White Hat Link Building – Affiliate Summit West 2009 Session Report

Wow, what an Affiliate Summit last week.  With over 3200 attendees, this event in Las Vegas was the most well attended Affiliate Summit yet.  Congratulations to the summit team.  Overall I felt a wonderful job was done again and I definitely got a lot out of this trip, at least as much as the last few summits.  If you are in this industry and haven’t gone, make sure you make the next one.

I had one heck of a time getting home from Vegas, as I always seem to, so I need to apologize for this recap, and a few to follow, for taking so long to get published.  I noticed that a lot of people took a few days to recover from the event, I’m still going through emails.

On Monday I attended the White Hat Link Building Strategies: Beginner to Advanced session with Wil Reynolds, associate at Seer Interactive.  I always enjoy Wil’s presentations as he is engaging, entertaining and always seems to give more information than you thought you would get.  I always leave his presentations with a list of things I need to be doing, today, to make a difference for both my sites and my clients’.  This session was no different.  Keep him coming back Affiliate Summit.

Wil emphasized what many of us already know, and that is that links do matter as he walked us through many of the processes he uses to build links for his clients.  He emphasized one important factor to remember in all your link building activities and that is “everything in moderation”.  Whatever you link building plan is, be sure to not go overboard in any one direction, that is what tends to get you in trouble.

Wil started off by sharing a story of two companies’ search results and link building methods.  One was purchasing links for link building and had wonderful rankings, #1 for their terms.  But it was mostly through purchasing links, not building links through a more organic means.  The other company embarked on a white hat link building project, with Seer, building links right and organically, not buying links.  Everything was above board.  It took time, I think he said about 6 months, but the client soon gained top 5 search results for the same term while the “link buyer” dropped to page 50.  The change was dramatic.  Google rewarded the white hat methods and figured out the link buyer’s method and changed the results accordingly.  “If you are trying to game the system, you’ll have to keep doing that over and over again.  You’ll get into trouble time and time again”, Wil stated at the end of the story.

That was sort of a theme I have seen, and wanted to see more of, through various sessions and conferences over the years.  It goes to all our marketing efforts.  Build it right.  If you are trying to game the system, get around the system or just make a quick buck, you aren’t building something substantial that will weather the search engines’ changes and evolutions.  The top 5 ranking was harder to get and took longer, but it has stayed in those top rankings for much longer with very little work needed, Wil emphasized.  It pays to do it right.

Here are some other nuggets he shared:

  • Directory listings still work, don’t ignore them
  • Search for your industry specific directory links and sort them by PageRank to determine where to start
  • Search for your industry and words such as “add url”, “submit release”, “news”, “directory”, “blogs”, “list” and “guest posts”.  These results will help you find places you can submit articles and other items that usually offer a link back when you do
  • SoloSEO has a great tool at http://soloseo.com/tools/linksearch.html (Wil, would love to hear from you where you saw the benefits of this tool being.  I can’t read my notes :) )
  • DO EGO SEARCHES! It’s not vanity.  You need to know when people are talking about you so that you can engage them.
  • Check out Yahoo Pipes it’s a great tool
  • Google Alerts -these are also great tools for link building
  • Yahoo Answers – another great tool
  • Twitter Search - another great tool
  • Rule of thumb – Industry links are more valuable than generic links
  • Use Twitter to fix people’s problems.  You can set up searches within tools like TweetDeck to notify you of certain terms.  Terms like “care overheated” would be great for a company that fixes those problems.  You monitor for those terms and then help people.  They’ll check out who you are and may blog or otherwise share online your generosity and maybe a link.
  • Del.icio.us is a great tool for link buidling and also a topic that is worthy of a blog post in of itself
  • Some other tools for link building include:  Linkscape, Alexa, Technorati, Open Directory and Aiderss

Overall it was a great session and Wil shared so much information that I think I could write 4 or 5 blogs, and I may do just that.  The Affiliate Summit crew has made the presentations available, view White Hat Link Buildling to see the whole presentation.

If you attended, I would love to hear what you found to be the most important piece of info.  I really liked the demonstration of how they use Del.icio.us, definitely check that part out.

About Jamie Birch

Jamie E. Birch is the owner and principal of JEBCommerce. Almost ten years ago, he began as a Search Engine Guru and has extensive experience in all aspects of Internet Marketing, specializing in Affiliate Marketing Management. Excelling at performance marketing initiatives at several national, publicly traded retailers and online service providers, Jamie’s work has expanded and evolved. Today, it includes all facets of online marketing: email projects, paid search campaigns, customer retention programs and more. His clients range from Zappos to Doba.com. Jamie also blogs at NewsforAffiliates.com
You can find Jamie on Twitter:@JamieEBirch.

Twitter: JamieBcomm
  • http://www.hawkee.com Scott Aikin

    Some good advice, thanks for the recap Jaime. I didn't do any sessions this year, but I wish I had done this one.

  • http://jebcommerce.com Jamie Birch

    Thanks Scott. It was a great session and I hope that Wil shares some more stuff here on some of the tools he uses. I may put another post together about it. There was a lot more than I felt people would read here in one post.

  • http://affiliate-review.com/blog/ affiliateguru

    Thanks Jamie,

    That was a brilliant overview of the summit. I don't think I have any regrets now about not being able to attend this years summit. Although I would definitely like to get some more details on the summit sessions. Looking forward to your next post.

  • http://jebcommerce.com Jamie Birch

    Wow brilliant, I've had lots of words associated with me, but that has to be the first time brilliant was used. I don't tend to go to too many sessions myself. It usually isn't be design, I just find myself heading to a session and chatting with a bunch of people along the way. But this was one that was definitely worth. I'm glad you got a lot out of the recap!