12 Top SEO Experts Share Their Advice on 5 Evergreen Questions

top seo expertsThis article summarizes top SEO Experts and their Answers to 5 Questions – on Paying for Links, Linkbuilding, Blackhat Techniques that Work, and More.

The best of the best share their money making strategy – you would not want to miss that, right?

Just a quick side note: welcome to the Linkody blog. First time around? Linkody is an easy-to-use and affordable backlink tracker in real-time. Start your free 30-day trial here

We, at Linkody, believe that sharing information and useful findings with peers is the cornerstone of making each other better and more successful in the field of online marketing.

That’s why we decided to ask 12 top SEO Experts on 5 ‘evergreen’ questions in order to help you become a better marketeer and keep you up-to-date with the latest trends:

  1. Should a company pay for links and risk a Google Penalty in the long-term?
  2. How could smaller companies, that don’t have a large link building budget, achieve “Linkbuilding Success”?
  3. What’s one blackhat SEO technique that works right now? How long before Google catches up?
  4. If a company has little chance in ranking for top keywords, should they completely avoid trying ranking for them?
  5. Which metrics do you rely on when assessing links?

Have a look on what top SEO Experts have to say.

At the end of the article is an infographic that summarizes all the replies. view the infographic

Dave SchrneiderDave Schneider

https://ninjaoutreach.com/

 

 

 

1. Should a company pay for links and risk a Google Penalty in the long-term?

There are ways to pay bloggers but not make it for an unnatural link. For example, if you are paying the blogger for a product review, you’re inherently paying for a link, but you’re also compensating the blogger for their time. Assuming they disclose at the bottom that they have received product/money for their review it is fair and legitimate.

2. How could smaller companies, that don’t have a large linkbuilding budget, achieve “Linkbuilding Success”?

If you don’t have a big budget you have to think of other, more creative ways to get attention. This might mean giving away free product, or a coupon, for example. Basically, leverage the assets that you have.

Outside of that, you can always pursue content marketing as a way to build an audience and attract natural links

3. What’s one blackhat SEO technique that works right now? How long before Google catches up?

Honestly I don’t use any blackhat SEO techniques because eventually Google will catch up. I strictly follow white hat practices.

4. If a company has little chance in ranking for top keywords, should they completely avoid trying ranking for them?

Potentially, yes, but the broader question is if you can’t rank for those top keywords can you still manage to generate traffic through less competitive keywords? If yes, then that should be your strategy. If no, then you might want to rethink your business.

5. Which metrics do you rely on when assessing links?

Typically I look at domain authority, page authority, and number of backlinks. But I also look at the overall engagement of the website and make sure that it’s relevant and quality.


Sean MalseedSean Malseed

http://www.greelaneseo.com/labs

 

 

 

1. Should a company pay for links and risk a Google Penalty in the long-term?

“Don’t pay for links” means “don’t pay for unnatural links.” There are plenty of legitimate ways to get links with paid methods that aren’t spammy. For instance, sponsor a group or event you really care about. Yes, it’s paid – but it’s also natural, and you’ll feel really good about helping your community too.

2. How could smaller companies, that don’t have a large linkbuilding budget, achieve “Linkbuilding Success”?

The great thing about smaller companies is that they tend to be run by passionate people who are the top SEO Experts in their field. So, use your passion and the top SEO Experts skills to get yourself out there. Write strong content, get a column in a publication, and get speaking engagements. People link to passion and expertise.

3. What’s one blackhat SEO technique that works right now? How long before Google catches up?

Links in comments on other sites. Unfortunately, comment spam is a super fast way to rank a site for something really targeted… if you don’t care about penalties. I ran a test to watch comment spam results – and I’ve seen sites use it heavily to rank, and they’re still not penalized after 6+ months.

4. If a company has little chance in ranking for top keywords, should they completely avoid trying ranking for them?

Often, if you look at search volume, long tail terms have way more potential than single broad “top” terms. If I’m selling guitars, I’d rather rank for 100 variations of “buy new guitars online” than “guitars”.

5. What metrics do you rely on when assessing links?

Domain authority, number of backlinks to the domain, Moz Spam Score, and social sharing metrics.


