Posts Tagged ‘Ann Smarty’

17 Helpful SEO Tools and Tool Reviews

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

For nearly as long as there have been people working on search engine optimization, there have been SEO tools. The first tools handled only the most rudimentary tasks, like rank checking or keyword density analysis.

As search engine algorithms, and SEO professionals, have become more sophisticated over time, so have the tools. Today, there are (in many cases free, or low-cost) tools covering nearly every aspect of content design, on-page, off-page, and technical SEO.

Expert SEO tools and SEO tool reviewsWhich SEO tools are most helpful in conducting a site audit? Which tools are best for local SEO? For reporting and metrics? Competitive analysis? Social analytics?

Find out in this compilation of web tools and expert tool reviews from the past year and a half.

Helpful SEO Tools

PageSpeed Insights

This outstanding tool from Google evaluates the speed of both mobile and desktop access for any specified website, returns an overall score, and provides technical recommendations on for decreasing load time and improving site speed.

Site Explorer

A slick free tool that reports, for any full URL: linking domains, inbound links, most linked countries, most linked keywords, page rank of linking domains, and new links within the past 30 days. This one deserves consideration for every SEO’s toolbox.

Online Website Link Checker

One of the best free broken-link checking tools available, the Online Website Link Checker will crawl for and report broken links on up to 500 pages and three levels down on any specified website, optionally across a whole domain or only a specified subdomain.

Expert SEO Tools Reviews and Guides

Free and Useful On-Page Optimization Tools by Internet Marketing Ninjas

Ann SmartyOnline tools expert Ann Smarty presents five useful tools for on-page optimization from the SEO Chat free tools beta are, among them the On-Page Optimization Analysis Tool , which analyzes “everything from meta data to keyword use iysis/n content and link accounting. It then breaks this all down for you, so you can get a more thorough look at how well your page has been optimized, and how you can optimize it even more.”

SEO Report: How to Track Blog Performance on Google by Razor Social

Ian Cleary“To find out how likely it is that the blog posts you write will have an ongoing impact, you need to find out how well your blog content is currently doing. You can do this with an SEO report,” writes Ian Cleary; he then steps through the process of creating such a report using a series of tools, like SEMRush to discover what keywords your site ranks for, and Monitor Backlinks, which will “will email you every week with a summary of new and old links that changed in status.”

Free Local SEO Tools that Belong in Your Kit by The Moz Blog

Miriam Ellis provides detailed descriptions of more than a dozen helpful and free tools for local SEO, including the Generate local AdWords and keywords lists tool (much more helpful than Google Keyword Planner when trying to identify keywords with value in a specific geographic area) and the Free Local Analysis Google Places Tool, which, she writes, “Provides more rich data for local SEOs than almost any other free tool I’ve found!…I can also compare them to other local businesses using the tool.”

10 SEO Tools and Plugins You Need in 2014 by Web Content Blog

Gazella GayaThe English isn’t perfect, but the reviews are spot on. Most of the tools Gazalla Gaya reviews here are familiar (such as the outstanding WordPress SEO by Yoast, but a few are off the beaten path, among them HitTail (a fee-based long-tail keyword research tool) and the Virante AuthorRank tool for analyzing the influence of online authors according to Google ranking factors.

How Rich Snippets Work (And Tools to Generate Them) by SEO Chat

Ann Smarty (again) explains what rich snippets are, why they are important (“These little details are what causes your listing to ‘pop’ in a search, catching the eye of the user no matter what place on the first page you occupy”), and how to use specialized tools from SEO Chat to create specific types of snippets, such as the Event Rich Snippet Schema Generator to “show (event dates and times for quick reference.”

30 Awesome Free SEO Tools for Small Businesses by Search Decoder Blog

Matthew CapalaMatthew Capala offers links to and brief descriptions of two-and-a-half dozen free tools, from the the AdWords keyword traffic estimator and Übersuggest for keyword research to WidgetBox (a dynamic web widgets generator), Yext] for monitoring local SEO listings, and Visual.ly for creating infographics.

21 Best FREE SEO Tools for On-Page Optimization by Search Engine Watch
***** 5 STARS

Chuck PriceNoting the importance of providing the best user experience to achieve and maintain top search results, Chuck Price reviews more than 20 free tools for onsite optimization, for functions like keyword research, content analysis, technical SEO, schema creation, and image optimization.

