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Link Building: A Business Mindset


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#1 iamlost

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Posted 22 November 2015 - 02:11 PM

I detest the overwhelming emphasis that is search.

So please do not take the following as applying only to SEs or SEO; link building is NOT, has NEVER been that limited, only SEOs and many/most webdevs wear such self inflicted artificial blinders.

 

The following is a cross post from a thread, The Foundation of a Link Building Project: Things a Business Must Know Before Starting, at WebmasterWorld. I liked my post so much I am 'content marketing' it: :infinite-banana: :infinite-banana: :infinite-banana: :banana_wgun:

 

 

 

I agree with just about everyone above, at least somewhat. :)
Disclaimer: yes, I have bought links, but not for years; yes, I have asked for links, but not for years; in both instances they were specific links for specific purposes.

You should have:
1. a really really good website.
Such that when compared with it's main competitors it pops. If it looks like everyone else's simply having better copy, even images/vids won't be enough for most visitors: it looks the same, it is the same. And also have the better/best copy/images/vids et al.
Note: why does Apple strive for the best packaging in the computer (just about any) industry, mmm?

2. link quality (authority, relevance, trust (ART))
As we have no knowledge how a SE applies or flows link values we can only use our personal judgement, asking:
1. do I believe the page/site has ART in my (or associated) niche?
2. do I believe that a link from there has the potential to inform their visitors that I too have ART?
3. do I believe that traffic through a link there is pre-qualifying the traffic it refers?
4. do I believe that a link there will refer n-traffic?
Note: how many of you consider back links as affiliate links?

I definitely prefer links that send traffic.
Note: as Google search traffic is just about the worst converting traffic on the web it is just not the diversification principle that drives my efforts for other referrers. However, as Shepard mentioned, if you build for traffic you get Google (and other SEs) at no additional effort/cost.

As robzilla mentions, albeit primarily as SE/Google bait, there are worthy links that don't necessarily send traffic. Many serious niche academics and thought leaders' sites send no to little traffic for the simple reason that their writings, while foundational, are not easy and so not popular.

However, I love to get their links for testimonial reasons and highlight them as such. And of course, I link back to specific works as appropriate citations/quotes. And where feasible I publish interviews, which offer all sorts of crosslinking possibilities.
Note: how many of you consider back links as testimonials?

3. Marketing includes link building includes site architecture
I agree wholeheartedly with buckworks:

I consider just about all my promotions to be part of my link building strategy, because people can only link to your site if they know it exists.

While few would consider site architecture, navigation, and URL design in the same breath as marketing buckworks' canonical observation is spot on:

People making links often just grab whatever is showing in the address bar, so make that as consistent as you possibly can so fewer variant URLs get into circulation.

    Also give thought to future-proofing. Try to structure your URLs so they won't ever need to change. If you ever do need to change URLs, be sure to set up appropriate redirects, don't just leave the old URLs to break.

Note: rel=canonical is a bandaid not a best practice.

When looking at a link 'out there' also look at the page (and where on the page) it lands the visitor. Then considering the page topic from whence came and the page now on are subsequent (on page) links in a logical sequence? Are the potential in-site click tracks appropriate?
It's not just the link you acquire but the extant links once the visitor is acquired, not just the landing page content but that of the referring page and subsequent site pages. Is there a smooth flow or is the visitor buffeted/distracted?

And always always keep in mind your business purpose and the needs of the visitor. You went to the trouble of getting the link for resulting traffic (be it direct or SE) so don't drop the ball and the visitor once you've got them.

4. Marketing includes link building includes social interaction
Most businesses believe that to use social media they must have a formal presence, i.e. a FB business page, and then, given the dialled down (from ~18% to ~1%) natural sharing, buy ads. Which is good for FB.

I prefer to identify unexpected (as in non-obvious non-mercenary) SM influencers and then encourage them to share what they find worthwhile. Word of mouth, except for the rare viral tsunami, a modest slow growth endeavour but the traffic is eminently pre-qualified and motivated. It is social so keep it low key, keep it personal but by all means do try leverage wherever it seems appropriate. Likes are crap, shares are good, links are better, shares with links are best. Rinse and repeat for targeted platforms.
Note: I find that my app uptake by SM referred repeat visitors is many times that of normal repeat visitors.


Finally as Shepard says:

I've really started to think of link building as a "business development" area, even bordering on "outside sales".

