21 best and worst ways to do link building 0

Posted on February 09, 2016 by Rob Petersen


link building

Link building is the process of acquiring links (also called inbound links or backlinks) from other websites to your own. Links are a key factor in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to a website’s rank on search engine pages.

That’s because search engines treat links as votes for popularity. As a result, they tend to move sites with a greater number of links on a particular topic up in search rank. The number of links to a website demonstrates not only popularity but the site’s trust and authority.

Maybe that’s why links have also been one of the most manipulated areas of SEO. The pursuit by spammers of black hat tactics for link building over the years has resulted in search engines now discrediting sites that don’t achieve links authentically.

Link building isn’t a secret. It also doesn’t happen overnight. It requires planning, dedication and tracking.

How to do it right? Here are the 21 best and worst ways to do link building.


  1. BLOG: If link building is important, your website must have a blog. Without one, you’re pursuing links with one hand tied behind your back. Your blog should be focused on subjects you want to be a trusted authority.
  2. AUTHORATIVE LINKS: Blogposts contain links (outbound links) to other trusted authorities and influencers. They are likely over time to notice your content and reciprocate or comment on your blog (which counts as an inbound link). Every new blogpost is also a new web page and another opportunity to create more links and have pages indexed by search engines. All of which should be a motivation to regularly publish content your audience values and to build relationships with thought leaders in your field.
  3. SOCIAL SHARING: Social influence is huge. The more you share your material, the more likely you are to see that material (and your authorship) promoted in search results. Since social network pages are also web pages, that can also add up to multiple listing on a search page too.
  4. KEY INFLUENCERS: It’s beneficial to have your content shared by folks with large social followings. For Google searches, this is especially true of content shared on Google+.
  5. ANCHOR TEXT: The visible characters and words that hyperlinks display on a web page is anchor text. Search engines use this text to help determine the subject matter of the linked content. It not only creates a link but establishes link relevancy, a metric worth monitoring.
  6. TESTIMONIALS AND REVIEWS: Encourage customers to share their testimonials of working with you or review your product. It’s not only good PR, it creates valuable and relevant links.
  7. EXPERT INTERVIEWS: One of the easiest ways to build links is to interview experts. Most experts have a website. So, once you interview them, you can ask them to share the interview with their readers or even tweet and post it on Facebook.
  8. VIDEOS: YouTube (owned by Google) is the the #2 search engine and videos uploaded on YouTube have a higher chance of ranking in search results for longtail keywords. Videos can be an extremely powerful form of content and make a significant contribution to your overall SEO strategy.
  9. GUEST POSTS: If a website owner or editor trusts you to create high-quality content by a guest post on their blog, they are not giving you permission to start aiming backlinks at your website. They are instead trusting you to produce excellent content that their readers will love. If you have a byline or an occasion to mention some other articles you’ve written, then you’re entitled to a link.
  10. INFOGRAPHICS: This is one of the best ways to get popularity in a short time, and also one of the most effective ways to re-purpose content. Infographics are easy to distribute and naturally tend to get more shares. Some simple tools to create infographics are Piktochart,, and
  11. SPONSOR OR SPEAK AT AN EVENT: Sponsoring an event creates a great opportunity for earning backlinks. Chances are you can get a considerable number of links from PR releases related to the event.
  12. SLIDE PRESENTATIONS: You can upload your slide deck on Slideshare (and include links on your slides). This approach is likely to drive more visitors to your website and a link from Slide Share is likely to elevate your site’s search rank.
  13. ONLINE TOOLS: Calculators, and interactive data earn links and citations. Sometimes, a single resource (think Statcounter’s Global Stats, Zillow’s price estimates, Walkscore’s Walkscore) can kickstart massive, on-going links.
  14. “BEST OF”: Best of blog posts are simply lists of the best blogs in a given niche. They are a good way to distribute quality content and built trust and authority in your niche using links to the best blogposts in your particular area.
  15. BROKEN LINKS: A link building tactic where you contact a webmaster who has a broken link on his/her site. You recommend one or more alternatives that include your site. Begin with your targeted keywords to find other sites you would like to have a relationship. Find a broken link in an article where your site would be a suitable alternative. Contact the webmaster and see if they would be willing to substitute. You’re helping each other out.
  16. ASKING: One of the most underutilized linking tactics, is just asking your biggest fans if they’ll link to you, mention you or tweet you. If you have their email address, you can figure out if they have a blog. It’s pretty straightforward and easy, but you do have to figure out who your biggest fans are first.


