E168 – Q&A on Link Building
Business Management

00:00 / 21:58

Somewhere at some point Dave came across a question around link building. The thing about this question is that it could have been asked this week, earlier this year, 2 years ago, 5 years ago or even 10 years ago.

If there is a Google Chat or Twitter chat with someone from Google you can almost guarantee that a question along the lines of the example below will be asked.

Am I crazy? I have a job up on (site X) for back links. I have no linkable assets or that offers any value, how is someone going to get links for me?

Also where should they link? I have different pages like money pages and my home page, where do I want the links to go?

I’m new and confused? What is the correct way to get links or is this the way to do it?

– The Internet (edited and paraphrased from a few original questions)

The goal of this episode was not to answer everything about link building but rather to try and dispense as much information as we could for those just getting started. Here are some additional resources and episodes you may want to check out:

Link Building Resources

Additional Link Building Topics

The episode digs into a number of micro topics around link building. If you want some better ideas of what else we covered, here you go:

  • Work in boring industries? Mat walks through some things he has done in the past.
  • What is a good link? How should I think about what sites to target?
  • Reasons to link build – not just about “pushing link juice”.
  • Why should you be number #1? Why should you be on the front page of Google/Bing? If you can’t answer that you likely have more work to do (besides worrying about links).
  • Is your content the same as 50 other sites?
  • Would you pay to advertise on a site? This is one of many ways to judge and “score” a site to help understand if you want links from a site.
  • If the link is something you can scale there are likely risks and downside to it – are you okay with taking on that level of risk?
  • Do you actually have something worth linking too?

Full Transcript

Matt Siltala: [00:00:00] Welcome to another exciting episode of the, the business of digital podcast, featuring your host, Matt scintilla and Dave roar. Hey guys, excited to have another business of digital podcast episode going for you. So we are going to just jump straight into this one. How’s it going, Dave? It’s

Dave Rohrer: [00:00:19] going, it’s going.

Matt Siltala: [00:00:21] Awesome. So, so we’re going to talk about, we’re going to, we’re going to dive into an SEO question. We’re going to call this one SEO question too. Cause I, I had to ask you when we, uh, before we were recording, like have we only done one other question like this? And then yes,

Dave Rohrer: [00:00:40] I know you did a, a list of like, we were gonna, we had 10 and we covered like four.

Matt Siltala: [00:00:46] Right. We did as much as we could with.

Dave Rohrer: [00:00:49] Yeah. It was like 20, 25 minutes and we did four. So we’re just going to do one today.

Matt Siltala: [00:00:53] We’re going to do one today, but it is a big general discussion. We are going to dive into one on [00:01:00] drum roll. Link-building everybody’s favorite topic, right, Dave now. All right.

Dave Rohrer: [00:01:08] Least favorite topic.

Matt Siltala: [00:01:09] So this, uh, and I like how you set it up. When we were chatting earlier, you know, this could have. This is, this is a question that could have been posed four years ago, two years ago, a month ago. And so, um,

Dave Rohrer: [00:01:26] so

Matt Siltala: [00:01:26] with that said, um, why don’t you jump into it? Give us the, just to the question and we’ll go from there.

Dave Rohrer: [00:01:32] So I’m going to paraphrase a, an exact question that was asked, but again, they. Probably every time, you know, John, or, you know, anyone does a Google hangout where master hangout type thing. I’m sure people ask it anytime they’re on Twitter. They ask him any time. Yeah.

Matt Siltala: [00:01:51] Definitely walked by him

Dave Rohrer: [00:01:52] and he, yeah.

Um, you know, if people see Matt Cutts somewhere, they probably still ask him these questions. If someone [00:02:00] sees any SEO, they probably ask these questions. I don’t think we have the answers. All of them. Um, Noah does, but. Here

Matt Siltala: [00:02:08] we have many, many years

Dave Rohrer: [00:02:10] experience. Yes. Matt to do building links before really the, he knew what the heck he was doing.

Matt Siltala: [00:02:16] Yeah. Before I knew it was called link

Dave Rohrer: [00:02:18] building. Um, but here I will paraphrase it help. Okay. Am I crazy? Um, I have a job up on Upwork for backlinks as I done it at a du. Um, but if I don’t have a post or anything have to offer a value. So basically he has nothing that is link worthy.

