Thursday, 21 February 2008

SEO link building strategies - interesting session at Search Engine Strategies conference, London 2008

This week at Search Engine Strategies conference 2008 there have been a number of presentations on Search Engine marketing. I thought the presentation on link building strategies was interesting and a summary is below.

The differentiating factor for content is reputation of one site vs another. One of the measures of credibility / reputation that Search Engines employ is reviewing how many different sites link to a specific site. Search Engines send 'spiders' or 'robots' into the internet and they follow every link they find. If they find a lot of people linking to a site, it implies that the site has a good reputation and a Search Engine will reward this by giving a higher position in Natural Search listings.

The presenters went to significant lengths to point out that the aim is to work within Google's systems and methodology rather than against them. There are consequences for trying to 'game' Google and it is important to stay within accepted practices and ethical boundaries.

The rise of social media (specifically social networking sites) has led to more opportunities to gain links, but has also necessitated the need to have more links to cut through the increased clutter.

SEO Linking strategies

Reciprocal links - limited value, especially in Google. Best idea is to keep it to a small network of relevant sites so that it looks natural.

Blogs - seek out blogs that don't exclude with 'nofollow' (stop links from being followed by Search Engine spiders), but engage with them rather than pollute them with random comments and spam.

Forums - difficult to get meaningful links from forums as most have policies on 'nofollow' and do not allow links

Social media - del.i.cious, Digg and Stumbleupon are all good ways of getting links. YouTube and Wikipedia are 'nofollow', but are still good for generating traffic.

Link baiting - (offering incentives for links) - can be good for generating links, but difficult to control the anchor text (the words sites use to describe a link.)

Articles - PR Week have no Page Rank now, but some other news sites / topical sites will still accept articles and credit the publishers with a link.

Paid for links - still valid, but Engines can spot these programs by identifying the ISP's involved. The panel recommended trying to avoid networks.

Other recommendations to drive traffic / links were to use PR with things like Flickr / YouTube, widgets, Yahoo! Answers and email signatures.

More can be found on and a pdf guide can be downloaded from here - linking matters pdf

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