SES San Francisco, Live Blogging, Link Building Basics: Christoph Cemper, Debra Mastaler, Richard Stokes
By: Ben Wills |

This is one of those sessions where I think the presentations will be great, but especially the conversational synthesis that happens when you bring together three fantastic experts!

Note from Bill Hunt: This is going to be a basics session to get us primed for more advanced stuff later in the week.


Debra Mastaler

Link popularity is the biggest component for driving rankings.

"Link popularity is the measurement of the quantity and quality of the collective links that point to a page."

Four components of link popularity, broken down:
- Link Quantity; number of links pointing to a site.
- Link Quality; authority of host sites and the sites linking to them. (commonly known as PageRank)
- Anchor Text; anchor text of the link
- Relevance; the content on the pages and sites that link to you.

The first link to your site on a page matters the most. (the rest, not so much.)

What may affect your success: (the bad stuff)
- Control your link acquisition speed.
- Avoid repetitive anchor text
- Excessive reciprocal links
- Links to spammers or bad neighborhoods

Site-wide links and navigation links "are being devalued." Get links from content areas.

Balance link building with content creation. (don't get a bunch of links without new content being made...begs the question "why are they getting links?")

Guest post opportunities are the top opportunity for Mastaler and her team.


Christoph Cemper

Secret of link building (in huge, bold text on screen) "DOES NOT EXIST." LOL.

Seven Rules of Link Building that Christophs

  1. Relevant, In-content Links
  2. Domain Trust
  3. Natural Anchor Text
  4. NoFollow & Junk Links
  5. Strong & Juicy Links
  6. Avoid Spammy Neighborhoods

("Who here's familiar with co-citation?" I'm the only one to raise my hand. Interesting. I smell a co-citation blog post, soon!)

Christoph is showing some great slides with charts of backlink profiles of some top-ranking sites. I think he should share a lot more reports. Hint, hint, Christoph! ;)

* The same link has a different effect, depending on where the link links to.

Got 10 new links per month with the same anchor text for a site with thousands of links. This tripped the +30 filter and rankings dropped. Reversed links and came back.

Be sure to use alt text on images for relevance, etc. Do the same for widgets....

One of the best sources of link optimization: go back to your existing links!

Why try and get "junk" links? (ie: click here, interesting, etc as link text) Because it's part of a natural profile. Same with NoFollow!

Christoph defines juicy links as links that rank for keywords that are part of that URLs content. Nice!

One definition of a "bad neighborhood." Getting a link from a page that links to other sites that are marked as link buyers.

"We return random page ran data if we feel like to - it's fun!" - Matt Cutts


Richard Stokes

Going to be discussing: how do you scale link building?

"There are only about 900,000 active search advertisers."

Insight: The vast majority of the web is junk. If you eliminate junk links from backlink profiles, you see that "genuine links." are much lower. Link building strategies are about competing on great links, not junk links.

Link Prospect Buckets:
- Important/Hard to Get
- Easy-to-Get
- Junk

"In general, a link is good if it's going to be bringing you traffic....it doesn't matter what the search engines think of these links. You should go for them."

Outreach: How do you pursue a link?
- Use both phone and email
- Personal requests, no form letters!
- Slide changed, will try and track the rest down!

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