Monday, April 20, 2009

Scratch Pad, Brainstorming, Link Development, etc

I am just writing down some thoughts here that I might make into a more proper post or series.

Right now I am thinking out a certain web development strategy and need to write down some thoughts somewhere.

#1- I am thinking about links. If you know what I'm talking about you know what I'm talking about. Link building for a nice website in this case. I assume I have done research and developed a domain based on niche affiliate marketing. I have a KW domain with search volume and now it's time to rank and make money. I need links. I have a strategy with link sources, diversification,etc.

In this case I have a site called "best pi charts." I want to be the authority on this term. I also want power for "pi charts" and "pi" by itself. it doesn't matter what this is or what it means. Think of it as widgets. I just used "pi" something because I wanted a phrase with a very short word, under 5 characters and preferably <3. OK. Then I just used something that wasn't complte gibberish. In addition to these terms, there are a few phrases only partially within the domain- let's say "pi graphs, free pi charts, 3d pie charts, cheap pi charts, pi pictures, purple pi,whatever,etc" various assorted long tail terms. I want to be THE site for the best pi charts. I sell pi charts. People search for pi charts and then I make $$$.

I want to create or influence links to my site. I am not interested too much in social traffic other than very relevant traffic ( posts on "pi forums" by interested customers) and the secondary benefit ( someone sees a social bookmark or post and then chooses to create a link to my site or spread word of mouth,etc).

I want diverse links. Preferably I want high quality relevant links with strong anchors. If the Government Bureau of Pi Chart Standards website links to my site as the "best pi charts", fantastic. This is valuable. And Not Going to Happen. SO I'm going to settle for links from crappy sites, some with good anchors, some with urls and no anchors, some that say might site sucks, some highly relevant sites, and some with no relevance. most will be 1 way, some might be reciprical. I mostly care about the overall value. Of course I will focus my resources in the most efficient way when possible. But some sources and methods are preferred for certain types.

I am mostly looking at the following types of links: Links I Create and Control ( internal links and crosslinks from owned or controlled sites), Links I Create but do NOT Control( comments, forums,etc), Links I request/Submit (directories,webmaster requests), Recips I request ( manual or automated requests to fellow webmasters), Link I do Not Control at all ( "natural" links, linkbait response,etc).

1. Links I Create and Control

I Control everything, the quantity, the type, the anchors
Can easily create very relevant content and links

I control everything-

Creates a Footprint. If someone wants to manually penalize all of my sites and declare them a "link farm" or spam, Bye Bye. Doesn't matter if they are high quality and relevant or not. Someone can click a mouse and send my sites to Hell. I am sure even many automated systems are in place that detect and act on this. I also risk damaging my other sites if they participate in any seo "gaming."


if "one" were to do this, one could make many different kinds of websites, pages and blogs that are relevant to a topic. You can go broad vertical, niche, sub-niche,etc. One could make many different blogs hosted on a variety of hosts and platforms and well as "regular" static sites. Mini-sites, big sites, informational sites, full-on huge commercial sites,etc. Then you leverage them together. Use domains you host yourself as well as "free" blogs, sites,etc. Control exactly what terms are used in linking and from what content pages. You can basically develop a building with many floors that add value to each other and the building as whole. You can get relevant link power.

Specific things to target- When you get links from sources you DON'T control, it is very difficult to get a few types of links. For example, if you are trying to rank for a promotional phrase, like "BEST" Anything. Directories and others will not want to link to you with promotional sounding language. Take advantage of pages you control to get some links for "best pi charts." You may have to settle for "pi charts" or "pi charts store" or whatever from outside sources. Just make sure you do not exclusively create promotional links like that.

Short words are hard to rank for and get links for. One word links are hard to get, especially 2-3 character ones. You will not be able to submit to thousands of directories or other link sources and get many links ot your site using "pi." You may not want to rank for such a short term anyway. But maybe you will. Focus on 2-3 word and longer phrases that include the short word. But on the sites you CONTROL.... Throw in some contexual "pi" links where they make sense.

AVOID sitewide crosslinking among all sites to all other sites. Dont use a sitewide footer, for example. Some people stll get away with this, but I prefer natural looking relevant and informative links within text. And the process should be deliberate but not automated or overdone. Put things where they "fit." This includes linking to many other sites you do not control, especially well known high quality sites. Don't be afraid to link out when it adds value. Don't write a 200 word page/article and link out to 20 of your own sites/pages. But writing a 800 page article that links out to 10 sites, including 2 of your own and a couple internal links..thats probably effective. Numbers aren't hard/scientific. just writing what I feel as it comes.

2. Links I Create but do NOT Control

Pros: Have control over anchors and placement

Cons: Links can be removed for the owner. Links can be rejected.

