Link Building

This section contains link building articles, covering advanced link building tips, tricks and strategies. Also in this section are interviews with some of the Web's most prolific and well-known link builders. Busted for Buying Links, Offers Weak Apology

As is true of so many things in life, the big boys have it a whole lot easier than the rest of us. Fishing for backlinks in exchange for money can be risky (not to mention deeply unethical), but that didn’t stop, an Expedia property, from sending out spammy emails asking travel bloggers for precisely that.

What Happened?Earlier this month, Tnooz reported that a number of influential travel bloggers received an email from an as-yet unnamed “SEO Manager” for’s Americas division. The poorly-written email was sent from a email address, and claimed that the SEO Manager had been reading the bloggers’ posts. The sender went on to ask if the recipients would be interested in some “brand promotion for our hotels.”So far, so good, right? Unfortunately (f... > Read more

October 28, 2014     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 27

The 3 Types of Links that Send Legit Referral Traffic

I know for most of the year I’ve been telling you that links are going to lose value – and I still think it’s true. However, I’ve been careful to point out that for now, links are still pretty powerful stuff in SEO.Further, even if links eventually lost all their (direct) power to move your rankings, they’d still have value for you as a marketer, because links are great for exposure and branding.

But the ultimate link is not just good for SEO and branding, it also sends referral traffic.What’s so great about referral traffic? Do you really have to ask?! Referral traffic is great because it gets your content in front of new audiences, creating new opportunities for audience engagement and conversions.A recent survey of MozCon attendees showed that after organic search, referral t... > Read more

July 23, 2014     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 18

Should I Help This SEO Spammer or Should He Suffer?

As the owner of a popular internet marketing blog (this one) that gets around a half million unique visitors / month, I’m used to getting all sorts of spam.Every week I get dozens of requests to purchase links on my site (which I ignore), and every month, and we delete hundreds, possibly thousands of spammy blog comments and link drops.

But more recently I’ve been getting a different tune of spammy emails from SEO spammers, like this one asking for help with link removal:Oh how the worm has turned…I’m guessing their back-link profile is full of anchor-text-rich, no-followed blog comments and that Mr. Penguin doesn’t like that too much.Seriously, what to do here – should I help out this SEO spammer or should he suffer?Reasons to Help This SEO SpammerWe’ve all dropped a link wit... > Read more

November 15, 2013     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 48

Unnatural Links: What They Are & What to Do About Them

Latest Google Penguin Update Sends Slew of Unnatural Link WarningsIn “a step towards transparency,” Google webmasters initiated a series of warnings to sites against spammy activity and sketchy, manipulative links better known as unnatural links. On July 19, a confusing link warning was sent to a large number of sites.

Google’s Matt Cutts posted on his Google+ account soon after to address the SEO hysteria:If you received a message yesterday about unnatural links to your site, don’t panic. In the past, these messages were sent when we took action on a site as a whole … For example we may take this kind of targeted action to distrust hacked links pointing to an innocent site. The innocent site will get the message as we move towards more transparency, but it’s not necessarily so... > Read more

July 30, 2012     |   Written by: Kiana Sarabia Strayhorn   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 24

Using the PPC Mindset For Link Building

I've touched on the subject of how to use PPC for link building a few times before but after Panda, I've been forced to think about it even more. While I hate paying for just about anything, I'd be remiss not to understand how important paid advertising is to an online marketing campaign. Whether or not you actually participate in PPC isn't of concern with this, either. just need to at the very least be aware of how to use online marketing tools and data in order to finetune what you want to do elsewhere. For our purposes, I'll be explaining how to use PPC for three main areas of link marketing:Keyword data for anchor textBoost traffic when there's a dipUse with social media promotion to help build linksKeyword Data(Since Wordstream are kind enough to let me guest post here, I do sugg... > Read more

December 28, 2011     |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 1

Our Top SEO Link Building Posts of All Time!

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from looking at our analytics over the years since we launched this blog, it’s that People. Love. Link building. Articles about link building consistently drive the most traffic over time. Why? It’s not the only thing that matters for SEO – you also need great title tags, strong information architecture, etc.

, etc. Those posts do pretty well too, but there’s not as much to say about them.My theory is that link building is more like a game, and I bet a lot of SEOs grew up as gamers. SEO link building isn’t just a matter of learning a few basic best practices and applying them. There will always be new ways to score links, and getting a great link is a triumph for an SEO. It’s like a new top score on Donkey Kong.Are you the King of Kong?Since... > Read more

November 14, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 31

Bing's Marketing Strategy Includes Comment Spam?

