Link Building Basics at SES London 2009

Wed 18 February 2009 21:39, Pieter Verbeke

Link Building Basics at SES London 2009

Like most of us already know, links are the core to the internet. In the session ‘Link building basics’ we’ve discovered how to use these links to obtain better rankings in the search engines and increase the traffic to our site. Panellists in these session were Kevin Newcomb, Peter van der Graaf, Debra Mastaler, Jonathan Stewart and Brian Turner.

Debra Mastaler, President of Alliance-Link mainly focuses on providing custom link building campaigns and link training. She shared some of her ideas on the concept of link popularity and link influence:


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Understanding link popularity:
What is link popularity, why links are valuable.
Mastaler starts with a short history of the internet: Links are the core to the Internet. All search engines now use link popularity to produce better results. Links popularity measures the quanity and quality of links pointing to a website.

According to Mastaler, there are 4 Factors of Link Building:

  1. Link Quantity, Number of Links.
  2. Link Quality, Authority passed to the site (Google PageRank).
  3. Anchor Text, Using phrases adds weight to the keyword.
  4. Link Relevance, Get links from related sites.

Links from Authority Sites:

  • Get links from sites that rank well within your niche. These links are golden.

Link factors to avoid:

  • Control your rate of link acquisition (build slowly, increase content, etc...)
  • Don’t get too many links too fast

For optimal success:
- Place links in content areas, not just navigational and footer areas.
- Use redirect 301

Jonathan Stewart, Head of Natural Search for iCrossing UK manages a team of natural search and link analysts, spending a good part of his time keeping ahead of the changes in the industry and ensuring that the company adheres to acceptable practice. Stewart gave us the following insights:

Why are links good and what are good links:

  • Links are votes. They increase the popularity of your site.
  • A good link is all about quality (dofollow, age of link, PageRank, Anchor text, position of the link and relevance)

How to get those good links?

  • Use directories, but make sure the quality of the directories is good.
  • Perform link reconfiguration (For instance links like 'click here'). Contact webmasters to change the link. Give them a compelling reason.
  • Use press releases to gain links. Beware, Google only uses the first anchor text.
  • Create compelling content. Content is still definitely King!



Peter van der Graaf, Advanced Search Specialist for Netsociety now focuses mainly on influencing peoples' behavior so that they spread the correct messages in order to be picked up by the search engines. These were his most important tips:

According to Peter, all you need is a good approach.

Stages in link building:

1. Preparation and research

  • How natural and full is your link profile?
  • What makes the competition stand out?
  • Which possible link partners can close the gap?
  • Can these be grouped by possible approaches?

2. Link bait creation

  • Match ingredients to grouped link potentials. Provide content or tools to websites, trade links with other sites or use shocking content to attract links.

3. Distribution

  • Use linkable content.
  • Be personal in emails to webmasters and possible link partners.
  • Distribute through reputable news or social sources.
  • Spread virally.

4. Continuing relationship with link partner

  • Link value keeps adding up, so don't lose them

Brian Turner, Offpage Optimisation Specialist of Propero Digital has been a specialist link development expert for more than five years, implementing a range of evolving strategies to cater for user-centric models of link building, working on the cutting edge of the internet. These were his ideas about link building:

  • All the things you know about links are true.
  • Link building cannot be exercised as a seperate thing.
  • The best links engage conversation.
  • Connect with the social web.
  • Communicate and you will recieve links automatically.


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