StayOnSearch

Why Link Builders Don’t Share Their Top Secret Strategies

Kristi Hines May 27, 2010

Last month, I did a post on Search Engine Journal on the five types of link building. It was geared towards a more beginner’s audience, or maybe for the intermediate SEO who may have forgotten that link building is for more than just building PageRank.

The first commenter on the post (now removed) basically was dissatisfied by the fact that what I wrote was common knowledge and he wanted to see something new that wasn’t already broadcast everywhere in SEO blogs. So the question is, why do link builders not share what some may consider their juiciest secrets or sure fire link building tactics.

Myths vs. Facts

MYTH: Link builders don’t share their best strategies because they are afraid it will put them out of business.

I can almost guarantee, with certainty, that I could list out every link building method I use today for clients, and I could probably email it on over to them, and I would still have most of those clients tomorrow.

Let’s face it, if you gathered together all of the link building resources and toolkits out there, between websites, blogs, books, and seminars, you could probably find most of the best strategies link builders use today. Just organize them, and away you go – you could become a link builder yourself for your own company, blog, etc.

So why do SEO’s still have the jobs they have today? It all comes down to one word – time. Depending on your internet expertise, it takes time to learn the basics about link building – how to recognize good neighborhoods from bad ones, valuable links from worthless ones, and so on. Even if you do know how to build links, it takes time to do the link requests, the commenting, the directory submissions, and other tasks. And even if you have learned the basics and have time to do some of the link building yourself, then it takes time to keep up to date with the latest happenings in the search world (such as the recent Google Mayday updates) to know what works and what is no longer effective.

MYTH: Link builders put out mis-information in order to hurt those trying to do it themselves so they can gain their business.

Well, depending on how you look at this, it is myth or fact. White hat SEO’s actually share a lot of valuable information about the industry on their blogs and at seminars / conferences. Black hat SEO’s, on the other hand, write about more shady tactics that work only if you don’t cross a particular line, or get caught. But even white hat link building strategies can be done improperly, leading to possible penalization by Google.

FACT: Link builders don’t share their top secrets for fear of them being abused.

It’s pretty common knowledge now that blog commenting, forum posting, and link requests can get you some valuable backlinks for your website. Because it is common knowledge, these tactics are becoming more abused every day by those who want to mass produce links in as little time as possible.

The result of this kind of abuse is everything from Aksimet comment moderation (where something as simple as your keyword phrase will get you caught in the spam filter), forums not allowing links until you have made 10+ posts, blogs going from dofollow to nofollow, links on social profiles going from direct to redirects, and much more.

One specific example of this is a little trick I used to use with Squidoo. A certain search query plus your keywords would bring up Squidoo lenses that had a an option to add your link to a list on the lens – most of the time without any moderation. What makes this better than just creating a Squidoo is that, using SEOQuake to sort search results, you could find lenses that had high PageRank – so I was getting dofollow links on PR 4 through PR 6 pages! Of course, this was short lived. More people found out about it, and now links in these lists are nofollow.

So, needless to say, it’s hard to determine the line between being helpful and sharing new tips and techniques with the masses vs. protecting those same strategies from those who will abuse them to the point that they are taken away.

Your Thoughts on Trade Secrets

What are your thoughts about sharing trade secrets in SEO, link building, or other industries? Do you think it’s best practice for good karma, or better kept safe?

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25 comments
Dallas Fencing
Dallas Fencing

Its not that bad to share your own list of link building techniques, in fact you can see blogs that shares about their own style of building links even provide the tips and tricks. As long as you follow the Google's rule, you're on the White Hat SEO's.

blog mariage
blog mariage

Just a quick note to thank you for many ideas that actually clear many of our doubts on this topic. For many days, I've been visiting your site i have always been gaining new stuff, especially from this post. In fact, words can't express how much my partner and i thank you for the step-by-step guide you provide here and thus I no longer live in the field of ignorance as far as this kind of topic is concerned. We are truly grateful for the expert ideas as well as support. My recent post Le plein d’idées pour un mariage original

Content Links
Content Links

After Google Panda update, its quite clear that if you can create unique and original content, link building is effortless. In fact, it is how Google wants you to build links. There is no secret. Just create quality content and people will come! My recent post Is Web Marketing Increasingly Becoming Content Oriented

Andrew Collinwood
Andrew Collinwood

Yep you ask advice and if you don't follow it, when it was clearly explained it has to be done you can't get angry when you don't get #1 overnight.