Google SEO Tools: 7 Tools to Drive more traffic to your blog by Razor Social

Ian Cleary (again) explains how to use Google’s free tools to help out with SEO efforts; not just the obvious ones (e.g., Webmaster Tools, Keyword Planner) but Google Trends, advanced search commands, and desktop and mobile speed search: “When Google makes available a tool to test out the speed of your website and provides suggestion for improvements you know you should be paying attention to this.  When they provide similar for mobile you know you should pay attention to this also.”

15 Free SEO Tools For Evaluating Your Clients by Brad S. Knutson

Brad KnutsonThe obnoxious full-screen pop-up unfortunately prevents this from getting a five-star rating, but once your past that, you’ll find here an outstanding list from Brad Knutson of free tools for evaluating key aspects of SEO: technical SEO, content and keyword research, local search, inbound links, traffic estimates, and social analytics.

The 100 Best Free SEO Tools & Resources for Every Challenge – Interactive by The Moz Blog

Cyrus ShepardCyrus Shepard presents a huge, categorized list of completely free, free with paid option, and paid with free trial tools covering pretty much every aspect of SEO, from link research, rank checking and site speed testing to keyword research, link building and technical SEO.

A closer look at Google’s Webmaster Tools revamp by Econsultancy

Zoe-Lee SkeltonZoe-Lee Skelton provides a detailed look into GWT’s mid-2013 redesign, explaining the new navigation setup, what’s included under each heading, and new features, such as the ability to block pages: “You’re also able to request the ‘removal of URLs’ from Google’s Index if not already blocked in the robots.txt file. Use this feature if you have pages that you don’t want Google to find.”

3 Free SEO Tools for Auditing and Troubleshooting Onsite Issues by Search Engine Journal

Marc PurtellWriting that ” It’s not uncommon in today’s SEO landscape to wake up and find a sudden drop of organic search traffic and/or keyword rankings…By taking advantage of the intelligence that is available for free, brands with low budgets can recover from SEO issues,” Marc Purtell recommends using Google Webmaster Tools, Screaming Frog, and the BrowSEO Spider Simulator to investigate and help correct ranking loss issues.

3 Must-Have SEO Tools: 17 SEO Experts Weigh In by Powered by Search

Troy FawkesTroy Boileau reports on the results of asking several well-known SEO experts about their favorite tools: among the group, Aaron Wall (who’s produced some pretty awesome tools himself) likes different tools for different purposes, for example, “surface level metrics from Majestic SEO, Ahrefs & Open Site Explorer”; Brian Massey cites Google Analytics and AdWords, plus Visual Website Opimizer; and Heidi Cohen notes the value of WordPress and Flickr.

SEO On A Budget: 10 Free Tools by MediaPost
***** 5 STARS

Marc Purtell (again) lists 10 helpful free or low-cost tools to help with site analysis and optimization efforts, including Rank Checker, several Google tools, and Screaming Frog: “Screaming Frog is a free spider that…can help identify server errors, redirects, URI issues, duplicate meta data and much more.”

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Six Stellar Twitter Tools and Reviews

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

Thanks to its brevity and informality, Twitter has become a phenomenally successful social network, particularly for sharing news and updates, with more than 560 million active users collectively posting 5,700 tweets every second.

Top Twitter Tools ReviewsWhile powerful on its own, the 140-character social chatter site is even more useful when extended with tools to accomplish all sorts of tasks, from analyzing current followers and finding new ones to identifying influencers and trends, creating custom Twitter feeds, monitoring brand conversations and more.

Check out the posts below to find reviews of more than two dozen helpful Twitter tools, from a handful of top social media experts.

Expert Reviews of Top Twitter Tools

8 Twitter Tools Every Content Marketer Should Have by Streetwise Media

Caroline LyleCaroline Lyle reviews her favorite Twitter tools, among them FollowerWonk which “offers valuable analysis of your followers, and more importantly, helps you find new ones,” and TweetBeep, a simple tool that “sends you an email every time your brand is mentioned” on Twitter.

3 Very Useful Twitter Hashtag Analytics Tools by Razor Social

Ian ClearyWriting that “Analyzing the activity around a hashtag on twitter can help you identify the influencers, find useful links, analyze trends and much more,” Ian Cleary reviews three hashtag analytics tools including Tweetbinder, which lets you “analyze a twitter chat to see who is engaged in the conversation, who is most influential, what tweets were shared, what links are shared” and more.

