Andew Goodman Disses Linking

Thread Title:
Andew Goodman Dissing Linking
Thread Description:

What do you guys think about link campaigns?

Andrew Goodman has this to say on his SEM2 Google Groups list

"Be it resolved that the SEO tactic of pursuing a linking 'campaign'
ain't what it used to be. Be it further resolved that if I were asked
to undertake such a campaign for a client, I'd opt for having Itchy
lower me into a bath of acid, followed by playing 80's electropop on my
prone skeleton like it were an electric xylophone, before I took on
such work."

The list thread goes on to talk about how it is pointless and/or damaging because of "reciprocal link filters" in Google and how they fall into deminishing returns.

As far as I can see getting lots of great links are paramount? The only ranking I can manage with on page factors alone are ones where nobody else have links either, but even then I never launch a site without at least one link from one of my existing sites to get the bugger indexed. In a competitive market there can't be enough directories to submit to compete with sites that don't care where they get their links and I can't see him doing the blog comment thing .. so how does he rank?

How much weight do you give the alleged "recip link filter"? Outside of directories and wiki/blog comments, where do you get your links?

On a slightly related note, the only advice or recommendation I have been given regarding the "google sandbox" (or what WMW seem to call the "deep freeze" or "non-existant mythical filter" depending on who you read ) is to get a link from an authority. If your site is purely to sell a product, how can you do identify an authority and get a link off them without some sort of payment or reciprocal arrangement?

It seems to me reciprocal linking is what TBL had in mind for the web before Google was thought of, it would seem a shame to me if they penalised sites that do so :O(


If all he's link building for

If all he's link building for is recip links, then no wonder he would rather have an acid bath. :)

It's a far more complex field than that, IMO. Best option - but requires long term thinking - is something like an IBLN.


In Bound Link Network?

Yep - search for IBLN on Goog

Yep - search for IBLN on Google...

Oh dear....

Brian, no need to set these things up mate. If you have a relevant link go right ahead and post it: Independant Backlink Networks


Link Networks seem most straightforward

Even though I have been advised I am taking a risk, I have started creating a lot of small sites and blogs in order to create my own links, at least then I have control. I am helped by having a host who is both open to ..uh.. unconventional marketing approaches but also has access to multiple bandwidth providers and IP address ranges :O)

I started this approach when researching PR (as a way of attracting voluntary inbounds) before I was aware just how important links were over and above pagerank.

It's a lot of work and slow though creating real sites with unique content, I have bought a lot more domains than I can sensibly see myself using. Also made mistake of buying them all from same company under my own name - d'oh. I see people alleging Google use WHOIS to catch networks?

My most recent idea is to get friends and family on board and setting them up blogs and community sites. I am hoping these sites will also attract traffic naturally without relying on SERPs and ads..

No probs, Nick - and that's t

No probs, Nick - and that's the way I go for it, too, Chris. :)

You can hide publication of ownership in a number of places - for top levels places like RegisterFly and Enom offer that for a little extra. Also, for some national domains you can opt-out for free.

Personally, I like to opt out anyway, really just on the issue of privacy. I managed to extremely annoy a number of neo-Nazis in mainland Europe, so these days I try to view personal privacy with extra care, where possible. :)

its all relative to how much $$$ your time is worth...

I think Andrew prefers the PPC side because it is instantly trackable and it pre filters his clients to be people with money...after all, you don't pay-per-click without having money to spend.

Him saying that link building is not worth doing would be like some other SEOs saying PPC is overpriced.

We all justify what we do as being the good and right way to do things, and in that nature we tend to diminish the value of / increase the complexity of some competing things. It fortifies the concept that we are doing the right thing and it helps reenforces our self worth.

I don't have the time to do lots of general tit for tat reciprocal linking and I can't justify the fees I would charge someone to do it. So is link trading complete rubbish? Probably not, it is just not worth it for me to do it.

I suspect that Andrew views link building and many other SEO processes in that manner. So long as you can afford it, it's quicker and easier just to pay for the ads.

The way I look at link building is like a two step process
1.) you want to establish a broad base of links from a wide variety of sites to help ensure your site stays in the index and gets well indexed (people do this via link trading, directories, blog spam, press releases, articles, etc)
2.) you want to get links from lots of on topic pages to help further improve your relevancy scores. (people do this via link trading, articles, asking for links, renting ad space, creating content worth of citation, etc)

Huh, Aaron?

Him saying that link building is not worth doing would be like some other SEOs saying PPC is overpriced.

Where did he say that? He said that HE himself wouldn't want to do one, not that they weren't worth doing.

Just my quick 2p worth.....

.. or 2c worth depending on where you are reading this from...


I'll leave the recip stuff alone for a moment and reply with my thoughts tomorrow when I hit the office but I just wanted to put the argument in place (with a non coloured SEO hat on) for not using an anonymising service like that which Registerfly, Enom Go Daddy etc offer.

Think Hiltop, think relationships, think relationships again and think relationships once more. By using the anon service you are instantly altering your DNA by placing yourself into a massive family of related hosts with the same WHOIS info.

