Link Building is Hard

Posted by Pete Caputa on Sep 30, 2008 9:24:00 AM

Link building is hard. I think it is the hardest part of a successful internet marketing strategy.

I wrote a few new articles on link building on the HubSpot blog. The first one talks about how to construct a good inbound link and why link building is so important. The second one talks about what methods to use to build inbound links to your site. Both articles link to a lot of other authoritative articles about blogging written by other bloggers. The first article has a lot of great comments from HubSpot blog readers who shared some link building success stories and ideas.  With these two new articles, there's now a good amount of link building articles on the HubSpot blog, giving a good overview of link building best practices.

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Topics: link building, HubSpot

Why Leaving Comments is a Good Online Networking Activity

Posted by Pete Caputa on Jul 27, 2008 9:40:00 PM

The other day, I posted a guest article to my blog about why small businesses need to take control over their online presence, because if they don't someone else will. It was written by Malcolm Shepperd from Gill Media, a smart guy who knows his stuff.

Shortly after the article was published, I received three comments from the same person. The first one said, "Does any mailer out there track the opens when they deploy". Not only does the sentence lack punctuation, it is irrelevant to the article. I clicked the person's name to go check out their website and I saw a press announcement about how they just launched an email marketing tool. If that wasn't enough, she posted the question twice and then left a third comment that said "Great Post. Very Informative" with a link to her website in the text of comment.

Malcolm's whole post was about protecting your online reputation from other people who might try to sully your company's reputation online. I didn't think I'd have to advise people to avoid being idiots in order to protect their own brand online.

So, I called and her and told her that link building by leaving comments is not that effective and that I'd send her an email with a link to article about why leaving comments does not usually support search engine optimization if a site uses no-follow. I asked her to stop doing it on my website. She said, "no problem". I told her I'd be happy to talk to her if she wanted to talk about proper ways to build links for her company and her clients. Yes, her company provides internet marketing services, believe it or not.

I also told her that leaving comments is a good idea. But, they shouldn't be covert attempts at promoting her own business; that they should add to the conversation with an insightful question or comment that is relevant to the article; and that she shouldn't include URLs in the body of the text. Here's good advice:

Why not worry about No Follows? Because ALL humans ignore No Follow. If you participate in a blog comment discussion and link to your site, chances are readers of that blog will follow the link ... building to your site's traffic. The more popular the blog, the more traffic you can build.

But do not place a signature link in the comment body itself except for critical circumstances. Linking to your own site in the comment body is not only spammy in nature, but can also get your name, site, email and IP flagged by 'social' blog spam software like SpamKarma, and get your comments automatically deleted from dozens of blogs which use the application.

Using blatant Anchor Text instead of a handle or name in the Name field of blog comments can have the same result, so don't do it!

The conversation reminded me of all of the comments we had on the HubSpot blog about link building, leaving comments and SEO. We got a pretty good chuckle out of that comment thread, where many of our commenters refused to believe that leaving comments on blogs that employ no follow didn't help their search rankings.

There was one very valid point that several commenters made, though, and it's best summed up by an article on Search Engine Journal:

I've always been an advocate for active blog commenting playing an important role in the online marketing mix for a massive amount of reasons, even beyond SEO.

By taking the time to comment on blogs, even one or two comments per day can lead to extremely positive results such as reputation building, expert positioning...

While SEO Consultants will debate whether No Follow links from blog comments help out with SEO or not, marketers should leave comments on other blogs as a way to generate direct traffic and to network and meet people with common interests.

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Topics: link building, social media marketing

SEO Responsible for Finding Missing PostPartum Mother

Posted by Pete Caputa on Jun 15, 2008 9:19:00 AM

In October, I blogged about a woman suffering from Post-Partum depression, who was missing. A fellow father and buddy of mine, Eric Sagalyn, blogged about her missing too.

I was looking at my inbound links today and saw that Eric had linked to me. In his comments, he linked to an article about how the mother was found in November:

A huge reward and massive search failed to find 35-year-old Katie Corcoran of Lincoln, R.I., but when a Baltimore shopkeeper did a simple Internet search all was revealed.

"Recently, [the shopkeeper] noticed a woman who appeared out of character," said deputy chief Brian Sullivan, of the Lincoln Police Department. After she approached her, the shopkeeper was only able to get her first name.

