Nothing revelatory here, but as I was coaching a client on how to generate links, the whole question of who in fact is going to give a s#%t enough to link to them from their site, even if the content is great, hit me like the Lord’s Bright Shining Light on my pitiful non-believer’s forehead:

Assumption 1:
Those of us in the search marketing biz have historically represented one of the largest suppliers of links to Google’s link graph. Mommy bloggers probably kick our ass though.

Assumption 2:
As more and more of the action heads over to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. most of our link-sharing is happening over on those platforms. I’ve got to believe the number of new links Google is discovering has dramatically declined as Facebook sucked in all of the sharing over the past few years. Hence Der Fuhrer’s reaction to Google Search Plus Your World.

So does this mean the value of a link from a regular old website is worth more or less? And who are these freaks who are still linking from their websites?

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15 Response Comments

  • Michael Dorausch  March 30, 2012 at 9:47 am

    I’ve been making an effort to include an external link in each paragraph of every post I write. Hoping to stick with that throughout 2012. When it comes to news stories, I’m seeking out the source/s and will link to those instead.

  • Dave Oremland  March 30, 2012 at 10:13 am


    I’ll still give links, and I still look for links. The reality is that it is hard. I’m doing more out of the box efforts these days….focusing less on the traditional “get links from your local BBB” type advice and more on creative efforts.

    Some topics like seo, mommy blogs, food blogs, politics generate links. As you noted so much effort has moved to social media.

    Regardless, here is why I do it. For those topics that are less link friendly…say for local smb’s on your basic drek linkability topics….say bialy’s, linens, and takeout pizza places, et al. (and most importantly if search and high rankings can really help your business) if you can raise above the competition….you can kill with rankings….absolutely kill.

    Now with great relative strength for certain key search phrases w/ geo modifiers….I find when links help my sites dominate certain critical search phrases those sites just suck up a huge percentage of traffic…like the world’s greatest vacuum cleaner.

    by comparison, on other phrases, where I might have nice strength…say a #1 in the PAC and at the top of the search page…..with huge relative strength….I get some rankings w/ a 1 at the top of the page , plus some interior pages, etc…..and when I look at how much of the total search traffic those phrases get (relative to impressions from adwords)—its phenominal.

    Yet its infinitely more difficult than it used to be. Just keep trying…and do some out of the box thinking….and if powerful links come….you are in high rankings…and high traffic heaven.

    Just my $0.02.


  • Justin Sous  March 30, 2012 at 11:11 am

    I’m still a big believer in a diversified link profile with traditional “BBB” links that David noted, as well as those creative “hard to get” links. The fact that search has gone social and that google is embracing it (G+) means that links from social are also necessary. Add it to the list, right? As far as those creative links, Will Reynolds from SEER interactive does a great job with opening your mind to ways of getting these “creative” links. If you haven’t done it already, I always tell fellow SEMers to watch his Link Love and SMX seminars. Cheers!

  • Mike Wilton  March 30, 2012 at 11:26 am

    I think there is still quite a bit of linking going on in the blogosphere, but I agree that the social graph is definitely trumping the link graph these days.

    That being said, I definitely think because of this the links that are being generated naturally are of much higher quality. I know I’ll link to stuff as an off site source or to expand on a topic pretty regularly.

  • Andrew Shotland  March 30, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    Dave, I am not suggesting that linkbuilding isn’t worth it anymore, just seems like the number of sites that link out on a regular basis must be diminishing, which means either the value of those links is either diminishing or increasing. I am guessing from your comment (and Mike’s) that you feel the value is increasing and I am inclined to agree.

  • runner2009  March 30, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Besides the wide range of basically directories and vertical list good links are difficult. Back in the day, it seemed to me that it was easier because it was new and we all were part of a in the know club.

    Today besides a true editorial link – that often comes from Social Media – hey we all want to be where the engagements are – it is my experience that a quid pro quo must take place and it should be targeted.

  • Kane  March 30, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    As always, links are given freely for things that are interesting or useful. Most small biz websites don’t fit that bill, so figure out a way to make them. It ain’t rocket science, just linkbait.

    • Andrew Shotland  March 30, 2012 at 4:22 pm

      Right, but if the majority of the links that I give out on a daily basis are via Google+ or Twitter, the question is what is the value of those links v. links I would have given you from my site before the social media borg ate my brain.

  • Dave Oremland  March 30, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Andrew: I realized you weren’t suggesting its not worth it…and you pointed out how people are spreading their efforts into social media, etc. On that basis alone one has less time for links, especially if your a time limited smb versus a major corp.

    Is their value increasing??? I couldn’t say…but if less are doing it less well and spending less time on it…then competitively speaking you can get more bang for the buck….again relative to local seo and local competition.

  • aaron wall  April 1, 2012 at 1:12 am

    other factor offsetting any scarcity-based value increases:
    – anchor text filters tightening
    – Panda
    – larger AdWords ads & Places & yada yada eating up more of the SERPs

  • Christophe BENOIT  April 2, 2012 at 2:55 am

    Yes I do. On information websites, I always link to autority sites. My ranking are not hurt by external linking and I’m above websites that don’t link (but there are others factors too).

  • Mushegh  April 4, 2012 at 5:29 am

    “God bless you my son” – that soundes really motivational, lol 🙂

    Anyways, linking to sources of data, useful websites etc etc stays an everyday practice of many webmasters, bloggers, journalists, though some are right that facebook and twitter grabbed much of that link sharing from google.

  • Vasko  April 24, 2012 at 6:54 am

    Getting links from credible sites and old sites is still one of the best factors contributing in Google’s algorithm, hence very important SEO activity.