Some Quick Tips For Removing Links

If someone told me 6 years ago when I started out in SEO that by 2013 I’d be doing a project to remove all the directory links I was building at the time, I’d tell them to shove their career when the sun don’t shine! Anyway, here we are and the reality is I’ve had a few projects, inherited from agencies who shall remain nameless, where there’s been no getting away from the need to do a cleanup operation on their link profile.

Its a horrible job and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone but if you do find yourself doing one of these link removal projects here’s a quick tip I’ve picked up that I haven’t seen in every other long boring blog post on the link removal subject. Continue reading

A New Way to Fake PageRank?

Lately I’ve noticed a few sites coming up for sale and selling link with ridiculously high Google PageRank. Most recently this PR10 on Flippa (copy of that page here for when the auction ends).

Now obviously the PageRank of virginia11.info is fake. It has virtually no links, was only registered a few months ago and doesn’t rank for anything. But its interesting that this seems to be a different type of PageRank faking than I’ve seen before. Continue reading

The blog network debacle and SEO misinformation

A few people have been asking me about this so I though I’d throw my opinions into the ring for what they’re worth (i.e not much)

I’m sure by now you know about all the ho-rah around build my rank et al getting de-indexed so I won’t bore you by regurgitating the details. All I would add to whats already been reported is that although for most people this kicked off last week in actual fact Google started failry aggressively removing sites from smaller networks a few weeks ago and they’re still doing it now so it’s not over. Continue reading

How to get 9000 free links on autopilot

How’s that for a spamtastic title! This is going to be a fun post about how I accidental built 9000 links from over 400 domains with virtually no work. You probably won’t want to do it for yourself but you might just learn something.

About a year ago in the early stages of setting up my first blog network I built a little article directory site. The idea was to use it as a sort of private ezine articles. Anyway I must have got sidetracked or forgotten about the domain because I never touched it again until about a month ago when I started getting emails from cpanel telling me I was running out of bandwidth on the server this thing was setup on. Strange I thought given its a site with no content and I presumed no traffic. So I checked out the site and to my surprise I did have content – 150,000 pages of it in fact…

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Optimising Internal Link Anchor Text with WordPress Menus

One of the points I suggested in my post on SEO theories which I can’t prove was that

“Internal links are more important than external links”

In this post I’m going to show you how to get much more value out of your internal linking using a simple technique, but first let me put some flesh on the bones of that statement above.

A site cannot function or rank without internal links. Don’t believe me? Try removing all your internal links from your site and just see what happens to your rankings. That’s why I say internal links are more important than external links- remove all the external links to a site and Google can still find and index your pages. Remove the internal links and Google will only index the pages which have external links pointing to them. Continue reading

My BrightonSEO presentation on Building Private Blog Networks

I spoke at the BrightonSEO conference last Friday on the slightly controversial topic of building blog networks for your link building campaigns. I have included my slides from the presentation below:

I really wanted to make this session as honest and practical as possible and realistically with a room full of 400 people of mixed abilities and backgrounds that wasn’t going to go down well with everyone. Judging by the feedback and emails though plenty of people found it useful which is good. For anyone who was offended by the subject matter I guess all I can say is if you don’t want to learn about SEO, don’t go to an SEO conference!

Big thanks to Kelvin and the Sitevis gang for putting on a great day.

Any questions on the presentation ask in the comments or get in touch john (at) ioptimal.co.uk

Finding similar sites for your link research

One of my favourite ways to build up a link building prospect list is to find a few sites which I think I can get a link from, either with a simple link request, a guest post, a payment or something more creative, then to dig around for similar sites which might also make good prospects.

Here’s a run down of a few tools you can use to make this research a bit easier. All these tools work best if you use them for general queries or themes rather than something very specific.

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Best of the Web Advertising

I’ve been using site sponsorship on botw.org recently and been getting some really good results so I thought I’d do a quick write up.