7 Free Tools to Find Twitter Influencers Who Interact with You by Small Business Trends

Ann SmartyFrequent best-of contributor Ann Smarty reviews more than half a dozen tools for identifying and engaging with influential Twitters who follow you, such as Who Tweeted Me, “a new tool from Hubspot that finds all people who tweeted your pages and sorts them by number of followers. You can thank them with one click as well.”

Find the RSS feed for any Twitter user with Twitter RSS (Update) by Social Media Slant

Cendrine MarrouatTwitter has killed off its RSS feeds, but Cendrine Marrouat recommends using the RSS 4 Twitter tool as an alternative. At last check, the site worked well for capturing individual Twitter feeds, but hashtag support was temporarily out of order.

5 Tools to Research the Demographics of Your Twitter Followers by Small Business Trends

Ann Smarty (again) reviews a handful of “great apps that will let you get the proper stats to start engaging your followers in a real and dynamic way,” such as Birdsong (“Do a quick analytics search of any social media profile and find out exactly what conversations your brand is generating”).

Twools: Social Media Unleashed by iag.me

Ian Anderson GrayA more powerful alternative to the issue of Twitter RSS feeds is Twools, a tools from Ian Anderson Gray. It allows you to create a number of Twitter feeds including your home timeline, any user timeline, mentions, favorites and more, and filter these by keyword, hashtag or screen name.

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28 (of the) Best Business Blogging Guides and Tips of 2013

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Maintaining a company blog has numerous benefits for businesses of almost all shapes and sizes: blogging is an SEO best practice; it drives more website visitors lead conversions; it draws new visitors, expanding the reach of the company website; and it’s core element of a content marketing and online presence optimization strategy.

Best Business Blogging Guides of 2013So it’s not surprising that 76% of b2b companies and 72% of b2c enterprises now have corporate blogs.

Still—not every company that blogs realizes the medium’s full potential. And blogs require significant effort and resources, so even companies that have effective blogs want to assure they are maximizing results.

How can you attract more sales prospects to your blog? Get visitors to engage with your content? Become recognized as an industry thought leader? Optimize your blog for search? What common mistakes should you avoid? Which tools and plugins should you be using?

Find the answers to those questions and many others here in more than two dozen of the best business blogging guides of the past year.

Best Business Blogging Guides and Tips

7 Steps To Make Your Blog A Marketing Machine by Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenTo make your blog a marketing machine rather than a me-me-me (or me-too) blog, Heidi Cohen advises focusing on your audience’s hot buttons, outlining a series of ongoing columns, branding your blog, and incorporating clear calls to action, among other tactics.

9 Ways To Get More Prospects To Discover Your B2B Blog by Business2Community

Douglas BurdettDouglas Burdett recommends “nine tactics (that) will get your blog discovered by more readers,” from looking for and capitalizing on trends in your blog analytics and publishing original data to being controversial by “taking a stand and backing it up with data.”

An Almost Effortless Way to “Get Your Name Out There” by The Un-Self-Help Blog

Stephan WiednerStephan Wiedner shares six reasons to write guest posts for other blogs, among them: “It builds relationships. If you write for someone else’s blog and their readers like what you share, they will be grateful, potentially ask you to write again, and who knows, maybe scratch your back in other ways some time in the future.” And despite some recent, widely misinterpreted comments by Google’s Matt Cutts, guest blogging is not dead.

30+ powerful adjectives and verbs for eye-catching headlines by Econsultancy

Chris LakeQuoting advertising legend David Ogilvy that “On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar,” Chris Lake offers guidance on choosing compelling blog post topics then grabbing attention by using key adjectives and verbs in the headline. Based on research over millions of page impressions, these adjectives include “best,” “brilliant,” “kickass,” “mindblowing” and “ultimate” among others.

5 Ways to Create a Deliciously Irresistible Blog Post Title by SteamFeed

Rebekah RadiceRebekah Radice explains why post titles are so important, the four objectives a post title should achieve, and a handful of tips to help craft compelling titles, such as keeping them concise: “It has been found that titles with eight words or less perform best.”

