Link Building Tactics for Search Engine Optimization

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Link Building Tactics for Search Engine Optimization

August 2009

Chris Boggs, Rosetta

SEO Director

Twitter: @boggles

Chris Cotton,

Director of Internet Marketing

Twitter: @cgcotton

© Rosetta 2009

All Rights Reserved



Link building within the Search Engine
Optimization ecosystem

Authority, Relevancy, and the Concept of
“Natural” Link Growth

Overview of “Black/Grey hat” tactics not
approved by Search Engines

Introduction to three major vehicles for link



Syndication Tactics Brief SEO Overview

Conclusion and Questions


© Rosetta 2009

All Rights Reserved

Rosetta definition of search engine optimization


Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving pages of a Web site to increase visibility within
“organic” (algorithmically determined) search engine results for targeted, relevant terms.

The degree of difficulty is dependent upon the competitiveness of the industry. SEO efforts can be grouped into three primary

areas, each requiring continual refinement:

Technology and Web Site Structure

Web Site Content

Linking and Authority

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Linking Role within the SEO “Ecosystem”

As discussed, relevant and authoritative links are required to be
able to rank well within organic search engine result pages.

When “Spam” content ruled the search engine results
pages (SERPS), links did not rally matter.

Larry Page and Sergei Bryn introduced the PageRank
algorithm in the late 1990’s and founded Google Inc.,
which was named after the search engine they had
been working on from 1995 to 1998.

PageRank is similar to authority
determination used
with academic papers, which bases the relative value
of a study on a particular topic on the number of times
the study is referenced in other papers and studies.

Example of “white on white” text found by Google
Engineer Matt Cutts as late at 2006 and beyond:




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Authority, Relevancy, and the Concept of “Natural” Link Growth

As discussed, relevant and authoritative links are required to be able to rank well within organic search
engine result pages.

Relevancy was deemed to be more important after the initial PageRank algorithm was
tested, since sites that had high authority based on PageRank alone could rank easily for
relevant terms. The “Hilltop” algorithm was added to PageRank to help improve the
relevancy of search results.

Any site can gain authority for a particular subject, but typically a combination of content and
authoritative inbound links is required to rank well within the SERPS. Some Top level
Domains tend to have more authority, because of the many authoritative sites that link to
them. These often include: .GOV and .EDU extension domains, but a .ORG, .COM, .US, or
even .INFO domain can gain authority

“Natural” link growth refers to a typical pattern of gaining links to sites
and its deeper pages
over a certain period of time.

Most domains take years to reach 1000 inbound links. Larger brands supported by
other forms of marketing including Major Media and Viral or Word of Mouth Marketing
or sites based on catastrophic or monumental occurrences can gain links rapidly and
still seem “Natural.”

“Katrina” Effect

Obama Web sites

Completely new products or service offerings with rapid and widespread


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“Black/Grey hat” tactics not approved by Search Engines

Search engine provide guidelines for Webmasters wishing to
improve the rankings for their site’s pages within the SERPs. Within
these guidelines, there are a few primary themes related to inbound

Get relevant links pointed to your pages, and use
internal links to help provide thematic context to the
page being linked

Do not participate in “link schemes.”

Do not buy links solely for the purpose of improving
SERP positioning

Do not hide links on [ages or within code


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Directory Links

One of the fastest way to build relevant and sometimes authoritative links to a domain’s pages is
through the use of directory submissions.

Not to be confused with “submit your site to all the search engines,” directories are
edited and categorized lists of Web pages.

Directories usually are free or charge a fee for review, ranging from 9.95 annually to as
high as $299.00 annually or lifetime (Yahoo Directory and, respectively.

A combination of paid a free directories should be a part of any link development

Images depict some of the most trusted and valuable directories, as of august 2009.


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Link Requests

The most tenured and fruitful method of getting new inbound links or improving current inbound links
pointed to your site’s pages is to request them from other webmasters or marketing teams.

Existing link “reclamation”

The process of identifying current inbound links
( and seeing if they could be pointed to a better page or
reworded to be more descriptive of the site

Use of Sponsor/partnership relationships

Any business typically has partners,
sponsors, and even charity recipients. These relationships should be leveraged to add
or enhance links pointed to the domain

“Rolling up the sleeves” direct requests

SEO teams should research inbound links
pointed to competitors, by line
business or category, and go after those pages with
customized and polite requests for links.

No spam emails

No non
relevant sites

Relevancy is as important as authority

Think “degrees of separation”


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Links Through other Public Relations

Content Syndication

Content is typically the primary reason someone would want to link to a page. Sometimes, other Web sites host
syndicated content such as topical articles or press releases, and many of these content elements include outbound


Articles and Stubs

Although syndicating articles via
distribution does not appear to provide long
lasting link value, creating unique articles or stubs to
syndicate or “barter” with other relevant and
authoritative sites can be a valuable tactic. This
should take time and not be overdone.

Press Releases

Optimizing a press release with
important keywords and links pointed back to a
domain’s pages can yield very effective links,
although many of them will not be permanent.

Although links may not last forever, a
consistent amount of PR links within your
footprint should look “natural” to search

Some news sources do permanently archive
releases and their links.

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Many articles referenced can be found at:


© Rosetta 2009

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