Danny Sullivan kicked things off for SMX Advanced with a warm welcome and an interview with Kevin Johnson, President of Platform & Services division for Microsoft.

The first session I attended was all about Link Building. There were some interesting takes on some new non-traditional ways to build links, along with the more traditional approaches. 


Greg Boser, President and CEO of 3 Dog Media


Roger Montti of Martini Buster

Stephan Spencer, Founder and President of Netconcepts

Jay Young, Owner of Link Fish Media

Rae Hoffman, President of SugerRae Internet Consulting 

Roger Montti led things off talking about .edu links.  He talked about how .edu links are the best to get because they are not in a bad “neighborhood” and because they usually feature original, authoritative websites.

He gave two main link building initiatives examples.  He gave a bunch of examples of searches you can run in Yahoo! to find .edu link partners.

  • Industry heavyweight backlinks
    • Linkdomain: example.com site:.edu “bookmarks”
    • Linkdomain: example.com site:.edu “links”
    • Linkdomain: example.com site:.edu “favorite sites”
    • Linkdomain: example.com site:.edu “your product or service”

*You may want to add more modifiers if there are over 1,000 links

  • Charitable Opportunities
    • Linkdomain:example.com site: .edu sponsors
    • Linkdomain:example.com site: .edu sponsors
    • Linkdomain:example.com site: .edu donors
    • Linkdomain:example.com site: .edu benefactors

Other modifiers you can try: Hotlinks, bookmarks, links, directory, resources

He goes on to say, pay attention to what kind of sites they are linking to.

  • Reasons .edu may not be desirable
    • Pages may not be authoritative content
    • Link pages may be total link fest
    • Pages may not have many inbound links and are rarely crawled

Jay Young was next, starting off by saying that getting listed in some of the top directories is still very effective link building. He then gave multiple examples of different ways to obtain links.

  • Directories
    • Best of the Web, Yahoo, DMOZ, Joe Ant, Blog Catalogue
  • Non-Profit Sponsorships
    • Arguably editorial
    • Tax Deductable
    • Normally very good neighborhoods
  • Social Media
    • Digg, Reddit, StubleUpon
  • Brokers:
    • May be afraid to use brokers, but they still work
    • Big name text link brokers
    • Blog advertisers
    • Smaller Brokers 2,000-10,000 sites
    • Specialty Brokers
    • Amateur Brokers – must be careful with these guys, but more flexibility
  • Buy Links:
    • Vital for the success of a competitive campaign
    • Be as relevant as possible
    • Be as natural as possible
    • Vary your anchor text

Jay says to do some analytical research on what your competitors are doing. He then went into some darker methods which I do not entirely agree with, and seem to be very risky. He discussed these high risk techniques:

  • Comment Spam
  • Trackback Spam
  • Reciprocal Links
  • Three Ways
  • Link Farms

He then talked about some “Outside the Box” Techniques.

  • Widgets – have a developer create a widget with a link embedded in it
  • Templates – Find the most popular wordpress template and put a link at the bottom of the wordpress template and post it on your website
  • Template Sponsorship
  • Contests – Give away a free iPhone
  • Content Trades – Hire a college kid that writes well to write about your industry and do a link trade

Here were a few things he did say to avoid

  • Avoid buying links from forums
  • Avoid any site with hidden links
  • Use moderation and common sense

Jay left by leaving one last tip….hire a bartender. His reasoning for doing so was because they have a strong work ethic, think fast on their feet, are technically inclined, have really good memories, and great social skills.

Stephan Spencer started the discussion by talking about the 80/20 rule. He said that you should focus on getting more quality links, than just any link you can find. He believes in PageRank and feels it is a good metric to measure good quality links.

He recommends building a link building spider and to look for sites that are one click away from Google.

He talked about link build your existing links. He talked about 3 different backlink tools that you can use.

He talked about a great way to get more links is networking in the blogosphere.

  • Comment on blogs that ‘dofollow’ comment links
  • Submit to a blog carnivals (what is a blog carnival?)
  • Be a contributor to group blogs
    • Create a spreadsheet of groups blogs you contribute too
  • Redistribute home page link authority
    • Improves quality of google SERP’s for long tail non-brand search terms
    • Sculpt your backlinks to focus your link authority
  • Networking
    • Build relationships with bloggers at conferences
    • Register and attend conferences that link to their attendees
    • Contribute to conference wikis (where you’ve attended)
    • Give free talks at libraries, campuses
    • Get involved in local Meetups, add a link from your profile
  • Wikis, Videos, Viral Content, Utilties

For other related blog entries from SMX on this session check out:

SMX: Link Building Techniques, by Mike Sachoff

Blow Your Mind: Link Building Techniques by Virginia Nussey

Blow Your Mind Link Building Techniques

SMX Advanced: Blow Your Mind Link Building Tactics by Dana Larson