Marcus MillerMarcus Miller

https://www.bowlerhat.co.uk

 

 

 

1. Should a company pay for links and risk a Google Penalty in the long-term?

It really depends on the definition of paying for links. In a way, you are always paying for links in time or content. Much like this post here I am getting a branded link back to my site and the payment I am making for that is spending some time, sharing my opinions.

I think a better way to think about this is from a branding & value perspective. Does what you do add value? Is it useful? Does it help someone? Or, is it just you throwing some money at a site to get a link in the sidebar that does not really help anyone and exists purely to manipulate page rank and help you rank.

If you have a mindset of trying to provide value to your target audience you won’t go too far wrong. If you have a mindset of contacting some folks on fiverr and generating hundreds of links then your ship is already sinking.

2. How could smaller companies, that don’t have a large linkbuilding budget, achieve “Linkbuilding Success”?

Determine where you are, where you want to be and what you need to do to get there. Most small companies would be fine if they could earn or acquire one link per week. Some would need one per month. Whether you bring someone in to do that using content or you create some kind of linkable asset and do some outreach this need not be a difficult or expensive process.

HARO is a great example here. Monitor HARO for opportunities that relate to your industry and provide your top SEO Experts commentary. The links and authority will tumble in and it may take 12 months or so to really take hold but soon you will have a solid foundation of links that your competitors can’t just copy (or buy).

3. What’s one blackhat SEO technique that works right now? How long before Google catches up?

It’s so hard to really define what black hat is – in the dogmatic view of Google 90% of link building is blackhat. In the view of most street level SEO companies building PBN links only hacked site links are truly black hat. Who is right? Who is wrong?

Google does not own the internet. However, they do own Google so if you want to rank on their long-term then building links the right way is a sensible strategy.

So, PBN links can work still. They can work well. I think we are at a point where Google is removing so many of these sites so whilst this can work the sites have to be super high quality and pass the smell test of a manual reviewer. So, you have to create a really high value site. Given the amount of work involved why not just create some great content and do some outreach or go after some really high quality guest posting.

Folks concentrate primarily on algorithm components like Penguin but the biggest war on spam links comes in the form of paid adverts and other results eating up screen space.

4. If a company has little chance in ranking for top keywords, should they completely avoid trying ranking for them?

If you are a small startup company offering SEO tools, would you want to try to outrank Moz.com? Not smart, short-term at least. Maybe that is a 5-year goal.

Certainly, your digital marketing plan should consider the opportunity – you can’t outrank that site but maybe you could do a high quality guest post with a related audience and get some exposure that way?

So, yeah, short-term – but factor this into your 5-year plan and aim high. 🙂

5. What metrics do you rely on when assessing links?

The Moz and Majestic Metrics are pretty solid – Domain Authority, Page Authority, Trust Flow, Citation Flow and I pay attention to the Topical Trust Flow as we really want relevant links where possible. Beyond that I really just go with my gut and see if this looks like a real site that may introduce the target site to a new audience and generate some referral traffic.

Would you want this link if it was nofollowed? We have clients that have specific inbound links that convert at percentages way above any other metric so it’s important to think beyond the top SEO Experts mindset.


Gianluca FiorelliGianluca Fiorelli

http://www.iloveseo.net

 

 

 

1. Should a company pay for links and risk a Google Penalty in the long-term?

By default I consider that buying links just for placing a followed link is actually stupid.
On the other hand, buying an advertorial space in an authoritative website that our audience visits regularly, and using it for presenting a very targeted big content to that same audience, it’s a very good tactic.

Be aware: in that case the link should be nofollowed, but the positive repercussions in terms of branding, mention, citations, referral traffic will overcome the negative effect of not having a followed link, apart that – if our content has success – it will start generating natural (followed) links.

2. How could smaller companies, that don’t have a large linkbuilding budget, achieve “Linkbuilding Success”?

I usually suggest them to start small, albeit thinking big. They should start being very proactive toward their audience, answering their questions and fulfilling their needs.

Being “there” and generous with their audience (included its influencers) is the fundamental step for creating that branding awareness, trust and loyalty that will allow you to start creating co-marketing occasions (e.g. being interviewed as the top SEO Experts in the niche, co-creating content with influencing partners in the niche etc.).

