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Little Old School + Little New School Link Building Tips Circa 2007

I wrote this a year ago and never got around to posting it, and now that is is almost a year later and a lot of my friends and prospective clients are caring less about Digg and social media links and getting back to the O.G. way of ranking sites I figured might as well post it.

Via: flickr
Old School: Internal Links
It seems that Nov-Jan are always insane with people wanting to prepare their site to dominate for the next year. This year is crazier than ever, and as we are meeting with a lot of sites and perspective clients I have noticed that very few sites link internally like they should. I will guarantee you that if you have a site that is ranking in the top 50 or so, meaning it is somewhat established has some trust and authority, if you interlink correctly you will see a significant jump in your rankings. Here is a list of somethings you want to make sure you follow, plus some tips on how to get the most juice out of your web sites trust.

- Make sure your important pages, ie service pages, category pages, converting pages, have links to them from within the copy of other pages on your site.

- Use text that is relevant before or after the link, as well as relevant anchor text to the page you are linking to.

- Work the most important pages into the copy of your homepage text.

- Block the less important pages from the engines spiders as to save the juice for your important pages, ie contact us, privacy policy, etc. Do this through Robot.txt or No Index No Follow Tags.

Squeeze the Juice, Pulp and Scrape the Rhine:
- Identify your key pages along with those pages top keywords, then do a site:domain.com search in Google followed by the "Keyword phrase." I like to start specific and then work my way general so if I wanted to increase my rankings for the words, "Lung Cancer," "Lung Cancer Treatments" and "Lung Cancer Studies" I would start with the longer terms and I would do the searches in quotes at first, then work my way out like this.

site:DOMAIN.com "Lung Cancer Studies"
site:DOMAIN.com Lung Cancer Studies
site:DOMAIN.com "Lung Cancer Treatment(s)"
site:DOMAIN.com Lung Cancer Treatment(s)
site:DOMAIN.com "Lung Cancer"
site:DOMAIN.com Lung Cancer
site:DOMAIN.com Lung

I would then note each of the pages and wherever the text I am searching is found I would anchor to my Lung Cancer page. On the last one where I searched for just Lung I would look at the authority of the page, and it it was a good one and it was relevant I would add in "cancer" or "Lung Cancer" to the text and then anchor it up.

- Sort your sites pages by authority you can use Yahoo's site explorer they usually return results in order of authority or you can use Jim Boykins strongest subpage tool to identify your best pages. Then see if you can work your desired keywords into the text and then link them up.

- Obviously Wikipedia ranks for everything first and foremost because it has insane amounts of links and authority. But have you ever notice the Internal Linking that goes on, every time a topic is mentioned that has a page dedicated to that topic there is a link. That is why pages that have nothing but internal links still rank number 2 for a huge word, because the anchor text, surrounding text that is pointing to those pages is all spot on.

- You will notice this on top blogs that understand this as well, look at Tech Crunch and Mashable they rank for everything even though they are kicking out 15 Posts a day. Again they have a lot of outbound trust, but they also set up a company index and every time that company is mentioned in their posts they link to the company index tab. Their posts are speckled with internal links. If you have a blog you can do the same thing. Every time you mention a keyword related to one of your pages[seo blog], link back to it.

We always start with internal linking when taking on a new client, and it has never let us down. People think you are magic cause you moved up their rankings 15 spots in 5 days, but all you did is internal links. (But hey they didn't do them before, so you are magic right?) I recommend relying very heavily on Internal Links.

I did a webinar on the above topic with Omniture earlier this year.

via flickr
New School: Inbound Contextual Links*Not really new school anymore :)
To get the most authority to your site and to make those internal links really count you need inbound links from related sites. To get those top 3 and number one rankings you need one way inbound links from inside copy. You want text all around that bad boy on a page that is on topic with your page.

Link building is nothing new, I am not going to layout some of the basics, there are plenty of blogs discussing the ins and outs of links. I want to talk about a little tactic that has been working really well for us on finding some top notch under the radar links.

I am sure you already use the allintext: allin etc. advanced commands when searching for related links, we used to use it all the time. What we have been doing this last year is the same idea just at http://blogsearch.google.com.

Go there and search allintext:"Keyword Phrase" this will bring back all the blog posts in Google's database that have your keyword phrase in their text or blog post. You can use other advanced operatives or the keyword phrase by itself or in quotes.

We like this because bloggers are more likely to respond to you than old school site owners, they are wanting to be approached and they are usually on their blog/email all day. Also a lot of bloggers aren't familiar with seo, they don't know that someone may want to email them and hit them up for a link and offer them $50. A lot of times we offer some dough and they come back and say thanks for liking and commenting on my blog, I added the link for free.

That is the other thing we like, blog posts are better with a lot of resources and info linked to and cited. So if you have a good relevant site for one of their blog posts, they are more than likely cool on adding the link.

This really only goes wrong if you send over a demanding or not so well written email begging for the link. Test this don't send out 50 your first day with the same copy pasted in over and over. Send out 5 in the morning, 5 more in the afternoon and 5 more at night all with different messages. Start out by making everyone totally organic and unique commenting on the blogs. After you have done it a while you can see what is working and what is not. Maybe it's not your message but your Subject and email look spammy so they never open it? Tweak all the aspects of it. Also pay attention to the emails you get where people hit you up for links and others. If you are not tricked into opening it, then it isn't good, the very few that you do open, note them.

Any email that gets accepted or even opened take note of it and apply it to later messages. You will also want to try the good old phone as that is still very effective in this because of how quickly it can be done and how forth coming it is.

*Also added in 2008 use Yahoo Site Explorer and or SEOmoz's Linkscape tool to quickly check the value of the link.

Chris Bennett

Chris Bennett is the Founder and CEO of 97th Floor.

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