Lately we’ve been getting the occasional spam comment (according to my spam comment taxonomy, they’re mostly of the “full-on-ass-kissing” variety) that looks like a typical spam comment in almost every way:It expresses some irrelevant but positive sentiment like “Thanks, this post was really helpful to me, keep it up”It’s attributed to a normal-sounding name like “Carrie” or “Dave” (much more effective than something like “Cheap Canadian SEO” which will always get you flagged)The name links back to the spammer’s siteThe difference is, instead of linking to a deep page on some spammy domain I’ve never heard of (you know, something like memphis-internet-marketing.

biz/link-building-services), they link to the Bing homepage. Yes, (There’s y... > Read more

October 25, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 20

Link Building Experts Interview Series: A Q&A with BuzzStream CEO Paul May

Paul May is the CEO and co-founder of BuzzStream, a provider of link building management software. Paul has spent most of the last fifteen years either starting or working on early-stage startups. BuzzStream also offers a variety of free link building tools for small businesses, SEOs and Internet marketers.

Follow and connect with Paul on Twitter: @PaulMay.BuzzStream is often thought of as a link building tool, but you actually have products for PR and social media as well. How much overlap are you finding between the three disciplines?It’s funny, because Rae Hoffman-Dolan wrote a post a few years ago where she talked about the skills to look for when hiring a link builder, and I remember thinking when I read it that she might as well have been writing a job spec... > Read more

September 21, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 1

3 Ways to Scale Linkbuilding with Google Docs

This week Distilled released the Ultimate Guide to Linkbait, by none other than 17-year-old Ed Fry. As incredible as this guide is (and you should read it. Twice.), today I'd like to go into a few more ways to scale linkbuilding, using only Google Docs. While I highly recommend link CRM tools like Buzzstream and other tools like WordStream, I also recognize that not everyone can afford such tools.

So let's explore some ways to bootstrap your way to scaling linkbuilding.Google DocsAre you working on a team to build links for a specific client? First off, I highly recommend this, yet it brings its own challenges. Most of us in SEO are lone rangers, as in we like to work on our own and get things done. If you are working on a team, however, Google Docs is amazing for shared documents.Here are... > Read more

September 01, 2011     |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 4

Paid Links: Viable SEO Strategy or a Waste of Money?

In the early 2000s, buying and selling paid links to increase rankings in the SERPs was a common occurrence in the world of SEO. It was an acceptable SEO link building practice until 2007, when Google declared that paid links were in violation of their Webmaster Guidelines, as they were purposefully trying to manipulate the search results.

As Google stated,…some SEOs and webmasters engage in the practice of buying and selling links that pass PageRank, disregarding the quality of the links, the sources, and the long-term impact it will have on their sites. Buying or selling links that pass PageRank is in violation of Google's Webmaster Guidelines and can negatively impact a site's ranking in search results.If there is anything that I have learned in my 12+ years as an SEO professional, it... > Read more

August 30, 2011     |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 7

Worst Link Exchange Request Ever

I'm often spammed by bots and people asking for links but I thought this was pretty amusing so i wanted to share (I've just obfuscated the domain name). The part that really cracks me up is the the part in bold, below (lol). This has got to be the worst link exchange request ever.-----Original Message-----From: Bojan [mailto:info@xx-xxxxx.

xxx]Sent: Wednesday, August 10, 2011 5:16 PMTo: Larry KimSubject: Link Exchange RequestDear owner of,I'm the webmaster of http:// www. came across your site on the Internet and feel that it would fit perfectly into our collection of quality links at http:// www. Google PR of this site is currently 5.We'd appreciate it if you place a link back to our site using the followi... > Read more

August 15, 2011     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 12

Three Types of Infographics that Attract Traffic & Links

It’s true that infographics have become somewhat more difficult to attract attention with, but a clever concept and solid execution around promotion can still help generate a lot of authority and a high volume of quality links for a domain quickly. The question is always, “What sorts of things make good data visualizations?” In this post we’ll walk through three categories of infographic and offer a real-world example of each from the WordStream blog itself.

