SES Toronto 2010: Link Building Basics

Andrew Goodman, Page Zero Media

Jeff Quipp, Search Engine People

It seems to be a common trend at SES Toronto this year that moderators/speakers have been backing out of their commitments at the last minute. In this case it was Shari Thurow from Omni Marketing Interactive replaced by Andrew Goodman of Page Zero Media.

This presentation was a solo presentation given by Jeff Quipp at Search Engine People and he put on a good show!

Jeff started out his presentation with a quick definition of linkbuilding. Definition: Links are other sites choosing to link to your websites. Google Webmaster tools seems to be on the same page by saying that “In general webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by increasing the number of high quality sites pointing to their pages/domain.
SEO is divided into 2 main components:

  1. Onsite – Search engines rate websites on their onsite perfomance and have a maximum finite score.
  2. Offsite – Search engines do not have a maximum finite score when it comes to offsite work.

This creates a Google Paradox.

How important are links?

SEO’s began to linkbuild former President George Bush’s profile page within the White House website and was successful to rank it for the term miserable failure without having any on page content that aimed at the keyword “miserable failure” or anything close to it.
Link factors:

  • Quantity – equates links to votes (more links = more votes) – Google has evolved since then.
  • Quantity of sites linking in.
  • Quality of links – more authoritative websites carry heavier votes when linking out to external websites and therefore pass on more trust and authority to linked websites than less authoritative sites.
  • Anchor text – most important element (example of ranking for the term “miserable failure”)

Link Philosphies:

  1. Build links – contact suppliers, clients complementary businesses and ask them to link to you with appropriate anchor text.
  2. Article syndication – write an article, submit it to a syndication service, other sites will find your article and could link back… (not the best strategy but good for going after low competitive terms)
  3. Reciprocal linking – as long as you keep a reasonable amount of your links reciprocal it remains a good practice. If overdone you can get a spam penalty from Google or other search engines.
  4. Directory submissions – Yahoo directory, DMOZ, still have value while the rest not so much. Local directories on the other hand seem to remain valid and pass link juice mainly because their aren’t many companies listed and each company is located within that one city/state.
  5. Blog commenting – questionable tactic that still works but is not recommended since it can be considered as SPAM. Stay away from automated tools and  commenting with specific anchor texts if you are leaving not genuine comments.
  6. Guest posting – infinite amount of sites looking for guest bloggers and you should enter site:topic “guest post” into a search engine to find a list of websites who might be interested in having you as a guest blogger. Be sure when contacting websites for a guest post to approach them with an idea. Typically, the guest blogger would receive credit for the guest post in the byline or within the guest post.

Linkbuilding Techniques


  1. Conceive a useful concept
  2. Construct widget
  3. Ensure textlink beneath widget

Awards & Badges

  1. Find relevant blogs
  2. Read their posts
  3. Begin commenting & ask them to host your badge/award. (example: top 20 most beautiful hospitals)

Search competitors links

  1. Use yahoo site explorer or majestic seo to see the sites linking to you or your competitors.

Buying Links

  1. Link buying networks
  2. Offer sites money
  3. Offer sites “in-kind” trades

When you buy links you get full control but need to be very careful and remain under the radar since buying links can result in your site being heavily penalized or banned from the search engines.

Pros & Cons of linkbuilding


  • Good control of anchor
  • Greater ability to focus on links on specific page
  • Good anchor text variation
  • Can generate large quantities of links


  • Difficult to create
  • Time consuming
  • Powers that be within a company have no time
  • Specific content may/may not attract links

So that’s pretty much it for Jeff’s presentation on Linkbuilding for beginners.

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