Tom Lambert SEO
Tom Lambert SEO

There is a lot more involved than sheer amount of links, as you noted in your article. It takes a lot of time & practice to learn the little things like link velocity and how many links a site can handle during link building efforts without being filtered. My recent post The 7 Ultimate Online April Fools Jokes of 2011

Mike Pablate
Mike Pablate

Kristi Hines, I think, except blogging, you also do link building and you are not sharing the secrete of your link building success, aren't you?

Kristi Hines
Kristi Hines

I try to pay attention to my reader base and include sections in my Friday post so that everyone finds something useful. :)

SEO Leeds
SEO Leeds

Link builder came buy more year experience.That's what they not sharing top secrets.

Thu Nguyen
Thu Nguyen

Wow, Kristi you seem to be everywhere these past couple of days. :) I found your post from myblogguest.com and the topic was on the abuse of guest blogging. While link building is still something new to me, I've glanced over your Fetching Friday post recently and kinda got a good idea of how that goes about. You've got an eclectic list going on there and with all those links, well it's got to pull back in something somehow. Time as you mention is something that builds your knowledge in this field. And while there are so many strategies that claims what is probable, by the time a newbie like myself gets on the bandwagon, it's already old news. The market will have already become saturated so all the secrets are out there. Now that's a bit too much.Ah, I'll stick to commenting and reading blog posts for a little longer and pick on something which works well for myself down the line. Does that work for trade secrets?

David Iwanow
David Iwanow

Yep you ask advice and if you don't follow it, when it was clearly explained it has to be done you can't get angry when you don't get #1 overnight.Ah its also a warning sign if they have used multiple agencies/link builders in the past that they are likely just milking you for all they can before they will move on.... a kinda musical chairs game....

Kristi Hines
Kristi Hines

Plus if you're doing it with a time crunch, you're putting in a ton of links all at once, and that has to send off a red flag to Google about un-natural link building.

Kristi Hines
Kristi Hines

That's true... I remember StumbleUpon had a "share all" feature that they disabled, but someone found out a place in the system where it still worked. I think a day after he wrote the post on it, it was gone. I'm sure Google keeps tabs on the latest "techniques" out there and snuffs out the ones they don't like in their next algorithm changes.

Kristi Hines
Kristi Hines

Exactly... not many business owners can make the time to do it the right way. I'm sure ones that have tried rushing through it have had some pretty awful results.

Tola
Tola

Really enjoyed reading this Kristi cos it's soo true.Isn't that always the way with good things? When you tell people about something good they end up misusing and abusing it. Frankly, I won't expect people to share their link building secrets like you said because it will only get misused, again.And that's another reason why SEO jobs will always be available, because people just don't have the time to do EVERYTHING themselves, lucky for us too :)

Andy @ FirstFound
Andy @ FirstFound

Kristi,Another brilliant post. Not sharing is a survival tactic. There's an arms race between SEOs and the search engines - every time we get a good tactic (guest blogging being the latest), Google moves to pull the rug out from under us.All's fair in love and search.

Ivan Walsh
Ivan Walsh

Hey Kristi,The link building article hit on a good point.Content isn’t king!Links are king!You can have the best content in the universe but if no-one links to it…...

Wynne
Wynne

lol. Yeah I think most of the good information is actually common knowledge. It comes down to patience and discipline, and reputation. If you did a good job then you get recommended and get paid the big bucks.If you are in a rush then you might resort to lame and nasty spamming tactics.What I have learnt is that givers gain in the long run. This principle applies online and offline. So if you want to succeed then having a 'me me me' attitude in link building and seo work will get you nowhere fast.