6 Ways To Go From Anonymous Hermit To Thought Leader by Fast Company

Wendy MarxContending that “Becoming a thought leader in your industry doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily the smartest kid on the block. It does mean that you’re the most receptive and understanding of your customers’ needs,” the brilliant Wendy Marx offers half a dozen tips for making the transition, including writing for trade publications and speaking at industry events.

How to Optimize Your Blog Content for Social Media by Maximize Social Business

Kristi HinesKristi Hines shares a handful of helpful tips for optimizing blog posts for social sharing, from adding social sharing buttons (a task done easily with tools like AddThis or ShareThis]) to including a social call to action (“let readers know that you want them to share your posts by adding a call to action at the end such as ‘If you’ve enjoyed this post, please share it with your friends’”).

33 Experts Share Their Secrets For Improving Reader Engagement by Blogging Wizard

Adam ConnellAdam Connell compiles advice from nearly three dozen seasoned bloggers on increasing reader engagement, including tips from Seth Godin (“The only thing I do to increase reader engagement is to write things worth sharing”), frequent Webbiquity best-of contributor Neil Patel, Dino Dogan, Anita Campbell, Ted Rubin, Lisa Buben, Joel Comm and more.

7 company blogs that build community by Ragan.com

Emma SiemaskoEmma Siemasko looks at “seven company blogs that do it right, along with some practical tips for getting the same success with your blog,” among them 37Signals: “Signal vs. Noise, 37 Signals’ blog, does a lot more than promote the company…The blog provides thoughtful, inquisitive, and truth-seeking articles about working from home, whether an iPhone camera is enough of a camera, and more.”

How to Generate More Leads With Your Blog: 5 Tips by Social Media Examiner

Kristi Hines (again) supplies a handful of helpful tips for generating leads via a blog, like placing opt-in forms around your blog content with “calls to action such as free trials, free consultations or a simple mailing list opt-in form.”

How to Contribute to a Blog and be Seen by Geekless Tech

Steve HughesNoting that contributing to other blogs “helps with reach, and exposes you to an audience you just don’t have with your own blog,” Steven Hughes shares a handful of tips for constructively contributing such as following directions: “Some sites will spell out exactly what they’re looking for and what you need to do to be considered,” and creating solid, original content.

20 ideas for content that people love to share on social media by Firebrand Ideas Ignition

Jeff BullasJeff Bullas provides 20 tips to help bloggers create a steady stream of fresh content, including creating lists, republishing infographics, curating content (kind of like this post), reporting news, analyzing research results, and reviewing tools or applications.

How to Make Your WordPress Blog to Stand Out by Themefuse

Karol KrolKarol Król presents five ideas to make your blog stand out from the crowd, from picking a new publication schedule (“you won’t know which posting frequency is the best for your blog until you try at least a couple of them”) to launching a contest (“Create a genuine task, or ask a genuine question…Then gather the entries and pick the winner”).

Best Tips for Beginning Bloggers

7 Content Writing Secrets Every Blogger Should Know by Basic Blog Tips

Glen AndrewsGlen Andrews details basic but helpful strategies for writing compelling blog posts, from crafting an attention-grabbing headline and opening through “giving it a rest”–”Before you publish that post – give it a rest. Why? Because, no matter how good we think our post is today, tomorrow never lies…Our posts will be more powerful and professional if we ‘let it rest’ and review it tomorrow with fresh eyes.”

5 Steps To A Successful Blog – A First-Time Blogger’s Business Plan by Viral Mom

Bernard ZarifovicBernard Zarifovic diagrams a first-time blogger’s business plan, starting with selecting a topic or niche and writing the first set of posts and progressing through social sharing, social engagement, and guest blogging.

7 reasons why a blog is vital to your social media strategy by Memeburn

Megan BersteinWhile most of the points here will be familiar to experienced bloggers, Megan Bernstein offers some interesting insights for corporate blog strategy, such as understanding the competitive landscape: “Your competitors in the online space are not always the same as those in ‘real life’.”

Top 10 Strategies to Successful B2B Blogging by TopTenWholesale.com

Naomi Ruth GanhinhinNaomi Ruth Ganhinhin offers 10 tips for blogging success, from setting clear objectives (“A clear set of objectives makes it easier to organize the type of content you publish. It also dictates the tone you are going to use and determine the right people to write your blog posts”) to including calls to action.

