Monday, April 2, 2012

Renting Links: 10 SEO Link Strategy Tips

It may be the one of the least favorable SEO practices, but it's still considered a necessary part of any online marketing campaign, whether naysayers want to admit it or not. (Don't believe me? Take five minutes to look at some of the page-oners of your search term in the search engines. Check out who they are linking to.) For most of us, you simply can't get the high-quality links without laying out some money. Here are some tips to help you make solid choices when obtaining rented links from link brokers.

1. Link to Relevant Sites: Don't try to buy a link on a home and garden site when you are selling motorcycle equipment. It's not natural and it's a red flag for Google.

2. Don't link to sites that have tons of external links. 30 is too much, 20 is okay, but less than 10 is ideal. Internal links do not really count against the site as a link to the search engines (but that's another topic).

3. Check to see if other links have a no-follow tag. It's ok to have some links that are "no-follow" links, but I don't think you want to pay for those.

4. Steer clear of sites with spammy links. If you see links like "Canadian Pharmacy" or anything "Poker" don't rent a link from the site.

5. Check the URL in Google. If it is not listed it's probably penalized. Don't link there. Also do a search for key terms that this URL is targeting and see how they are ranking for those terms. If you see they are ranking poorly then consider that in your decision-making.

6. Check the progress of other links on the site for their targeted key phrase. It may give you some indication of how much value a link has.

7. Some link brokers will offer two links on the same page. This is okay if:
1. there are not many links on the site.
2. you are not pointing to the same web page. if you point to the same page on a single URL, Google tends to ignore the second link (specifically if you use the same anchor text).

8. Less is more when buying rented links. I tend to pay more for links and purchase less, quality over quantity. I leave quantity link acquisition to other avenues at my disposal.

9. Take a long look at links you are buying. Certain linking vendors will introduce you to websites that will have the same links on all pages. For example you may see another company's link on every page they introduce to you. If you link to the same pages this will most likely flag Google that these links are part of a rented link network and your risk for getting caught is increased.

10. Check your links.
1. Make sure your links are where they are supposed to be with the appropriate anchor text.
2. Check your links on a weekly basis because you need to watch out for sites that suddenly get penalized. If your link ends up connected to a bad link, rankings will drop.
3. Also check to see if your link is still posted. Many times I found myself paying for links that had been removed from the site.
4. Finally you want to watch your links and see if these sites have added more external links to their site. Some link brokers like to show several clients a new site with no links ; then suddenly this site has 30+ links. This will devalue your link!

BONUS: For best results ask your link broker if they have big-name sites in their inventory. I've had good success with rankings with well known companies. Yes you pay more, but the results can be worth it.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Use PPC Campaigns To Lead Your Organic Campaign

Hey after a brief heinous I'm back to talk about new ventures on limited budgets. I have a friend that just started her new business and asked me to help her with her marketing. I offered my services just to help her off the ground, starting her off with a PPC campaign. This is a basic, low-budget campaign that is ideal for testing what keyword phrases may or may not work for her organic campaign. This is, by the way, the speediest, most effective way to determine the best key phrases. The key is to set a low budget and track the traffic.

It turned out that on our way to finding out what key words will work best, we were getting some serious orders. Not only were we able to pave the way for the organic campaign we were also able to manage some immediate profits.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Link Building Quantity vs Quality

You may have heard it before. If you are link building you really can not approach it as a volume goal. The search engines will always favor quality over quantity. Quality means, relevancy, reputation, and to a lesser extent page rank. I'm posting a great video here that talks about the advantages of a great link. This video may seem boring at first, but stick with it.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Patience: A Word To Online Marketing Clients

If you want to get a the quick sale, then tell a potential client they will get fast results, within 2 weeks to a month. It's always possible through black hat techniques to get clients quickly to the top. The traffic will come, and there will be an improvement in the rankings, but once the search engines discover whats happening, the website will be devalued, and it will lose ranking within a month or two after reaching its peak. Clients need to understand that they will rarely see fast results if they want continuously good rankings. It usually takes a good 3 to 6 months before results begin to surface. The most difficult part of the online marketing process is the beginning when all the client can see is money leaving and very little to show for it. Online marketing is a results-driven business. If you can't get the results, you won't maintain the business, and many clients don't want to wait for results past one month to see something, especially in this economy.

