Google Safe Link Building for Small and Large Businesses

Slide #2 – Bad Link Building Tactics (title slide)

Slide #3 – A picture of Scrooge McDuck’s gold vault.
I started off by describing yhis as “Google’s Headquarters in Mountain View, California”. A bit of a joke and a jab at the amount of money Google has amassed from their search dominance.

Slide #4 – An aerial picture of Google’s Headquarters.
This is their actual headquarters.

Slide #5 – Picture of a shady looking ‘devilish’ man with a cigar.
Ever notice how this is what people think of when imagining Google coming up with ways to Thwart SEOs and make ranking harder

Slide #6 – Picture of a used car salesman with gold chains, a flower print shirt, shades, and a cigar.
And this is the guy that’s got the best intentions?

Slide #7 – Picture of President Business (from the Lego Movie)
[Ear muffs. Or Im going to spoil this movie for you] When in reality this is probably closer to Google. Giving us free stuff as long as we do what they want so they can build what they want. Not an evil person or corporation, but one that is on a mission and not letting you the business owners or SEOs out there get in their way. Google has rules, and for now they control most search traffic and therefore we have to follow their rules. Break them, like what the Master Builders do, and suffer the consequences.

That’s a pretty black and white world so why does it always seem so grey? Most websites that complain about Google hitting them are always at fault either they hired an agency to do the bad work or just hoped Google would never see them. But recently Google has been diving into the grey areas a little more starting with the penalty against MyBlogGuest during Pubcon New Orleans for facilitating guest blogging for links.

Slide #8 – A Captain Obvious meme from South Park that reads “If you didn’t want to lose rankings in Google – You shouldn’t have bought into a link network, spammed blogs, bought links, forced people to link to you.”

While I vehemently disagree with Google on the issue there are many things that you can’t fault them for such as:

  • Buying links
  • Link networks
  • A ton of exact match anchor text
  • Spamming blogs or other sites
  • Or hacking websites and forcing them to link to you

Anyone here hire a digital marketing or SEO firm? [lots of hands go up] I shit you not, I’ve had clients tell me to do whatever it takes to get them ranking on page one in a few weeks, no matter what the cost and no matter if they’ll get in trouble for it later. They want the results but don’t want to worry about the responsibility. Of course there are also agencies that will do this behind their clients backs.

If you are looking to hire an agency or already have one make sure you ask what link building tactics they are using and that you are getting reports that at least detail the success of these.

Slide #9 – Link building for Small Businesses (title slide)

Slide #10 – Picture macro that reads “Photography – Like A Boss”
Photo Credit Link building – This link building strategy revolves around making imagery that people want to use and give credit to. When writing blog posts on your site or making product pages the images on those pages can attract links if they are good enough and targeted correctly to the types of images people might be searching for.

Slide #11 – Example screenshot of a photo credit.

Slide #12 – Photo Credit Link building process: Keyword Research

  1. Use and search for your main keywords with the drop down box set to “Images”
  2. Take your main keywords and add “photo, photos, pic, pics, photograph, photographs, image, images, screenshot, screenshots, screengrab, screengrabs, picture, pictures” after them
  3. Combine the two lists and put them in the Google Adwords Keyword Planner for “Get Search Volume for a list of keywords”
  4. The resulting list will tell you what keywords are being searched in Google and Google images that will likely result in your image coming up if you rank for it

Slide #13 – Photo Credit Link Building Process: Audience Research

  1. Before you make an image get to know your audience a little better. Find out if they would appreciate humor, etc..
  2. What surrounding content would they appreciate, for example if the product was hot tubs and the audience liked Star Wars and Star Trek would they think it was funny to see Yoda, Darth Vader, Captain Kirk, and Spock in a hot tub?
  3. You can get context from monitoring sub-reddits where your audience might go:
    • Example:
  4. You can also get context by using these queries in Facebook Graph Search:
    • “Interests of people who like [x company]
    • “Movies liked by people who like [x company]
    • “Books liked by people who like [x company]
    • “Athletes liked by people who like [x company]

Slide #14 – Screenshot of Facebook Graph Search query.
Example of movies that are liked by people who also like the iPhone 7 on Facebook

Slide #15 – A picture of the Reddit Alien Snoo on a red background
What if you suck at making images? Well you can use Fiverr to find people to make a few photoshop changes for you, or you could politey ask the image editing community on Reddit’s /r/PicRequests

We’ll talk more about Reddit for Content marketing here in a bit.

