Disclosure: Please note that links to merchants mentioned within this post might be using an affiliate link which means that - at zero cost to you - I might earn a commission if you buy something through that affiliate link. That said, I never recommend anything I don’t personally use and find to be a valuable asset to my business.

Link Building with the Experts – 2013 Edition


  1. Phil Graham says:

    Thanks for another EPIC link building post Rae! Lots of great information here, most of it I agree with.

    It has definitely become MUCH more about total marketing versus just straight “SEO” and that is what will set the successful SEO’s and consultants apart from those that will fade off and stay stuck in the stone age way of doing and promoting business.

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      You’re very welcome Phil – it’s my fave post of the year. :)

      I agree re marketing – SEO used to be one thing. Now you have your technical aspect of SEO and your marketing aspect of SEO – but in reality, it’s been that way for more than a few years now.

  2. Dr. Pete says:

    A lot of great food for thought, but Jim’s point about disavow really resonated with me. I’ve seen so many people claim that disavow “didn’t work” – then, you look at their link profile and realize it’s 98% crap. Yeah, if you disavow 98% of your links, what’s left? Maybe the Capital-P Penalty has been removed, but so has everything that gave you any ranking power at all. You played the game, and you lost. Now, own up and build something real.

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Yeah, without seeing the backlink history, it would be hard to gauge if there was a reason behind “it didn’t work”. Plus, whether you got caught in the algorithmic filter or whether you received an email from Google about shady links – in my opinion – makes a big difference when you’re doing clean up.

  3. Syed Muzammil says:

    It took more than 1 hour to go through the post and hopefully it requires lots of time and practicality to understand diversifying points of views. It’s finally recognized by SEO’s that to get Google rankings just link building is not the core factor as Rand says that to get a positive result holistic marketing strategy is required. Factors like brand signals, social signals, UX, citations, quality content are now very important to get high SERP.

    The best part and most useful for me is why and when to kill a website. I was thinking to suggest one of my clients to close the website rather than investing on recovery process but slightly hesitating to advice her but now I’m confident to advice her for launching a new brand instead of recovering.

    Thanks Rae for collecting experts point of views and for lots of great information.

  4. Darren Moloney says:

    Ref Michael’s useful comment:

    “Normal people don’t link like that, they link like this …”

    Which I strongly agree with.

    But I’d like to amend to:

    “Normal people don’t link.”

    I say as this as most “normal” people I’ve talked to (“normal” = not particularly web savvy but happy to use the internet) have no idea how to actually add a link to a web page…

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      I think that depends on our idea of normal. Normal as in my grandmother, no. Normal as in my teenager, absolutely. But she’s not linking to you from a blog post with your keyword in the title with the proper anchor – she’s dropping your link in social channels and adding it to a post in her blog with zero regard for relevancy or anchor.

      For instance – let’s say you own a site about video game controllers… a manufactured link would probably be on a post called the top 10 controllers for gamers with the anchor being “video game controller” – for her, she’d title her blog post “Awesomeness in your hand” and link to it with “at Best Buy” – if that makes sense.

  5. Matthew Ortner says:

    Nice article and was so informative right from the beginning. Special thanks about the “5 SEO tools” set which helps me lot to get idea about what are the best tool these leaders are engaging with.

  6. Scott Cowley says:

    Thanks for compiling another great collection of thoughts and opinions on links (the death of which appears to have been greatly exaggerated).

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Ha! You’re welcome Scott – and yes, the “death” of everything in this industry is usually exaggerated. :)

  7. Jason Acidre says:

    Solid insights from Jim, Todd and Rand. Took me 2 days to finish (and digest) the entire post.

  8. Vinny O'Hare says:

    Once again another great post. I spent a good part of Fourth of July reading it.

    Some things I was glad to see that these guys don’t bother using the disavow tool. I agree it is a waste of time. Time is better spent making your site better.

    I agree with Rae on the #1 tool I live in Raven’s Site auditor tool. The automatic monthly reports is like getting a report card. Except you can actually see why your grades go up.

    I still have a few double hyphen domains that I am using for testing. They are much useless for building a brand on but the information they give me is priceless. I constantly take them in and out of Google and put them in “search engine jail”

    Thanks for all the great info Rae!

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Vinny – glad you enjoyed it. To be clear tho, for me, while I resent the disavow tool – it does occasionally have it’s place. :)

  9. Christopher says:

    I can’t get enough of these SEO and link building posts. I wish Google would just spell it out and stop being so secretive. Lol. But for obvious reasons they can’t, so It’s great to hear so many expert opinions on what’s actually going on. I’d be lost without them. Thanks Rae!

  10. Brent Baltzer says:

    I made a Twitter list of all these folks: https://twitter.com/brentbaltzer/link-building-experts

    Awesome read, it’s taken me a few days to get through it!

  11. Jon Poland says:


    I love the post. I am will have to reread it because I’m sure I missed a few things the during the first read. Every new search marketer (along with those who are struggling) should read this post.

    Thank you for asking your panel the question about their top five SEO tools. There is a lot of value in knowing what tools “SEO professionals” are using in their business. I also like the question about the five things people should do to start procuring links to a brand new site. Again, valuable information that new people in this business need to know. Great stuff, Rae!

  12. Thanks for the post Rae. I have to say that has been the single most useful post on link building I have come across. As others have said, I will have to re-read it a couple of times to get my head round all the comments.

    The 5 tools section had me stunned – it will probably take me a couple of days to explore all the tools that were mentioned!

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      You’re welcome – I loved, loved, loved the tools section as well! I’m hoping to follow up on that soon. :)

  13. Rae,

    This was a great post with a lot of different views. It’s interesting to see the different viewpoints. I didn’t quite finish reading it yet, but tomorrow I will.

    Keep up the good work.


  14. Bursville Mom says:

    The whole natural link discussion bothers me. As a small business owner it’s a pipe dream to think that if I build this great website for my in home child care that authority sites are going to link to me.

    If I create a blog, I’m not doing it because it will attract customers from my small town, I’m doing it because I want to attract links. That is not natural! Have you ever searched for a pool cleaning company and selected one to give you a quote because they had a great blog post? Doubtful. You searched, you saw the website was clean and professional, you called. You don’t read articles about lawn care and pool cleaning service. Those articles are there for one reason, to manipulate search results.

    What percentage of the links on the web are natural? My guess is under 5%.

    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Actually, I think local businesses play by a different set of tactics. I don’t think a small home daycare or landscaper in a town needs 1000 links to rank – at all. There was actually an article in one of the major news outlets a while back about a pool company who actually did explode their business by building out content on their blog. Unfortunately, I can’t find the article ATM because I never bookmarked it.

      In regards to marketing for a local business, you’d be better off checking out the post I wrote here on the topic. Hope this helps!

  15. Jitendra Vaswani says:

    Link building experts are giving their own views. I really liked this. It almost took me 3 days to complete entire post. Rae I appreciate your efforts :)

  16. Dan Carter says:

    I am always looking forward to your yearly article on Link Building. This one is as informative as always. I must admit I was off track so thanks a lot. Very detailed as usual and an opportunity for all of us to see how the experts think on this mysterious topic which keeps changing. I feel even good links are being penalized sometimes. Thanks for the article.

  17. Jyoti Chauhan says:

    Hi Rae,

    First I want to say thank you to deliver several link building expert’s view is at one place. I really like it and learn lot from this. I am eagerly waiting your 2014 series.


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