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July 05

Link Building by Buying Web Sites

It’s impossible to exhaust all the creative methods of getting new backlinks. A WMW post, Link development by buying competitors, highlights a lesser-used (but powerful) link building method:

My competitors in my business are in 90% of the cases unprofessionell and I just had the idea of increasing our links by buying their websites.

What would be the best way to get their links directing to us? Should we redirect their domain or should we put a bunch of our links on their website?
Any other ideas?

I like this method for several reasons:

  • If the site you’re buying has decent, relevant backlinks, than this will be a good Hilltop-type link to your main site
  • You can surround the link  to your main site with links to other authoritative sites, thus putting your main site in a good neighborhood
  • Since you control the entire site, you can put in tons of intra-content deep links (sorta like the Presell pages from WeBuildPages)

Of course when buying and selling assets (and this includes Web sites), I have one golden rule: Buy Cheap, Sell High. If the price is right, go for it! If not, go back to writing high quality content (or comment spamming);-)

July 05

Aaron Wall on the Hyperlink Hot Seat

Aaron Wall writes (that is, wrote, and continually rewrites) the most well-known search engine optimization ebook on the Web. He is also the man behind, which, while lesser-known than SEO Book, is a great source for instructional SEO articles.

1) Yahoo!’s search algorithm: Closing in on Google, or 18 months behind?

I think they are closing, but when they started they were far more than 18 months behind, and as they draw closer they reach more toward a point of diminishing returns. I recently interviewed NFFC and he stated:

“This is what I think, SEO is all about emotions, all about human interaction. People, search engineers even, try and force it into a numbers box. Numbers, math and formulas are for people not smart enough to think in concepts.”

and that if he worked at a search engine

“I would look to give good things a boost and stop focusing on finding bad things to penalise.”

In the past Google was able to give people more reason to give back user data (ie: toolbar and PageRank), Yahoo! is trying to catch up with their My Web idea, but even though they allow users to block sites and share them I still feel none of the competing search services have a brand that can compete with Google, and none of them make users feel like they own and help improve the results.

Look how Google launches other products: Gmail, Orkut, using other brand names. Google wants their name to be synonymous with search. Yahoo! wants to be synonymous with everything, and that thins the brand. Owning content networks means having internal customers, and that creates a biased search service which some people will question the relevancy of.

Google has also bought Urchin and may be creating a payment system to help create the micropayment business model or get more end to end consumer behavior data. As far as collecting user data I think Google has the competition beat, but there is only so much you can do with the data before the focus on more data creates algorithms which resist innovation and change.

I think most of search distribution is down to positioning and who can lock in more users with their other services. The search service which makes you feel like you own the service will be the one that wins in distribution. As far as quality goes I think NFFC was right on that, whoever focuses more on signs of quality than reasons to penalize will win. Adding more human interaction to the algorithms would help a ton as well.

2) NickW: Highly entertaining SEO personality or rebel without a cause?

Based on regularly linking at his site and posting comments to it I obviously like it. My opinion does not matter that much though in the grand scheme of things. If you look at the more official type links, he has got blogrolled on sites like Search Engine Watch, Yahoo! Search Blog, Ask Jeeves Blog, has been Slashdotted a few times, and has had press mentions from sites like Guardian, Slate, etc etc etc.

My site is not on any of those blogrolls, has had little mention in any traditional type of press, and has had limited reach outside of the search community, so I would say in that regard he is doing a much better job than I, especially when you consider that he gets away with far more cursing than I do :)

Even when he calls people out, like ClickZ recently, they still feel the need to comment on his site, so that is fairly impressive. In less than a year his site has probably moved into the top 10 search related sites in terms of quality inbound linkage data, and with modern search algorithms it is all about linkage data.

3) SEOBook: Reached its peak, or just getting started?

Will steal a line from Larry Page at Google’s recent quarterly conference call. It is still in the first inning.

4) Do you think the guy that posted here (and in subsequent comments on that thread) is really GoogleGuy as we know him (aka Matt Cutts)?

You don’t know a person for sure based on a few heated forum posts. I am not sure if that was GoogleGuy or Matt Cutts. Rumour has it that Matt loves tomatoes though.

5) If you ever fall off the Sears Tower, just go real limp, because maybe you’ll look like a dummy and people will try to catch you because, hey, free dummy!

Never been in the Sears Tower. Do not plan on going. I am a HUGE FAN of the dummies though. Luckily I was able to link your question to that great band, or there would have been no link based Q&As

July 05

Rotating Links

This thread at WMW caught my interest. The question: do rotating links help link popularity? Crush replies with what also happens to be my initial reaction.

Crush: works for now but I think SE’s are working towards killing rotating links. Like I say for now fine but may have less effect.

I’m not sure about this one though. LBB readers, tell me what you know!

July 05

martinibuster on Crapola Directories

I like martinibuster’s blog a lot, my only complaint being I wish he posted more often. Maybe he read my mind as he made a killer post yesterday.

Taking the Brain Cells Out for a little exercise
Let’s whip out those two brain cells and rub them together: What do you imagine the search engine engineers would think about a directory that is marketed exclusively to webmasters? Aren’t directories supposed to be useful to web surfers? Would the search engineers think that these directories were a scheme for helping SEO Webmasters manipulate their ranks? If so, what action do you think they would take?

Sometimes it’s hard to step back a bit and look at search algorithms with a long term perspective; martinibuster seems to have a talent for this. Read more: Directories with a Kick Me Sign on Their Backs

July 05

Outbound Linking – Underrated

We post a lot on our blog about how to best aquire valuable incoming links, with nary a peep about the power of outbound links. Our unequivocal opinion is that good outbound links are a good thing, both for users and for search engines:

For Users

  • Helpfulness: Users will leave sooner or later. If you help them as they leave, they are more likely to return.
  • Perceived Authority: Not sure if I’ve ever used the word “authority” in a non-SE context… but if a site links to other HQ sites, in my mind, that makes it more trustworthy to users.

For Search Engines

  • Hilltop Hub Points: If you link to topical authorities your site may get “hub points” from the Hilltop algo (or similar algo’s)
  • Good neighborhood: As martinibuster has said, your neighborhood is important to modern SEs. Outbound links may be as important in this as inbounds are.

Bottom line: good outbound links = good for your site.