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Archive for December, 2010

How Two Webmasters Discovered 25,000 Surprise Backlinks

Friday, December 17th, 2010

Two Canadian webmasters were reviewing their website stats, and discovered 25,000 new backlinks from one domain. This is how they did it – and how you can, too.

It should be noted that the link-building technique that will be described here is applicable to everyone. However, the precise mechanics of it are available to you only if your website:

1) Is Canadian.
2) Features informational content, such as a blog, a photo gallery or an articles directory (This is 2010 – if you are even considering SEO as a means of attracting traffic, I am sure that informational content is part of your plan, right?).

backlinks-street-sign

A Tale of Two (Canadian) Webmasters

Vancouverite Daniel Snyder, of Info Carnivor, was first to notice. He discovered 15,000 new backlinks from one domain, and that left him puzzled. He had only submitted two of his blog posts to the site, so how come he suddenly had 15,000 backlinks.

Next it was Hamilton-based Jim Rudnick, of Canuck SEO, who’s website saw a “sudden increase of inbound backlinks – 25,000 brand new ones” – and all from the same domain. He asked the support team at his stats tracking supplier to double-check this obvious error, but they confirmed it was right.

What Was the Site and How Could This Happen?

The site – or should I say “the domain” (I’ll explain the distinction shortly) – is Zoomit Canada, a social bookmarking website just for Canadian news, blogs, articles, etc. If you are familiar with Digg and Mixx, you will understand how Zoomit works.

So how did they do it? That is simple enough. They submitted their blog posts to Zoomit, and they did a little bit of networking (voting for/commenting on other people’s submissions). Because both Daniel and Jim submitted good quality content and supported the good quality content of others, other folks also voted for their submissions – enough to be voted to the front page.

And that’s when the magic happened.

As with most social bookmarking websites, it’s when a story gets voted to the front page that the inbound links really begin to count. This is the case with big social bookmarking websites, like Digg and Mixx, as well as with smaller ones like Old Dogg and MMO Social Network.

As I said above, what we are discussing here is applicable to everyone. However, the precise mechanics are available only to Canadian content. You see, Zoomit added an extra twist that you won’t find on those other social bookmarking websites – a top domains widget.

Look down the right side of the page and see that there is a “Top Domains” widget that lists the 20 top domains in alphabetical order. In other words, submit your post, network a bit and you’ve got yourself thousands of backlinks.

What Are All These Links Worth?

Now you might ask, what are these links worth, SEO-wise. You might have heard that a sitewide link isn’t worth all that much. This makes a great case study to separate fact from fiction. Here are four points to consider:

First, 25,000 links from one domain are nowhere near as useful as 25,000 links from 25,000 domains. Link diversity does count for both Google and Bing.

Second, 25,000 links from one domain are better than 24,000 links from one domain. And both are better than a single link from that domain. Yes, every link counts.

Third, a sitewide link in most cases (certainly in this case) includes a link on the home page, something that is generally considered quite valuable in SEO. In this case, the home page is PR4.

Fourth, look at the Zoomit Canada site structure. Each province and each news channel is hosted on a separate subdomain. Subdomains are generally treated by the search engines as separate websites. In all, this website – oops, sorry… I mean this “domain” – includes 13 province subdomains, 21 channel subdomains, plus the main domain. That adds up to 35 home page links by being a “top domain” on Zoomit Canada.

Given the effort in building quality links, and the unlikelihood that you’ll ever have links from 25,000 different domains – and possibly not even from 2,500 domains, the effort to get those 25,000 links from one strong domain is worthwhile. Lucky Canadian webmasters who benefit.

Don’t despair if you post non-Canadian content. Social bookmarking and other social sharing is a great strategy, and every great piece of content (quality stuff, not $25 articles written offshore by someone who knows about as much of your topic as my neighbour’s cat and writes in something that almost exactly fails to resemble English) you create and promote creates links back to your website.

Every sales person, every lobbyist, every entrepreneur, every preacher, every person who wants to deliver a message knows that the most important words are “Please” and “Thank You”.

So a big “Thank you” to Daniel and Jim for inspiring this post.

And (shameless plug alert) please let us know if you need writers for your content – to write good quality, meaningful posts – the type that my neighbour’s cat just can’t produce for you – and promote them in the world of social media.

 


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