Link Building 500


“If you ain’t first, you’re last.” – Ricky Bobby, Talladega Nights

As any quality SEO company will tell you, link building is crucial to any successful SEO campaign. Of course your on-site optimization needs to be done right – keyword density, the right titles and so forth, but without links you are left with a site no one will ever find via the search engines.

At Big Oak SEO link building is part of the monthly work we do for our clients, and it is mandatory. Often I will talk with unhappy clients coming to us from other SEO companies, and they will complain, rightly so, about the fact that they spent thousands of dollars with little to show for it. My first question is, what type of link building did they do? A moment of silence usually follows and then they respond, “I’m not sure,” or “None.” Well, besides the fact that every client should know exactly what their SEO company is doing, I am shocked that any true company who claims to be providing SEO services is not heavily involved in link building.

After a few minutes of sleuthing it is easy to see that little to no link building was done and the client was basically paying for a ranking report to be run every month. Too many suspect “SEO companies” rely on an initial optimization and then cross their fingers and hope for the best. Or, more likely, they just don’t care and look for the next desperate site owner to come along. A churn and burn mentality is prevalent amongst the bad apples in the SEO industry.

Why is this? I think it is this way because link building, or more precisely, link finding is hard work and takes a lot of time. A successful SEO campaign needs to include link building which increases time and money. Money the client doesn’t want to pay. So, the SEO company gives a low price to win the work and then does site optimization and runs reports for 3 or 6 months until the site owner fires them. Meanwhile, 6 more unknowing clients sign up and the insidious scam repeats itself.

Before you hire a search engine optimization firm, be sure they are doing the hard work – securing quality links to your site on a consistent basis. The focus of this post does not allow me to get into the types of links, but quality counts, so be sure they are building links that will help your rankings. I wrote a post on the perfect link if you are interested.

We joke in this month’s SEO comic, The Link Building 500, that this process can take on a race-like mentality and be grueling, much like a NASCAR race, but that comparison doesn’t lie far from the truth. Usually the site with the best links and the most links wins the race to the top of the search results. But getting to the winner’s circle can take a lot of laps and that means larger budgets.

If you are an SEO company don’t insult or set up your clients for bad results; be up front and let them know that links will need to be created and it will increase the costs. If you are looking for an SEO company, I would say give us a call at 804.741.6776, but whoever you choose, be sure a link building plan is in place. Your site’s success will depend on it.

Shell Harris

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8 Responses to “Link Building 500”

  1. Fred Brapson says:

    Genius! Looks fun. I wish I could have participated. The hot dog and giant finger were nice touches. How did the characters decide who was going to participate in the race? Rosie Jones always has an intense look on her face in every comic. She’s not quite sane is she.

  2. Suthnautr says:

    You said it! “Link building, or more precisely, link finding is hard work and takes a lot of time. A successful SEO campaign needs to include link building which increases time and money. Money the client doesnโ€™t want to pay. So, the SEO company gives a low price to win the work and then does site optimization and runs reports for 3 or 6 months until the site owner fires them. Meanwhile, 6 more unknowing clients sign up and the insidious scam repeats itself.”

    Unfortunately in the real world, there is the Silver Package, the Gold Package and the Platinum Package – and link building, if it’s outside of the customer’s financial range, well, caveat emptor only applies to those who haven’t been warned!

    With the amount of time and work involved in link building the price of optimization easily escalates thousands of dollars. I inform my clients of the inordinate importance of inbound links, explain that with the right content on their sites (industry related direct to consumer news releases created by them or their staff members at least twice a week) or by providing some other valuable service (such as connecting contractors with consumers [B2C] and businesses with other businesses [B2B] there’s little chance their sites will draw very many natural links to themselves any time soon.

    So the economy sucks and they want to enter an economy SEO job into the Indy 500 of the Business Internet Super-Highway race to success. Scamming them isn’t the problem – they have been given the knowledge, they have been told the features and benefits and still refuse to meet the required costs involved.