Matt Siltala: [00:02:37] Nothing’s important.

Dave Rohrer: [00:02:38] Yeah. He doesn’t think he has any content worth linking to, but there’s trying to build links. I’m also, I was asking about different pages and money pages. Well, they just use the homepage. This person has blah, blah, blah, started talking about them. And then they explain that they’re lost. Um, what is the proper way to get back links?

And then they explain what their businesses [00:03:00] and it’s like, basically. I have nothing on my site. Someone would want to link to. I have no content, no assets, nothing cool. Nothing unique, nothing original, but I need links. Please tell me where I can go get cheap, easy links. That’s isn’t that? What usually

Matt Siltala: [00:03:20] everyone asks.

Yes. That’s okay guys, go to fiber. Okay. End of discussion.

Dave Rohrer: [00:03:24] Just go to Fiverr,


Matt Siltala: [00:03:25] Just kidding. Don’t do that.

Dave Rohrer: [00:03:27] Go get a hundred. Web 2.0 backlinks for $10.

Matt Siltala: [00:03:33] You’ll find a blog, a network, a guest post network somewhere.

Dave Rohrer: [00:03:39] Um, but like, this is link-building one-on-one I need links. I know I need links. So can I get a better idea of what to do?

Matt Siltala: [00:03:48] So I I’m, I’m just going to jump, I just thought of this Dave. And so hopefully it’s all right.

Dave Rohrer: [00:03:54] Yeah. I can always edit you out.

Matt Siltala: [00:03:57] You can, but it, but I, I [00:04:00] used to love this. Like, it takes me back to the days when we would get those phone calls from people or, you know, and again, I’ve taken myself way back to the early days.

Like, did you know when, when people would want to get on the front page of Digg because. You know, it was, you know, you could actually brag about getting so much traffic and shut the server down back when that was like a thing that, Hey, I should the server dude. Anyway. So when I, when I read this, it makes me go back to the, that kind of thinking.

And one of the ones that I thought of when you were reading this question more than anything, was we worked with an accounting company, like a accounting tax type company. And if there’s anything. You can think of that as more boring than accounting for creating content, like chat, like challenge me. Okay.

And so one of the things that we did that I thought was brilliant was in [00:05:00] this particular case, we said, okay, Um, or no, sorry. Uh, I’m getting a couple of stories, uh, messed up here. This was a paper shredding company. Right. And so, um, this one that, that, uh, that I’m going to give the example is for paper shredding company.

Sorry about that. So, um, and, and in my opinion, that’s a pretty boring industry. Okay. Like paper shredding. And so what we had done with them was we came up with this plan cause they want, they needed to build links, obviously. And, uh, one of the things that I thought was interesting in my conversations with them was like how much paper is shredded a year.

And then we got to thinking, okay, well, is there a way that we could figure out like how much you guys shred and over a year? And like, could we compare it to something? Okay. And then, so we started doing like certain industries and businesses and how much paper is shredded. Per year and started comparing it to like [00:06:00] the height of a, of a, like the empire state building, for example.

And so I remember we did it for them as one company and like how much paper is shredded in a year, uh, on average. And it was like so many, um, empire state buildings, but it put it in a visual that was, it’s like pretty amazing to think about if, if, you know, if you’re thinking about it that way. And so like, I love doing stuff like that.

I love taking that, that type of boring subject and figuring out ways. And these are, you know, when we were talking about these guys are like, yeah, that’s pretty fun. Like, that’s something that I would even yeah. Like enjoy looking at or, you know, that’s a good way of, of, of digesting it. And it’s like, I told people all the time, it’s like, instead of having a list, you know, like yeah, the key word that each 50 state uses the most or whatever.

Have a visual have a map of the United States or whatever. You don’t have a map of whatever and put that keyword on it or put [00:07:00] the logo on it or put whatever it might be. And to like have a way to make something that you’re doing a little bit more visual. And so, I don’t know. That’s just the first thing that comes to my, my mind.