Best Guides to Blogging Mistakes and Pitfalls to Avoid

Are You Making These 20 Mistakes on Your Blog? by jeffbullas.com

Jeff Bullas (again) steps through 20 “common  mistakes that a lot of ‘newbie’ and other bloggers slip into,” such as not providing additional reading sources with each post, writing posts that are too long or too short (he recommends aiming for 500-800 words), and not using post categories to help readers find posts of interest.

Still Using Google Images for Your Blog Posts? Stop It! by She Owns It

Shelley WebbWriting that she has “seen too many people served with unexpected ‘bills’ and/or lawsuits for using images that held copyrights,” guest author Shelley Webb explains what types of actions and sources can get bloggers into trouble, and lists alternative / free image sources like Stock.XCHNG.

Blogging: 34 Things You’re Doing Wrong by Social Media Today

Yvonne LyonsYvonne Lyons reveals “34 things that could be keeping your posts from getting traction and making the jump from good to remarkable,” such as errors / lack of editing, choosing a topic that’s been “done to death,” and having no links within the post to your own site—and how to fix each problem.

Why Your Company Blog is Striking Out by Marketo Blog

K'Lee BanksGuest blogger K’Lee Banks offers advice on what to do “if you are spending time writing posts, but no one is listening,” for example: use interesting images (not just stock photos), always include social sharing buttons; and “Invite other professionals in your industry to guest post and connect with their readers.”

Best Blog SEO Guides and Tips

How To Move Your Blog Post Up In Search Results by V3 Integrated Marketing

Ian ClearyGuest author Ian Cleary outlines a half-dozen tactics to improve a blog’s search rankings, including the strategic use of internal and external links: “You don’t want to include a ton of internal links, as that looks spammy. Instead, make sure you’re directing your readers to the resources that they need (internal or external).”

How to Optimize Your Business Blog [Checklist] by Unbounce
***** 5 STARS

Lindsey KirchoffIn this highly bookmark-worthy post, Lindsey Kirchoff lays out a simple four-quadrant checklist for optimizing all aspects of a business blog: structure (e.g., navigation, search, categories); SEO (attributes like keyword use, internal links and Google authorship); CTAs; and social elements.

15 SEO Experts Give Their Best Tips For Blogging by Heidi Cohen

Heidi Cohen (again) shares blog SEO trips from experts like Kipp Bodnar and Jeffery L. Cohen (“The single biggest factor in SEO success for bloggers comes down to consistent publishing. Those who publish regularly receive more search traffic”), Eric Enge, Ron Jones, Rebecca Lieb and Charlie White.

Best Business Blogging Tools, WordPress Tips and Plugins

4 Useful Creative Commons Browser Plugins by Internet Marketing Ninjas

Ann SmartyOnline tools maven Ann Smarty reviews four browser plugins to help find free (creative commons) images for use in blog posts, including CC Search, a search plugin that provides “quick access to about 10 Creative Commons search engines (including flickr, spinxpress, wikimedia, fotopedia, etc). It’s a good search plugin when you need more options that just Flickr.”

How to Make WordPress Sites Load 72.7% Faster by CopyBlogger

Jerod MorrisIn an attempt to “cut the crap and turn down the hype” regarding how to create a faster WordPress site, Jerod Morris recommends staring by examining and optimizing the “core” of every WordPress site, which includes “hosting, theme, and plugins,” then offers a series of speed optimization tips. Not all are simple, but most bloggers should at least be able to find some helpful site speed-related takeaways here.

7 Emerging and Free WordPress Plugins of Fall 2013 by SteamFeed

Jesse AaronJesse Aaron reviews seven newer WordPress plugins, including WooSidebars (for creating custom sidebars by page), All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets (self-explanatory) and his favorite: the WordPress Calls to Action Plugin, which makes it “insanely easy” to do things like “create an effective call to action button, direct the call to action to a landing page, and direct the landing page to a conversion form.”

Easily Move Your WordPress Website to a New Host by Masterful Marketing

Debra MurphyThis is an instance where “easily” may be in the eyes of the reader, but nonetheless Debra Murphy does an exemplary job here of detailing the non-trivial process of moving an existing blog to a new web host as simple and understandable as possible.

