To be successful on the Web, you have to build links the right way. It's that right way that is so tricky however. Website Magazine quizzed Tim Langmeir of The SEO Agency about all things link related (time related to link projects, emulating natural growth and shifts in ranking positions) and the answers were interesting.
Website Magazine (WM): How much time should be spent on internal linking structure versus external linking?
Normally Internal linking will be addressed before a large external links campaign begins. I try to keep each page of a clients site with a set number of internal links, whether they are Anchor Text Links or they are just resource reciprocal or one way links set up for the different pages they represent within the clients website. At this point I would focus 90% of a linking strategy on a natural emulation of permanent links. Because of the recent updates from Google most of the "OLD SCHOOL" links are devalued because of the nature of the links and the method in which they were purchased, example - Text Link Ads. Purchased links are going to have an identifier that Google is trying to measure to get the real value of the links. Some of the more obvious are text links Ads in a grey box that have just an anchor text link, these ads are now old school and definitely catch able and really don't represent a true measure of link popularity or the value of the site with them. Not to pound on Text Links as they do have a very narrow application these days, however, I have not found a need for them and typically will not suggest them unless they represent less then 3% of total links value and diversity.
(WM): What are some tactics to emulate natural/organic growth to build link popularity?
I will explain these in detail in the next Website Magazine but I can say that we have formulated a link inclusion strategy that emulates natural growth and targets markets as opposed to industry related or General Internet Directory. As an example, by initiating a market campaign to build links we have proved that diversity will out perform standard links by about 50 to 100 to 1. The main reason is that most links have very little Google value and yet they are prevalent amongst the most competitive Websites in very aggressive industries. Example, if ten 1st page sites in Google have similar numbers of links then the value of those links is measured. Because of the updates Google has been doing and the continued effort to stop websites buying Page Rank I have noticed very little change for sites using the same strategy for link inclusion but they have all been devalued, so everyone feels no major sift in rankings unless the link inclusion strategy is abused as happened to any sites massively abusing Text Links or other automated Negative link inclusion.
There are about ten strategies that I focus on with most clients and that is a diverse set of links and a market we penetrate with a definite goal for that infiltration. For instance, let's say a window company is selling a new product that increases energy efficiency and was created by the nanotechnology industry. A real world revolution is that "NanoFilms" have been created that allow windows to be Solar Collectors and migrate from older technology with silicon. From a links point of view we would build links for the window company and grow links within that industry faster then any competitor because of a few methods we use to get inclusion. Now the window company has links in nanotechnology and in solar energy as well as industry related news sites or offline news by industry. If you just focus on industry related you are setting yourself up for limited value and more effort needed at some point. Another method is metro-Inclusion, this allows us to get very regional specific or global for that matter and then we get the most localized saturation but again this is based on a market initiative that we are aggressively looking to get inclusion within.
(WM): Can shifts in ranking position caused by Google Updates be avoided or the negative impact minimized?
Yes, and because the links playing field has been and continues to be devalued thru old school techniques we are now at generation two for implementation of a strong natural links campaign. Text Links are beatable all day long and I love to see my competitors with an abundance of them because I know they are shifty sites and won't be my competition for long. The main goal should be to continue to build quality and diverse links as they represent a more natural variety and that is very hard to beat. I have seen brand new sites on the first page of Google in three months with this strategy and I have seen sites similar in aggressive environments outperform their competitors 100 to 1 with this strategy and it keeps the distance in those trying to outrank you. In the future this is going to be a more developed and continuous strategy for link inclusion but right now the playing field is wide open and many of my competitors are just down the wrong road,
Digital marketing executive with proven experience in all aspects of search engine optimization (SEO), performance-based advertising, consumer-generated/social media, email marketing, lead generation, Web design, usability, and analytics. - 20-year Internet marketing veteran, currently serving as the Digital Marketing Campaign Manager at Antenna Group (formerly Chicago Digital). - Former Editor-In-Chief of Website Magazine, and a regular speaker on Web technology digital marketing strategy - Author of several books on digital marketing Including Web 360: The Fundamentals of Web Success; Affiliate 360: The Fundamentals of Performance Marketing; Domains 360: The Fundamentals of Buying & Selling Domain Names, and SEO 360: The Fundamentals of Search Engine Optimization.