Another interesting trend is that when a business starts to struggle, the first expense business owners cut is marketing. Marketing is the source of their business, why would they cut that? The reason is because its an unforeseen source, they are not sold on the idea that marketing will bring them more business if they cannot see it happening all the time. Naturally, marketing does not work this way, its sporadic at best in a slower economy.
  • Be patient and get involved with the marketing company you have hired. Find out what's happening every month and educate yourself on online marketing so you know exactly what's happening behind the scenes. There are many free tips online to tell you how search engine optimization works and teaches you what to expect.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Are Keyword Traffic Tools Reliable?

There are several sources to help us determine how much traffic a key phrase is getting, but they all seem to have a different opinion. You would think they would at least have a consensus, but that is lacking even within different departments of the same company ( We can't seem to get a straight answer from paid services from Word Tracker, to free tools like the Google Keyword Tool. Allow me to share with you this frustration:
To the left is a list of keyword tools and search data I used for the keyword phrase: "Online Shopping Carts"

First we have the free tools. The free tools give us some numbers that no one can really follow. Google offers the Adword Tool and the Keyword Tool (beta), but the disparity is rather large (2400 vs. 8200). This is very hard to grasp because if Google doesn't have good data, then we might conclude we are all kind of in the dark. Yahoo's search tool does not fair much better (You need an account for this one but its free). When I did a query for keyword searches per month, Yahoo gave a range of 316-6400, but stated that their data may not be accurate. When given such a large range, how can we get a real idea?

The paid tools are no better. The top two paid keyword search companies are Word Tracker and Keyword Discovery. The results of the these tools are so vastly different, I can't belive anyone would pay for this service. Word Tracker claims that with their data they can help you "find niche opportunities and out smart competitors, " while Keyword Discovery offers a host of credible users with positive feedback. I should mention that I only used the free tools these sites provide on their website, but why would they offer an inaccurate free tool to promote their products?

For kicks, I tried one lessor-known keyword tool called Market Samurai. This is a software program you download which provides, amongst other tools, insight on search volume. The number it gave was also considerably different from the others. (see chart below)

The last Keyword Tool is a free tool that takes the data from a few free keyword research tools and comes up with its own estimate, and that is SeoBook's keyword tool.

There is nothing particularly wrong with most of these tools. (with the exception of Google's conflicting resources) I'm not sure who to trust, but it seems that you have to stick with one source. Whenever I look at several sources it gets too confusing. I stick with one religiously and it works for me because its consistent, even if its not always accurate.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Spread the Link from a Promo Page

When I talk about landing pages to clients for a promotional product or contest, I usually explain that there will not be unnecessary clutter, like navigation menus and distracting images. I like plain and simple to keep the visitor focused on what is being promoted. It also makes it easier to track visitors that go to the landing page. I still believe this is a good way to go, however; sometimes the bigger picture is missed, which is to bring visitors to your entire company, i.e. the rest of the site.

Today I saw this article Justilien Gaspard wrote on online promotion & linkbuilding from In the article it states:

“Even though these promotional pages may have
high-quality links pointing to them, they're often
left as orphaned pages on the site. One quick fix is
to add a section of links on those pages linking to
your most important pages. This will allow the link
value to flow to those main pages.”

I think this is a great strategy and can be compromised with my common method. So the landing page can still be kept simple so long as you include links back to your main pages, or include the basic navigation bar that matches the rest of the site.

Additionally the article mentions you should not delete the page once the promotion is over. Instead leave it up and state that the promotional period has ended so they can navigate to the other pages. Another alternative is to simply do a 301 redirect to the home page so the link value is transferred.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Press Releases

I am a big fan of CommonCraft… These guys are terrific at dumbing down information. This is a video about PRweb - an excellent way of getting your press releases noticed.