  1. WEB DIRECTORIES: Submitting your website to many web directories and getting a link in return. This was a technique that Google actually recommended at one point, but it became abused and overused, Google stopped passing as much value from those sort of links.
  2. LINK NETWORKS: Link building is important enough that some SEO experts have set up or will set up link networks; that is, a number of websites and/or blogs on a particular topic. Unfortunately, most of the content on these network is someone else’s or the site don’t exist for reputable purposes. Search engine discredit link networks and the site associated with them.
  3. FORUMS: Not all forums are regarded as trusted authorities. Contribute only to those where you trust the community, can contribute valuable content and provide a link with your name back to your website.
  4. COMMENT SPAM: Marketing your own site by making useless comments on blogs that add no value is not a good practice and rarely amounts to much.
  5. LINK EXCHANGES: If you are ever approached by someone who says they admire your site and content, never exchange links with someone that you don’t know, trust and want to build a relationship.

Below is an infographic that shows how best practices for link building have evolved over the year.

Does this give you a good idea how to go about link building? Which way do you practice? Is there any ways you would add? Does you company need help with link building?

link building

10 SEO case studies with proof positive ROI 1

Posted on January 10, 2016 by Rob Petersen


SEO Case Studies

  • Top 5 results on a search engine page get 75% of clicks (Search Engine Watch)
  • 51% of visitors to a website come from organic search (Bright Edge)
  • Over 40% of revenue captured by organic search (Bright Edge)

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of enhancing the visibility of a brand’s web presence in organic search. SEO is receiving free, organic and natural results on a search engine page by delivering content that matches what consumers are querying.

SEO in the digital marketing mix is here to stay. For these reasons, many companies hire a firm or consultant to do SEO for their website.

But do businesses see results from SEO? And why?

Here’s are examples of success. 10 SEO case studies with proof positive ROI.