I used to love the challenge, Dave, when someone says, Hey, I got a boring industry. How can we make it interesting. And so like, that’s just what popped into my head.

Dave Rohrer: [00:07:20] Well, and I’m looking at the, the, uh, the episode we did with, um, Debra last year where we dug into the history of link building. You know, I mean, if you’re thinking about what to do, yeah.

It was a fun episode, but if you’re thinking about link building and what you should do, honestly, go listen to it or at least check out our writeup. It has a list of things that people have done over time. Um, site outreach, profilings directory, spinning articles, PBNs content, thinning, a link, like there’s a bunch of stuff there.

And there’s a bunch of other [00:08:00] lists that are probably even more extensive, but take a look at lists like that and say, what are all the things that people do? And can you scale it? I mean, this is the, the easiest answer is can I scale this link building?

Matt Siltala: [00:08:15] Yeah, it’s very good. Yeah.

Dave Rohrer: [00:08:16] And if the answer is, yes, Google is probably worked on a way to devalue.

It has worked out a way to devalue some of it at least. Um, you know, everyone’s always talking about PBNs there’s risk, anything like that, that you can scale there’s risk with. And if you are okay with taking on risk and having your money site, your money pages, your main site, you know, all of your other work.

You know, completely throttled by Google for breaking rules. That is a risk you take. And some of those things are more risky than others, but as we were talking, you know, just the constant, it [00:09:00] could be any day about link building. Um, July 31st Google says, and this is by Roger Monte on SEJ. Google says don’t focus on link juice, focus on this instead.

Um, where was the other lists? Um, August 10th, Barry, on, as he round table guest posts, guest blog, post links have zero value according to Google. And, you know, in one tweet

Matt Siltala: [00:09:27] or the one that we just talked about earlier than saying, uh, earlier this week or late last week about a Wikipedia, having a Wikipedia link, having no value at all, uh, To helping your web page rank.

Dave Rohrer: [00:09:43] Yeah. And if you go on any forum or Twitter, Facebook group, I’m sure people are still talking about yes, it does. No, it doesn’t serve, you know, whatever, and we’re not gonna, we’re not, we’re not here to argue one way or the other,

Matt Siltala: [00:09:58] sorry. No, no, you’re right. I [00:10:00] just remember something that, uh, that Ray had often mentioned about, you know, getting any kind of leaks.

And I think this was back in the day when they first started doing. I followed her, no followed links. And I remember something that she said was, uh, you know, is this link, you know, stop thinking of it as like, is this specific link going to help me rank or not rank? Um, or, you know, they’re going to give me like the juice to help my page go higher or whatever.

Like, is it, if I’m getting that link and it’s leading traffic to my site that is helping me with some purpose, is it. Is it helping me with cells? Is it helping me with branding? Is it helping me with reputation management, whatever it might be like if I’m going to, I’m going to pursue it basically is what you’re saying.

I don’t care if it’s following no followed. Can’t remember exactly how it was put, but, um, and I think in a lot of time, a lot of cases, you know, we get way too focused in just getting those kinds of links that pass the juice [00:11:00] and we miss those opportunities. Like. Uh, again, I think about all the times and articles, I’ve read about how they say, Hey, like your Forbes or your in-car buckles.

Aren’t getting you, they’re not doing anything for you, like link juice wise, but yet when you go and look at a client’s, um, analytics and you see like so much of their traffic and conversions and the purpose of, you know, like getting the lead or whatever is coming from those articles that have been placed, or those, you know, when they’ve been spoken about.

By a writer on wired or, or ink or wherever Dave, um, like it’s benefiting them. And so like, I think often times we get pigeonholed into thinking link building has to be something that is pushing juice. And I don’t think that that’s necessarily the case. So just

Dave Rohrer: [00:11:54] thought, well, and that’s, you know, the initial question, you know, trying to get links, they were [00:12:00] just trying to get.

Chunky crappy any kind of links. I’m like what? Even even admitted. There’s no reason someone would link to my site. There’s no content. There’s nothing worth linking, you know, and it’s the same question. It’s like, anytime someone goes, why am I not number one? I know it’s Ryan Jones is set it often, you know, probably at least 20 times a year on his Twitter account, but lots of other people do too.