Strategy: I am mostly thinking of links like blog comments ( which honestly can really be called blog spam), and forum posts. Places where you can make a link and choose how it shows up, but you dont control IF it goes up or stays up. The site could undergo a remodel, the webmaster could decide to remove it or change your anchors, the site could cease to exist, etc. You also have "No Follow" considerations.

Really in this circumstance, I would limit your links to relevant posts at sites and forums where you are part of the community. This can mean a lot of time creating a reputation. Therefore its more natural for subjects your truly enjoy. If you are a gamer and run a gaming site, maybe you are a member on some forums. You make posts on appropriate topics. You might occasionally insert a link, maybe a review you did or something of interest. You don't join a gaming forum and never contribute, but then create a post in an irrelevant forum that says "Hey guys, what do you think of this?" and then link to your porn site. Not good. The same goes for blogs. If you are going to spam them, at least make sure you are respected in the community and it's "high quality spam" that makes up a very small % of your contributions.

Different places have different criteria. Some blogs advertise as "do follow" and encourage keyword linking in the "name" field. this may sound good, but these can actually be ones to look out for. Personally I dont want a comment link in a post where there are many fake and irrelevant comments that all link to gambling, adult, enhancement products. Etc. If it's a Pi blog and all the comments are from the Pi Chart community to relevant topics- that's what you want. Often you will have to settle for links with your real name ( or a reasnable psuedonym) to your blog/site. Do not automatically reject this opportunity. While anchors are most valuable, any links will probably have some value, especially if they are relevant. If you post on Thw World's #1 Pi Chart Blog and link to your pi charts site with your name "John Smith", this still helps. It might not help as much as if your name shows "Best Pi Charts," but it is still worthwhile. Others including the blog owner may even choose to link to or write about your site if you show something of value.

I also believe in diversity of link anchors. Some people will tell you to only get links with your preferred keyword as anchor text. Bullshit. I do not want a whole bunch of links to my site that say "best pi charts" and nothing else. I want keyword links, site name links, etc. I want many natural looking links from people who are not search engine marketers and places that are not part of a deliberate SEO scheme. This means some people will link to me with my name like "John's site." People will write "here." People will typein the domain "bestpichartsdotnet" or whatever and some will only have the url with no anchor text like http:bestpichartsdotwhatever. That's Ok. You also dont want every anchor text to say "best pi charts," especially if "best pi charts" is an industry with a lot of spam sites and high paying keywords. "pi" "pi charts" "best pi charts" "free pi" "purple pi eaters" whatever. You dont want it all deliberate and exact. Of course you don't want a whole bunch of terrible anchors either, but you want some mixture.

3. Links I request/Submit

Pros: Have some control over placement, description, anchors
You can build a lot of links, often for free with little effort

Cons: Anchors can be limited to certain criteria
Page placement criteria can be sub optimal
Site might be considered worthless providing no vaue to link
Often very broad categories and sites that are not relevant to your niche
Links can be rejected or removed for whatever reason

Strategy: I am mostly talking about directories here. The more relevant and less spammy, the better. Try to avoid directories that seem to accept every submission and use tricks like linking through a redirect or no-follow without passing any link juice. At the same time, the more picky you are the more likely your site is going to be rejected. If you submit to a high number of lower quality sites, do not use the same title and description for all. Personally I use at least 5 different descriptions, plus shorter and longer versions ( the character limit and minimums vary)and at least 5 distinct Keywords and variations. Submitting "best pi charts" or "pi charts" 1000 times is probably not going to end well. "best" might be rejected right away for protional language any way. See above for where to get more of those links. Alternating titles like "pi charts, pi chart store, pi graph information, order vintage pi charts, free pi chart reviews,etc" might work better and pick up a wider variety of longtail combinations as well. You get the picture. When you request these links use a name and a domain specific email. I like the create catchall email accounts with forwarding to a main account. What I mean is if someone emails anyname@yourdomaindotcom it all gets forwarded to one account with a lot of room. You can control all your email confirmations from one account.

I have found this mthod to be both the Best and Easiest as well as worst method to build links depending on the niche and site. The same goes for reciprocal links, or at least used to. I have seen sites dominate fairly competitive keywords and niches with almost exclusively low quality directory backlinks. I have also seen sites that ranked fairly high and then drop off the face of the earth after acquiring a high number of directory links.

4. Links- Recips I request

Pros: You can pick anchors
You can add links fast
Can choose to focus on relevant exchanges

Cons: Time Consuming and Labor intense
Automated options usually don't work well
You will get a lot of terrible links and requests that are trash
People will try to scam you by removing your links or placing on orphaned pages
Not as valuable as one-way links
Even if they don't hurt ( debatable), they often help very litte
You could link out to a page that you regret


5. Links I do Not Control at all




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