  1. CANTON ALUMINUM: Wanted to increase online leads. They decided it was time to pursue responsive website design with integrated contact forms and prominent lead-generating callouts. The site was optimized with new engaging content and unique phone tracking to report on phone-generated revenue. Results were: 1) 21% increase organic traffic growth, 2) 53% of visitors are from organic search and 74% increase in Facebook audience growth.
  2. DELL: Was unsatisfied with its global search positioning. For example, if searching for Dell in Australia, it was possible that the first listing on the results page would be for Canada, France, or another country. Dell implemented aggressive strategies across multiple countries which reorganized Dell’s search presence and increased its organic search rankings, traffic and revenue worldwide. Dell saw: 1) 46% increase in organic traffic, 2) 177% increase in number of ranked keywords and 3) 1,000% increase in return on investment.
  3. HARVARD UNIVERSITY: It is hard to imagine that Harvard University had an opportunity to increase awareness. Harvard’s Division of Continuing Education expanded the digital reach of two established schools, Harvard Summer School and Harvard Extension School, and to build awareness for their growing professional development offering. The 12-month project used an audit to identify technical setbacks, content positioning to create new landing pages for search traffic, and top-of-funnel awareness campaigns with AdWords. Harvard saw: 1) 89% increase in visits from organic search, 2) 75% increase in registrations from organic search, 3) 30% increase in CTR with AdWords and 124% increase in retun on ad spend (ROAS) with AdWords.
  4. KAUAI VACATION RENTALS: Offers condos, cottage and villas in Kauai, Hawaii, nature’s answer for a perfect getaway. But the website’s rankings (all keywords) were stuck behind 4th page. They changed duplicate content. There were a lot of reciprocated links that did not relate to the industry. Some of them were low quality. Then, they started building links through advanced techniques like article submission, press release submission, directory submission, blog posts links and more. Overnight, the visits to my website increased 50%. It took consistent efforts for about a year to push the website from page 4 to page 1 on Google.
  5. NIKE GOLF: Is the golf-specific retail branch of Nike. They lacked a focused keyword strategy and a site built in a way that was very difficult for search engines to crawl for content. The lack of a focused keyword strategy so SEO elements that could have potentially aided the site (page titles, meta descriptions, internal links from blog posts) were far from effective. Keyword research helped make decisions like whether we should target “golf apparel”, “golf clothing”, “golf clothes”, or “golf sportswear.” And that visitors who landed on the Nike Golf site through “golf apparel” searches stayed longer, dug deeper, and were more likely to convert. High opportunity keywords were worked into specific pages. Nike Golf saw a 169% in total increase in organic search traffic and 250% increase in non-branded keywords.
  6. PLOW AND HEARTH: A retailer based in Madison, Virginia specializing in hearth and replace accessories, furniture and home furnishings, and lawn and garden accessories, wanted to make a push for their “fairy gardens” products. The goal was to increase SEO performance and ultimately revenue for these products and bolster the overall performance of Plow & Hearth. They focused on choosing strategic keywords to target for the fairy gardens pages. Then began to implement on-page changes for the pages. This led to a 550% increase in keywords on page 1, a 729% increase in traffic, and an 1157% increase in revenue on a single keyword topic out of the tens of thousands of products they carry.
  7. SOUTHLAND LOG HOMES: Has specialized in custom log home plans and cabin kits for more than 30 years. The company specializes in creating reliable, affordable and beautiful log homes that last a lifetime. They needed to improve the company’s rankings in the major search engines. The company didn’t have strong rankings for any competitive keywords and wanted its website to show up on the first page of the Google search results. Southland developed a marketing campaign that included identifying competitive keywords and aggressively pursuing improved rankings through link building and content optimization. Southland Log Homes currently ranks No. 1 in Google for the keyword phrase “log homes” and saw a 66% increase in Page 1 rankings and 85% increase in website traffic.
  8. SPANGLER CANDY: makers of Dum Dums, Circus Peanuts, candy canes, and other tasty treats since 1904, wanted to expand the marketing strategy for its e-commerce websites. A carefully planned strategy to build on content creation adding and optimizing fresh content in expanded product descriptions, developing videos, creating printable PDF games and greater social media involvement on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. From these improvement, saw: 1) 40% increase in organic visits, 2) 10% increase in online sales and 3) 30% increase in mobile sales.
  9. THE CONTAINER STORE: Did not have a methodical approach to content marketing and capturing organic traffic. They created page groups, populateD with logical keywords, on-page recommendations, and identified the best pages to map the keyword topics. They also used backlink technology to map backlinks and target new sources of links. In 7 months, the results were dramatic: 30% increase in keywords in 1st rank position (more than 1000 keywords), 93% increase in organic traffic, 68% increase in organic traffic conversion and 96% increase in organic traffic revenue.
  10. TIME INC.: Has 95 iconic media brands that serve 81 million online visitors every month who generate ad inventory they sell to advertisers. Time’s SEOs face duplicate content, lack of thematic grouping by keyword, non-optimal internal links, and significant crawl and redirect errors. They resolved over 500 crawl errors; executed fundamental internal link and anchor text recommendations. Sitemaps were improved, rich snippets were added, and duplicate landing pages were removed. In the 4th of July season Time improved its page 1 Food & Wine 4th of July rankings from 2 to 7 keywords, which led to a 30% gain in organic traffic vs. 1 year earlier. Overall Food & Wine page 1 ranking keyword count improved from 620 to 757 and that led to a 34% increase in traffic and ad inventory. Travel and Leisure keywords ranking and traffic increased 45%.

These case studies show the ways effective SEO improves search visibility, presence and sales. Do they prove the ROI of SEO to you? Does your business need an effective SEO strategy, plan and implementation?