    You say that “Too many suspect ‘SEO companies’ rely on an initial optimization…” This is indeed known as initial optimization because it is the on-site root of what needs to be done first, and there’s a lot of it: keyword analysis, .htaccess editing, robots.txt, page rank sculpting with nofollows, marketing copy, conversion forms, e-newsletter work dealing with customized landing pages, statistical testing of e-newsletter results such as what topic in the e-newsletter gets opened most, which body copy in the e-newsletter gets the most clicks to open up the actual landing page, and which version of the landing page gets the most conversions – just to complete one single e-newsletter and test it. Then there are the Web site analytics. What conversions are taking place on which pages and what can be tweaked to make the most difference, is there a form so visitors can inform the SEO what is wrong with the site so those things can be addressed over time through further analytics, what things are visitors typing into the on-site search engine most often that they are looking for that they don’t find so some section(s) can be added. And on and on. Hardly a scam. Then there are the press releases to the online press release sites – one release to 20 press release sites easily takes hours with new accounts set up for each site owner, each release needing to be formatted slightly differently for each one, different headlines, different subheadlines (due mostly to varying length requirements – some have a 125 character rule, others have a 250 character rule) and so on, and so forth.

    A lot of this is supposed to be carried out by the business owner – e-newsletters and direct to consumer news releases need to be written out by an expert in the company, but too often what we know works meets with a blank stare and total indifference to the task. Overcoming the attitudinal inherency of client indifference is a huge problem – so the work piles up and gets added on – and no link building has been paid for.

    I agree with you 100% about the scammers out there, the hit them up and run mentality. It’s prevalent. It hurts my rates – they’re used to getting robbed so why pay more to get robbed for the fifth time in a row?

    If and when I get a client who needs good press releases, SEO including inbound link building, I parse it out to different people who are better than me and pay them exactly what they want – no markups to my clients, and no cuts in pay to the people doing the releases or links. Meanwhile, I just hope and pray I can get to the businesses seeking real SEO before they lose their initial budgets so I can get it done right the first time.

    Thanks for a good article. I hope a lot of people read it and wake up.

  3. peterK says:

    Just loved this article and great cartoon. You pinpoint some important things here. Cheers.

  4. Brad West says:

    There is a weird thing about linking, It’s totally necessary. Say you hired and had all the knowledge and for site to build the best optimized and tricked out site. You now own the most beautiful kingdom in the world, all I can say is enjoy it because no one else will get the chance to. You see you had a major oversight and built no roads to your kingdom so no one else can get there.

    Once you realize this, and allot of people don’t you need a plan to build your roads. Bumpy dirt road, or superhighway it is your choice. But educate yourself linking is a must.

    Brad West ~ onomoney

    I am still overwhelmed with the amount of people have no clue.

  5. Roy says:

    Back in the days, what you didn’t want is link to others.. the risk of letting visitors go to other sites was an important issue. Now these modern SEO years we’ve learned to see link building as a part of our SEO strategy but also as a way to make partnerships work over the www. Sure were still putting ourselves to the test to get the most high pr backlinks as possible but the need to broaden our network by making good outgoing links is also very important. The meaning of sharing is to contribute to each other efforts. It’s better to look and say.. “Wow he is doing great things” or keeping our mount shut ant talk about how we doing it ourselves.

    But still it is a sort of Rat race out there ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. web design says:

    Another I can reason I know is that SEO are sometime technical people. They don’t know how to explain to a client the work scope and fee that could cost the client. Often when clients says “I can easily get someone else to do it for a cheaper price” the seo don’t know how to counter that.

    The seo wanted the money and agree to the low price and thus “you get what you paid for” service is render.

  7. Alex Ray says:

    I found this article very useful. The should always demand a right money for your hard efforts.
    You need to be a very much technical person in SEO, but you must be good analyzer.

    Building back links is also equally important but the links must be high quality. As well as we can perform directory submission & article submission which will provide us a one way back link.

  8. Eyewebmaster says:

    We agree that link building is one important aspect to get good rankings in the search engines.. But sometimes we need to be careful in doing it. ๐Ÿ™‚