Oftentimes, you’re earning link love to pages on your site that don’t monetize directly. When you do get a successful piece of linkbait or a flood of links from a mention in the news, use the newly-found link strength of your page to help prop up some of your more targeted pages. A good way to do this is to create a widget of some kind that you can modify in your site’s CMS – adding anchor text links to the pages you want to assist. You can do it manually, but it can be more of a pain, and there’s additional value in updating the links on a regular basis.
When you do this, make sure it’s for humans and engines – entice your visitors to click through to those pages as well, and you might earn additional links and sales, rather than just the internal link juice.
Many SEO folks who start their own projects, or who are inside large companies, need great writers to produce great content. One of the best ways to find excellent writers is actually Craigslist. Despite tons of jobs being listed, the writing section is always underwhelming in supply, and overwhelming in demand. Leverage this by placing your writing jobs on Craigslist, requesting a sample piece on the subject you specify and identifying great candidates to continue with.
The best part – all those “writing samples” are now yours for use, so if you find three great writers and get 25 good submissions out of 50 applicants, you/ve now got some serious content to help start off a site (and some great writers to keep it going).
p.s. Obviously, this tactic can be applied to any job board, just please don’t go black hat and create “fake” jobs just to get content out of desperate writers – the negative backlash can be harsh and the community will find out if you abuse them.
If you’re attempting to conduct some reputation management through the search results, subdomains are a good choice for very powerful domains. You do have to be careful, because subdomains don’t always pass the same quality/quantity of shared link love (remember my rising tide theory) around the site. However, subdomains, unlike subpages, can fill up the entire search listing if properly employed. You’ll need a very strong site first, preferrably one that has strong links into several top-level sections and is ranking #1 for all the searches you want to dominate. From there, divide up some top level pages into, for example, services.domain.com, contact.domain.com, articles.domain.com, etc. You’ll find that these pages will often rank right below your main domain (and push down the other content) in the SERPs.
A long-time practice of link building is to request that a blogger review your site or review a piece of content you’ve written, but a far better tactic is actually to request their participation. Bloggers love to be linked-to and love to be quoted (and held in high esteem). If you humbly email, telling them you’re a fan and you’d like their input for a project that includes content of some kind – answers to a few questions, a quote, a list, etc. – they’re usually more than happy to contribute. Once you launch the content, email them again to let them know it’s finished and more often than not, you’ll earn those links.
Repeat this process several times in several related blog sectors and you’ll soon have hundreds of powerful links. The only catch – you need a place to display this kind of content; an articles section or blog of your own.
If you’ve bought links from one of the more public link brokers or participated in any well-known link schemes of late, you’ve probably seen the “sandbox”-like effects. While many of your pages will continue to rank well, others will drop 50-100 spots at Google and never really rise. At some forums, they’ve taken to calling this the “-100″ or “-30″ penalty (though those can also be universal across a site).
My experience has been that almost all of these penalties are the result of buying links that you shouldn’t have. I have yet to see it applied as an attack on a competitor, which makes me think that Google is doing some nice detective work, finding the sources for link buys, identifying the site providing the links and penalizing based on those points.
There’s no active advice I can give, but as usual, if you can earn natural links, don’t bother with link buys and if you must buy links, for goodness sake, keep it under the radar. The spam detection team has gotten very, very good.
A best practice when licensing your content to be used by other sites is to request that they link back to your document with the title tag as the anchor text and include a meta robots = “noindex, follow” tag in the HTML header. Although you can’t always make deals like this, we’ve been surprised by how many media properties are seeking content without search engine rights – they just want it to be available to their users. Oftentimes when our clients include these in their initial contracts for content licensing, the buyer simply says “OK” and won’t even try to negotiate the price down. Clearly, there’s still a lot of people who don’t recognize the value of search traffic
BTW – Even if you can’t get the meta robots tag, you should always get the link back. If you can’t get either one and the site is considerably more powerful than yours, watch the SERPs to see whose content Google ranks highest and consider removing spider access to that material from your site to avoid duplicate content issues.
We’ve seen through experience that when launching several thousand (or tens of thousands of) pages at once on a site, Google and the other engines can often take a very long time (several months) to spider, index and rank those documents. However, a good strategy can actually be to release them on a schedule of a few hundred (2-500 depending on site size, authority, and the amount of content you need to launch). Our best successes have come from launching a group of 500 once, then another group a week later, another 5 days later, another 4 days later, another 3 days (less success when we spaced it closer than 2 days apart), etc. Google, in particular, seems very comfortable with this pattern of indexing content and it can actually promote better indexing and rankings more quickly than simply dumping 50,000 new pages in front of the engines.
Submitting new content in XML sitemaps to Google when releasing huge quantities is also valuable – I know I’ve been tough on Sitemaps in the past, but it does have great benefits when you have a huge amount of content on a relatively powerful domain.
If you’re an SEO agency, or even an independent consultant with a good number of clients, I highly recommend forming relationships with design/development agencies, hosting companies & analytics providers. If you sign up a few customers with these folks, they’ll often be happy to give you a bulk rate discount you can pass on to your clients (which makes your services even more enticing). It’s also very easy to request a “pro bono” account for your own firm – free hosting and free analytics (and even a free design job on your blog or site to help the designers show off to your clients) is an excellent way to save on critical business expenses.
It’s no secret that testimonials = better conversion rates, but the kind of testimonial actually has a huge impact. In testing, adding a real name, company and geography (city/state) is a big boost, but even more so is a real photo of the testimonial-giving individual. For formatting ideas, check out the bottom of this page – Articulate - where they’ve been reaping serious rewards from the testimonials. One more tip – see how Articulate mentions the position of each person – that’s a big booster, too. Find out that Sally W from Norfolk, VA loves it is one thing, but finding out that Sally, the head of the largest plastics distribution chain in the country, likes it is entirely another.
PageRank as a model may be largely dead, but the basic concept that pages with more link popularity themselves provide more value is certainly true for all the engines. You can take advantage of this with social media link building by commenting on threads at social sites that have a high level of link popularity. A good way to measure this is to see how well they rank at Google or use Yahoo’s Linkdomain command if you’re unsure. Build links on popular pages back to your own profile, then link to your site(s) from those profile pages (as most social media sites encourage). For additional info on which sites to target, Jane’s Social Media Marketing Tactics is an excellent starting point.