Link Building in August of 2010 with Jim Boykin — SES San Francisco


Jim Boykin, CEO and Link Building Ninja, We Build Pages Internet Marketing Services

Shhh, don’t tell Virginia, because it might make her happy… but I’m going to sit in on an extra session and see what I can do to give all you non-attendees some additional coverage. [You made me :D, Jayme! —Virginia]

ses sf logo

Link building is always the thorn in my side when dealing with clients and I know that it is with many others as well so let’s see if Jim Boykin can give some good insight on this difficult topic.

I almost didn’t recognize Jim without his beard. He’s looking clean shaven today and years younger today.

It seems as though many attendees also feel this is a valuable topic. In these last few minutes before the session starts the seats are filling up.

Time to get started, fingers crossed that he has something to offer.

What do you do for link building? [Isn’t that the million dollar question?]

Jim’s going to go over :

  1. types and values of links
  2. paid links – pros and cons
  3. avoiding problems with Google
  4. what to do if you have a problem
  5. non-paid links – pros and cons
  6. show us how to get .edu links and similar

Analyzing backlinks: Yahoo! and Bing have killed the – command [awww, tears] so you need to use tools like Majestic SEO to analyze your backlinks. [FYI, Bing isn’t killing off Yahoo!’s Site Explorer though. That’s always a good tool to see your backlinks. Or use Google Webmaster Tools.]

Short-tail targeting: These are the top 5 keyword phrases you can think of off the top of your head.

Buying links is risky (and he jokingly says that it shouldn’t be done) but it has its rewards, too. The odds of getting penalized, Jim says, are rather low. You can get penalized, but then many also get away with it.

[I would advise you to just steer clear of buying links. It’s too risky and your business is too important. Bruce Clay talked in an earlier panel about how Google is implementing more in their algorithm to detect and penalize purchased links and the buyers. Know the consequences and know that Google is getting better and detecting them.]

Top 10 list of ways to let Google know you’re buying links:

10. You trip a link buying filter.
9. The broker you use gets mapped, analyzed and penalized.
8. Someone blogs about you buying links. Google looks stupid and bans you.
7. You’re #1 for a super competitive phrase and you’re not the best site in the world.
6. You’re #1 for a big competitive phrase and the competitors report you as SPAM.
5. You’re buying links from brokers who sell links to anyone and everyone.
4. Your site doesn’t have any natural backlinks.
3. You start shouting and bragging about your rankings.
2. You report your competitors to Google, when you, yourself are spamming.
1. You show your site to Matt in a backlink review panel.

Do you think you might be penalized? What do you do next?

This means that you type in your company name and you’re nowhere in the top 30 results. Make sure you look at all other factors that could be causing a problem. When those all check out, review your backlinks and get ready to do some serious cleanup work. After you’ve cleaned up your backlinks (gotten many of them removed), you need to get on your knees and beg Google to let you back in the index (via reinclusion request).

Sometimes this will work quickly, other times it’ll take a while. Remember, once you’ve tripped a filter, you’re buying link days are over… unless you’re crazy. If Google lets you back in, then make sure you play it straight from now on.

If you’re not buying links, the link buyers will beat you on the short-tail phrases. Give them up and turn your attention to the long-tail phrases.

Long-tail targeting: These are links on long-tail keyword phrases that usually bring in a lot of traffic but are often overlooked.

So how do you get links if you aren’t going to buy them? It’ll cost you… it’ll cost you time. Time in writing, research and contacting sites.

Link Bait vs. Trust Bait

Jim thinks that sites that haven’t been “soiled” by SEOs and the like are more valuable than sites just giving out links. Trusted sites, in his eyes, are those that can’t easily be persuaded to link to you but you have to actually earn links by offering great content they feel is valuable.

Trust bait for links is like content built for educators and the research audience. These are links from non-blogs and the link value is constant and permanent. On the flip side, link bait for links is content written for bloggers and social media. These are links that will mostly appear on blogs and social sites and they are newer. On top of that, the value can vary and isn’t necessarily permanent.

So how do you write something for trust bait worthiness? The content is bland, non-flashy pages. Research type pages that would make a college professor oh-so happy are ones that are trust bait worthy. Now you get to figure out how you can write something similar about your industry that could be seen as trust bait worthy. In order to do so, you’ll need to research your audience so that you know who you’re writing the content for.

3 Steps to Success with Trusted Link Building:

  • Get trusted links.
  • Pages with trusted links should link to most important pages.
  • Make sure most important pages are optimized for popular keyword phrases people are looking for.

[It always comes back to keyword research doesn’t it?]

Research your most valuable phrases because you’ll need it for internal linking. It can increase your traffic and rankings for those money phrases. Tools to find those money phrases: SpyFu,, Google Adwords Keyword Tool, and Wordtracker.

Internal linking is a good thing. Many use their footer to put tons of links to additional pages, and it’s the same on every page across the site. Something better is to change that footer depending on what page you are on. Link to your most important phrases with variations of keyword phrases in a unique way each time to maximize those footer links.

[As a prior BC crew member, there were some things that Jim covered that I didn’t necessarily agree with, so this liveblog coverage has been filtered somewhat so as not to cover topics that I feel are too dangerous for the average site owner to do without professional help. Hope you all don’t mind… I just see so many site owners burned by taking advice at face value without knowing the back history on things. However, he had some good stuff to say. I particularly like his recommendations for creating content that is not necessarily created for the social aspect but more for the research aspect. If your industry or site allows for such content, then by all means, create it. Research the topic that isn’t covered very well — write the content and look for some sites that will find it worthy. This goes deeper than just approaching any site, but approaching the top-notch sites in your space. Spend time to think of a way you can get the attention or offer something of value to those sites.]

Once a hard working corporate type, Jayme traded in her office and business attire for cowboy boots and the Sierra Nevada mountains. At one time Jayme was the director of SEO for Bruce Clay Inc., then senior SEO analyst for WebMetro. She now spends her time out in the country. As a busy mom, soccer coach, weekly volleyball player, weekend hiker and hobbyist photographer she does manage to find a few hours a week to stay connected to the Internet Marketing world plus she is still doing SEO on a handful of clients. You won't find her active on Twitter or her own blog, because when she does have spare time she's usually away from her computer enjoying what life has to offer, away from the computer monitor. In fact her own website is sinfully neglected. Even though she has grand plans to one day put some energy into her own blog that day still hasn't arrived, possibly after her kids are both in school.

See Jayme's author page for links to connect on social media.

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