We cannot do without links: Links are still the major part of the search algorithm; Links drive referrals and links connect our sites to the rest of the web. We are well-aware what types of backlinks we need to stay away from but how to acquire links in a way that it would benefit our rankings and NOT put us under the risk of a penalty?
Here are some of the insights from thought leaders sharing their BEST backlink they have ever earned!
Jice_Lavocat (Elokenz Founder)
The best backlink I ever earned was coming from W3C (not available anymore).
I got it after interviewing a semantic web Researcher about the future of web.
In addition to a W3C backlink, I got many BL and twitter citations coming from academic institutions. So, interviewing an (academic) expert was pretty efficient.
Editor’s tip: Read this article on finding experts to interview on your blog!
Go with THE Trend!
Randy Pickard (Marketing Director)
Goal was to communicate how horribly infested Google is with counterfeiters and the damage it is doing to our industry and the naive buyers that are getting ripped off by the search giant’s aiding and abetting copyright infringers. This campaign led to article in a leading fashion industry blog.
This blog link seems to have generated a very significant boost in our rankings, which led to a 1,000 visitor per day boost in visitor traffic. Love the irony of bashing Google to improve rankings.
Adam Connell (Founder of Blogging Wizard)
A while back I was featured in an article on CIO.com about SEO trends.
Up till this point most of the SEO work I was doing was behind the scenes, managing a marketing agency – this was the first major step I took to share my insights with the Internet community.
The SEO in me was stoked to get a link from a PR8 site, while overall the link didn’t really matter to me – it was purely the fact that this was a major stepping stone to establishing myself and building visibility for my brand that was important to me.
Editor’s tip: “Catching the right wave” will always be a tricky thing with lots of trial and error involved. But tracking the trends should be an integral part of any content marketing strategy.
Jonathan Bentz (Marketing Manager)
One of the favorite backlinks I’ve ever earned came from simply taking the time to be friendly and act as a resource to others in the SEO industry.
Back in 2011 (while I was still at ProspectMX), Jon Payne of Ephricon was interviewed by Stephen Chapman on his ZDNet blog, “SEO Whistleblower”. In the interview, Payne was asked “What do you find to be some of the most key factors for running a successful SEO agency?” In his answer, he mentions how valuable it is to build relationships with other agencies to share advice, opinions, etc., and then mentions some of the most valuable contacts he has made.
Now, J-Payne knows a bunch of people in the industry. But for some reason on that day in 2011, he included a link builder and client campaign manager from an agency in Lancaster, PA among a list of other industry leaders and CEOs. Chapman was also cool enough to allow a backlink to ProspectMX to be included in the piece, too.
Say what you will about it not having keyword rich anchor text… but we scored an in-content backlink from a DA 96 just by being nice! I’d say that was a pretty nice win! Link to the interview
Digital Asset + a Very Targeted Pitch
Kyle Sanders (Head of Search)
We pitched an infographic to one of our clients (a home builder) focused on the Austin real estate market. They were in, we wireframed, designed, and delivered it only to find the CEO change his mind at the last minute. “We need to niche down,” he said.
So there we were, stuck with a city-centric infographic about Austin. Well, since we liked and the idea and office in Austin, we tweeted it at the Austin Business Journal and the University of Texas. It ended up spending nearly 24 hours at the top of r/Austin, drove ~25K views, and now we have a permanent link from UT’s College of Engineering (among many others), right in the middle of their copy under “You’ll live in one of the nation’s coolest cities.” Win.
Fix Their Errors
Jacob Curtis (Digital Marketing Strategist)
While it may not be the best one I’ve ever earned, I’ll always be most proud of my first backlink.
When just beginning my blogging journey I had read numerous articles about the benefits of guest blogging for backlinks. And while I understood the advantages, I didn’t quite know where to start and more importantly who to approach as a newbie blogger.
And though I had a wish list of blogs I wanted to write for, my first guest blogging opportunity came quite unexpectedly.
As I remember it, I was on Twitter and randomly clicked-through to some blog article related to social media. After reading the article, the site’s design and energetic author, Amy Schmittaur, kept me intrigued and I persuaded me to explore around a bit. Next, upon trying to use an embedded button on her site to follow Amy on Twitter, I noticed the function was not working as intended and imagined she had no idea.
I immediately navigated to Amy’s contact form and informed her of the broken link in which she replied with her appreciation. I then used the opportunity to introduce myself and ask if I could contribute to her blog. Of course, I believe helping her first, helped in her decision to allow me to write my first guest article on her blog.
Not only did I receive a valuable backlink without having to game, pay, or plead for it, but I also gained the confidence I needed to approach other bloggers for future contributions.
*Selective* high-Quality Guest Blogging
Matthew Anton (web designer / online marketer)
I have two “best” ones I’ve earned so far. One was completely organic, which was a Cnet article about the rise of social networks in the video game space. At the time, we were running CharacterPlanet (think Facebook for MMORPG games such as World of Warcraft). Unfortunately the project was under capitalized and lacked the coding knowledge to scale to the masses, but it was 2007 and we only wanted the link for publicity.
In 2011, after reading about guest blogging and seeing the success of Ann Smarty I decided to embark on a journey of reaching out to high quality blogs and writing posts personally. Even though I’m involved with online marketing, the one I’m most “proud” of comes in the form of an MMA/sports guest blog post:
- One link showed me the importance of creating something unique and having a true organic growth through press, coverage and natural backlinks.
