Networx Panel – Updated Info on ‘How to win links and influence people’

The Networx Marketing SEO panel on link building is now over and Matt, Andy and I have done our part in (hopefully) educating a group of Brisbane business-people on how links work, why they’re important, linkbait, content, keywords, anchor text, social media and different ways to potentially gain links for their websites.

Well, not all the points mentioned in my last post were covered (a lot were, but we didn’t get to all of them) however a lot of other great stuff was discussed and (in my humble opinion) the night went really well. The following info may not flow perfectly as I’m trying to recollect some of the more interesting/important things before I go to bed and forget.

Questions started with:

Q. Is it better to get links from relevant websites that relate to my business?
A. Most definitely

Q. Is it better to get links from .edu and .gov domains?
A. Yes, when relevant… but even if not entirely relevant, they’re still very good to have. The reason that these types of links are so well trusted is because most .gov and .edu sites just won’t link-out to anyone.

We discussed linking out to authoritive sites as being a good thing.

The topic of ‘no-follow’ links came-up and if you’re really keen on learning more about this (as well as how to use it to sculpt PageRank, have a look at Matt Cutts’ article (for those of you who don’t know this guy, Matt Cutts is the head of Google’s Search Spam devision)… now here’s the article: PageRank sculpting. Also, don’t avoid using forums, blogs or other social media sites that use no-follow because even though they may not pass any linkjuice, the content is often syndicated on other sites that DO follow.

For those wanting to know how to view their own PageRank, it was recommended to try downloading Google’s toolbar.

Also using internal links (ie. links to pages within your own site) can be a great way of maximising keyword-rich anchor text.

If you’re going to have a blog, host it on your own site and don’t use externally hosted blog systems like Blogger or Wordpress.com. Also microsites have their place, but if you really want to get the greatest benefit for all your online efforts, keep everything on your own domain.

On the point of blogging – blogs rank far faster than any other standard website content. This is due to a concept called ‘Query Deserves Freshness‘. To take advantage of this you can blog or keep your general website content fresh (although if you’ve got a site that is ranking well with the current content, it’s better to ADD new pages or content instead of just replacing the old stuff).

While obvious paid links should be avoided, some paid links are beneficial such as links from the Yahoo Directory are helpful and Google actually endorses Yahoo’s services in this instance. Another good directory to be listed with is Dmoz, but make sure you choose the right category to list in and be prepared to wait.

For linkbaiting, there are 5 major hooks that are most commonly used:

- resource
- contrary
- attack
- humour
- news

The example Matt used was SEOmoz’s Web 2.0 awards (a prime example of the resource hook plus an additional hook later mentioned – flattery)… and now they have another link to add to their 6000+ links.

To view some of the more influential links to a site, Andy introduced us to Yahoo’s Site Explorer.

Embedding relevant YouTube vids to your site is yet another way to add flavour and if you’re the one who created the vids you can use this as a technique to have the vid appear in the search results. This is when Andy pulled-up the Will It Blend example. On a side-note, when videos and other items like this are blended into the general search results, this is referred to as Google’s Universal Search.

Flash and splash pages should be avoided because the search engines have trouble reading them, they can be slow to load, cannot be viewed on mobile browsers and in many cases (other than looking kinda cool the first time you look at it) they don’t really give any great value to your customers.

The concept of deep linking was mentioned a few times through out the evening but not really clearly defined – so deep linking basically means getting links to your internal pages as well as links to your homepage. While most links you gain will point to your homepage, getting deeper links pointing to your internal pages will have a much greater impact on your overall SEO performance.

P.O.S.T. method should be used if/when you decide to embrace social media:

People – find the right people to connect with (and then actually communicate and connect with them)
Objectives – decide why you want to use social media and what you want to get out of it
Strategy – prepare a plan of how best to connect with the right people in order to achieve your objects
Technology – then determine the best technology and social media networks make this all happen

My explanations for the POST acronym probably aren’t 100% perfect as Matt explained it far better than I could. Matt also went on to discuss how well Dell use social media and their philosophy that there is no traditional marketing anymore, only adapting marketing. Dell’s many twitter accounts were mentioned along with their site: IdeaStorm.

The night was finished with Andy re-enforcing how crucial it is to have great content, Matt saying that as well as inbound links, you should also ensure your site architecture is perfect to get the greatest value from all the inbound links… and I closed the last question about how you shouldn’t trust SEOs that guarantee top rankings.

Overall it was a brilliant night – lots of really great questions were asked and hopefully we answered them adequately.

If you were at the event and believe I overlooked anything, please let me know via the comments.

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