Evergreen InfographicsEvergreen infographics are graphics that aren’t tied to a specific date and won’t get “stale” over time. A couple of examples of this type of graphic are:“History Of” graphics that detail the chronology of an event in the past or a specific topic – even if new events occasionally happen in the... > Read more

July 25, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 2

Guest-Posting Dos & Don'ts: How to Get Your Guest Post Accepted

At WordStream, we're a fan of guest posting as a way of building links and relationships. But sometimes you put in the effort to write a post and the blog editor rejects it, or never gets back to you at all. That adds up to disappointment and a big waste of your time.If you're about to embark on a guest posting strategy, here are some dos and don'ts to keep in mind.

These tips will increase your chances of getting your guest post approved and published, links intact.DO read a few posts from the blog before you send something. You run the best chance of having your post published if it resembles what they typically run. Things to pay particular attention to include word count, reading level (beginner vs. advanced), and voice (serious, kooky, snarky, etc.). If the blog publishes guest postin... > Read more

June 21, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 4

Developing a Diversified SEO Link Portfolio

In the world of SEO, links are the currency of choice. The more quality, inbound links you have pointing toward your site, the “richer” your site is. Those links affect your site’s trust factor with the search engines, which impacts how well your site ranks. A link building campaign is designed to create unique links that pass their link juice (link credit) along to your site.

The better the quality of the link, the more link juice they share. The overarching goal of any SEO link building campaign is to grow numerous links from many different, yet relevant, sources over time.The key to a strong and viable link building campaign is to take a slow and diversified approach. Search engines like to see a natural development of quality links, as this is a good indication that you are takin... > Read more

June 15, 2011     |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 3

Linkbait Case Study: How We Got on the Front Page of Mashable

Back in December we launched an infographic centered around the Internet and the environment. It didn't do as well as our previous infographics, which didn't particularly surprise us – we weren't completely happy with how it came out, and we didn't put as much effort into promoting it. A couple of weeks ago, we relaunched the infographic (see below; click to enlarge), after giving it a complete overhaul, to coincide with Earth Day.

This time around, it got the traction we had hoped for, attracting over 150 new links, including several high-value links from new domains like the LA Times and the Atlantic, and giving us a big spike in referred traffic. So what did we do differently? Why did the infographic perform so much better the second time around? Here are three reasons why I thin... > Read more

May 16, 2011     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 1

Using Educational Linkbait to Get Valuable .edu Links

Kellogg’s Cereal has space-themed nutrition lessons in downloadable PDF files. Orkin Pest Control has a virtual insect designed to offer an alternative to classroom dissection. Ben and Jerry’s has interactive games about the environment. Big companies have, for years, been putting educational materials online and getting benefits in the form of coveted .

edu links and serendipitous traffic.Smaller sites can do the same. They usually don’t, but the benefits can be significant. High-quality sites that would never link to your commercial website’s homepage will link to your educational page. You can also list your educational page in high-value places like Google groups for educators or Teacher’s Sourcebook – as long as you’ve got actual educational materials.The first step is to... > Read more

April 13, 2011     |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 10

Giving Your Links a Boost with Tiered Link Building

The following link building tip may or may not sit well with all SEOs, and when deciding on a link building strategy that will suit your business, it's important to weight all the pros and cons before making a choice. Now, with that said, let's talk a little about tiered link building.Tiered link building allows you to drive some extra juice to your quality links and keep the more aggressive link building tactics aimed at buffers in between the more questionable links and your website.

The below is a very quick overview of what this may look like.Getting Quality LinksQuality links in the above diagram are those you are proud of. They are the kids in the frame on your living room wall, with happy faces having just graduated from college. There are a number of ways to get quality links:1) Cr... > Read more

April 11, 2011     |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 20

Content Marketing 101: How to Get More People to See Your Content in Five Difficult Steps

There's a lot of talk in the blogosphere about the value of blogging frequently and interacting with your community. And there's a lot of great articles available on doing outreach for cornerstone content like in-depth guides, infographics, and free tools. But what there seems to be less of is specific how-to information on promoting more mundane day-to-day blog content that thought leaders are telling you to crank out.

It's not practical to do an in-depth link campaign for every quick how-to blog post you create, so what can you do to promote your content on a daily basis? Step 1: Create Syndication Channels This is a bit more "social" than the headline implies: The first step here is to build social media followings and start to participate on social news sites. You can create syndicatio... > Read more

March 10, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 6

Five Great "Hidden" Link Building Resources

If you're a regular reader of link building content then you're likely no stranger to great link building companies like Buzzstream and Ontolo, and you probably know about a lot of the best link building blogs, but the reality is there is a lot of great link building content "hidden" within more general SEO and online marketing blogs.