"The shop owner then got online and Googled missing Katies," Sullivan said.

She stumbled upon a Web site created by Katie's husband, Rob Corcoran, who flew to Baltimore to pick up his wife after she was found. He had posted her picture online along with a letter calling her a dedicated mother. He pleaded for her return.

The article makes a few poor conclusions. The journalist obviously doesn't know about the importance of On Page SEO and Off Page SEO. A big reason that Katie was found was because the Title tag of the home page on the site her hubsband built said, "Missing - Katie Corcoran" (on page SEO) and because people like me and Eric linked to the site (off page SEO). If those two things didn't happen, the shopkeeper, when he did a search for "missing Katie's" would not have been directed to the site her hubsand constructed to help find her. Her website would not be #1 in google for a search for "missing Katie's". The guy might have tried something else, like report it to the police, and she might have been found that way too. Of course, the reason she was found is because the shopkeeper cared. But, SEO and the fact that the family did a great job of getting the word out about her missing - played an important role.

Of course, this isn't that important in the scheme of things. Of paramount importance is that she was found and has returned to her family and to get help. I'm hopeful she's doing well, now that it's 6 months later.

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Topics: off page seo, on page seo, SEO, link building

Content & Links, Content & Links, Content Links

Posted by Pete Caputa on Apr 24, 2008 2:03:00 PM

Content & links are critical to internet marketing success.

Just so you guys know I'm not making this up, here's some very smart and successful people saying the same thing. 

This is the most important stuff if you want to increase your organic search rankings.  And if you're doing it right, compelling content creates links. 

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Topics: SEO, search engine optimization, link building, content creation

Internet Marketing Rap Songs. Somebody Sign This Guy...

Posted by Pete Caputa on Feb 11, 2008 12:55:00 PM

Paid Search:

 

Link Building:

 

 

Social Media Addiction: 

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Topics: social media, paid search, link building

Sites to Get Free Links: Aboutus.org

Posted by Pete Caputa on Jan 22, 2008 11:05:00 AM

This is part of a series of posts about how to get free links pointing to your website in order to raise your search engine rankings and generate direct traffic from other websites.

Site: Aboutus.org is a wiki, a website that anyone can edit, similar to wikipedia. Except, Aboutus.org's goal is to create a wiki about people, websites and topics. Whereas Wikipedia is a wiki about topics and things. If you try to build a page on wikipedia about you or your business it'll probably be deleted, unless you are Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet, GE or Microsoft. Aboutus.org encourages you to do it.

Quick Instructions: Your first step is to create a page for yourself. They want you to use your real name. You should. Here's my page. Notice that I created two links under "My websites" for PC4Media and Hive411: Online Business Growth Network and Online Networking and Link Building for Local Businesses with good anchor text. You'll need to learn how to create a link in a wiki, which is different than writing html, but very easy. Your next step is to create a domain page for your website. Follow the directions about "Domain pages". Here's mine. Assuming your website is designed well, it automatically grabs a title, description and logo when it creates your domain page. Don't forget to go and add additional links that point to important parts of your website with the right anchor text.  I created a link called "link building" which points to my blog tag page on "link building". I'll be adding more as I blog more about keyword research, content management, lead generation and lead tracking, etc.

You can also add your business to topic pages. I added HubSpot and PC4Media to the internet marketing page. Also, if you have the cash, consider sponsoring a portal.

Those instructions didn't turn out to be so quick. However, your time spent on Aboutus.org building links will be well worth it. Here's why...

Benefits of Getting a Link from It:
  1. Search Engine Optimization. Hell yeah. Here's Aboutus.org's website grader report. Aboutus.org has a page rank of 5/10. Google thinks aboutus.org is important: They've indexed 650k+ pages of the site. Further, you can create any link on your page - within reason and with good faith - with good anchor text. Link building sites don't get any better than Aboutus.org. And the nicest thing about Aboutus.org, if the community continues to keep out the riff-raff, it's creating a really worthwhile service for all of us.
  2. Secondary Search Result. Again, I'm going to go with "Hell Yeah". If you are going to have another website come up in the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) for a search for your name, wouldn't you want it to be one that you can edit? That's what Auboutus.org does. We'll give it a day or two, but I'm hoping that Aboutus.org edges out the guy that owns pc4media.com in a search for pc4media. This guy is definitely capitalizing on the pseudo-popularity of my blog. He hasn't built a website for someone in at least 2 years.
  3. Direct Traffic. Yes again. Although probably without the "hell" prefix. According to the website grader report, Alexa puts Aboutus.org in the top 1% of traffic garnering websites out there. But, my guess is that most of the traffic comes from search engines and leaves fairly promptly. But, I bet there are also some power users on there. Probably SEO professionals. Regardless, I'd expect some traffic from it as if it were a rest stop or reference check between you and the search engines.
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Topics: SEO, search engine optimization, link building