Link building is customer acquisition is marketing is business development is serious stuff whether done indirectly via 'natural' unsolicited links or directly via solicitation. At least it is if you are in for the long haul.

 



#2 EGOL

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Posted 22 November 2015 - 04:13 PM

Nice.  Thanks for sharing that.... the first time I've seen your name on a post beyond this website.... but I don't often read WMW.

 

I often wonder how much time people spent hunting links, reading about links, cussing about links, writing about links, buying links, developing metrics about links, tabulating links, avowing links, worrying about links, disavowing links, negotiating for links, kibitzing for links, staying up at night about links, kissing bums for links.  If you go to a search engine meeting you can probably see at least 51% of the people there with bloodshot eyes, brown lips and no hair because of links.

 

If they spent that same energy on building better websites I think that they would be further ahead....   but some people are better suited for the rat race.  :-)



#3 iamlost

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Posted 22 November 2015 - 08:35 PM

Rand Fishkin gave a Whiteboard talk, 20 Attributes that Influence a Link's Value, Moz Blog, 20-November-2015.
His list: Anchor text, PageRank, Relevance, Domain authority, Location on page, Internal versus external, Quality of the page's other links, Editorial integrity, User engagement, Follow versus no-follow, Source depth, Text versus image, Link age and page age, Topical authority of a source, JavaScript vs HTML, Spam signals, Speed of link acquisition, Author authority, First link to target in HTML, Prior links from this domain.

Note: for historical reference purposes see 17 Ways Search Engines Judge the Value of a Link, (SEO)Moz Blog, 10-September-2009.

Take a look at that list and tell me just how you can discern that any particular SE uses a particular attribute at all and then to what degree? His answer: eyeball, MozRank, eyeball, MozDomainAuthority, eyeball, obvious, eyeball... Sorry, Moz's (anyone's) tools say absolute nothing about Google's or any other SE's and, no, correlation is not a valid answer, it is simply pseudoscience for WAG. Eyeball? OMG.

How about some general attributes that are broader but actually accessible for benchmarking and testing? All from your own and referring sites, which are the only 'real' data sources available to most webdevs.
Note: I do not consider SE webmaster centre/tool/etc data sufficient for purpose plus of course it requires 'sharing' with the SEs.
1. Traffic
The one known value a page has is the traffic that various referrers send.
* if you don't log and track referral links and their traffic how can you begin to use traffic as a link valuation input?

2. Visibility
(Link) Visibility is simple and difficult. :)
* search visibility is roughly an average of the query rankings that list the page, which since the removal of the q-string and personalisation is not as easily calculated. One possibility is to extrapolate from non-search.
* non-search visibility is the average of, for instance (there are a number of possibilities depending on requirements), the frequency each referrer link directly sends traffic or the number of page views for traffic from each referrer link.

3. Entity Association from linking page
* title, description, headings, surrounding text, anchor text.
* if you don't know the basics (see previous) of a referring page how can you begin to know what connections between theirs and yours got a visitor to click the link joining them?
---without an idea of the various connections how can you extrapolate to SE query traffic?

4. Authority/Relevance/Trust (ART)
* a SE may work from manually selected seeds (in which case distance and multiplicity is critical) and/or it may be algo driven (in which case ART is critical).
* regardless back links from in-niche/vertical sites especially accredited individuals/organisations are critical.
* probably currency of information and an appropriate professional level of writing and imagery are also important.
---certainly as an assist to acquiring closer to seed back links.
* what and where is your (and page/site) proof of ART?

5. PageRank or equivalent
Each SE has some secret sauce of link values that are, in aggregate, critical. And we really have no clue as to the ingredients. However, one can determine:
* if a referring link's page is indexed by a particular SE.
* which of a referring page's unique (and by extrapolation non-unique) entities, expressions (especially but not limited to anchor text) are passed aka associated with your's.
* what is the referring page crawl frequency/rate (log cache dates, if cached version available).
---crawling is a possible sign of SE value, i.e. the more frequent the more valuable.
------have you tested influencing crawl behaviour by adding and dropping internal links to a page?
---------if you haven't how can you extrapolate to external links?