The first question is, why should you be number one? Yeah. Why should you be number two? Why should Google put you and your content, you and your page on the page over every other company?

Like if 50 companies have the same. Nike shoes that they’re selling. And 50 of them have the same description and the same, you know, half of them use one CMS. [00:13:00] Half of them use another everything across the board is really the same. You all have secure sites. You’ll I’ll have this and this and this. What’s the

Matt Siltala: [00:13:08] difference.

Yeah. Why

Dave Rohrer: [00:13:11] should you be number one over them? Links will probably make a difference, but why would they link to you over someone else? If you’re all the same content.

Matt Siltala: [00:13:21] Well, that’s kind of why I started chatting about the things that I did, Dave, because like, that’s where you need to set yourself apart. And, and, you know, like I wouldn’t, we’re talking about this, I think about the things that I’ve done over the years on the different eCommerce sites that I’ve had or sold or businesses that I’ve had or sold.

And one that I’m currently with right now, you know, I do a lot with the I’m a part owner of Husky beard.com and, um, You know, there’s a lot of, you know, the place where we originally, um, got a lot of the, uh, the oils from they, they, they worked with like 2000 other people. And so it’s like you get descriptions and [00:14:00] if 2000 other people aren’t doing it right.

And they’re just copying and pasting, you know, the same stuff, product descriptions. Okay. You have to start thinking about setting yourself apart. So not only did we start to bring everything in house and. And tweak and make the formulas our own and getting and all the product in house. But every single product had a rewrite.

Every single product had a rewrite that went to the, the look and feel of our brand versus some generic whitewash that just went with everything. Um, and then creating the kind of content that’s safe. That’s us apart, like, you know, creating a Husky beard nation, a Husky beard family, getting a community built around you.

That’s different than that’s bigger. Then just every, you know, the other 2000 people that are doing it. And I think that’s what, what, what we’re looking for and what we’re trying to help you guys understand well, and

Dave Rohrer: [00:14:54] Brent satoris over at SEJ. They just did a webinar and I was carrying around it’s. I forget the [00:15:00] guy’s name that actually did it, but it’s how do identify site quality for link building and there’s lots of other posts about their out there.

Um, That are going to go way more in depth than we are right now. But the one thing I would, I always look at is, um, similar to what, you know, when you talked about what Ray said, is this site going to actually send us traffic? Does it actually get traffic? You know, if we’re talking about a link, you know, and the other thing is, would you pay to advertise on that site?

Yeah. Do you think if you were to target that site with. You know, Google ads for display, um, or some other that you’re actually going to get quality traffic or any traffic.

Matt Siltala: [00:15:46] Well, I also look at it too, because a lot of people are afraid like of, of they say, Hey, you know, you’re going to get penalized. If you do a guest blog post or whatever it might be.

But if there happens to be a place that’s allowing me to do a guest blog post, that gets a lot of [00:16:00] traffic that I know would be relevant. If it’s on a page that’s relevant to what I’m doing. And I know it could send me a lot of traffic, which could, which would lead to, you know, conversions and sales and whatnot.

I’m going to do it every day of the week. I’m not going to care about that.

Dave Rohrer: [00:16:14] There’s, um, I will work with a lot of B2B and there’s sometimes where they’ll get a link in, not in a list and it’s an editorial type line or even a blog, uh, uh, you know, a guest post where four years later, we still get traffic every month.

And one person signs up for a webinar. One person becomes a qualified marketing lead, one person signs up for the service, right? That’s that is the best link that we’ve probably ever built. Does it help them rank number one for whatever keyword? No, but we get business every month from it

Matt Siltala: [00:16:57] or they luckily.

Well, I think even about [00:17:00] like, you know, I’m thinking about because the business of digital, you know, it’s, it’s its own website, it’s a business. And, uh, you know, we try to monetize it here and, uh, the best that we can, Dave, and, and obviously, you know, I think about the way that we go about link building and what, what we do for, I mean, we could probably be a little bit better, but, but my point is like creating something that’s worthy of people wanting to link to you.