Sites to Get Free Links: Hive411

Posted by Pete Caputa on Jan 22, 2008 10:15:00 AM

This is part of a series of posts about how to get free links pointing to your website in order to raise your search engine rankings and generate direct traffic from websites.

Site:
Hive411. Ok. I own this site. But, that's a good thing. It is designed from the ground up to help small businesses be more findable. There are NOT many sites out there like that - that are free. That's why we built it. Here's some press coverage of it that explains what it is all about.

Quick Instructions: Go to the site and search for what you do in the town that you do it. (Eg Residential Contractor in Worcester MA) Then, scroll down and click "Add New Nomination". Enter your website address and other contact information for your business. Encourage other people to vote for you by sending them a link to it. Then, nominate and vote for other people in order to get more visibility and votes for your business.

Benefit of a Link from it:
  1. Local Search Engine Optimization: If you're a business that does business locally, your website should be designed to attract local traffic from search engines. For example, if you're a cosmetic surgery place in Southborough, MA you should also be getting visitors from google who type in "rhinoplasty boston ma". If your website isn't designed to do that, we should talk.  But, even though your website is designed to catch that traffic, you still need links pointing to your website that confirm that your website is about that. Do you really expect google, yahoo, msn and ask to just believe you? So, that's what Hive411 allows you to do. It helps locally focussed businesses get a link that helps them attract local traffic to their website.
  2. Secondary Search Result: Hive411 also acts as permanent endorsement of your business. The nomination that you create on Hive411 is likely to be found in the search engines too. (The site gets lots of traffic from search engines.)  Since your clients, friends and family can vote that you're the best "Home Designer in Birmingham, Alabama", you can get to the top of each page if you rally your supporters. Also, it shows who voted for you. So, if John Smith voted for you and Barry "I'm looking for a house plan" Jones knows and trusts John, Barry is more likely to want to hire you to design his house.
  3. Direct Traffic from the Site: The site also drives some traffic to people directly. The site is pretty viral and gets a decent amount of repeat traffic where people are using it to actually search for things. I anticipate this will happen more often in the future, as more businesses are nominated. However, you can control how many times you get seen on the site by doing a few things. Your business gets automatically rewarded when you nominate and vote for other people like Russ did. So, spend some time clicking around and voting for people you know. Or spend some time nominating new businesses. If you want to send an excel spreadsheet, we'll even bulk upload a bunch of nominations and notify them that you nominated them. They'll be likely to return the favor, getting you more votes and more visibility.

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Topics: SEO, search engine optimization, link building

Get Free Links to Your Business's Website

Posted by Pete Caputa on Jan 22, 2008 9:33:00 AM

I launched a landing page that encourages people to share info about their business and when they do, I agreed to build 3 free links for them.

On the first week I launched this landing page - with just a small amount of promotion - I had 9 leads. Since I don't want to become a full time link builder, I am rethinking this approach.

I am sure people are attracted to the "Pete will do it for us. I don't want to do or understand this stuff." approach. So, I am sure this new approach will cost me some new friends. However, I want to be in the business of advising people how to do this stuff. Not doing it for them. I want to attract people that want to learn this stuff because they recognize that it's important for their business. If they don't want to learn it, I have trusted internet marketing partners who will help them. Even though it takes time, building links is probably the least expensive and most effective way to promote your business on the web, assuming you have a solid website in place already. (I'll have to define "solid website" at some point. You probably don't have one.) Plus, you are the best person to build links for you, as it often requires writing, which requires knowledge of your domain.

Originally, I was going to build 3 links on one website. One that I run. But, If I am going to take the approach of instructing people how to get 3 free links, I think I'll pick 3 different websites and tell them how to get a good link from it.

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Topics: SEO, search engine optimization, link building

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