Yes, acquiring, storing, and then analysing the above takes skill and resources many webdevs either don't have or can't be bothered or because there is this 'tool' that tells the future; however, it does provide a scale of real and relative values not subject to the whims of third parties that can put a replicable value on one's back links.
Note: I make no claim that doing so will be of any comparison use to how a particular SE views any or all links. Unlike others with tools and services to sell.
I do say, based on my experience, that I can identify categories of back links and what attracted them, which is certainly of value in acquiring more. :)

As with publishing content for people one gets SE attention for free (the reverse not as true), if one identifies broad replicable link values and what generates them one also (probably) gets SE value for free (again the reverse not as true).



#4 EGOL

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Posted 22 November 2015 - 10:40 PM

Any reasonably intelligent person can look at link metrics and realize that they are not close to what determine rankings.  Install the mozbar and visit your favorite search results pages and note how the metrics do not line up in the same order that Google ranks websites.  They are not even close.  I outrank websites that have metrics that are 10x better than mine.  How is a person going to eyeball a few numbers and factor in a score of link assessment factors? 

 

One of the most commonly asked questions, also stated as a frustrated exclamation, is "how are these websites with crap metrics beating me?".  Instead of questioning the validity of the metrics they quickly conclude and become angry because they are being screwed by search engines. 

 

I am OK with the emphasis that people place on linkchasin' and linkcountin'.  They are a decoy that diverts my competitors away from more important work.


Edited by EGOL, 23 November 2015 - 09:16 AM.


#5 iamlost

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Posted 22 November 2015 - 11:31 PM

I am OK with the emphasis that people place on linkchasin' and linkcountin'.  They are a decoy that diverts my competitors away from more important work.

 

Me too.

But.

Cre8 is supposed to be that calm voice of sense and reason amongst all the insanity.

 

Of course, being inane, 'they' won't listen or if they listen they won't agree and return to illustrating that definition by doing the same thing and expecting different results...



#6 EGOL

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Posted 23 November 2015 - 09:17 AM

Cre8 is supposed to be that calm voice of sense and reason amongst all the insanity.

 

Is that what we are?   Am I still allowed to rant?    they turned off the bad words but I still sneak 'em in



#7 cre8pc

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Posted 24 November 2015 - 11:39 AM

Cre8 is supposed to be that calm voice of sense and reason amongst all the insanity.

 

 

I refer to you all as "The Professors"  :saywhat:



#8 earlpearl

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Posted 24 November 2015 - 01:28 PM

I went back through the discussion.  In the earlier part of the discussion there were two perspectives:  Links that assist a site in obtaining higher search engine results, and links that deliver traffic and high relevancy as the primary goal.

 

I'm just going to speak to our local businesses/services websites.  They are local.  They don't generate customers from around the world and they ultimately (for the most part) don't do direct ebusiness.   They entirely depend on local customers, local being regional in all cases, comprising the populations of several different metropolitan regions.  The services are as different as night and day and work to entirely different demographics.    The only thing about them that is similar is that they are small niches.  Very small, but large enough to support businesses with small staffs and are generally profitable (if we run them well).   We've been working at this for decades.

 

The small businesses themselves cannot survive on the traffic of other sites.  Also when it comes to finding local services try a google trends search:   Use a term for a service, a product, or a professional and then add a geo modifier for large cities.

 

The differences in volume for the search terms are simply enormous between the generic terms and the terms with local descriptors.   Local traffic is a tiny function of overall keywords (without geo modifiers).   Essentially traffic that is significantly local are where sales occur.  I say that having had certain phrases and pages stand out at the top of various types of search that had world wide visibility(at least in the serps).   Our businesses are primarily based in the Eastern part of the US.  When possibly interested customers approach us from Milwaukee, Denver, Butte, and Vancouver we can't and don't service them.

 

On a local basis there are no series of websites that have been capable of delivering enough traffic and customers that have ever gotten even remotely close to search.  AND WE HAVE WORKED THEM.  That is over decades.  We've identified the likely players....but none can deliver traffic similar to what search does.

 

Even when some do, we have found that their own popularity and visibility waxes and wanes over time....so while depending on other sites is of course powerful...the other sites need to remain strong to be an effective and continuous source of leads.  With sites gaining and losing popularity one always needs to be on the lookout for new sites.

 

We do have one exception to the above rule.  One niche has one relationship that from a web perspective could be called an affiliate type relationship.   That is very significant and worthwhile, but is merely a significant minority source of leads and not enough to sustain the business in its own right.  Other similar relationships in that niche are tiny compared to the main one.

 

So these local smb's rely on links to obtain higher serps rankings.  If they show high in google and bing and any other SE's we win.  If they don't we lose.