Reddit stuff

New Default Sub-Reddits

Slide #16 – A picture of a girl with city sckyscrapers behind her
A before image of my friend Brittany at her new place in Dallas.

Slide #17 – Same picture, but this time with Godzilla in the background
I asked the Reddit community to add Godzilla or some other monster behind her and they delivered this image.

Slide #18 – A meme from Superbad (the movie)
You can make a gif from video clips with the following websites.

Slide #19 – a cartoon from “Bo’s Cafe Life” about reviews
Review books, tools, and various other things and you can gain links from others in your industry.

Slide #20 – A screenshot of links for a review on
An author at wrote a review or something marketing related and the websites in this slide linked to it

Slide #21 – A meme that reads “Hey Girl – Good luck with your interview today”
Doing interviews is another great way to get content that will gain links on your website.

Slide #22 – A screenshot of links to an interview
Interviewing experts in related fields can get you links from their personal site and from larger industry websites.

Slide #23 – Shameless plug
This is an email list I maintain that helps connects interviewers and interviewees. Go there and:

  • Sign up as an expert to be interviewed
  • Request experts to do interviews with

Slide #24 – Slide read “Guest Blogging for SEO is DEAD”
Everyone loves to talk about the death of something in our industry, when you think about it we’re kind of a morbid bunch, but no, Guest Posting for SEO isn’t dead, the easy shitty guest posting is, and you should be celebrating that. So there’s a few ways you can use guest posting, I’m going to reveal a few of them to you.

First off is the photo credit, remember we just talked about that. What we’re doing now is writing about a topic that relates to the image and a little more loosely to your website or page that you want to link to. Instead of directly linking to your website with exact match anchor text under the image you’ll provide a branded link to your page where the image is hosted with “photo/image courtesy of [your website name]”

Tip: When writing a guest blog post link off to other non-competitor websites using a variety of anchor text types including branded, phrase, and exact match

Slide #25 – Slide says “I’m up in your website writing an awesome blog post you’ll claim credit for”
Second is what I like to call Ghost Blogging or Ghost Posting. Find a website you really like but maybe don’t want to plaster your name all over. For example if you’re well known for toilets and you want to write a piece about shower heads but really don’t want that notoriety it’s closely enough related to your expertise and your business but you want the shower guy to get the credit. This is a bit tricky to pull off as you have to find someone willing to take your work as their own AND leave links in to your website, but when it works it comes across as very editorial by Google and other search engines. It’s also pretty dark, if not black hat so be super careful when Ghost Blogging

Slide #26 – “Client says content marketing is to expensive, I laugh thinking it’s a joke. They’re being serious”
Content marketing on a budget.

Content marketing doesn’t have to be expensive. There are great ways to get content that isn’t very expensive. Use the following websites to create inexpensive content.


  • – Get help with data vizualizations
  • – Tell which photo might be more popular in social media
  • Fiverr
  • Envato Studio
  • Animoto

Reddit recently expanded the number of default sub-reddits, what that means is that the front page of now has a lot more types of content that get featured on the home page, what it means to you is there are more types of content you can now create.

  • Such as DataIsBeautiful – DataVisualizations – Automated graphs and charts, not infographics
  • Gifs – its about Gifs
  • ExplainLikeImFive – Explain things that are complex as you would to a 5 year old TIFU – Stories about screwing up LifeProTips – Tips that make life easier
  • Gadgets – Dedicated to small, useful, electronic devices
  • DIY – How to build, design, and fix things on your own PhotoshopBattles – Submit images and start a photoshop battle
  • Futurology – Stuff about the future
  • UpliftingNews – Good news ShowerThoughts – A sub reddit for things you think about in the shower
  • EarthPorn – High quality pictures of landscapes

Slide #27 – An example of an infographic that I made for a client

Slide #28 – A picture of a girl jumping backwards on the beach

Slide #29 – Same picture as slide #28 but with Scorpion from Mortal Kombat added using his special attack
This image came from Reddit’s Pic Request where someone asked for people to add fun things to the image.

Slide #30 – Meme image of Bill Gates reads “Be like me, support charity – GET LOTS OF LINKS
Support local, regional, and major charities. Often you’ll get links directly or be able to use your support of those charity events to leverage links through content marketing.

