article was picked up by over 15 additional sports blogs. A few of those were powerful sites themselves, and resulted in even more coverage.

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Linkbait 2.0: Focus More On Repeat Visitors and Long-Term Links

I used to think you could get away with rehashed content as long as you had enough successful linkbait to back it up. The linkbaits get you a ton of links, which increases your site’s overall rankings in Google including the rankings of the rehashed content.

However, I think this is not the way to go anymore. Why do I think this?

Because the competition in the linkbaiting realm is a lot tougher.

Everyone Is Doing Linkbait

Linkbait is a common thing now. Many webmasters know about it and are trying to do it. Most of the top SEO firms have added linkbait to their services. SEO blogs write about linkbait often.

It used to be that if you got on the front page of Digg, you got a massive amount of links including from popular sites. That’s not the case anymore. Today, a front page story often gets less than 10 quality links.

My theory is that Digg and the other social voting sites have been saturated by linkbait. Many people jumped on the linkbait bandwagon and started submitting their top 7 lists to these sites. This increase in competition made it harder for individual submissions to get noticed even if they did make the front page.

So, what can you do?

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Performancing Launches High-End Web Marketing Services

If you’re looking for the best of the best when it comes to high-impact, full throttle web promotion and online marketing you can’t do much better than Performancing.

While SeaWaves does a fantastic job with web promotion and link building for smaller companies and entry-level projects, our services don’t scale up to the corporate level. But that’s ok. Because we trust the team at Performancing to do the very best job possible if you’re looking to hit an instant homerun with your website.

Performancing offers three great services, which cover all the bases for getting the widest possible exposure for your website.

The first service is called Social Media Marketing. That’s just a fancy name for Massive Traffic Builder! With their Social Media Marketing product, you’ll see both a massive influx of visitors and long-term growth for your website.

The second service is called Blog Management Services. As the name implies, Performancing can create a powerful, well designed blog and run it too. Now that’s what you call “turnkey” – from design and optimization to launch and weekly maintenance, Performancing’s team of professionals will help you develop a maximally effective blog for your business.

The third service is called Authority Builder, and personally, it’s our favorite. Why? Because we truly believe that to become successful on the Internet, you need to establish authority and respect. But why put in all the hard work yourself, when you can easily fail? Performancing does the hard work for you, and delivers exactly what you should want out of your businesses online presence.

Because we believe so much in this product, and think that it really is the key to online success, SeaWaves is proud to be a partner with the very best in the business – Performancing Services. If you want the best, don’t look anywhere else.

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The Best Blog Directories

Not all blog directories are created equal. Most blog directories are a complete waste of space. Submitting your blog to the average blog directory is a waste of your time.

However, some blog directories are GREAT. Below, we’ve listed what we view as the 5 best blog directories. To be on this list, the directory must be more than a link farm. It must offer some added value to the Internet. They must be *worth* submitting to.

1. Best of the Web Blog Directory

This is the most selective, comprehensive, and perhaps the overall best quality blog directory out there.

2. Blog Catalog

Blog Catalog is a social community blog directory. User interaction and comments makes it stand out. Submissions to Blog Catalog still show up high in Google SERPS.

3. Blogflux

Blogflux is a great directory because of the tools it offers to bloggers. We especially like Blogflux Top Sites which ranks blogs by traffic.

4. EatonWeb Blog Directory

EatonWeb is cool because it algorithmically ranks blogs according to perceived quality. Surprisingly, the algorithm does a good job at showing the best sites first. EatonWeb also assigns each blog a score, which is worth monitoring.

5. Blog Hub

BlogHub shines as a community of blog owners. Submit your site to the directory and join the conversation.

So there you go. If you’re looking for a condensed list of ultra-effective blog directory submissions, this is the one to use. The directories are quality and will actually benefit your blog.

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How to Get More Google Traffic to Your Blog

This article is an entry to the Geeks Are Sexy ultimate “How To” contest. Geeks Are Sexy Technology News is about to have its two-year birthday, so they are running a contest to celebrate the occasion. If you’re a geek or want to be one, check out their site. It’s a great read.

With the recent PageRank (PR) update, I thought it would be a good idea to write about getting more Google traffic to your blog. First of all, don’t worry about PR, it’s a small part of Google’s algorithm. I write for a PR3 blog and it gets much more traffic than a PR7 site I know of.

Now that we got that out of the way, here are some practical tips for increasing your Google traffic.

My first principle is that getting a ton of Google traffic takes time. If you have a new site, be prepared to wait at least a couple months before you get a lot of Google traffic. If you’re in a competitive niche, it will take longer. Sure, Google will send you traffic in the meantime but the traffic for new sites will be much lower than older sites.