And so, you know, we’ve shown up on quite a few. Hey, you need to listen to these marketing podcast type list. And I think that if you focus on creating something of quality, that’s going to make people want to link to you. That’s where you’re going to get a lot of links, just naturally. You don’t even, and those are the best kind, the ones that you don’t have to like go and beg for the ones that are just given to

Dave Rohrer: [00:17:44] you.

Yeah. Those, those lists are we get. People, probably more listeners from nos than we do any of the social media stuff. I do any of the Instagram or Facebook or, you know, tweets that we push out. Like [00:18:00] any of that kind of stuff we do. We probably get more listeners from those lists and those links than we do anywhere else.

Matt Siltala: [00:18:07] Absolutely. So just paying attention to that kind of stuff. And here’s your idea? So like if Dave and I put more time into it, Um, knowing that that is the case, and we’re getting these types of places, uh, naturally, you know, then pay attention to those, you know, there’s I’ll know people and we all have industry friends, or, you know, if you show up or if you see a list where podcasts are mentioned, you know, you can always reach out and be like, you know, you can either jump and be like, Hey, you missed one or, Hey, just curious, like, did you know about us?

And a lot of times. You know, like the people I talked to they’re like, I had no idea that you had a podcast and that’s great. This is perfect. I’m going to add it to the list or I’m going to update it or I’ll add it to the next time I do it. And so I think it just takes simple outreach and paying attention and, and, uh, things like that.

So, I mean, it doesn’t have to be complicated guys. It could be just that simple.

[00:19:00] Dave Rohrer: [00:19:00] I think we answered the most basic link building question we could do.

Matt Siltala: [00:19:09] Yeah.

Dave Rohrer: [00:19:09] Yeah. It’s just going to those stories. I won’t throw them under the bus. Um, you get what you pay for now. There’s probably great people on there. Yes.

There’s probably great results. Yes. Um, there’s also probably really bad stuff everywhere. Like it doesn’t matter where just think building in general, you know, it’s just like going ask a graphic designer. You get what you pay for going to ask a developer, you know, the floor installer for Matt. You know, landscape person that I was talking to, um, sometimes the most expensive isn’t the best.

Sometimes the cheapest isn’t the best. Sometimes they are, you know, maybe they just don’t know their value or they, they have some, I don’t want to say trick, but they have a way to be able to deliver it a little bit quicker, but yeah, [00:20:00] take a look at the. Take a look at wherever, whatever you’re doing. Yeah.

And if, if you know that you don’t have anything to link to, it’s going to be tough. Just, you know, if, if you have the same meta descriptions you have, you know, if you’re a restaurant and you have a site that has no content on it, if you’re a lawyer and you have no content, you know, you don’t even have pictures of about us or some sort of local company and you have no content.

If you’re a large enterprise and. Your site is stuck in, you know, 2002 and just looks horrible and there’s no content on it. Like why would people link to you other than your homepage and because you’re sponsoring something

Matt Siltala: [00:20:44] well, and you guys, and if you’re listening to this, obviously you want to know about this.

So if you have questions, reach out to Dave and I, uh, ask us a question. If you’re in an industry that you feel like is not worthy of being linked to. Reach out to us and ask us, like, what can I do? How can, [00:21:00] how can we help you? And I’d love to answer those questions though, either leave comments or reach out to us on Twitter, um, as always.

And so, all right, well, we do appreciate you guys joining us on another one of these. Um, as always a reminder, please go to Google plus. And, uh, give us a five star rating we would love to, or not. Cool. Plus Google

Dave Rohrer: [00:21:23] plus

Matt Siltala: [00:21:24] I did that. Google play. Yeah.

Dave Rohrer: [00:21:28] You just want that $7 from that

Matt Siltala: [00:21:31] $12, 12 or four, $12, $12, $12.

Anyway, don’t go to Google plus, cause it doesn’t exist. Go to Google play and give us a five star rating. And I promise I’ll wake up soon.

Dave Rohrer: [00:21:44] Totally leaving that in there, by the way.

Matt Siltala: [00:21:46] I know you are. So for this jerk of a conoce the Dave war with North side metrics and mental, the worldview, I haven’t watched media.

And, uh, thanks guys for joining us. Bye bye.

E168 – Q&A on Link Building Hosts:

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