 

So these local websites are firmly in the categories wherein we rely on links to push us up in serps.  Additionally we look to diversify content for serps so we cover more long tail phrases.

 

There are other important elements.  But by far our smb's and a significant category of like minded sites depend on links for higher presence in the serps.  

 

Having said that, I'd acknowledge a site needs to be "best" to attract links.  A lot of different elements can work.  In some cases we have found that FB friend volume is enough to attract links.  

 

As to conversions;   For our experiences in that we depend on search we do find certain search positions, phrases and sources to be more valuable than others.   We find certain search phrases that are generally longer tail and more specific in coherence with some of the essences of our sites and the businesses....that they convert higher.  At least from a geographical perspective there is a clear logic to it.  

 

Finally with regard to these sites, we have tried to give each "site" a voice on a web topic.  Its never been the voice associated with the service.  We frankly look for web communities wherein we can attract links that our competitors won't see. 

 

We have gotten them.  They give the sites a good bit of bounce, though not as much bounce if the links came from completely relevant topical sources.   But its difficult for us to obtain them.  We are small local businesses.  When it comes to tight relevancy there is often a competitive nature to the potential links.  Difficult for us to obtain them....not always impossible but often difficult.



#9 iamlost

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Posted 24 November 2015 - 03:15 PM

Have I mentioned how glad I am NOT to be in Local?

If your local businesses generate return visitors I would invest in an app for each niche not each business, i.e. one that encompasses all restaurants not each individually. That way you can update customers and offer specials directly bypassing ppc and search for, hopefully, an increasing number of customers.

As discussed elsewhere context is the next already here delivery driver. And apps are wonderfully adaptable plus bypass third parties.

Once you have app install on thumb drives and leave out for customers to help themselves much as mints at restaurant tills.

Edited by iamlost, 24 November 2015 - 03:17 PM.


#10 earlpearl

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Posted 24 November 2015 - 04:50 PM

Have I mentioned how glad I am NOT to be in Local?

 

No.  This must be the first time you have referenced that.  ;)

 


If your local businesses generate return visitors I would invest in an app for each niche not each business, i.e. one that encompasses all restaurants not each individually. That way you can update customers and offer specials directly bypassing ppc and search for, hopefully, an increasing number of customers.

As discussed elsewhere context is the next already here delivery driver. And apps are wonderfully adaptable plus bypass third parties.

Once you have app install on thumb drives and leave out for customers to help themselves much as mints at restaurant tills.

 

Good ideas.  Not really applicable to the types of businesses we have.    BTW:   What would thumb drives cost on a wholesale or large volume buy?  Anyone know?   I can look it up and I can get a feel for what a large purchase would entail (what is large for one is tiny for someone else).

 

We haven't looked at apps for our higher volume businesses.  We should and will.  Interestingly we use snail mail, email, text, call, and fb message possible customers.  We get a lot of just lookers.  When they tell us they are lookers and not buyers all their contacts become inactive, but sometimes they reappear months or even years later.   

 

On the other hand the reason we use a great variety of methods is that people respond to some forms of contact and not others.  Its the market.  Thousands of potential customers create demand but they are each individuals and they respond differently and uniquely.  

 

Local...its not the world wide web.



#11 Ken Fisher

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Posted 24 November 2015 - 05:32 PM

Earl:

 

I'm gonna have to focus on a lot of the stuff you've mentioned concerning local. We touched a few things in the past, and now I'm ready to step into it.

 

One quick question. I know things have changed A LOT since I last had a B&M...2007. And I didn't really focus on it back then either as I had a healthy run with web sales.   :lol: I didn't want walk in customers really :lol: but as lucrative as this local market is with high end homes (Naples FL) I may as well go after them.

 

In the past I actually hid my contact information fearing web customers would think.."Florida! Danged I'm in California, he doesn't ship here." It was probably just me thinking it would turn off some web sales, I don't know.

 

I did have a contact page naturally, but this go round I've included the address in the footer of every page and a logical hint at where I am that includes two cities that surround me. It's not spammy, it's a business name/landmark.

 

uptownfloors.com

 

Q- How's does that relate to Google local search? Or more about local businesses showing up for random search queries as they didn't do in the past? 

 

Looking forward to hearing from you!



#12 earlpearl

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Posted 24 November 2015 - 05:55 PM

Earl:

 

I'm gonna have to focus on a lot of the stuff you've mentioned concerning local. We touched a few things in the past, and now I'm ready to step into it.