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Five Expert Guides to SEO Keyword Research

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

Though Google’s move to keyword (not provided) has changed analytics and eliminating the Keyword Planner tool has impacted SEO practices, keywords still matter.

Expert SEO Keyword Research GuidesIndeed, as the volume of online verbiage explodes—91% of b2b marketers have embraced content marketing; the web now contains at least 1.65 billion pages; Internet users collectively created and shared nearly four zettabytes of information in 2013, and the volume continues to grow—identifying and properly using the optimal keywords for your audience is arguably more vital than ever.

Fortunately, tools and methods for keyword discovery and analysis have advanced as well. How can you maximize the value of Google’s “dumbed down” Keyword Planner tool? What other tools and resources are most valuable for keyword research? How can you use keyword research results more strategically?

Find those answers and more here in a handful of the best expert SEO keyword research guides of the past year.

Keyword Research 101: How to Discover New Keywords for Your Business by HubSpot

Samantha WinchellGoogle’s decisions to hide referring keywords from organic search and to replace its Keyword Research tool with the dumbed-down Keyword Planner have made keyword research more challenging. But Samantha Winchell here recommends 10 helpful alternative paths to finding the best keyword phrases for optimization, from the keywords associated with your most popular blog posts to online industry forums.

Google Keyword Planner: The Ultimate Guide by Razor Social
***** 5 STARS

Ian ClearyConfused by Google’s new “lite” keyword research tool? Ian Cleary helpfully explains how Google’s new Keyword Planner tool works, how to access it, the differences between the new tool and more-robust-but-now-discontinued Keyword Research tool, and the three options for performing keyword research with the new tool.

The Hidden Guide To Keyword Research by Reporb SEO Business Courses

This detailed and excellent primer on keyword research steps through why keyword research is vital, how to identify the most promising keywords for your site, how to use the Google Keyword Research tool (now defunct, so see Ian’s article above on how to use the Keyword Planner tool instead), and the pros and cons of 10 alternative keyword research tools.

Multi-level Google Suggest Keyword Research: Featured Tool of the Month by SEO Chat

Ann SmartyThe brilliant and prolific Ann Smarty shows how to use the Google Suggest keyword research tool, expanding each phrase to the second and third levels to produce a huge list of actual organic keyword phrases, not skewed toward commercial searches.

12 Tips for Keyword Selection to Guide Your Content Marketing SEO by Content Marketing Institute

Mike MurrayMike Murray lists a dozen questions to ask when conducting keyword research in support of content marketing efforts, from “Have I mined keyword research resources?” (beyond Google and other obvious tools) to “How will this keyword phrase choice fit into future content?” (strategically planning ahead for future content, not just immediate projects).

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23 Expert SEO Link Building Guides and Tools

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (which would be an awkward and uncomfortable place from which to do search engine optimization work),  you’re probably aware that the two most important things to know about link building in the post-Panda world are that 1) backlinks are still very important for ranking, and 2) traditional link-building methods (or at least many of them) are no longer effective. In its efforts to combat webspam, Google now ignores or even penalizes “unnatural” link profiles.

So what types of links should you avoid? What kinds of links are still (or now) the most valuable? How can you get more high-quality links? What tools are most helpful in link building efforts?

Find the answers to those questions and more here in almost two dozen of the best link-building guides and tool reviews of the past year.

Link Building Guides, Techniques and Tips

Six Degrees Of SEO Bacon & B2B Link Building Q&A by Search Engine Land

Debra MastalerDebra Mastaler answers seminar questions posed to her and Scott Fasser of Optify on b2b link building tactics, such as “Q: Is submitting press releases as a method for link building efficient? A: Press releases, if submitted properly, are an effective way to build short term links and to syndicate news and content…Having a plan for syndicating on a regular basis – no less than monthly is the best strategy. Optimizing the release for the focus keywords and submitted with the right service is a good strategy – especially when combined with an on-going PR effort to build excitement for news and participate in reviews, stories and roundups.”

Link Building From Scratch by Search Engine Watch

Julie JoyceJulie Joyce details 16 different kinds of links along with the pros and cons of pursuing each, ranging from the easy-to-get-but-not-worth-much (e.g., directory links) to the challenging-but-valuable (infographics and widget links).