10 big ways social media participation raises search ranking 0

Posted on July 06, 2015 by Rob Petersen



social media and search ranking

  • 54% of people find a website from natural search results (source: Forrester)
  • 33% choose the website in the #1 position on the first search page (source: Chitika)
  • 32% find a website from social network sites (source: Forrester)

The numbers say high search ranking and strong social media presence give a website the best chances of being found.

But a website has an even better chance if social media and search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, the strategies, techniques and tactics used to increase the amount of visitors to a website by obtaining a high search engine ranking, work together.

Here are 10 real ways social media participation raises search ranking.

  1. KEYWORDS SET GOALS: To get to a top rank, you have to start with the keywords you want to rank highly for. No software platform is a substitute for your own judgement. But Google Webmaster Tools can tell you what keywords people use who come to your website. Google Keyword Planner can tell what is the monthly search volume for those keywords and social monitoring tools like Topsy, Social Searcher and Radian 6 can tell your what people say about these keywords and your brand. Together, they give you a road map for the keywords on social network sites and your website that are likely to attract the most attention and interest.
  2. SOCIAL MEDIA IMPROVES LINK POTENTIAL FOR SEO: Social media activity helps increase awareness of a brand’s website content. This increased familiarity leads to links that signals to search engines your brand is an authority on your chosen topics. Tools like Alexa and Marketing Grader measure if social media is increasing links to your website.
  3. SOCIAL SHARES ARE THE NEW WAY TO BUILD LINKS: Because links raise search rank through authority, they have been manipulated in the past through black hat techniques such as invisible text and creating “fake” websites. Google now discredits these tactics. Instead, they have chosen to look at links through social signals like blog mentions, Tweets, Facebook Posts and+1s as a non-manipulated way of getting links and demonstrating authority.
  4. AUTHORSHIP SHOWS AUTHORITY: Google+ allows an author’s picture to appear next to search results of content they have created. With Google authorship, you can improve your search ranking and brand yourself as a thought leader in your field as well as add a face to your work.
  5. GOOGLE FAVORS GOOGLE+: Google+ may not be a great social network but Google has given their Plus button a big advantage when it comes to their own ranking factors. If you have a Google+ button on your website, sharing on Google+ can have a big effect on search ranking.
  6. SOCIAL MEDIA PROFILES RANK IN SEARCH ENGINES: While social shares may or may not affect a webpage’s position in search listings, your social profiles definitely influence search results. In fact, social media profiles are often among the top results in search listings for brand names. They can double, triple and quadruple the number of times your brand is seen on a search engine page.
  7. SOCIAL NETWORKS ARE SEARCH ENGINES TOO: People don’t just go to Google or Bing to look up things. For example, YouTube is the #2 search engine. If your business is active on a particular social network, it’s likely people are going to find out about you there as well as search engines.
  8. GOOGLE AND TWITTER EQUAL STRONGER SEARCH: In February, Google and Twitter penned a deal giving Google access to the “fire hose” of Twitter’s public data, generated by its 300 million users. Now, all of Twitter’s profile information, Tweets, and other public data are immediately accessed and available on Google in real time.
  9. CONTENT LIVES IN TWO PLACES: Even with all these ways social media and SEO can work together, great content is still the primary ingredient that raises search ranking. Now, it can live and be distributed in two places – on your social networks and your website.
  10. IF YOU CAN’T MEASURE IT, YOU CAN’T MANAGE IT: Now, with a plan and process in plan, a measurement plan can help measure your progress and optimize results. Look at goals and track progress through metrics like keyword rank, website visits, Likes, Re-Tweets, Shares, Comments, Views and conversions. Make the measurement that are most important your Key Performance Indicators.

SEO doesn’t have to be technical or handled by technical people. In fact, if you are consistently putting out strong keyword-based content in a variety of places, you should see the impact of social media and SEO working together in short order.

Did these ways convince you that social media participation raises search engine ranking? Does your business need help making it happen?