Here are five great examples: 1. Ross Hudgens Link Building Posts Ross has a lot of interesting link building tips (like building links with Google alerts) and some of the best (best here meaning "hardest hitting" and most effective at eliciting actionable advice) interviews on the subject of link building. He also writes in-depth on important and somewhat underdiscussed link building topics like evaluating directories and how to value a ... > Read more

March 03, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 13

Visualizing Link Flow Within a Site

Wouldn’t it be great to be able to visualize link flow within a website to see how links flow from one page to another? You can, by making use of a couple of free tools, and without having to code. Following is a brief tutorial on how to create a visualization of the link flow on a site. For this purpose, I will be using Xenu, which is a free tool to check for broken links on a site, and, Graphviz, an open source graph visualization tool.

In order to demonstrate an example, I am considering a random restaurant website. Some directories within the site, like images and others, are being skipped so that link flow among the main landing pages on the site can be analyzed. To get started, enter a website URL in Xenu. You might want to exclude any directories like /theme, /images and others, d... > Read more

February 23, 2011     |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 20

Link Building 101: 5 Simple Ways to Build Links that Have Authority AND Great Anchor Text

When it comes to link building, anchor text is really important. So is domain authority. Often the types of links you'll be able to build will force you to sacrifice one or the other. You can create an infographic that gets a lot of unique, authoritative domains to link at your site with suboptimal anchor text, or you might be able to use some article directory submission sites to get great anchor text from low-value link sources.

Ideally you would do both at the same time, and get great links from authoritative sources with exactly the anchor text you want. We'll walk through a few relatively simple ways that you can do just that. 1. Guest Posts Guest posts are probably the most powerful example of how you can get a link on an authoritative domain (and even on an authoritative page) with ... > Read more

January 27, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 23

Quick and Dirty Link Building Part 3: How to Get Contact Information and Craft a Great Link Outreach Email

Thus far in our Quick and Dirty Link Building series we've covered two crucial stages in the link prospecting and outreach stages:Getting Lots of Link Prospect URLs FASTPrioritizing Your Link Building EffortsNow we have to actually take the URLs that we've deemed outreach-worthy and make them outreach-ready.

This means appending contact information to the URLs, and coming up with an approach for outreach. If you're a novice at link building, please head forward to our link building how to.How to Get Contact Information for Your Link ProspectsBefore you can reach out to people you need to actually have an email address and contact information to reach them at. The first step in this process is to target a specific type or types of contact information. Here we'll look to get the emails of th... > Read more

January 13, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 5

Quick and Dirty Link Building Part 2: How to Prioritize Your Link Building Efforts

Last week we talked about how to get lots of link prospect URLs fast, and in this post we'll walk through how you can then qualify the big list of links you accumulated in step one.As we mentioned in that post,In fact, most of the people you'll identify as possible prospects through traditional means will be some combination of:Irrelevant - Some of the potential targets you pull up in your research won't really be targets at all (often you'll find competitors, sites that are dormant or don't link out, etc.

)Unresponsive - If you are creating content and generating a "traditional" link outreach list, a large number of possible linkers won't respond to your emails.Slow to Respond - Additionally you'll also often run into linkers who just take their time getting around to your request.So ... > Read more

January 10, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 1

Quick and Dirty Link Building Tip Part 1: How to Get Lots of Link Prospect URLs FAST!

Once you've created some stellar content, as an SEO, the next step is to go and promote it. One of the challenges with link prospecting is that not every link is a home run. In fact, most of the people you'll identify as possible prospects through traditional means will be some combination of: Irrelevant - Some of the potential targets you pull up in your research won't really be targets at all (often you'll find competitors, sites that are dormant or don't link out, etc.

) Unresponsive - If you are creating content and generating a "traditional" link outreach list, a large number of possible linkers won't respond to your emails. Slow to Respond - Additionally you'll also often run into linkers who just take their time getting around to your request. For these reasons, it's important to "... > Read more

January 06, 2011     |   Written by: Tom Demers   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 6

10 Super-Quick Link Building Tips for Bloggers and Site Owners

Whether you're a novice at link-building or an experienced link-builder, you could always use learn a few more tricks for quick and dirty ethical links. Use absolute links, not relative links, in your blogs posts. That way, if a post gets scraped, the links in the content are preserved. When you write a guest post, send the bio along with your preferred links and anchor text already coded in.

