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November 05

Thoughts on Jagger: Recips Got Hammered, Trust Trumps All

*Disclaimer: the following is based on empirical observations only.

Well it appears that Jagger (1, 2, and 3) has sung its last song, and Google has settled down. Everyone and their brother (and their brother’s pet gerbil) will give you their analysis at the drop of a hat (see this – but not if you have a weak stomach). In case anyone is interested in my analysis:

1) Sites with a large base of reciprocals, by and large, got hammered. Yes, I am sure you can find an exception to this. (My guess is that a lot of the ‘exceptions’ were sites that had gained a lot of ‘trust’–e.g., older domains, and domains with other trusted links.)

2) Authority/TrustRank seems to be the trump card. Those biggie links — you know the ones, those from the PR8 authority site in your niche — are counting for more than ever. Likewise, links that should be worthless are looking more like they are worthless.

Good for you white hats — and for you gray hats that have managed to hoodwink your way into authority links ;-)

September 05

Training Link Developers

Stuntdubl has written a cracking post over at his blog. Read it! 10 Tips for Training a Link Developer

Note: We at Link Building Blog would like to state that for the record, we do not condone the use of the word “Link Developer”. We feel that its connotations are hurtful and that it’s a bit disrespectful to call someone that. So please, say “link monkey” instead.

August 05

Automated Link Exchanges Are Going Out of Style

Yes, they’re going out of style, although a lot of people are still using them, to be sure.

Matt Cutts (GoogleGuy) hates on automated link exchange emails in a post on his blog, SEO Mistakes: link exchange emails.

Hereâs a mistake that people still sometimes make: buying a random software package that they think will get them a gold mine of links, especially by bulk emailing reputable sites. At this point, most site owners are savvy enough to realize that emails with link exchange requests are rarely hand-crafted with love.

I agree with him that link exchange emails sent by software (usually to completely unrelated sites) are spammy and not very effective. Let’s be honest though: a targeted, manually placed link exchange with a relevant site is good business (independent of any search engine’s existence) AND it helps with SEO. Like any marketing method, link exchanges can be executed well, or terribly.

Free tip: Do not send emails to asking to exchange links ;-)

June 05

Don’t Hate on Reciprocal Links (No, seriously!)

The fact that link building is now the critical success factor in search engine optimization has caused most of us to hone in one aspect of link building–link popularity–and forget the other great benefits of incoming links, namely, branding and targeted direct traffic.

A reader commented on one of my earlier posts where I blasted Arelis. I should have been more clear: I think building on-topic reciprocal links is a great marketing method.

A marketing method that is not so great is building thousands of off-topic reciprocal links using automated software. This method does still give decent results in Google sometimes, although its days are probably numbered. And of course, it’s this type of spammy link building that has given reciprocal links a bad name.

That said, on-topic reciprocal links often give targeted traffic than converts well, as well as positive branding (a ‘perceived endorsement’ from the linking site). And yes, gentle reader, they do have an effect on your SEO. I think Randfish over at SEOmoz said it well:

Why is this issue still around nearly 10 years after it first became and Internet marketing tactic?
The answer is that some reciprocal links can and do help. The
reasons are very simple – search engines are seeking authoritative,
on-topic links and just because they recognize that CNN links to NASA
and NASA links to CNN doesn’t mean that the link should be devalued… but having all your links from other sites’ off-topic, reciprocal link collections pages may not help nearly as much.

How do the whitehats put it? Do what’s best for the user, and let the search engines figure it out. Apply that maxim to reciprocal linking and it’s not nearly so confusing.