In this article we discuss link building tips kindly shared with us in the "Link Building Secrets" manual. We add a little more spice and simplify some of the complex techniques described by link gurus.
Using Google Alerts
You can use Google Alerts to monitor search results for high quality sites in your niche.
For example, suppose you’re trying to get links for http://www.medicalnewstoday.com.
You know that it’s a high-quality web site and has a lot of editorial content.
Go to Google Alerts and set up this alert:
Set up one alert for "Comprehensive" search and another one for "WebSearch" once a day. This will make Google notify you of new .edu domains that have medical content, but do not have a link to Medical News Today yet. Once you spot those sites you can discuss linking with webmasters.
You can use this technique with any search terms of your choice and for any other domain extensions. For example, you can set up Google Alerts to look for "medical software" sites across the entire web that don’t have links to Medical News Today, or limit your search to .edu domains. Play around with this; it’s very powerful.
Buy a Link by Sponsoring a Charity
You can get very legitimate links from charity websites. Do a search with "your keyword" + "sponsor charity" or "charity." Once you find good sites, contact webmasters and ask if you can get a link for sponsorship. For example, if you’re after "new york dentist," search for "new york dentist sponsor charity" or something similar.
Technically, you’re not buying links, you’re doing good deeds. On the other hand, would you sponsor charities if it wasn’t for links? =)
Patrick Altoft shared a shady technique; it’s included here for completeness, but it is NOT recommended. He cloaks links so that Yahoo and MSN see them differently from Google to gain rankings on the less sophisticated search engines.
For example, he has a site wide link on 2000 pages. He will make sure that Google doesn’t see it, while Yahoo and MSN do. As a result he gets quick rankings on Yahoo and MSN without hurting Google (which doesn’t like site wide links).
If you plan to use cloaking, use: http://www.fantomaster.com/ — at your own risk! Again, we emphatically do not recommend this approach.
Hamlet Batista shared a killer link analysis tip, using nothing but Google data. Let’s lay it out for you.
First, Google Toolbar’s Pagerank is somewhat useless in SEO.
Toolbar Pagerank is not real. Google has a different internal number than the one displayed. It’s safe to say that toolbar PR is an approximation of real PR. It is a rough, rounded number.
Google can reduce toolbar PR for any site, without a website losing search rankings or traffic. This happened when Google declared war against paid links. It lowered toolbar PR for sites that sold or bought links, but it didn’t have any effect on search engine rankings or traffic.
Toolbar PR is updated once every three months. Google may update internal PR, but leave toolbar stats unaffected.
Toolbar pagerank does not indicate trust or the authoritativeness of the site, which are becoming more and more important.
Faced with this reality, Hamlet Batista came up with a simple and effective method to value potential links:
Search engines crawl and index important pages, say the New York Times home page, more frequently so that search results look up to date. By studying the crawling and indexing rate of a page we can have an indirect measure of its true value for link building.
Crawling is when a search engine spider explores pages and makes a copy to the servers for later analysis.
Indexing is when a page is actually ranked by algorithms on search results.
Crawling and indexing do not happen simultaneously. There may be a difference of up to a month, depending on site authority.
Finding out the crawl rate of a web page is easy. Go to search results and search for any keyword of your choice. Once you see search results, click on "Cached" next to a link.
On top of the page you will see a small Google tab that has details about the page. It will say something like: "This is Google’s cache of http://www.seochat.com/. It is a snapshot of the page as it appeared on 20 Oct 2008 06:38:06 GMT. The current page could have changed in the meantime. Learn more"
The info we’re after is "snapshot of a page." It tells us when Google last crawled the page (not indexed).
In order to determine the crawl rate you need to monitor "cached" information about a website.
Websites that are crawled once per month may not offer such good links, while ones that are a crawled every day or once in a few days should have more value.
Checking when the page was indexed is a little different. You have to go to the advanced search options and apply the date range filter. Specify the date range (24 hours, past week or past month) and do a search. You will see that the crawl date and index rate differ, where even newly crawled content is not indexed yet.
Monitor the rate at which the page is indexed. The more often a page is indexed, the more "important" it is, hence a link from that page will be treated as an "important" one.
Index and crawl rate also depend on the frequency with which the webmaster updates the site. If Google spots a trend that the site is updated once a week, it may adjust Google-bot to come once a week, so this measurement is not always perfect.
Here’s a useful diagram by Hamlet.
Peter van der Graaf was faced with a very tricky SEO job. He had to optimize a porn site for "bukkake." Bukkake is an act of mass ejaculation on a woman’s face, so he wasn’t getting too many .edu and .gov links with content like that.
After a few links from other porn sites, he couldn’t take it any further. Who wants to link to stuff like that?
That’s when creativity struck and "Professor John Bukkake, facial dermatologist " came to the rescue. To get links and to rank for bukkake, Peter created a fictional professor with the name John Bukkake, and gave him his own professional-looking web site.
The site worked flawlessly. They got accepted into many directories with targeted anchor text and were on a roll. The next step was to try harder, more editorial links.
This joke worked better than planned so we wanted to try even harder links. We created some fake Bukkake research that confirmed that the chemical compounds in Bayer eczema treatment worked under certain circumstances. The result was astounding, we got a couple of great links from Bayer that also included the search terms we were focusing on.
The site got plenty of editorial links from around the web with the targeted anchor text "bukkake."
How did they turn all the link power to the porn site? With a cloaked 301 redirect.
A 301 redirect is when a visitor is redirected from one website to another, for example from www.site.com to www.anothersite.com.
A 301 cloaked redirect is when the visitor doesn’t get redirected, but a search engine spider does. With John Bukkake, visitors saw http://www.johnbukkake.com/ , but search engine spiders saw the porn site.
This technique diverted link power from http://www.johnbukkake.com/ to the porn site, while keeping the old links intact, since they would be deleted if users found out the real intention of the site.
Again, this tactic is worth a warning: Google frowns on cloaking, and has been known to BAN sites that cloak, so you use it at your own risk.
Link guru Jim Boykin believes that links have more value if they actually get clicked. "For example, a link that doesn’t ever get a click is not worth nearly as much as a link that gets 10% click through rate."
He states that Google has the tech to track this data and is likely doing so.
When getting links, try getting links that actually get the clicks.
Make People Angry
This is a classic link bait technique – piss off people to get them talking and linking to you. Get controversial stuff out there and ignite both sides in arguments, flaming and plain swearing at each other. Being the source of controversy, you get the links. Be careful though. Using suggestive language as opposed to statements should save you some trouble.
More Link Building Methods
Here’s some more straightforward links building tips.
Get listed in niche directories.
Get links from partners, affiliates and professional organizations.
Get involved on forums, social media sites, blogs and social networks, providing valuable content. Make sure your niche is not as cluttered as the SEO space. Starting an SEO blog at this point would be sort of pointless, since the space is very tight and crowded and it will take deep insight or boatload of cash to get you going.
You can learn more killer link building tips by reading "Link Building Secrets," from which we gathered most of the ideas for this article.