- The other post showed me if you provide value to someones readership, it will naturally get shared and help your core business. Both were good lessons in terms of furthering my marketing career.
I like the way the article looks on the site, and guest blogging is proof that I’m committed to being social online, not just digital. Plus, readers like the content and advice in it, and it was very easy to cooperate with the publisher Ann Smarty. The article is a cloud article and that’s where Ann published it from, the clouds – via airline Wi-Fi! Seriously!
Editor’s tip: Guest blogging is and will be a good tactic to obtain editorial links only if you approach it properly.
Nishadha (Freelance Digital Marketer)
One of the best links I’ve earned the link to my company Creately from this article in Inc Magazine. I got it by replying to a HARO query. I was replying to few HARO queries and was almost about to give up on the service when I got contacted for this link. Definitely a source worth considering for high quality authority links.
Editor’s tip: Read more on building media and PR relationships here
Post FIRST and BEST Comments
Okay, I think it is a backlink from problogger. It was a nofollow backlink to my blog flowingevents. I was the first commenter in that post
Problogger is a famous and authority blog in this niche. So this backlink adding more value to my blog.
To get backlinks and traffic from blog commenting it is very important to comment first.
Fake it Till You Make it
CharlesFloate (God of SEO)
The best link I’ve ever achieved was when I first started reading Ryan Holiday’s “Trust Me, I’m Lying” – It teaches you how to manipulate the media online via Blogs, Anonymous Emails and various other tactics.. I wanted to promote my projects YouTube channel and so I added a few fake views, subscribers and hired a VA to put together a load of comments – Making the channel look a lot bigger than it was.
I outreached to a number of Facebook Pages and Twitter accounts that were based around the Niche (a certain Video Game) I was in about this new video that I’d seen. Quickly, the video hit the frontpage of the game’s Reddit (over half a million users on that Reddit), was posted to hundreds of Facebook pages and eventually got put on the eSports magazine Kotaku, along with a Do-Follow link back to both my channel and the project’s site. All with, only 15 minutes of fake emailing and social messaging. The video now stands at over 500,000 views and my DA went from 23 to 49 in one month.
Editor’s note: Of course SEOchat would not encourage you to go and buy fake views for mediocre content but “Fake it till you make it” may still be an effective tactic as you can see (after all, that channel would NOT spread unless it deserved it!!!)
Please share your best link or your case study!
[Disclaimer: Contributors' views are their own. They do not necessarily represent Devshed views ]
Last month I wrote an article about Google’s payday loan update which seemed to hit several sites but bypassed YouTube.
This month I have decided to go and take a look at two of the most popular press release sites and see if they have recovered from the penalty.
The 1st site I looked at was PR Newswire, who was getting an estimated 441,000 organic visits per month in May before the penalty. As you can see in the image below they are now driving an estimated 47,800 organic visits per month to the site after the penalty.
The 2nd site I have been monitoring is PR Web, one of the other big players in the Press Release niche. PR Web was getting a whopping 760,000+ estimated organic visits per month in May and since the penalty they are getting just over 34,000 estimated organic visits.
Due to these penalties both press releases companies have made sweeping changes to what they will allow to be covered in their releases moving forward.
For instance neither agency will allow releases to be published about HCG, Green Coffee Beans, Raspberry Ketone, Garcinia Cambogia, Electronic Cigarettes or Payday Loans.
Most of these products Google will happily to advertise for profit, as seen in the image below.
If you think about the implication of these penalties it should also make it pretty clear that negative seo can be applied to most anyone, regardless of the size, age or reputation of the site in question.
Let’s put this in perspective, both of these sites have millions of existing links pointing to them over the course of several years in the business. The behavior of a few black hat SEO’s out there caused the sites to lose rankings and traffic for keywords which resulted on up to a 90% drop in estimated organic traffic.
While it is unlikely this was an intentional negative SEO attempt the result was the same, the sites were penalized due to behavior outside of their direct control and links they did not build themselves.
How difficult would it be to replicate this same pattern of bad behavior and victimize other, smaller sites that are standing in the way of your rankings?
Matt Cutts put out a YouTube video discussing how negative seo is easily combated through the disavow tool and how webmasters might just find it a minor inconvenience to disavow links.
Below is a snapshot of PR Web’s 26 MILLION links across nearly 200,000 domains I am not sure about you, but I would think reviewing even 1% of those links to be more than a “minor” inconvenience, even if you are lucky enough to have a full time webmaster on your staff.
The point is no matter what you do it is in your best interest to regularly check your backlink profile in Google Webmaster tools and 3rd party tools such as Majestic Seo. Many times the penalty is not applied right away and by the time you figure out you have been a victim of negative SEO you may have to go back months to see where those links have come from.
What do you think; do you think Google has made it too easy to use negative SEO as a tactic?
This week in our “Featured tool” column we are sharing a neat online on-page SEO comparison tool that lets you quickly get an idea of how each of them is optimized and how the on-page tactics differ. Use the tool:
- To grab top Google results competing with you and compare their on-page tactics
- To compare your own pages if one seems to be performing better (for an unknown reason)