 

One quick question. I know things have changed A LOT since I last had a B&M...2007. And I didn't really focus on it back then either as I had a healthy run with web sales.   :lol: I didn't want walk in customers really :lol: but as lucrative as this local market is with high end homes (Naples FL) I may as well go after them.

 

In the past I actually hid my contact information fearing web customers would think.."Florida! Danged I'm in California, he doesn't ship here." It was probably just me thinking it would turn off some web sales, I don't know.

 

I did have a contact page naturally, but this go round I've included the address in the footer of every page and a logical hint at where I am that includes two cities that surround me. It's not spammy, it's a business name/landmark.

 

uptownfloors.com

 

Q- How's does that relate to Google local search? Or more about local businesses showing up for random search queries as they didn't do in the past? 

 

Looking forward to hearing from you!

 

Ken:  We should probably move this to a different thread...but regardless:

 

First thing I did was look up Hardwood floors Bonita Springs Fl.   Your business isn't in the "3 Pac" and I went to the more link to see all the hardwood flooring sellers in the area (per google) Got these google results.  https://www.google.c...&rlha=0&tbm=lcl

 

You aren't on that list.

 

So:  First thing is go to google my business. (gmb)

 

I inputted your name into the gmb map and your business showed up.  Nice.  But its not in the harder better data yet.

 

Enter your business info into GMB.  You can adjust it later.  Big thing to get correct and to add variations on are "categories".  Find the correct category and add others if appropriate.

 

Now from here there are more steps.   I'll have to dm you or contact you direct.

 

There are a variety of ways to push you up in the "Pack".   We'll work on that.  There is a Do It Yourself process.   You can also pay people to help you.  I'll give you the DIY way to go.  

 

You can also add content and pages that reference hardwood flooring and the region.  I'll touch on that too.

 

Good luck.

 

Also bring "LOST" into the conversation.  In between helpful and smart ideas....he'll remind you how happy he is to not be in Local.  ;)


Edited by earlpearl, 24 November 2015 - 05:57 PM.


#13 Ken Fisher

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Posted 24 November 2015 - 06:46 PM

You aren't on that list.

 

 

Doesn't surprise me. I've looked at it. But my thought is many skim over the local pac..and the site has only been live for seven days. It's a 301 (everything working smoothly) from another domain that has good domain strength for a local business. Yea, sure I''d like to get into the pac.

 

Enter your business info into GMB

 

 

Geez, they have this and that. What's GMB stand for? Oh wait, I did that ...yesterday. It was actually an update from two months ago that was an update from 2008. New business name and such. Photos and all that stuff which seemed to go to a Google + page. The category I'm in I believe is "flooring store" but I'm not your basic flooring store. There were no real options that really classify what I offer.

 

You can also add content and pages that reference hardwood flooring and the region

 

 

I have a ton of content as the redirected site has been around since 2002. Nobody within 500 miles can touch it. Not to sound brash, but it's true. It's a content heavy site, not your ordinary mom and pop site. Content pages that are strong in The Gorg without the local presence. I guess what I'm trying to ask is...how about those long tail terms pages that sit on page two or three of regular Gorg search. Will they pop to the first page if I have all my ducks lined up...for local queries?

 

When you say region. Perhaps you can clarify. There are references to Florida and Naples on some content pages. I just the footer address/description would be beneficial. Guess I need to look at that.

 

Lost? Yes, ideas for sure!



#14 earlpearl

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Posted 07 June 2017 - 01:41 PM

I've been reviewing some of our local websites and took a look at something I hadn't focused on.  Then I searched a bit and didn't find reference to it discussed elsewhere....(but Iamlost might know where its been referenced reviewed discussed and parsed by various folks).

 

Web sites lose a lot of links over time.  Additionally the sites and pages that might have linked to your site in the past have relatively no value today, or sites with links that once delivered lots of traffic no longer deliver traffic of any measurable amount.  One of our local smb sites had a terrific highly visible link on a locally oriented site that probably averaged 5-10 times as much monthly traffic to what we received; possibly more.  We received an ample amount of traffic from that site every month.  Some turned into sales.  We were acutely aware of that.  The site had complementary demographics and interests.  Not perfectly on target with one another but related enough to generate solid traffic and sales.