Search geeks like to use the term domain trust. This means Google takes its time evaluating new sites to see if they can trust them especially for competitive, high value keywords. If a new site can get enough quality links during that period and if it passes Google’s numerous spam filters, Google will increase that site’s domain trust and it will rank for a lot more keywords. Of course, this leads to higher Google traffic. This is why it’s a great idea to buy an older, trusted site.

How can you increase your domain trust more quickly? Here’s the number one rule: Get content-based links from quality sites. Content-based means in the body of the article, not the sidebar or the footer. And quality sites, well, these are the sites that are doing well on Google.

Here’s a tool that can help you figure out how much Google likes a site: SEO Digger. This tool tells you how many popular keywords a certain site ranks for in the top 20 of Google. The more keywords, the more Google likes the site. I like using this tool to compare the keyword counts of the sites in my niche.

A simpler method is just checking Alexa and Technorati rankings. Get links from the sites with higher rankings. Also, use Google search with the keywords you think your niche audience might use to find your site. Get links from the top 20 sites of those searches.

There are couple things you can do to get quality links. Here are some of my favorites ways:

Notice I didn’t talk about keywords. Keywords are important. But if you know your niche well, you’ll be writing with relevant keywords.

So, don’t worry about keywords. Research your niche well. Know your audience well. And just write content that they would enjoy reading. Also, the bulk of the Google traffic you will receive will come from numerous long tail keywords, or keyword phrases that aren’t searched very often.

Let’s recap what we’ve learned. Be patient (or buy an older, trusted site), get a lot of content-based links from quality sites, and know your niche well. Good luck!

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How to Build Links That Look Natural

A couple days ago, I wrote about long-term link building. I said the best links to get in the long-term were the ones that were naturally given.

However, oftentimes it’s hard to get natural links. As webmasters learned about PageRank, many of them became stingy with their links. Even bloggers don’t link out like they used to.

If you can’t get naturally given links, you can still get links that look natural. Here are some principles to consider.

A good way to understand natural linking is to look at the opposite. What links don’t look natural to Google? The big G definitely hates the three P’s: poker, porn, pills. Don’t get links from sites that link out to these niches. Use this bad neighborhood tool to help you evaluate sites.

Relevancy is key. Try to get most of your links from sites in the same niche. It doesn’t look natural if most of your links come from off-topic sites.

Don’t get too many links from sites that are blatantly selling links. For example, try to stay away from Pay Per Post or Review Me blogs. If you do get links from them, make sure the blogs don’t have the Pay Per Post or Review Me badges in a prominent position on their layout.

Get links from sites doing well in Google. I like to use the SEO Digger tool to determine if a Google likes a certain site. This tool estimates how many popular keywords a site is ranking for in the top 20 of the SERPs.

General sites with many different topics sometimes pass link juice. However, these sites are risky. If a Google spambuster were to look at them, the links may be discounted. Before getting a link from a general site, look at the its content. Can you see many obvious paid links? Are most of the anchor text optimized with keywords? Are most of the articles unrelated to each other? If your answer is “yes” to any of these questions, you should stay away from these sites.

Vary your anchor text. John Scott says if you buy links you should never use the same anchor text twice. Also, throw in a couple non-keyword anchor text like “click here”, “great article”, and even image links.

Get contextual links. Content-based links look the most natural. And there is evidence that Google gives the most weight to these types of links.

Reciprocal sitewide links are great if they are from relevant sites. But don’t overdo it. A sidebar with over 50 sites looks spammy and unnatural.

Finally, the best way is build natural looking links to actually get natural links. Those look the most natural :) Practically, this means a couple things.

Write quality content that attracts links naturally. For example, find out what people are linking out to and try to write similar material while having a unique viewpoint. Also, look for gaps in your niche. Cover important topics that no one else is covering. If you can, try to report important news before anyone else.

Write with social sites in mind so that your content gets a lot of exposure and gets passed around virally. Your content must be relevant to the social site. For example, if you want to get on Digg’s front page, write something that connects your niche to something tech related. Diggers love techy stuff. Also, you need to build friendships with the social media users so they can vote for your stuff. If you have webmaster friends, ask them for votes. Of course, offer to vote for their stuff too.

My favorite way to build natural links is to build relationships with other webmasters. Then, in a non-spammy way send them some of your content. Oftentimes they’ll link to you because friends like to link to friends. If you have really good targeted content, you can email bloggers without a prior relationship. Many bloggers are on the lookout for interesting content. Here is a good case study of this marketing tactic.

It’s takes more time, but if you can get 50 quality links that look natural, you can outrank a site with 1000 spammy, unnatural links.

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If You Don’t Network Now, You’ll Hate Yourself Later.