10 Extraordinary Examples of Effective Link Bait by SEOmoz

Jon CooperObserving that “Despite what most SEOs will tell you, it’s not easy to create outstanding content that people will want to link to,” Jon Cooper provides “10 fantastic examples of link bait and what makes them so spectacular,” such as Thomson’s Evolution of Music, “a visualization of how music has traveled over the past 200 years…Why was it successful?…The two main reasons it was successful are the quality of the visualization and the social share buttons on the page. Making it easy to share gets the page in front of more eyes, and more eyes means more links.” Jon didn’t say these examples were easy, just extraordinary.

The End of Link Building as We’ve Known and Loved it by Search Engine Watch

Eric EngeFrequent best-of honoree Eric Enge notes that traditional link-building methods (even white-hat tactics) simply don’t work as well as they used to in the old world of search engine algorithms, and offers eight recommendations for tactics to create a valuable groundswell of spontaneous links, among them blogging, engaging in social media, writing news releases, advertising on targeted sites…in short, using a web presence optimization framework approach.

The 10 Golden Rules to Attracting Authority Links by SEOmoz

Neil PatelNoting that authoritative links still play a highly significant role in ranking, the brilliant Neil Patel supplies 10 rules for attracting such links, such as writing content that attracts editorial links; creating a desirable (and original) image library; writing columns or guest posts; and knowing what kinds of sites to avoid for link building.

13 Unconventional Link Building Strategies by Search Engine Journal

Sujan PatelNeed more than 10 rules? Here, Sujan Patel (Neil’s cousin) lists 13 more tips (with surprisingly little overlap to Neil’s list) including asking your local library to link to you as a reference; setting up speaking gigs; and interviewing experts in your field.

How to Avoid an Unnatural Links Penalty by AboutUs

Kristina WeisKristina Weis explains plainly and concisely how Google evaluates “unnatural” links, the specific types of links to avoid (paid, sitewide, blog networks), and some common backlink-checking tools (another is Backlink Watch).

How to Check Which Links Can Harm Your Site’s Rankings by SEOmoz

Modesto SiotosNoting that Google’s efforts to deindex “overoptimized” websites are likely to penalize many legitimate sites as well as spammy site, Modesto Siotos provides detailed instructions for a more technical audience on how to check your “backlink risk,” the tools required, and remedial actions to take if it appears your site could be at risk of a Google penalty.

Preparing for Link Armageddon by Search Engine Journal

Jeff BedfordJeff Bedford laments Google’s decision to deindex several major blog networks, which particularly impacted blogs that relied heavily on syndication networks for inbound links. He then outlines several tactics for replacing those links, from tradition PR to social relationship building, forums and guest blogging.

Linking Strategies: The Complete Guide by Coconut Headphones
***** 5 STARS

Ted IvesTed Ives offers an outstanding guide to link building, with tactics organized into five main categories: Highly Effective (e.g., produce great content, optimize news releases, ask partners for links); Worth Considering (coupons, commenting); Hard to Get Right; Wildcard Approaches (such as infographics); and Black Hat (best to avoid).

The Noob Guide to Link Building by SEOmoz
***** 5 STARS

Michael KingOnce you’ve absorbed Ted’s post above, Michael King serves up another long, detailed, and excellent (though also misnamed; true noobs will be lost, and this post has value for SEOs well beyond the noob stage) six-month link building plan, starting with quick hits like social profiles and select directories and moving along through ego bait, guest posts and event publicity.

8 Link Building Tips – Whiteboard Friday by SEOmoz

Paddy MooganPaddy Moogan presents eight link-building tips in eight minutes. My favorite: “Go to Meetup.com and search for the word ‘blogger’ and refine the results by your area, and you’ll find local bloggers meeting up in the same place. So you may find music bloggers, design bloggers, fashion bloggers. Instead of emailing all of those people, just go to the event. Go and meet them, say hello, buy them a drink, go and have dinner. It’s a much better way of building a relationship than just firing (out) a bunch of emails.”

Quality Links & Quality Content: Linchpins of Your SEO Strategy by Search Engine Watch

Christian ArnoChristian Arno discusses what constitutes a “quality link” (site relevance and trust) and how to go about getting more of them (PR, guest posts, social media, and other web presence optimization tactics), as well as consistently producing quality, link-worthy content.