Kristi Hines
Kristi Hines

I loved the social profile spam pic - it's actually off the Michael Jackson website. You'd think someone would be administrating that.Companies only like to hear something like "Do this easy thing and you'll be number one!" If it involves any kind of dedicated effort with no actual guarantees, they're less likely to really listen or put the advice to good use. I've seen companies where you tell them if you don't do this, our services will not get you anywhere - and they still don't do it, and they still don't get anywhere. They just keep expecting us to magically find this solution so we can get around the issue they're creating. It's amusing and sad all at the same time.

David @ seo-writer.c
David @ seo-writer.c

There is no such silver bullet. The key really is to be original. As a matter of strategy, I keep a close watch on what the crowds are getting into...and that's the time to move on to new pastures. It's just like the stock market.

David Iwanow
David Iwanow

Love the post and great picture examples of how people spam... But what im seeing more and more is just shitty back link profiles more so than anything, so is that really a link building secret that all your backlinks shouldn't be "click here" or "visit website"....One of the points i'm hearing more is more about fishing for free consulting information, such as software you use, how decide what qualifies as a decent link, or why the competitors are requesting these types of links (client has more information than you...). You can Google it or read one of mine or other consultants blogs and we usually have a post in there somewhere that gives you the information you need, that's why we write detailed posts on these topics.I'm sorry but those are questions that i'm not rushing to answer on a case by case example before a project has even been signed off. I've helped educate enough agencies on this but they still keep making the mistakes, so if you are not going to listen to the advice given why ask? I'm not going to be able to give you a silver bullet that is going to work for every site, everytime...

David @ seo-writer.com
David @ seo-writer.com

Bingo! What makes a class of links valuable is the scarcity of them. As sson as they are being mass-produced, the search engines have to find a way to reduce their effectiveness. Keep in mind that the search engines need good links for their algorithms, but they need to make sure that huge quantities do not skew their results. The engines are lucky, in that many of the problems of mass production are fixed by websites like Squidoo and forums. Blog commenting was an exception, leading to the creation of the NoFollow abomination.

Kristi Hines
Kristi Hines

Unfortunately, things like the Squidoo change kills the links that were relevant and part of good content. For those of us who were only adding good links (like if a page said "add links to hotels in Boston, MA" I did just that and nothing else), it was closing the door to a good system to get some high PR links. (Although if the lens is popular enough, you're still getting at least the traffic.) But seeing the lenses that had 100+ links for everything from layers to pharmacies, it was necessary.

Kristi Hines
Kristi Hines

It really should be considered as important as other business marketing and advertising strategies. You see companies that spend all this money on brochures and mailers, but so little on their website and optimization, when they should definitely spread the budgeting wealth into that sector as well.

James Scaggs
James Scaggs

Kristi,You're right on target with this post. I think another important point to mention is one reason people don't just take the "how to's" of linkbuilding and do it themselves is because it's outright tedious and monotonous work at times. Clients want logs of activities and to effectively link build you really do need to log your activities so you can follow up with those requests that don't convert to links as quickly as you would like. I personally believe that link building should be considered in the business model itself rather than as an ancillary follow up task. When you consider link building as an integral part of your online business success it makes you stretch your creativity a bit in my opinion.Thanks for the great post!

David @ seo-writer.c
David @ seo-writer.c

Bingo! What makes a class of links valuable is the scarcity of them. As sson as they are being mass-produced, the search engines have to find a way to reduce their effectiveness. Keep in mind that the search engines need good links for their algorithms, but they need to make sure that huge quantities do not skew their results. The engines are lucky, in that many of the problems of mass production are fixed by websites like Squidoo and forums. Blog commenting was an exception, leading to the creation of the NoFollow abomination.

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  1. [...] Why Link Builders Don’t Share Their Top Secret Strategies – was an interesting post that had me thinking about how so many still look for magical link building (aka lazy). Is it just me or are there not better ways (content strategy + syndication + outreach) to getting the job done? Huh… [...]

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