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August 06

Coat-tailing on Parasite SEO

We try not to do straight link-drops at LBB, but this one is too good: The Dark Side of Social Media Organization by Graywolf.

One of the most common uses for this type of behavior is for reputation management and parasite SEO. One thing to be aware of is you can very often get a double listing to appear. If youâre not careful or have done some advanced planning itâs
pretty easy for a competitor to do some âvirtual draftingâ and appear directly behind or underneath you. Another point to notice it takes a lot more work for you to get that first listing than it does for the second guy to grab onto your coat tails.

Whether you have a "play to win" attitude towards below-the-belt tactics or not, it’s better to know them, since they’ll be used against you sooner or later. If you followed his former advice and created a page for your brand
on Squidoo, Craigslist, Newsvine, MySpace, Google Base, etc. maybe it’s time to make a
second! Read the post

August 06

The Final Word on the Yahoo! Directory

I’ve been visiting webmaster forums for several years and one of the yearly discussions is "Is the Yahoo! Directory worth it?"

The answers always range from "Hell no!" to "Hell yes!" and the discussion centers on various points such as traffic sent, and the value of the link.

If you’re still not sure whether to shell out the $299 USD, it’s your lucky day, because you’re getting my definitive answer.

Is the Yahoo! Directory worth $299 USD a year?

Yes, yes, yes, YES. Yes it is.

Here’s why: it’s an uber-trusted link. (Hint: a sandbox-beater.)

How do I know? Besides the fact that it’s one of two link building sources mentioned directly in Google’s guidelines for webmasters? I have empirical evidence: launching a dozen sites this past year, and getting some of them halfway out of the box with just a few trusted directory links (Yahoo! being the main workhorse, bCentral and are my other favorites).


1) But the links are redirects/301′d! How could they possibly pass juice?

First of all, it’s silly to think that Google couldn’t or wouldn’t figure out how to make the links count anyway, considering the site is one of two trusted directories they specifically mention in their guidelines.

Secondly… ever heard of cloaking? Check the Google cache. Do you see any redirects?

2) $299 USD/year is too expensive!

It’s the price of trust, my friend. If you know a cheaper way to get a trusted link (that takes the same amount of time), do let us know ;-)

*Props to for inspiring this post, and stating the same ideas more eloquently.

August 06

What is link bait worth? (or, Why you should hire a fulltime link baiter and watch the value of your site skyrocket)

Cartoon Barry asks the question: How much is link bait worth?

Is there a simple equation?

PR6 = $400 per link, PR2 = $25 per link. Link lifetime value = 6
months on average? High trafficked sites that link to you generate
links from other high trafficked sources and even more smaller
trafficked sources…

Then you have to look at the content/tools that bring in one time
links versus repetitive links over time. And then does that require
additional work (more content, maintenance of tool, etc.) or not?

In my experience, link baiting gives the highest ROI of any type of marketing method. Ignoring the value of the traffic you get out link bait (which usually converts much worse than organic search traffic), you get permanent links.

Of course, there’s no precise way to measure the value of a permanent link, but we all know they’re necessary — they’re the lifeblood of organic SEO. Starting point: if you valuate a (quality) permanent link at 12 times what you’d pay per month for it at a link broker, and if you assume the cheapest (quality) link you can get at a link broker is $25 / month, then a permanent link is worth $300 based on opportunity costs. And this ignores other factors which probably increase the value of the permanent link — such as the fact that it’s in the ‘content block’ of the page. And of course, that’s the minimum: if your link bait gets linked from a PR7 authority news site or blog, it would be a much higher cost per month to replace it with an equivalent rented link. Oh, and let’s not forget — the best link baits will get hundreds of links.

Then why don’t more people link bait? Why is it (seemingly) the least popular method of link building? (Well, that’s the impression I get from browsing the link building forums at WMW and DP.)

I think the answer is that, well, I guess my statement that "link baiting gives the highest ROI…" is misleading. It gives the highest ROI on a dollar-cost basis. But the main ingredients of link bait are time and ideas–both of which are very precious resources to webmasters & entrepreneurs.

Weighed against 2 hours spent brainstorming, 4 hours spent writing, another hour editing, etc., $299 recurring for the Yahoo! Directory link doesn’t seem so expensive anymore, does it?

In the end, I still love link baiting (obviously), but I think it’s a more appropriate tactic for some webmasters than others. If you have a surplus of time and ideas, then yes, you ought to spend a lot of them on link baiting.

And if you don’t have excess time or ideas? Time to think about hiring that fulltime link baiter (and watch the long term value of your site skyrocket).

August 06

Order Matters, Says the Sandbox (Or, Where to start in a link building campaign)

My recently published article, 101 Ways to Build links, shows that you have many, many link building tactics at your disposal. For any given website, you probably need to use at least a few dozen link building different tactics over the course of a year or more to rank for anything remotely competitive.

One thing I didn’t mention in the article, though, was that for a brand new site you need to build certain types of links first. Why? Thank TrustRank/the sandbox. To even get fully indexed (now that we have sandbox crawling), let alone ranked, you’ll need to get the domain some trust right off the bat, and this is only going to happen by building certain types of links in a certain way.

OK, so what is "certain types of links in a certain way"? Basically, we need trusted links to happen first, and then a "natural growth curve". Want specifics?

When I launch a new site, I go after two types of links right away:

  1. My short-short-very-short list of trusted paid directories (,,
  2. Link begging/buying/bartering at sites which already rank in the top 1-200 (if they’re ranking, they have some trust)

The latter is time-consuming and frustrating — but it has to be done, and sooner is better than later.  From Stuntdubl’s recent post:

Other Notes: Authority links are an absolute must for
improving your trust score these days. This is a MUST for a new site,
and should be where you start your efforts, and always be dedicating
SOME time. Suck it up, and take the time it takes to get some quality,
trusted links. The existence of trusted authority links will make or
break your site. Find the 800 lb. gorillas in your field, and **find a
way to get on a dozen or so of them. Failing that, hunt their backlinks, and find a way to get on some of those pages.  Use some creative queries with the combination tool.  Give the tattler a shot.

Anyway, once I have a few authority links (even getting 3 is quite an accomplishment), I wait a week or two, make sure the site gets indexed deeply, and then move into other types of link building tactics — article syndication, social networking gaming, quality reciprocals, etc. Even if a few (or more than a few) low quality links make it into the link profile, it’s not going to kill anything, since I gave the site a spine first.

August 06

The Death Of Reciprocal Links

Readers, I am curious to know how many of you are still actively pursuing reciprocal links and if so what is your success percentage?  Meaning how many emails do you have to send out before you successfully receive one reciprocal link?

This statistic prompted me to do this post, it is from a link building campaign I do for an e commerce site of mine:

Total sites approached this week :93
Total links established this week :  0

Total sites approached (all time) : 2600
Total links established (all time) :   133

Mind you this firm is approaching relevant sites and emailing them individually so it is pretty targeted.  The result over the 10 month campaign: 133 links secured at a rate of 5%.

Many experts don’t bother trying to secure reciprocal links at all because they don’t think they "work".  I agree they don’t work like they did three years ago but I’ll take any link I can get :)  Are you still trading links and if so are you doing better than securing a link one out of every 20 personal emails sent?