23 critical facts about mobile SEO; 3 steps to success 0

Posted on May 17, 2015 by Rob Petersen



 mobile seo

  • Over 60% of online traffic now comes from smartphones and tablets (source: comScore)
  • 50% of all search users begin their search on a mobile device (source: Search Engine Watch)
  • 50% of mobile user activity results in a purchase (source: Mobile Path to Purchase)

The facts tell us mobile devices are now like a GPS system more people rely on for buying decisions.

How do people search on mobile? What points them to your brand?

Here are 23 critical facts about mobile SEO and 3 steps to success


  • 173,000,000 people in the U.S. own a smartphone while another 93,000,000 own internet-connected tablets (source: Pew Research Center)
  • 125% is the growth rate of mobile traffic vs. 12% for desktop (source: Search Engine Watch)
  • 88% of mobile search is for a local business or establishment (source: Digital Marketing Philippines)
  • 83% of consumers using mobile to research make the purchase within a day (source: WOMP Mobile)
  • 81% of people prefer mobile for its convenience and speed (source: Vocus Blog)
  • 80% of their time on their smartphones and tablets is spent on apps rather than mobile browsers  (source: comScore)
  • 80% of smartphone owners use their device in stores to shop (source: Google – Mobile in Store)
  • 74% of mobile users make use of a search engine before they purchase (source: Search Engine Watch)
  • 66% of the time spent on online retail is done through smartphones and tablets (source: comScore)
  • 60% of consumers use mobile exclusively to make purchase decisions (source: Search Engine Watch)
  • 60% of digital time is spent of mobile devices vs. 40% for desktops (source: Search Engine Land)
  • 60 percent of mobile users expect a website to load in less than three seconds (source: Gomez – What Mobile Users Want)
  • 57% of users say that they won’t recommend a business with a poor mobile experience (source: Google Mobile Playbook)
  • 55% of consumers using mobile to research want to purchase within an hour (source: WOMP Mobile)
  • 53% of the time spent on the internet comes from smartphones and tablets (source: comScore)
  • Mobile searchers are 51% likelier to make a purchase (source: Google – Creating Moments That Matter)
  • 49% of mobile search engine users made a purchase on their device within the past six months (source: Small Business Computing)
  • 48% of consumers using mobile for research start with a search engine (source: Smart Insights)
  • 46% of mobile users say they are unlikely to return to a website they had trouble accessing from their phone (source: Gomez)
  • 45% of users between 18 and 29 use mobile search daily (source: Icebreaker Consulting)
  • 40 percent have turned to a competitor’s site after a poor mobile experience (source: Mashable)
  • 33% of consumers using mobile for research start wit a branded website (source: Smart Insight)
  • 28% growth in search queries on tablets; 17% on smartphone and -1% on desktop (source: Search Engine Land)


User Experience Matters

  • RESPONSIVE WEB DESIGN: Responsively-designed sites use CSS3 media queries to serve the same content to mobile and desktop users using a fluid grid and a flexible design to automatically adapt to the size of a user’s screen
  • PAGE SPEED: Beyond optimizing images, you’ll want to minimize code, leverage browser caching, and reduce redirects
  • SCROLL: Mobile devices are simplifying and revolutionizing the ways sites are designed. “Above the fold” no longer has meaning in a world where we scroll endlessly
  • FAT FINGERS: Accidental clicks occur if your buttons are too big, too small, or in the path of a finger that’s trying to get the page to scroll
  • CLICK TO CALL: Make it easy for users to get in touch with a touch rather than having to read, remember and dial your business
  • APP: Mobile users prefer App. For an established brand, an App can be a major advantage for user experience and SEO, Fortunately, apps can now be optimized for search in both Google and Bing
  • DON’T USE FLASH: The plugin may not be available on your user’s phone, which means they’ll miss out on all the fun. If you want to create special effects, use HTML5 instead
  • DON’T USE POP-UPS: It can be difficult and frustrating to try and close these on a mobile device. This might lead to a high bounce rate

Less is More

  • SHORTER KEYWORD PHRASES: Physical search query input are more challenging when typing on a tiny keyboard. Mobile users enter shorter phrases,
  • VOICE RECOGNITION: Search engines and mobile device manufacturers have invested heavily in voice recognition capabilities to ease the mobile input burden. Ask the Google App works in 38 languages

Go Local

  • GOOGLE PLACES: Create a profile within Google My Business and Bing Places for Business so you business show up with a map when mobile users search
  • LOCAL DIRECTORIES: Register in local business directories so mobile users and search engine know where you can be found

Below is an infographic on mobile SEO from Digital Marketing Philippines.

