Add3 – Digital Marketing Agency with offices in Seattle & Portland

Amplify Interactive’s notes from SMX Advanced Seattle 2008

First day of SMX Advanced, my focus today is on the SEM Organic Track

Session 1: Blow Your Mind Link Building Techniques
Moderator: Greg Boser, President/CEO, 3 Dog Media
Q&A Moderator: Matt McGee, SEO For Hire

This session covered different ways to find and acquire links. Link building is one of the most important parts of gaining authority with search engines.

Richard Monti (

Dot EDUs are good links to acquire since they don’t get banned, don’t hang out in “bad neighborhoods”, and they “pass hand checks”. EDUs are good, but not “magic bullets”, and some are not helpful b/c they do not have authoritative content or have a lot of links on one page (“link fests”).

Look at industry heavyweights in order to find EDUs.

Use search queries in yahoo to find EDUs for linking
* “bookmarks”
* “links”
* “favorite sites”
* “your product or service”
* sponsors
* donors
* sponsors
* benefactors

Jay Young, Link Fish Media

Directories are still important and should be the beginning of link building.

Other Ideas (outside the box)

  • Widgets
  • Templates: create a wordpress template for bloggers to use and a link to your site on it
  • Template Sponsorship: find popular wordpress templates and pay to sponosr them (with link to site)
  • Contests: Give away prizes in order to gain links (free iPhone is example)

Content Trades—give out free content for links

  • Avoid buying links from forums
  • Do not buy hidden links
  • Use moderation and common sense

Jay was probably the most controversial speaker at the conference. In addition to the good infromation above, he spoke in length about buying links as a main strategy. While buying links in some ways is fine, such as sponsoring non-profits or joining industry groups where links are created to members; Jay spoke of tactics that would be considered black hat by search engines.

We do not practice this strategy at Ampify Interactive. Any short term gain that may be acquired from such tactics are not in accordance with our business model and not the business model of the vast majority of SEOs at the conference. We help create a professional, enjoyable experience for users and a usable experience for search engines. By doing this, we are able to gain quality links from sites that want to associate with our clients. This artificial authority that Jay advocates is not a credible link-building model for our clients, and will likely hurt most companies who practice it once it is discovered by search engines (and users who might see it and wonder about the reputation of companies who practice this).

Stephen Spencer (Netconcepts):

  • Use 80/20 rule when looking for links and go after higher value links such as PR8+
  • look for sites one click away from Google
  • Look for very high PR (Google pagerank)

Due to time, Stephen’s last slides were not seen (or he just flipped through them). His point though is that a small batch of links from highly authoritative sites can give much more “link juice” to a site than many links from non-authoritative sites. This is a common theme in search engine marketing.

Our goal is a mix. With the algorithm of search engines changing, we try to get many links from sites as well as authoritative links. Even if some links might not be from high PR or highly visited sites, they continue to give a positive reputation to our clients. If someone is searching your industry/company and they see links to your site from other reputable sources, they have a positive identification with your company regardless of whether the link is from a high-PR site. This is where a split comes in from building for search and building for online reputation.
Blogosphere Networking stratgies:

  • Comment on blogs that do follow (some blogs do not follow links)
  • Submit articles to “blog carnivals”
  • Contribute to a blog group
  • Look for bloggers with a “tip jar” (this is a paid link strategy that is considered “editorial”)
  • sponsor a popular WP template
  • look at your inlinks and see if you can get better versions
  • Do not use paid links strategy (thank you!)
  • Sculpt your inbound links for more google long tail searches
  • Look to have people linking to you to do the same

Meatspace/ Real World networking

  • network with bloggers
  • Contribute to wikis
  • Give talks at libraries and colleges
  • Get involved in meetups


  • Contribute to wikipedia
  • Create your own wiki like

Link Baiting – Viral Content

  • Videos
  • Widgets


As you can imagine, most of the questions were directed at how damaging the link-buying strategy Jay mentioned might hurt sites. In fact, there was a brief argument b/w Jay and the Richard about how incorrect this method is. The other questions involved aspects of the technical searches Richard mentioned.

Ben Lloyd

About Ben Lloyd

Ben Lloyd serves as Principal at Add3 and manages the agency's Portland office.  Ben got his start in SEM way back in 1999 - when there was like, 15 search engines and Google was barely a thing. Prior to Add3, Ben had founded Amplify Interactive in 2003 (which was acquired by Add3 in 2013), and hasn't looked back since. Ben likes lots of stuff like golf, pinball, food(ie), booze/beer/wine - in that order, etc. Mostly - he likes doing that stuff with his friends. Ben is also co-founder of SEMpdx. Connect with Ben on LinkedIn

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