This makes it easier for the hosting blog, so it's less likely that they'll mess with your link(s). If someone sends you a guest post, ask if you can return the favor by writing a guest post for them too. (If your sites are relevant to each other, this won't look like a suspicious reciprocal link.) Keep track of keywords you'd like to improve your ranking for. When guest post opportunities pop up, w... > Read more

December 07, 2010     |   Written by: Elisa Gabbert   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 11

The Problem with Footer Links in SEO

  Most people who are familiar with SEO know that not all links are created equal. In addition to the “nofollow” tag, there are many ways that a webmaster can value or devalue a link, intentionally or unintentionally. This includes everything from the keywords included in the anchor text to the HTML formatting that surrounds the link.

However, there is one aspect that is often overlooked, especially by those relatively new to SEO: the position of the link on the page. Though a link can be stuck anywhere on a page, the search engines quietly judge links based on their location. One spot in particular – the site footer – has drawn their attention, and not for good reasons, so much so that Yahoo secured a patent aimed largely at devaluing footer links, and anecdotal evidence sug... > Read more

October 20, 2010     |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 20

Influence Finder Review

Influence Finder is one of the latest link profiling tools to hit the market. I would classify the Influence Finder software as a "link target tool," giving users the ability to "spy on" the backlink profile of a competitor or multiple competitors to discover link opportunities. Influence Finder also lets you evaluate your own site's link profile as well, to perform some self-assessment and find out who's linking to you and what's driving your site's SERP performance.

Where Does Influence Finder Get Its Link Data? Influence Finder grabs all of its link data from the massive Majestic SEO API, so you know it's robust and accurate. But Influence Finder takes Majestic's link data a step further by re-crawling the Majestic link data and filtering out any dead links, so the data you're getting i... > Read more

September 16, 2010     |   Written by: Ken Lyons   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 1

The Pros and Cons of Link Begging

One way to get links pointing back to your website is by link begging—basically, asking someone to link to your site from theirs. People beg for links by sending an email, making a phone call, or messaging someone over a social networking site like Twitter or Facebook. Recently, I wrote in a blog post about link building myths that I believe link begging is a waste of time—it's just not scalable.

  However, some search marketers swear by link begging. Is it a workable strategy, or a bad idea? To help you make an educated decision about whether to engage in link begging, let's consider the practice's pros and cons.  Here are some of the pros of link begging: Link begging can, in fact, get you links. Link begging is a way of alerting people to your content. Especially if you'r... > Read more

September 14, 2010     |   Written by: Larry Kim   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 1

Link Building Magic: How to Turn Citations into Links

As any link wonk will tell you, link building is hard work. So for efficiency's sake, I’m a big fan of harvesting the low hanging fruit in link building. Why kill yourself trying to acquire links from super domains, like or The New York Times, when you can grab some quick wins just by tending your own garden?One of the ways I snag some easy link wins is by turning citations into links.

Of all the daily link building tactics I engage in, this is probably one of the best ROI producers. You see, at WordStream, we get cited dozens of times each day across the Web. Most of these mentions (I'd say about 70%) contain links back to our site. But roughly 30% are linkless. And therein lies the opportunity to build a link.Now when it comes to local SEO, I know that citations are like links.... > Read more

September 09, 2010     |   Written by: Ken Lyons   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 13

How We Got a Link from CNN and Drove Loads of Traffic with Infographics

Unless you've been living in a cave, you know the flavor of the month for link baiting is INFOGRAPHICS!!! They're everywhere, and many major online publications (Huff Post, Fast Company, BoingBoing, Mashable, etc) make it a habit of running cool infographics each day. What's more, infographics hit the front pages of social giants like Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon on a regular basis.

Infographic Workflow:Bait CreationInfographic PromotionEvaluate ROICase Study SummaryNow even though we may be a bit late to the infographic link bait and social traffic bonanza party, we still wanted an invite. So we decided it was time to roll out our own infographics link bait campaign. After sitting on the sidelines and seeing what works (and what doesn’t), we felt we had a pretty good idea how to create some... > Read more

August 25, 2010     |   Written by: Ken Lyons   |   Posted In: Link Building   |   Comments: 29
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