For those who don’t know Best of the Web is one of the oldest web directories about, and one of the few which have managed to maintain a decent editorial standard over the years and not succumbed to the temptation of selling spammy sitewide links or approving garbage sites just to make money. As a link building tactic I’m still a big fan of premium web directory submission, although I think the power of BOTW is probably a bit overstated by a lot of SEO’s (might have something to do with the lucrative affiliate program they run:-)

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Getting the edge with manual link building

When most people think of manual link building they think high volume, low quality, low skill labour. This is one of the reasons link buildings got a bit of a bad name and most SEO bloggers prefer to talk about more exciting stuff, like link bait.

The truth is though manual link building still works and works well. You just need an edge. Unfortunately that edge isn’t a piece of software. To get the edge you need to invest in that rarest of commodities- time.

Spending real time. Quality man hours on a link building campaign is what it takes to hit the next level with your link building. Let me give you some examples…
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Hiding links with the robots meta tag

If you’ve read my posts before you might of notice I’m a little paranoid about competitors mining my links. In part that’s because I don’t want them to see some of the stuff I’m up to! But more importantly when you’re working in competitive sectors like gambling or travel every link counts and the difference between ranking 1 or 2 could be a matter of a couple of decent links- and that can be worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.

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My anchor text strategy

I’ve read a couple of interesting posts in the last week which make opposing claims about what link factors seem to be the most powerful at the moment.

Tim from seowizz did some good research and concluded that anchor text is less important now than trust while The main takeaway from this post by Glen was that anchor text still seems to trump link quality. Both posts have their merits and are worth a read.

Now I don’t have the time or inclination to do any research for myself but the hypothesis I’m working to right now goes something like this:

The longer the query the greater the significance of anchor text as a ranking factor

Or to put it another way:

Anchor text still works real good if you’re taking on a longer (3 words or more) research query like ‘learn to play guitar’ but for a shorter search query like ‘car insurance’ or ‘holidays’ anchor text, while still important, isn’t enough to rank a page alone.

Now to be clear I’m not talking long and short tail keywords here, I’m talking about query length – the number of individual words used in the query. See my last post if you think these are the same thing!

Coming back to the two posts I mentioned at the start what I suspect caused the polar differences between the findings of each were the types of keywords those guys were looking at. Glen choose longer queries like ‘forex trading software’. Tim didn’t include the keywords he was looking at in his post but I assume he’s looked at high traffic terms which are more likely to be 1-2 word queries.

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When does it make sense to buy links

OK so I know the fashion for SEO blogs these days is bashing link buying or ‘outing’ sites or agencies who are doing it but allow me to play devils advocate for a minute. Forget about ‘ethics’, ‘outing’ or the threat of penalties for a couple of minutes and bare with me while I discuss the right time and place to buy links.

Despite what certain figures in the SEO world would like you to believe buying links is still a pretty integral part of the SEO process for many sites in competitive industries. I have no idea how much the text link industry is worth but I’d speculate hundreds of millions annually- after all Google see it as a big enough threat to their own ad income to have a whole department dedicated to trying to police it.

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Q: Can bad links hurt my site? A: Yes

This is one of those questions which comes up every now and again in the SEO community but tends to get skimmed over because there’s not a huge amount of conclusive information available on it.

“If a bad (spam) site links to me, will it damage my rankings by association?”

This naturally has to lead on to the more important question for SEO’s:

“If I buy bad links for my competitor will it damage their rankings and therefore help mine?”

I doubt many SEO’s haven’t ever though about ways to do a number on their competitors and mess up their rankings. As search results become more and more competitive, competitor sabotage is at some point going to become to the SEO world what click fraud is to paid search. Except with SEO you’ll have no Google account manager to run to when someones out to mess up your rankings. Let me start with a hypothesis:

Probably the fastest and easiest way to take down a site is by pointing spammy paid links at it.

There I said it.

This isn’t just speculation. I’m going to share with you a few examples of exactly how this could happen. In these examples I nobbled myself but I believe I could just as easily of nobbled a competitor with the exact same tactics. Hold tight as we cross over to the dark side people!

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