Erin Everhart / Digital Marketing / April 9th, 2013

Link Building Tips from 3 SESNY Speakers

I was incredibly fortunate to share the stage with some amazing speakers at a SESNY a couple of weeks ago. Every time I attend an industry event, I’m always amazed by the depth of knowledge shared across all SEO disciplines, and it’s your lucky day that three of those amazing link building pros — Jon Ball from Page One Power, Shari Thurow from Omni Marketing Interactive, Laura Lippay from SEO Gadget — agreed to share some of their insights.

ses nyc speaker tips

Bust out those Evernotes, people; serious knowledge is about to get dropped.

What Are The Biggest Trends In Link Building Right Now?

Laura
Some SEOs have moved away from building links to do “content marketing.” Some of that is actually well-designed creative promoted to their target audiences, generating gobs of links and visibility. Most are just doing the same old risky link building or article marketing, but calling it content marketing.Let’s turn the tainted, highly mistrusted SEO industry around by doing gorgeous creative that build links naturally. You don’t want to be that firm who’s called out when their client gets banned.

Jon
SEOs are starting to focus their link building on quality and relevancy instead of quantity. I call it the end of the Legacy of Spam.

Combining link building with marketing is a new trend that will continue to influence SEO. The 1000’s of “niche directory” links that you used to buy but no one visited are a thing of the past. SEOs need to work and think like marketers looking for logical places to get their message in front of their prospects and, of course, get links.

Shari
Instead of doing flavor-of-the-month SEO, focus on what really matters. All websites should support all web searcher goals: navigational, informational and transactional.

All websites should contain informational and transactional linkable assets as a natural part of the site’s information architecture. These linkable assets shouldn’t be placed in silos. In fact, silo-ing content makes it less likely to be found.

If You Could Only Use One Link Building Tool, What Would It Be?

Laura
It’s just my brain, you know? Get creative and build groundbreaking things. It’s the way the web is going, so if you want to do well in the end, start thinking this way now.

Jon
Google Docs. Our link builders work on projects at the same time and communicate along the way via these incredible multi-simultaneous user docs. Link building will always be a mental task and using teamwork and collaboration is invaluable.

Shari
My brain. It hasn’t failed me yet, and a tool is only as good as the person who is using it…so I vote for my brain. Kidding aside, I’m rather fond of Linkdex.

Relationship Building Is A Huge Buzzword. Will It Withstand? Can You Build Links Without Building Relationships?

Laura
Links, shares and engagement are popularity factors. If I’m popular, it’s not because I’m paying people or asking people to like me. I might get popular that way for a minute, but it’s likely to wear off.

If I’m popular in real life, it’s because I’m doing something right and people genuinely like it. For those people to genuinely like me, they need to know about me, so I go out and meet people and form real relationships. It’s no different online.

Jon
Relationship building is fairly new to SEO, but the rest of the world just calls it networking.

It’s logical to build relationships with key players in your world and to network to further your cause. Even the most basic relationship is required to get a resource link on a page. A person needs to be contacted and convinced that placing your link on their site is a good idea, and that is a relationship.

Shari
Relationship building, long tail, social signals, page-rank sculpting – all of these are buzz words. Link building existed long before Google became part of the search industry. So did social media. So did long-tail keywords. SEOs need to take their blinders off and look at the big picture.

Just because something is popular doesn’t mean it is true or authoritative. A long time ago, people honestly believed that the world was flat. It was a very popular belief, but was it true?

How Does The SEO Industry — And Link Builders Specifically — Get Past The Negative Hype?

Laura
Ha. Ha. hahahaha. #ShakingMyHead

Jon
We created our own malaise with the spam days, and in some ways, we deserve what we’re getting. Still, I’ve found that if you’re real and project your beliefs (which you actually believe), you can overcome much of the skepticism that surrounds the industry. Also, and most importantly, do a great job and keep your promises.

Shari
That is the question of the century. How many SEOs claim to be information architects? How many SEOs claim to care about the user experience? How many SEOs talk about usability but never conducted a usability test in their entire careers?

Don’t talk about site architecture, launch or link building in technical mumbo-jumbo. We need to keep educating people, through our actions and words, to show that what we do is truly beneficial to the user experience and generates ROI for businesses.

Could You Share One Of Your Tips?

Laura
Think ahead. Google is getting smarter by the minute. Think about your clients and your own reputation and make sure you have your ducks in a row, or you may find yourself trying to “build relationships” in a new industry.

Jon
If you have a brand that gets mentioned, ask those people who have already mentioned your brand to link your name. It’s the easiest link building we do.

Shari
Quality trumps quantity. I see it occur over and over again. Find the influencers in your industry. Reach out to them. Focus your energies on non-competitors whose work you really like and respect. You will find that your site doesn’t need as much link development as you might think.

Photo Credit: Juan R. Martos via Compfight cc