Matt, I am starting to believe that the entire Google Webspam Team lives in some kind of unicorn land. Why? Because you keep saying that quality content is the only thing I need to get natural links to my sites.
Sure, that might be true for some niche markets but not for the more competitive search terms or commercial verticals.
First of all, let me tell you that I like your videos on Youtube. They provide some good insights and value, but a lot of that stuff is extremely hard to apply in the real world (in some cases impossible).
People that own successful websites are well aware of how valuable their links are. They don’t want to link to you just because you got good content.
In fact, chances are that if you have better content than them they would like to see you disappear and buried in the serps so that they don’t have to compete with you. This leads to another very disturbing trend I recently talked about (Matt, you should read that post) which is the “you scratch my back, I scratch yours” bullshit.
In my opinion, it prevents good content from being seen.
Webmasters want to know “what’s in it for them?” before they link to you. The Adwords team is already aware of that concept but the search team seems to be running a little behind.
Matt, please explain how someone with limited resources or budget can get natural links from already established sites in a highly competitive market?
Nobody will link to it if they can’t find it. So how do you get it seen? Maybe if it ranked for key phrases that get traffic someone would link to it naturally, but wait…that’s a catch 22! Not to mention that they would also want something in return.
So I went to your Youtube channel and found one of your videos on how to get backlinks.
Let’s analyze it, shall we?
Tip #1 – Controversial Posts
I actually decided to try it out and it sort of worked, but it wouldn’t have worked if I didn’t pull some strings. It wouldn’t have worked if I didn’t already have some traffic, or if I didn’t post it on a forum, or if I didn’t do a press release about it. Also, I don’t think it would have worked if Aaron Wall didn’t tweet it to his followers.
So, I needed to get it seen first. I needed to get links from sites that picked up my press release, right?
By the way, it felt really good to uncork a good rant on Google since I got your penalty message in GWT.
Tip #2 – Participate in the community
You say that people will appreciate if you answer their question. Well, they might appreciate it by saying “thanks” and that’s about it.
I don’t see someone linking all of a sudden to my site about credit cards because I gave them a few useful tips. Plus in many niche markets people do not have websites that they could link to you from.
Tips #3 – Original Research
From my experience a good research requires money. I don’t know how a stay-at-home mom could provide credible research on something without investing money.
Maybe if you are blogging about technical topics and you can do it yourself, but in other markets it’s really not possible for a newbie blogger.
And even if I was able to get a research done how would I get it seen first so people can naturally link to me?
Tip #4 – Newsletter
I am not sure how running a newsletter can get you backlinks unless you talk about building websites and most of your subscribers are webmasters who also talk about building websites :O
Tip #5 – Social Media
To be honest, I am not a big fan of social media. Why should we create content for all the social networks? I think we should concentrate on creating content on our platforms instead. All this time we put into networking on social media platforms could be spent on creating quality content on our blogs. I think that would be much more productive.
Google tries hard to enter the social media scene and basically forces us to use it because of the SEO benefits that come with it. Pretty soon we won’t have time to create content for our sites if this social madness continues.
Tip #6 – List Posts
Those are pretty good for links, but I agree with you that they start to look cheesy after a while because everyone and their dog is doing it.
Again though, how are you going to get it seen so people link to it?
Tip #7 – Get a blog
Sorry Matt, but that’s not a really good tip. Just getting a blog doesn’t mean I am going to get links. Not a chance.
Tip #8 – “How To” tutorials
I think people like them, but once again you need to get them seen first before someone links to it.
By the way, if an established blogger sees your great tutorial, instead of linking to it, he might just hire someone to write a better one for his blog. I mean, why link to a competing site when I can have the content on mine?
Tip #9 – Service or product
That’s a pretty good tip if not the best one you gave in that video. WordPress plugins can generate a lot of backlinks, but only if you talk about marketing, blogging, SEO, and technical topics.
I don’t see some weight loss site releasing a WordPress plugin, do you? What could it be? Calorie counter for my WP dashboard? Maybe…
Tip #10 – Good site architecture
Most bloggers already have good site architecture, besides I don’t know how that’s going to influence growth of my natural links. People should link to great content not because the site looks pretty.
Ehow has good site architecture. I am not so sure about the quality of their content, but yet they seem to get a lot of links and rank well all over.
Tip #11 – Make videos
Video is good but if you don’t have existing traffic how other webmasters are going to find it? Just posting it on your blog doesn’t guarantee any backlinks. You need to get traffic to it.
Seriously though Matt, those tips are pretty good but they will work for already established authority blogs and sites. It’s easy for an authority site to post some content and get instant rankings on the front page of Google for their targeted keywords. When other webmasters find it they will most likely link to it even though the content might not be very good.
You know why? Because it feels safer (no, IT IS safer) to link to an authority site instead of some newbie blogger who might even have better content.
Matt, I have an idea! Why not participate in the community even more and start a website outside of SEO and technical topics to show us how you would build a really nice website that people share and link to?
But here is the catch…you can’t put your name on it. You could reveal the url on your blog after the site is already performing well, so that we can check your backlinks and analyze how you did it.
If you did that I would probably become your biggest fan!
There are no unicorns when it comes to serps, all I see are “knifes and guns” so to speak. You should come visit our side of town sometime to see for yourself.
Anyway, not sure what else there is to say. By the way, I’ve discovered that we actually have 2 things in common believe it or not. I read your post here on your blog and I got to tell you that my first computer was also Timex Sinclair (but the 2048 model)…I still remember calibrating my cassette recorder for 2 hours trying to load up my favorite Bruce Lee game. My second computer was also Commodore 64 with a good old floppy drive 😉 What a coincidence huh?