Like many in the SEO community, the closing of Yahoo Site Explorer was a difficult pill to swallow. YSE was one of the most powerful tools in helping search experts to deconstruct the most important factors of an increasingly complex algorithm.
For those of us who have spent the past several years using YSE to conduct competitive analyses, a few indefatigable qualities dominate a page’s likelihood to rank highly in search engines:
- Quality of the site linking.
- Quality of the page linking.
- Anchor text linking.
- Thematic relevance of the linking site.
Why So Many Link Building Efforts FailFailed link building efforts typically occur for one of two reasons:
- Links were not obtained.
- Only low quality links were generated (such comment, nofollow, and low quality directory links).
If we know (and we do) that link building is an effort in quality over quantity, why have we become so hell-bent on link numbers?
To overcome these misaligned incentives, it becomes critical to rethink link building activities. One of the best ways to do this is to apply group dynamics to the problem.
Make Link Building a Win-WinHistorically speaking, three of the most effective link building mechanisms all involve some principal of a win-win relationship. In each of these cases, the person giving the link actually receives a tangible benefit from the transaction:
- Free tools: The benefit of the supporting this tool is less financial and more psychic in nature as the linker has an incentive to contribute to its long-term health (assuming it provides strong value).
- Guest blogging: This provides traffic and worthwhile content for the blog host.
- Link purchases: The linker receives immediate financial benefit for providing the link. (Important note: this is against Google Webmaster Guidelines and, in rare cases, can result in website penalties or bans)
With these ideas in mind, the process of link building fundamentally shifts to one that is rooted in creating means the linker, not the transactional outcome of acquiring links.
Model the Benefit of a Top Ranking, Then Offer IncentivesNow that we’ve established the strategy and tactical methods required for effective link building, it’s important to tap a motivated individual within an organization (or agency) to execute properly.
One of the most powerful methods of achieving the results is to incentivize ranking for specific keywords. Paid incentives are a powerful way to reach ranking goals, and it’s frequently helpful to create payout phases such as the following:
- Payout 1: When keyword ranks on Page 2 of Google
- Payout 2: When keyword ranks on Page 1 of Google
- Payout 3: When keyword ranks in top 5 of Google
- Payout 4: When keyword ranks No. 1 on Google
To derive this value, you will need:
- Total monthly volume (exact match) of the keyword in Google AdWords.
- The average value ($) of an expected conversion.
- Click through rate for each position.