3. What’s one blackhat SEO technique that works right now? How long before Google catches up?

If I call it, it won’t work anymore 😉

4. If a company has little chance in ranking for top keywords, should they completely avoid trying ranking for them?

No, they should not, but they should set up those keywords as long-term goals and trying to be visible for middle and long tail ones, which – ultimately – are those that offer bigger opportunity of conversion.

5. What metrics do you rely on when assessing links?

I usually try to avoid classic metrics like DA, Trust/Citation Flow, and I prefer to monetize the potential impact of a link building campaign.

Showing to a client how much money he can potentially save with a campaign instead of using only paid advertisement is a stronger way to win pitches than blabbing about link-juice, which is a jargon client will never understand.


Rigsby HawkesRigsby Hawkes

http://rigsbyhawkes.com

 

 

 

1. Should a company pay for links and risk a Google Penalty in the long-term?

You have to be sensible in where you buy links. Obviously, avoid sites with poor link metrics and who have published content before that contains obvious purchased links ( links to gambling, payday loans sites with optimised anchors). I always buy links with non-optimized anchors and from sites with a Trust Flow of over 30.

2. How could smaller companies, that don’t have a large linkbuilding budget, achieve “Linkbuilding Success”?

Create resources for your audience and then outreach for links from sites that you feel would want to share with their audience.

Own a gardening business? Create a cheat sheet for starting your own allotment.

3. What’s one blackhat SEO technique that works right now? How long before Google catches up?

I’m not really into Black Hat techniques, but I know that a lot of them still work. Buying old domains, building tier one links to them, followed by lesser tier 2 links, then redirecting the domain to your money page, still works a treat.

4. If a company has little chance in ranking for top keywords, should they completely avoid trying ranking for them?

Look for alternative keywords. You’ll find that the longer tail versions hold less traffic but more conversion power.

5. Which metrics do you rely on when assessing links?
  • Number of backlinks to home page
  • Number of backlinks to other pages on the site
  • Home page and subpage Page Authority
  • Quality of backlinks
  • Domain authority
  • Trust Flow

Zac JohnsonZac Johnson

http://zacjohnson.com 

 

 

 

1. Should a company pay for links and risk a Google Penalty in the long-term?

I don’t recommend it, but we all know it happens on a daily basis.

2. How could smaller companies, that don’t have a large linkbuilding budget, achieve “Linkbuilding Success”?

Create a unique infographic based around information in their industry and then do the necessary outreach to get it posted on relevant sites, thus increasing backlinks and social engagement.

3. What’s one blackhat SEO technique that works right now? How long before Google catches up?

PBN networks seem to be the hot thing right now. Google is actively doing what they can, but PBN site owners also keep getting more advanced.

4. If a company has little chance in ranking for top keywords, should they completely avoid trying ranking for them?

Go for long tail keywords. Ranking for generic keyword might get more traffic, but the individual value of each user will be lower.

5. Which metrics do you rely on when assessing links?

Domain authority and page authority are two methods to track. Alexa is something everyone still kind of looks at, even though most people say it doesn’t matter.


Umar KhanUmar Khan

https://khansmarketing.com

 

 

 

1. Should a company pay for links and risk a Google Penalty in the long-term?

Paying for links can be “beneficial” short-term and especially if you have multiple micro-sites for achieving specific targets.

Suppose you’re working for a real estate firm and, apart from your main branded site, you have multiple micro-sites for specific projects that are about to launch next month. Since you don’t have time to build all the links naturally short-term, getting the paid links this way would be a good option.

I’m not talking about getting the spammy links. Rather if you can have good contextual paid links for a month, I think it can be worth it. Of course, if you’re planning on sticking with the same website in the future, it’s better to remove those links and come back on the “right path”.

2. How could smaller companies, that don’t have a large linkbuilding budget, achieve “Linkbuilding Success”?

Don’t focus on building links because no one will link to you as you haven’t accomplished anything. Instead, focus on producing something extraordinary and sharing it with the right people; the links will eventually gonna come automatically.