Do these facts cause you to care about mobile SEO? Has your business taken these steps to success?

mobile seo infographic

5 data-driven metrics prove ROI of SEO 0

Posted on May 10, 2015 by Rob Petersen




  • 64% of traffic to a website comes from Organic Search (source: Conductor)
  • $750/month to $8,000/month is the range  for retainers companies pay for SEO (source: Search Engine Watch)
  • $100/hour to $300/hour is the range on an hourly basis

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of getting traffic from the “free,” “organic,” “editorial” or “natural” search results on search engines.

These facts show:

  • An understanding of Organic Search is necessary for businesses to succeed on the internet
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is big business and costs vary widely
  • SEO should be tracked and measured to know its return on investment (ROI)..

With 5 data-driven metrics, you can prove the ROI of SEO. We’ll show you based on the SEO we do for our company, BarnRaisers.

  • WEBSITE VISITS FROM ORGANIC SEARCH: SEO that works drives more visitors to a website. For our business, we know 83% of traffic comes from organic search (more than average). We know it attracts over 11,000+ visits/month and over 85% are new. We get this information from Google Analytics. We work at SEO largely by providing relevant content (like this blog) to our visitors using priority “keywords” (metric #4). We track it every month.

ROI of SEO - Metric #1

  • LINKS: When search engines crawl your site, they look to see if you are an “authority.” This is determined by other sites that refer visitors through “inbound links.” If you’re providing relevant content on a regular basis, “authoritative links” should increase and the search engine raise your rank. We know we have 289 inbound links. We monitor them regularly and watch where they come from. Guest blog posts have served us well from increasing our inbound and authoritative links. There are many services that track links. These are tracked from Marketing.Grader.

ROI of SEO - Metric #2

  • INDEXED PAGES: Search engine catalog search pages for every query a user makes. The number of search engine pages your website is cataloged on are your “indexed pages.” More is better than less and, if your SEO is working, indexed pages increase. From the same source above, we have 1,100 indexed pages and are glad it has grown and continue to grow.
  • KEYWORD RANK: 32.5% of people click on the website in the first position in Organic Search from their search query; 90% click on a listing from the first page (source: Chitika). Understanding what keywords your business ranks high and how they match with what you do in very important. In our case, we achieve first page rank for keywords that reflect analytic expertise like “Key Performance Indicators,” “kpis” and “crm.” Since this is what we do, we’re glad about it. We also see how must value our efforts in Organic Search provide compared to paying for these keyworks on a CPC (cost-per-click) basis. The figures below come from SEMRush.

ROI of SEO - metric #4

  • KEY TRANSACTION ACTIVITIES (CONVERSIONS): People like to do business with people they know, If you like what you’ve read, you can: 1) Subscribe to our newsletter, 2) Download our free eBook, 3) Buy a book we’ve helped author or 4) View our process for working on SlideShare. We track all these activities and know a certain percentage of people who do their activities become customers. We also know what percent come from Organic Search because we’ve set up “goals” in Google Analytics. Through all these measures, we are able to determine if and how our efforts in SEO generate ROI.

ROI of SEO - metric #5


If you need more information on the cost of SEO, below in an infographic.

Do these 5 metrics prove the ROI of SEO to you? Did it help to show you how to measure SEO based on what we do? Does your business need help with SEO?

SEO costs

  • About

    BarnRaisers builds brands with proven relationship principles and ROI. We are a full service digital marketing agency. Our expertise is strategy, search and data-driven results.

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