That is of course if you believe WHOIS info matters. I do :)

Hi Jill feel like pulling

Hi Jill

feel like pulling any line out of context to prove your own points if you must, but what is the header of that post of mine

"its all relative to how much $$$ your time is worth..."

picky picky picky

Let's move on shall we....

Jason, im all ears about relationships come tomorrow morning :)

As for recips, it's all about how you do it as far as i can see - i'll state my usual caveat before i continue -- im not a techy seo! :)

From what i observe with this site and other blog like sites (as one good example) that link back and forth all the time with similar sites (take me and seobook for starters) - they certainly appear to count.

This suggests to me the rather obvious: If links are in the body text, of individual posts rather than listed in a whole group of links on a page called {shudder} links.html or whatever, they work!

Anyone doing recip linking needs to copy what they see occur naturally. Although many people may put links.html or some other such nonsense on their site with no thought to seo at all, most do have that notion im sure - i put you on my links page and you put me on yours ok? - pfff...

Wow, such a simple concept made so confusing - anyone get what i mean?

It's hardly cutting edge seo thinking but it is true for recips as far as i can see...

4-letter word starting with F

I've just read through this thread and I have to say I'm just amazed that I haven't seen the word "farm" anywhere on the page. I even did a search on the page just to make sure I hadn't overlooked it.


What's agriculture got to do with link building qwerty?

just to clarify that Andrew w

just to clarify that Andrew was friendly with his post and the point of my post is that often we justify our own actions and time is a cost that can not be ignored.

Andrew does often write some of the more thought provoking stuff that builds linkage data naturally too. Its just that his time is probably too valuable to participate in many link building schemes.

This suggests to me the rathe

This suggests to me the rather obvious: If links are in the body text, of individual posts rather than listed in a whole group of links on a page called {shudder} links.html or whatever, they work!

Now if your CSS is up to snuff you can place the recips in a nice div in the middle of the text and then visually have them appear at the bottom, side, or anywhere else for that matter.

Andrew Is Not Alone Among SEOs

There is a growing school of thought among search engine optimizers (i.e., SEOs) which says that optimizing for "organic" search results is a fool's errand. This has not been my experience, but I am happy to see that more and more SEOs are giving up on organic search, as this bodes well for both me and my clients. Since Andrew has hidden the content of his Google Group from the prying eyes of non-members, I cannot view his full commentary, but (based on the excerpts of his commentary quoted above) he appears to be dismissing the effectiveness of link exchange as a technique for building Google PageRank. *IF* this is Andrew's position, he's dead wrong. Google's algorithm is remarkably easy to game, as has been proven by more than one unscrupulous SEO. (See, e.g., How to beat Google - a proven case study.) Accordingly, provided that you don't kill the goose that lays the golden eggs, a strategy of link exchange can be a very effective way of increasing your Google PageRank and (thus) the cost of implementing such a strategy can be justified by the obvious returns that you can obtain on your investments.

> but I am happy to see that

> but I am happy to see that more and more SEOs are giving up on organic search

I am just happy that the same clients call me up and get what they want, need and deserve with me. As long as I can create millions (yes, millions) of very relevant and well converting visitors with organic SEO I am pretty sure they will stick with me :)

I don't know of any company that do NOT want to be in the organic results but I do know quite a few (so called) SEOs that are just not good enough to stand the competition anymore. Sorry for them, good for me.

I never quite understand

why ppc comes into the category of SEO anyway? PPC is advertising, or you could put it into marketing if you want to stretch a point, but it really does require a different skillset than organic SEO and doesn't need any optimisation at all.

While I'm not saying one person can't do both it's the strange belief that they achieve the same thing that bugs me, PR and advertising compliment each other - if we manage to get a good editorial in a sunday supplement then generally that's backed up by a paid for ad on specifics in the same supplement - principals don't totally change because it's online and not print and either can work on their own but you're stupid to ignore the other.

Time for Jason waffling....

... so here I go :)

I think I made my points clear on anon domain registrations above but just to make sure I made my point it's simple. "Don't do it!"

OK, enough of that, let's chat about reciprocal linking.

Think back in time (pre Google) and possibly before you got involved in SEO. You built sites for fun. Throwing up content about stuff you were passionate about, writing about stuff that mattered to you. You linked to sites that angered you, you linked to pages thats interested you.

That was the old, natural way to link sites. It was the web in its purest form. Search engines found you via this web of links and they thanked us for it. The search engines didn't call their code a spider for nothing!

But times changed and SEOers started to understand that money can be earnt from building sites and that in getting that traffic (not targetted at the time) certain elements on a page meant more than others and links helped you get found!

It was common for you to search for "blue widgets", see a site in the listings that looked like the perfect blue widgets resource and end up seeing a "XXX purple headed widgets" site when you clicked on the SERP link. Things had to change and they did.

Larry and Brin entered the game!

