SES Hong Kong Day 1 – Mike Grehan

Link building tools and tactics.

Mike Grehan
Global VP Content, Incisive Media

Author of Search Engine Marketing Book: The essential best practice guide

Mike opened his expert talk on link building with a little walk down memory lane, using an anecdote about Alta Vista and how easy it was to manipulate rankings in the good old days by keyword stuffing. He also threw in a little history lesson about Jon Kleinberg and his HITS algorithm, something that laid the foundation for what we known today as PageRank.

A point that Mike wanted to stress was that as SEO’s, we must move away from  manual link building and go forward with link bait. He used an example of how he managed to get his friends London restaurant to rank, by reaching out to only 3 or 4 influencers. In the example, he was able to leverage that the influencers were food critics for major English newspapers, which in turn meant back links from major English newspapers. Compare outreach to 3-4 people against building hundreds of shoddy links and it’s not hard to see why Mike’s strategy worked.

A few pointers Mike divulged on link building:

  • The ultimate link building tools is a spreadsheet. I assume what Mike means by this, is that’s where you can keep all of your link building contacts, as well as tracking the power of sites, so you can better concentrate your efforts.
  • Temporal analysis. Make sure you have no broken links. Simple enough to identify, and easy to fix.
  • Anchor text – The text surrounding anchor text is important too. Don’t only use your keyword as anchor text.