I’ve been privileged to be part of a group of webmasters that seek to help each other. We’ve helped each other drive traffic, build links, and earn more money.

Networking is incredibly important today especially with driving traffic to your site. With social media sites having one of the fastest growing audiences on the web, they’re an excellent place to get traffic for your site. However, to use social media effectively, you need people to vote for you. You could pay people to vote for you. However, that’s not very efficient or cost-effective in the long run. When you network, you’ll find friends that can vote for you. But not only that, they have friends too. And those friends oftentimes become your friends and start voting for your stuff.

In some sense, networking scales well if you target people that are well-connected. Imagine if you befriended a popular blogger in your niche. You could ask them to promote your product or content. This leads to traffic, links, and profits. And through your relationship with this popular blogger, you will meet other popular bloggers.

Networking helps you to get free links. These links may be reciprocal, but at least, you can ask for a contextual link, which will give more link juice and brings higher quality traffic than a sitewide or blogroll link. And as you grow your network, you’ll be able to build more one-way links because many webmasters have multiple sites in different niches. You could link to someone’s celeb blog from your celeb blog in exchange for them linking to your tech blog from their tech blog. You could also consider guest posting.

Also, don’t forget the free advice that comes from webmaster friends. Whether it’s technical tips, domain names, or how to write a certain piece of content, the advice from other webmasters is very valuable.

Networking makes online business more enjoyable. We are social creatures and online business can be a lonely job. When you have someone to IM or email about your struggles and accomplishments, internet marketing becomes more enjoyable. And the more you enjoy your work, the better you will do in your business.

How has networking helped your online business?

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Long-Term Link Building: Links That Will Count in the Future

SEOMoz has a great video called Link Wars. It’s about the conflict between webmasters and Google. Webmasters try to manipulate Google’s algorithm through link building while Google tries to discount the webmasters’ manipulative links.

Check out the video (it’s only 6 minutes) and then read my comments.

I’ll review and elaborate on Rand’s points while giving relevant links.

First, Rand talks about how in the past links were actually a great way to determine search engine rankings. Links weren’t manipulated like they were today. Sure, the pre-Google search engines used links in their algorithms. However, it wasn’t until Sergey Brin and Lawrence Page, the Google founders, wrote The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine that links took center stage in many webmasters’ minds.

In this ground-breaking article, webmasters learned about PageRank and links. Webmasters got a look into the mind of a Google search engineer. They realized the huge importance Google was placing on links. And ever since then, Google and webmasters have had a conflicted relationship.

Four Examples of the Link War between Webmasters and Google

1. Webmasters tried reciprocal links because that was an easy way to get links. That method actually worked well for awhile. However, in 2005 a new Google algorithm was rolled out. This new algo wrecked many sites who relied too much on trading links.

And while Google didn’t catch all the sites that had reciprocal links, they’re continue to penalize more and more sites. For example, Google just recently penalized a lot of reputable real estate websites because of their reciprocal links.

2. Directories used to be a good way to get links. However, just recently there’s been evidence that Google is penalizing directories including high traffic and high profile ones like AvivaDirectory.com and AliveDirectory.com.

3. Google has taken more steps to combat paid links. This year they allowed webmasters to report them.

4. Google is a registrar. In this article, a Google spokesperson released a statement saying, “Google has become a domain name registrar to learn more about the Internet’s domain name system.” Of course, Google will use their domain information to make their algorithm better. So, if you plan on linking between your own sites, make sure to buy private registration.

Principles On Building Links That Will Count In The Future

So, what are can we learn from the information on this post? How can we use it to build links that Google will count – in the present and also in the future? Here are some principles that can guide us.

First, give more credit to Google. Over the years, they have done a better job at detecting manipulative links. I know of a search marketer who’s made a lot of money from auto-generated, black hat sites. However, in the last couple of months, his income from those sites have sharply declined. So don’t underestimate Google. If they’re catching black hats, they’ll be able to find your manipulative links. Also, by giving Google proper credit, you’ll work harder at building trusted links.

Second, if you’re buying links, do it under-the-radar. Don’t go through link brokers that put their link inventory out in the public. In fact, some of the best links can be found by contacting webmasters directly.

Third, Aaron Wall says more established sites (older, a lot of content-based links from quality sites, large quantity of links) can get away with more manipulative links. You can have some manipulative links. Just make sure it’s a small percentage compared to your total inbound links.

Finally, I like how Rand closes the video. He says the links that will not be discounted in the future are those links which would exist even if Google wasn’t around. The key word here is intention. If the Google spam police looked at your links, would they think you were trying to manipulate their search engine? Or would they think those links were naturally given?

In my next post, I’ll give specific tips on how to build links that look natural, so feel free to subscribe to our feed.

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