The best way to do charity marketing is to pick a cause to focus on, a theme. For example you might decide to donate to medical well being or very specifically cancer charities.

You can find charities to donate to on

Use Twitter search to find people who tweet about the cause you’ve selected to support and reach out them about your efforts.
Use this advanced Google search query to find people who blog about the cause you’ve selected and reach out to them about your efforts: [cause] inurl:blog


Slide #31 – Screenshot of an author bio from someone who writes for another website frequently
When you write for a related website regularly they typically give you an author bio. Thanks to recent Google updates, however, most of these are now nofollow links.

But don’t think about it as getting nofollow links, think about it as getting linked to from other sources in your industry. Use the opportunity to link to blog posts on your website and help drive new links to those posts.

Slide #32 – Link Building for Big Businesses (title slide)

Slide #33 – Picture of Amazon’s Drone delivery craft
A great way for bigger businesses to get good links is to create a “Lab”. A lab will publish videos and blog posts outlining the potential future uses of new technology. For example Amazon’s announcement that they are looking at using Drones to deliver goods, Trulia’s Google Glass app, Dominos pizza delivery drone, and Elon Musks HyperLoop.

This is something that the auto industry has done for decades, build up these great hopes and ideas at auto shows but rarely deliver on them.

Slide #34 – A screenshot from Trulia’s Google Glass app

Slide #35 – A screenshot of a Domino’s Pizza Delivery Drone

Slide #36 – An artist rendition of what a Hyper Loop transit system might look like

Slide #37 – A screenshot of a YouTube video highlighting the embed code
Creating interactive content and allowing it to be embedded on other sites via an iframe can help get new links.

In 2012 SEO Michael Martinez Confirmed that link juice is indeed flowing through an iframe:

The content you create will have 2 versions, the public facing version and the embedded version. The public facing version will carry the look and feel of your website The embedded page will have a rel canonical tag that points to the public facing version this will tell search engines to reassign the link juice that flows through the iframes to the public page and eliminate duplicate content issues.

Slide #38 – A Screenshot of Reddit Ads analytics
Paid Social Promotion can help get your content in front of lots of new journalists. Use Reddit, StumbleUpon, Twitter, and Facebook ads to boost exposure of your content.

On Reddit you can target sub-reddits where the journalists might be looking for content
On Facebook you can target ads to people who work at certain publications
On Twitter you can target hashtags
On StumbleUpon you can target by category (though I hear this might be changing soon)

Pictured is the results of a Reddit advertising campaign.

Slide #39 – A screenshot of a news article covering an internet mystery
A mystery campaign can really get the internet energized. Getting links out of a mystery can be hard. Start by gathering your targets, people who might be intrigued enough about the mystery to share it.
Then craft messaging either via email, SMS, or snail mail.
Have the mystery reside on a separate website that cant be traced backed to your company.
Once the campaign has completed revealing you’re the source of the mystery will then gain links from the journalists that covered the mystery.

Slide #40 – Social Media Day Special Extra Addition Thing: LinkedIn Content Study (title slide)

Slide #41 – Types of content looked at
This content was posted to personal LinkedIn accounts via the ‘update’ box.

  • Advice / Affirmation (text only)
  • Article With Personal Commentary
  • Article Without Commentary
  • Business Call to Action on Personal Page
  • Business Related Announcement
  • Business Related Announcement w/ Linked Content
  • Business Related Contest on LinkedIn
  • Career Achievement Announcement
  • General Interest Infographic
  • Job Opportunity
  • New Job
  • New Photo
  • Non-Occupational Related Photo
  • Occupation Related Announcement
  • Occupational Fact Graphic
  • Occupational Humor Graphic
  • Personal Blog Post
  • Professional Tips / Insights (text only)
  • Text Advice/Affirmation Graphic
  • Work Anniversary

Slide #42 – Graph showing Average # of Likes Per Post

Slide #43 – Graph showing Average # of Comments Per Post

Slide #44 – Graph showing Average # of Comments Per Post with “Request for Comments/Help” removed

Slide #45 – Screenshot example of a Text Advice/Affirmation Graphic

Slide #46 – Screenshot example of an update that gives Advice/Affirmation but only in text form

Slide #47 – Screenshot of sharing an article link with personal commentary

Slide #48 – Screenshot showing a professional tips / insights example post

Slide #49 – THE END