3. What’s one blackhat SEO technique that works right now? How long before Google catches up?

I believe PBN still work if you’re playing smartly. I’m not referring to an ordinary PBN that consists on a few sites hosted on the same server and linking to each other, but the PBN that operates globally and functions in a proper way.

As I said earlier, it should serve a short-term purpose. Once you get your result, don’t wait to get hammered by Google as you can easily get caught within a month.

4. If a company has little chance in ranking for top keywords, should they completely avoid trying ranking for them?

No!! They should rather shift their focus to get ranked high on related keywords. This way, you’re giving signals to Google that you deserve to rank on those queries.

Usually people get really frustrated after trying really hard and still not see any results in ranking. At this point, most of them lose patience, which results in losing ground for already ranked keywords.

5. Which metrics do you rely on when assessing links?
  • Domain Authority
  • Links in last 60 days
  • IPs of links
  • # of pages indexed in Google
  • Top sites a domain is getting links from
  • Ratio of in- and out- links
  • Similar Web insights for traffic

Patrick CoombePatrick Coombe

http://patrickcoombe.com

 

 

 

1. Should a company pay for links and risk a Google Penalty in the long-term?

I do want to go on record saying this: while I do realize buying links might help boost your rankings, it’s not a gamble I am really allowed to take. I’m in the business of small business SEO so it has always been my opinion to not gamble with other people’s money.

2. How could smaller companies, that don’t have a large linkbuilding budget, achieve “Linkbuilding Success”?

Slow and steady wins the race. Everyone can’t start out being a winner. If you don’t have a linkbuilding budget, spend your time curating the most badass content you can come up with. Trust me, in the past 48 hours I’ve gotten 5-10 links for my own website from insanely high authority websites that I did not ask for in any way.

3. What’s one blackhat SEO technique that works right now? How long before Google catches up?

Buying backlinks works. It works, but there is a risk of getting penalized. Google has always been “caught up” on this one, but it is just a matter of how hard you push back on Google. Buy a small handful of very conservative links, you might be ok. Blast 100 links all in 1 day with the same anchor text. You will probably get blasted from them.

4. If a company has little chance in ranking for top keywords, should they completely avoid trying ranking for them?

In the beginning, I wouldn’t get my hopes up. I’d shoot for the long tail stuff.

5. Which metrics do you rely on when assessing links?
  • Moz Domain authority
  • Domain Age
  • Number of Referring Domains
  • Anchor Text

Miguel SalcidoMiguel Salcido

http://organicmediagroup.org

 

 

 

1. Should a company pay for links and risk a Google Penalty in the long-term?

Honestly. I know of MANY sites that pay for some of their links. Google has many sites that pay for links in fact too. I think that link buying, like any tactic, needs to be done in moderation and with a sensible plan.

Most people do not use sense, or moderation because they are lazy and want results yesterday. These are the people who get penalized.

Then there are others that are building a very diverse range of links and lots of nofollow links as well (which I’ve seen used exclusively to rank and build domain authority). These people get great results with paid links. Like people who run a blog banner advertising campaign that generate a ton of image links from relevant sites that also drive traffic and potentially sales.

2. How could smaller companies, that don’t have a large linkbuilding budget, achieve “Linkbuilding Success”?

If you can’t afford to pay to get it done for you, you have to do it yourself. You just have to bake it into your daily thoughts in order to capitalize on links from vendors, local news papers and sites, etc. Just by building relationships and then figuring out how to get a link out of them as well.

3. What’s one blackhat SEO technique that works right now? How long before Google catches up?

CTR influencing on your organic listings. It’s already tough to get it right, so most people don’t do well with it. Only the really technical and savvy people get it right. So I’d say Google’s already pretty good at defending it.

4. If a company has little chance in ranking for top keywords, should they completely avoid trying ranking for them?

You always have a chance, if you’re willing to put in the work. But focus on keyword questions and other long tail terms first. And the other big ones will come with time.

5. Which metrics do you rely on when assessing links?

Domain Authority and relevancy. Sometimes also the domain’s organic visibility (the # of different keywords it ranks for) via SEMrush.