Link Building Strategies That Will Work in 2013 by PPC for Hire

Jon ClarkJon Clark outlines half a dozen “Penguin-safe” link-building strategies, such as making the most of internal site links, posting on industry-specific forums, and linking out: “Whenever you come across a blog or site relevant to your niche, participate in the conversation with the author and other readers via comments. Leave fresh, useful and informative comments and create a backlink to your website.”

The Death of Link Building and the Rebirth of Link Earning – Whiteboard Friday by SEOmoz

Rand FishkinRand Fishkin pontificates on “the egress of old link building practices and the ingress of new (old) link earning strategies that will help your site stay relevant in the SERPs and drive your traffic with a better user experience,” concluding that while certain “old school” link-building tactics may still have some value, content marketing will be the most important practice going forward.

SEO Link Building Q&A with an Ex-Google Webspam Team Member by Search Engine Journal

Jason DeMersJason DeMers interviews Andre Weyher, a former member of the webspam team at Google, about backlinking do’s and don’ts. Among the answers: on how Penguin determines which domains to penalize, “The most obvious element that it focuses on is ranking due to a large amount of bad quality backlinks but it also takes into account spammy on-page techniques like keyword stuffing and over-optimization of tags and internal links;” on how identifies bad neighborhoods, “Search engines rely on website fingerprinting to identify clusters of ownership. If a particular website is relying on techniques that are not abiding the guidelines, it’s likely that the other sites owned by the same person are doing the same;” and regarding misconceptions about bad links, “Some of the biggest misconceptions that I have seen out there include ‘directories are altogether bad’ or ‘anything that is below a certain PR is considered spammy by Google.’”

131 (Legitimate) Link Building Strategies by Search Engine Watch

Julie Joyce (again) compiles a huge list of link-building tactics and tips, divided into categories including basic techniques, content-based tactics, b2b-specific tips, pointers for guest posting, and practices to avoid (such as spammy links or those unlikely to drive any traffic).

Backlink Tools

How to Get Rid of Unwanted Backlinks by Search Engine Watch

Jennifer Van IderstyneNoting that, due to Google’s Penguin update, “for many websites (and a lot of business models that involve selling 50,000 links for $10) the sky is falling. Websites that have built an unnatural looking backlink profile using a strategy of aggressive exact match anchor text usage are setting off Google’s spam alarm,” Jennifer Van Iderstyne explains how to identify and rid yourself of “bad” backlinks, and lists some of her favorite backlink research tools.

17 Tools to Analyze Your Links by Practical eCommerce

Sig UelandSig Ueland reviews 17 tools for analyzing a site’s backlink profile, ranging from “dedicated link identifiers, full search-engine-optimization suites, and link tools for search engines,”, free and paid. The list includes both popular tools like Majestic SEO and Open Site Explorer as well as lesser-known alternatives like Ahrefs.

Five Killer Link-building Tools by SitePoint

Writing that “As far as link-building tools go, there are two main sorts: those that help with the data and analysis side of things, and those that focus more on speeding up the process of building relationships with other site owners” but “knowing which tools to pick from the wide variety available can be tricky,” Christina Fusano recommends a handful of excellent and proven tools, including BuzzStream and Raven Tools.

Google delivers ‘disavow links’ tool to help combat link spam by CNET News

Steven MusilSteven Musil reports on Google’s disavow links tool, designed to enable webmasters to remove links they believe might be hurting their search rankings. Of course, it’s not always obvious what constitutes a “bad” link, and if good links are accidentally deleted, it’s a time-consuming process to get them reinstated. Still, this is a vital tool—when all else fails.

4 Tools Breaking Your Backlinks into Categories by Internet Marketing Ninjas

Ann SmartyThe awesome Ann Smarty reviews four tools for categorizing backlinks in various ways, such as by source type (e.g., news site, blog, directory), topic (general, computers, fashion) and placement (footer, site-wide, image, comment), which can be very helpful in executing a web presence optimization strategy. The good news is that all of these tools can provide some valuable filtering and insights; the bad news is none yet provide a high level of comprehensiveness and accuracy.

And Finally…

79 Link Building Resources for 2012 by KISSmetrics

Kristi HinesIf you just can’t enough link building information, Kristi Hines here provides links to 79 more link-building resources ranging from “Thought Pieces on Post-Penguin Link Building” and types of links to avoid to the top link-building tools and blogs.

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