We all know what happened and what it meant for a while. Pagerank mattered and to get it you needed links, links and more links. Any old link would do, your sole and only goal was to see that little green bar move ever skywards. The higher it went the more traffic you'd get. It was relatively simple. Spam, swap, buy, build more pages, it didn't seem to matter how you got them as long as you did. Links were the lifeblood of business online.

The old reciprocal link model was simple. You gimme a link, and I'll give you one back. We were bastardising the old pure form of how we used to build sites. Don't get me wrong here. I did it too :)

Google was being played and some of us played her quite well but when all is said and done the (relatively) easy gravy train wasn't going to allow us such an easy ride forever.

Now this is where I differ from many others. I believe Hilltop came to G's rescue, building upon the PR algo. It cleaned (some would say wiped) out the SERPs giving G more time, and freeing resources to look at some of the smaller (a relative term)issues that has to be resolved.

Stuff like a lot of the automated and semi automated directory style sites that seemed to appear out of thin air after everyone seemed to think that these things were as old fashioned as Penny Farthing bicycles

It could be said that these weren't quality sites in their own right or even meant to be. They were simply people trying to legitimise their link farms

LOADS of tools came out trying to assist the webmaster including home rolled, and commercial applications such as Arelis etc.

I should say I am a member of SEM2 so I do get to see the whole threads in all their light but choice not to reply there but here in repsonse to the discussion. This is no way belittling SEM2, as it's a great resource I just feel that on this topic TW is the right place to air my views.

Anyway I am digressing.....

If you were to ask me the simple question of "Is reciprocal linking dead?" then I would have to give a weird and fence sitting answer.

"ish" is what I would say.

Firstly let's look at our target search engine and presume it is Google and not Y, M or A.

If you reciprocal link in the old directory style fashion then I wouldn't waste my time.

Whereas if you reciprocal link in a more organic and natural manner such as as Nick infers then I think you are onto a winner.

Combine that style of swapping pages with a link to it, rather than just swapping links whilst aiming for a themed site (page will already be themed as the content is yours)

If you keep it natural, on topic and valueable to the reader and the site owner then you can find yourself in the enviable position of not solely swapping links, but delivering some real value to humans as well as spiders whilst still doing it in a manner that can be automated.

This linking game is bloody hard!

So, apart from the obvious buttonpushing threadwatchers who have the technology to automate on grand scale (and as Arthur Clarke says, any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic :O) ), how do you get your links? Do you outsource, build a network of sites, both? Do you buy links? Request reciprocals? Do you have your own directory or directories? Do you pay for listings in directories? Do you post to blog comments and forums with a signature?

(Great post JasonD BTW, nice one!)

Chrisgarett, figure out what

Chrisgarett, figure out what your own time is worth and them go with a selection of ways that gives you the best results for the lowest price (all together - including YOUR time).

For some sites I have had VERY good results with virtual elements - stuff thousands of people link to because they just want to (and because it's cool). If you are creative enough this can be very cheap - cheape on a per link basis than anything else.

Virtual Elements?

Things people like to link to, do you mean like virals, jokes, b3ta sort of stuff?

Chrisgarett, there is not fac

Chrisgarett, there is not a fact list for this sort of link building. It takes real creativity to work it out. Maybe thats why so few "SEOs" are involved in it :)

Basically, I define "virtual elements" as elemtns that create a strong word of mouth effect and make people want to link and make people that see those links add a link too. A self generating machine of human and natural links. Trust me, when you get it right it really rocks!

I think I understand

Things like "which lord of the rings character are you" and stuff - I have done a lot of stuff like that for clients (mainly for PR in the traditional sense) and also a large online survey (people, especially newspapers like to link to the results).

This the sort of stuff you mean?

Chris, this "might" be what Mikkel means

Prior to the US election was blocked to all visitors outside the US.

I fixed that problem for non US visitors and it received a fair amount of interest. Check

Find a problem and fix it is one way to go down the virtual elements route

Yes, exactly that sort of thi

Yes, exactly that sort of things. Only, for link building purpose you need to add to the viral ffect an some kind of (usually human factor) incentive to add the link - and have people that see that link add it too.

I usually split up viral elements up in two groups:

- Short term elements: Such as single jokes and fun, games and evets - and the US election thing etc ...

- Long term elements: Such as cool tools (for example the Marketleap tools - like them or not, the linking works!), free web applications and scripts, free online services etc ...

Both groups can be good. You just have to be realistic about what grouo your idea fits into - and then go 100% for that.

what recip link filter?

Maybe we have a great weight that is going to crash on our heads as we have been doing recips for years now and it works fine. Especially on old sites. Stick up a new page and get links, works a treat.

I spotted the weakness at a wmw conference, all the webmasters said" I can't stand getting links". From that time on I realised that I could have an advantage over some lazy couch potato webmaster. Let's face it, content is easy to make. The determining factor has to be something that sets 10 similar pages apart. Now and for the forseeable future that will be links. Infact, you could argue that recips may count more with all the blogspam around. At least there was an equitable trade and the SE's know that you are voting for each other rather than enetering a random comment on someones blog.

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