Nevyana KarakashevaNevyana Karakasheva

http://optilocal.org/blog

 

 

 

1. Should a company pay for links and risk a Google Penalty in the long-term?

I am against pursuing paid link opportunities for our clients. We are working with local specialists like dentists, lawyers, chiropractors, who cannot risk their image and their site being erased from search results for some ‘temporary’ (till search crawlers detect the attempted link juice manipulation) boost.

Nevertheless, there are a lot of link building agencies and SEOs, that I admire, who focus on finding and attaining paid links for their clients, and they manage to scale it pretty successfully. However, the one thing I find imperative is to share the pros and cons of your LB service to your client and let him decide whether he is in or out. That’s the only responsible way top SEO Experts could take when they’re about to consciously risk their client’s online presence.

You see, going all natural with link building is a strategy that is hardly scalable as beneficial as it is. When you go for paid links you can easily scale your efforts because the parameters of the ‘link earning’ process are well-defined and the win-win situation easily measured. But natural Link Building – that’s a whole different – much more difficult and time-consuming – thing that requires a serious budget.

2. How could smaller companies, that don’t have a large linkbuilding budget, achieve “Linkbuilding Success”?

Given that our customers are mainly SMBs that focus on a local market, I will give you an example with such businesses in mind.

Small businesses have two things to consider when drafting their link building strategy: their industry niche and their geographical location. Of course their first steps should be focused on acquiring links from partners, suppliers, intermediaries and other parties related to their business who are not their direct competitors. Next they should conduct their competitive analysis and find opportunities they’ve overlooked.

All those alternatives are the low-hanging fruit that could be much valuable and yet often easy to attain. Then the given business could think of more creative strategies like investing their time and resources in sponsorship opportunities (events, clubs, teams, etc.), charity, event organization, contributing to niche or local news sites or industry blogs, creating and distributing infographics, videos, apps, speaking at conferences – the list is endless.

Every option of the above mentioned list could be cost-effective. You don’t need to be the top sponsor of the local kids football final game or to donate thousands of dollars to the local hospital – the participation and the help is what is valued most and most often than not people would thank you explicitly on their websites for it. Well, if they don’t you might just as well remind them to:)

3. What’s one blackhat SEO technique that works right now? How long before Google catches up?

I’ve recently read an interesting case study about review spam on Facebook. The post explains how a $5 Fiverr gig could ruin a small business online ratings. So yeah, nowadays a lot of blackhat tactics are used and render pretty fascinating and quick results if you are to ruin your competitors’ online reputation and visibility:

  • If you have a strong competitor that ranks above you in Google SERPs, order him 1000 links for $15.99, take some popcorn and enjoy the show;
  •  If your competitor beats you at Facebook with spotless 5 star reviews, order him 200 1-star reviews and ruin him in a matter of minutes.

There are blackhat tactics that are also good at building instead of destroying, but those are unfortunately as short-lived as they are highly valuable. The constantly updating search algos are urge us to reinvent our SEO techniques, but I guess that’s what keep us all invested in the industry in first place.

4. If a company has little chance in ranking for top keywords, should they completely avoid trying ranking for them?

They should conduct a better keyword research and find long tail keywords that are still offering decent search volume, but are not as competitive as the main industry keywords.

5. Which metrics do you rely on when assessing links?

I rely more on non-metric assessment when evaluating links. I am looking for:

  • How relevant the site is to the business industry/location
  • Whether it is an authority (popular) site
  • Whether it has a loyal readership which comments, shares and rates onsite content
  • Benchmark against MOZ Domain Authority
  • Backlink search (when I am seriously considering its worth)
  • Nofollow link attribute (though it is not necessary a deal breaker)

Harris SchachterHarris Schachter

http://optimizepri.me

 

 

 

1. Should a company pay for links and risk a Google Penalty in the long-term?

Paying for links is never a good idea if clients are trusting you to make their web presence better. There are plenty of black hatters who still buy links and have success, but they’re working for themselves and understanding the risks. I think at this point, everyone is in agreement that links should never be purchased outright. However, it can be sticky situation when there is compensation or bartering involved, but usually those relationships aren’t backed up by blog networks and other typical traits of link purchasing. Google can never detect monetary transactions, but instead they are looking for those traits which paid links usually have.