 

And that site ranks well no more.  Its traffic must be a dribble.  Our traffic from that site is a minute fraction of a dribble.  C'est la vie.

 

Alternatively sites and pages that link to your site may increase in value and in delivering traffic.  Its life.  Things change.

 

Besides the stupid weird links that sites accumulate we have maintained a fairly good data base of links we knew about.  Oh my.  So many of those links no longer in existence as the sites are gone.  What a shame.

 

More impetus to get out there and get new links.



#15 earlpearl

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 01:24 PM

I've been reviewing some of our local websites and took a look at something I hadn't focused on.  Then I searched a bit and didn't find reference to it discussed elsewhere....(but Iamlost might know where its been referenced reviewed discussed and parsed by various folks).

 

Web sites lose a lot of links over time.  Additionally the sites and pages that might have linked to your site in the past have relatively no value today, or sites with links that once delivered lots of traffic no longer deliver traffic of any measurable amount.  One of our local smb sites had a terrific highly visible link on a locally oriented site that probably averaged 5-10 times as much monthly traffic to what we received; possibly more.  We received an ample amount of traffic from that site every month.  Some turned into sales.  We were acutely aware of that.  The site had complementary demographics and interests.  Not perfectly on target with one another but related enough to generate solid traffic and sales.

 

And that site ranks well no more.  Its traffic must be a dribble.  Our traffic from that site is a minute fraction of a dribble.  C'est la vie.

 

Alternatively sites and pages that link to your site may increase in value and in delivering traffic.  Its life.  Things change.

 

Besides the stupid weird links that sites accumulate we have maintained a fairly good data base of links we knew about.  Oh my.  So many of those links no longer in existence as the sites are gone.  What a shame.

 

More impetus to get out there and get new links.

 

 

More on the above:

 

Our oldest sites started to get deliberate links over a decade ago.  As I reviewed the list we obtained a fair amount of links the old fashioned way...via relationships we developed and worked on because they made sense.  Some were with vendors, people, web masters we knew before but most were via research, contact, more contact, developing the relationships and then gaining links.  In most (virtually all) cases they made sense even if some algorithm didn't see it that way.  In other cases hopefully they made sense and an algorithm agreed.  (what do algorithm's know!!!!!!)

 

As we accrued links we started getting more into interior pages.   A healthy amount.  It paid off.

 

The alarming element of this is simply that  a lot of productive link building, done the old fashioned way, also done to spread the links throughout the websites have vanished.  A lot of lost anchor text.  A lot of lost interior page links.   Oi...it gives me a headache.

 

Ah well.  Gotta get new ones.  Such is life.  Things change.  Meanwhile this view into the past is rather revealing.



#16 iamlost

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Posted 09 June 2017 - 09:48 AM

Our oldest sites started to get deliberate links over a decade ago.  As I reviewed the list we obtained a fair amount of links the old fashioned way...via relationships we developed and worked on because they made sense.  Some were with vendors, people, web masters we knew before but most were via research, contact, more contact, developing the relationships and then gaining links.  In most (virtually all) cases they made sense even if some algorithm didn't see it that way.  In other cases hopefully they made sense and an algorithm agreed.  (what do algorithm's know!!!!!!)

As we accrued links we started getting more into interior pages.   A healthy amount.  It paid off.

The alarming element of this is simply that  a lot of productive link building, done the old fashioned way, also done to spread the links throughout the websites have vanished.  A lot of lost anchor text.  A lot of lost interior page links.   Oi...it gives me a headache.

Ah well.  Gotta get new ones.  Such is life.  Things change.  Meanwhile this view into the past is rather revealing.


The title of this thread is Link Building: A Business Mindset.

I'll follow that up with a corollary: Link maintenance is serious business.

I've spoken and written about this for well over a decade. The response has mostly been an occasional fading echo from a dark abyss... However, once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more...

There are three basic categories of links:
* those within a site;
* those pointing to a site aka back links;
* those pointing away from a site aka external links.
If one can not identify and remedy internal link rot one has already lost, the following of little consequence, else read on.

I view those referring visitors to my sites as affiliates: a mindset not a paid relationship.
* what are they saying about my niche and about my sites that brings their visitors to me?
* is the link pointing to the best resource page or page location?
* what is their visitor market segment breakout?
* what is their perceived personal/niche qualifications, authority, trust et al.
* how are their referrals converting?
* etc.
Most webdevs parse Google and Google traffic - I parse just about everyone but Google as it comes along free regardless.

And so on noticing a real live human visitor arriving via a new to me referring link I auto-magically send my own trusty little bot to the URL to collect the domain name, title, meta description, all headers, anchor text, surrounding text, plus do a whois lookup for domain registrant info and input all into a DB. Depending on traffic level I do a regular checkback, at least annually, to confirm (1) that URL still exists, (2) link out still exists, and (3) any page data changes.

I view my out (external) links as my recommendations. I am saying 'if you like my stuff you'll enjoy this as well'. My reputation is riding on each and every one. So link rot is a serious matter. If gone the link must be removed asap and a replacement discovered if appropriate (and surrounding, anchor text adjusted as necessary). If resource has changed (1) for the worse, the link must also be immediately stayed and re-pointed or replaced , (2) for the same or better the anchor and surrounding text may need adjustment.

The easy if irritating side is removal/replacement. However, adjustment may be almost as important so that leaving my site and arriving on the other is a smooth transition. A bumpy landing isn't professional. I want return visitors. And that means being the best in niche from arrival to after leaving.

As with in (back) links I gather similar data on the site/page linked to and check even more frequently.
Note: without that site/page information how would I know about change? Given the shear number of links they must be tested automatically, not enough time for manual check of any not flagged; barely enough for those.

So much for the mindset and the mechanics.

What very few ever realise, what earlpearl mentions, is the fragility of a site's link graph. Every month ~2-million dotcom domains are dropped.  Yes, usually even more are typically registered but except for site redesigns requiring domain change the associated links just evaporated. Which is one reason I do a registrar lookup - one year registrations are exceedingly fragile... and yes, there actually is an applicable probability distribution equation...
Note: some cctlds have an annual drop rate of over two-thirds... do you know which is what? Do you think that SE's might consider such worth considering in link weighting?

Link acquisition, be it by begging, buying, or building, is a matter of ongoing maintenance.
Link travel destination quality is also a matter of ongoing maintenance.
Link maintenance is serious business.

 

 

So tempted to correlate with roadway/bridge infrastructure maintenence failure... but that would be cheezy so I won't. :infinite-banana: :infinite-banana: :infinite-banana:



#17 earlpearl

earlpearl

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Posted 09 June 2017 - 11:40 AM

Thank you Iamlost:  What you have been doing regularly I have not been doing, or have done it so sporadically and non systemically that it doesn't really count.  I enjoyed the piece above.  Once I started reviewing lost links I realized just how significant it is.  Then I researched on the topic and found virtually nothing other than the phrase "link rot".  I was hoping you would chime in.  I went through some of the topic titles in Cre8 and chose to post here.  The topic needs to be independent.  Your comments above reveal that.

 

One anecdotal experience on one site that shut down this past January.  One of our smb's and that site owner linked to one another about a decade or so ago.  The sites were complementary in nature; his site being of broader topic and getting far more traffic than our niche smb local site.  His site was similarly regional in nature.  We developed a good relationship sharing some info and encouraging one another.  But we lost touch.

 

His site peaked some years ago.  Guess what --Google changed.  Oh that isn't all.  Competitive sites arose and in his case his site and topic became the small guy competing against the multi million dollar monsters.   He lost tons of visibility.  Tons of ranking visibility and lost tons of traffic.  It actually collapsed with algo changes and competition and then collapsed some more over time.  

 

I went back through some of our data and matched it against his recollections.  It appeared that even with a very visible display type of link reference to our site we received about 1/10 of one percent of his traffic.  Some may call that  PFFT.  I still call it complementary.  On our end we linked to his site but with regard to our services we referenced his site to our customers and explained how it could help them relative to our services.  Having discovered that site and its content in one region we always looked for a similar site in any other region wherein we had the same type of smb.

 

That 1/10 of 1% still gave us sales. I'm grateful. Plus it didn't cost us anything.

 

All that being said, as you referenced above Iamlost: 

 

Every month ~2-million dotcom domains are dropped

 

I didn't know that.  Nor do I know which cctld's have a drop rate of over 2/3.  Pray tell, which ones?  

 

Now we do update our internal links...and sadly I have not till just recently generally update our outbound links.  Just went through that.  Certainly it took a little time and research as I, as you suggested above, want to provide our readers with appropriate treatment.

 

Such a worthwhile topic.  It merits consideration and discussion.  Possibly, Iamlost, you could reference past discussions on the topic???  





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