2. How could smaller companies, that don’t have a large linkbuilding budget, achieve “Linkbuilding Success”?

Small link building budgets could mean many things. If it means you only have one person doing outreach than so be it. I would say for small businesses, try to leverage existing relationships and existing marketing initiatives to generate a few links here and there. It’s amazing how many you can pick up by just keeping that in the back of your mind when putting on events, partnerships, campaigns, sponsored content/contributed content, etc.

3. What’s one blackhat SEO technique that works right now? How long before Google catches up?

One blackhat technique which does work right now is at the local level, I’ve seen a number of sites performing well with fake reviews.

4. If a company has little chance in ranking for top keywords, should they completely avoid trying ranking for them?

No, I wouldn’t actively avoid trying to rank for them, just manage expectations. Go for the long tail, stay relevant, and you never know what might happen in the long run.

5. Which metrics do you rely on when assessing links?

I assume this is more about assessing the linking page, which is more about estimated traffic, page authority (with your tool of choice), and inbound links to that page.


Tadeusz SzewczykTad Chef

http://seo2.0.onreact.com

 

 

 

1. Should a company pay for links and risk a Google Penalty in the long-term?

Why pay for links one by one when you can pay for outreach and content that gets many links? Why take shortcuts when you can do proper work? I have stopped selling links in 2007 when it became official Google policy that they don’t accept that link building practice.

2. How could smaller companies, that don’t have a large linkbuilding budget, achieve “Linkbuilding Success”?

Link out first to get incoming links. When you are selfish and only promote yourself nobody will link back to you. Create a list of your colleagues in other areas or adjacent niches in case you’re afraid of competing with them.

Also content creation results in scalable earning links when that content is exceptional enough. Then instead of building links manually with a lot of effort you can create that content once and get links on autopilot for a while.

3. What’s one blackhat SEO technique that works right now? How long before Google catches up?

I think so-called click-farms that mimic real users clicking on your search results are working right now. Google already catches up and filters the more obvious sock poppets though.

Google only recently admitted that they use click data as a ranking factor IMHO. The loophole hasn’t been closed yet completely as the abuse hasn’t been wide-spread until lately.

4. If a company has little chance in ranking for top keywords, should they completely avoid trying ranking for them?

No, keep on optimizing for both major and “smaller” so-called “long tail” keywords. As Google localizes and personalizes results you may rank for specific locations or even people for top keywords like [shoes]. I have sen that first hand.

5. Which metrics do you rely on when assessing links?

I don’t obsess about link metrics, I look at the actual sites, pages and links. Is the site clean and readable (well designed), alive (has comments and social shares) and updated frequently/recently?

You can look up whether the page has been cached recently by Google or whether the site has many pages in the index (and the one containing the link in the first place).

When you focus mainly on metrics you will end up trying to build links on ages old sites that may be dead by now. These sites often have the highest authority according to common SEO metrics.


Infographic – 12 Top SEO Experts

To show what is the consensus on each of these questions, the replies have been summarized into this neat infographic:

SEO Experts share their advice infographic

*Interested what other 8 CEO of multi million dollar agencies say about growing your digital agency? Make sure to read the article.

 

 

Need more backlinks?
  • Discover your backlink profile
  • Spy on your competitors
  • Get alerted of new or lost backlinks

Related posts:

8 thoughts on “12 Top SEO Experts Share Their Advice on 5 Evergreen Questions

  1. A great collection seo experts advice. This will surely increase our knowledge of seo. I agree with the fact that “CTR influencing on your organic listings.” is one of the blackhat technique for seo that is really working. but you can be caught in the act if you just do not follow some rules.

  2. I like the point Tad Chef made about reaching out to receive incoming links first. Avoid being selfish and only promoting yourself in order to achieve link building success. Great advice!

  3. There’s definitely a give-and-take element when it comes to link building. You’ve got to be receptive to others who are trying to do the same in order for them to want to accept your links.

  4. Nice sharing about the SEO, also a nice addition on infographic. I ‘m also an SEO Expert and using same tips which has been share over here. (naeemrajani.com)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *