Q and A: Is this an effective link building approach?

QuestionHi Kalena

My boss has received a proposal from a website development company that included link building.

They tell me it involves 5,500 websites in a partner database that will link to us; sites spread across a range of sources and types to ensure a “natural” link profile growth. 1500 of these are related to our specific industry. The company says websites that will link to us are “confidential” – ranking from blogs to directories and more. And they vary the anchor text across a spread of keyword phrases to emulate as close as possible a “natural” link profile.

Does this sound effective to you? Wondering what your thoughts on this approach are?

Dear Susan

Hmmm. That sounds very dodgy to me, particularly the “confidential” part. If a marketing company won’t actually reveal what sites are going to link to you, you should be suspicious because that means you lose control of how your site is being marketed.

If any automated link farms, blog commenting or dodgy link selling schemes are used (and this is what I suspect with the high volume quoted), it could potentially damage your site’s reputation in Google or earn a ranking suppression of some kind.

As Google states in their Webmaster Guidelines:

“Don’t participate in link schemes designed to increase your site’s ranking or PageRank. In particular, avoid links to web spammers or “bad neighborhoods” on the web, as your own ranking may be affected adversely by those links.”

Read more info on what Google considers link schemes.

Susan, it’s probably not the answer you want to hear, but there really is no shortcut to link building. It should be done carefully and in my opinion, manually and the process should be completely transparent between client and supplier. That’s the way I build links for clients and I always let the client have the ultimate decision about a potential link source.

Link building the traditional way does take time and money but is well worth the investment. The resulting effect on a site’s PageRank and traffic can be substantial.

Q and A: What Search Engine Marketing Techniques Will Increase My Traffic?


Dear Kalena (and Jacqueline in this case),

What are the Search Engine Marketing techniques that i can use to increase the number of visitors on my website?

Shailendra Sial

Dear Shailendra,

There are any number of SEM techniques that can help to increase the number of visitors to your website, ranging from blogging, participating in social media, and both paid and organic link building.  Without knowing your website’s topic or purpose, it is difficult to gauge what techniques would be the best options for you.  However, starting a blog (if you don’t have one already) and updating it regularly, guest posting on popular blogs, submitting articles that mention your site to directories, and participating on social media websites (especially niche-specific ones, like Sphinn for the search marketing industry or Kirtsy for fashion and beauty) are all good ways to grow your traffic.  If you have an ecommerce site, make sure your products appear in all the relevant product search engine listings.

Running a pay-per-click campaign could also result in an increase in traffic, but I typically recommend organic search engine marketing methods as a way to boost your traffic long term since it tends to result in more repeat visitors and a lower bounce rate.

Best of luck!


SEOGroup.com and Ocean19.com

Q and A: What salary should I be earning as a search engine marketing specialist?

QuestionDear Kalena

I work for an ad adgency that provides both traditional and interactive marketing. However, I was hired as an SEM and Online Media Specialist within the Media Planning dept. The problem is I’m managing everything and anything that has to do with SEM.

Currently, I’m fully managing SEM campaigns for 12 clients each within 2-3 different search engines. Within a 200+ person ad agency, I’m the only person who knows SEM and SEO. My current salary is $43,000 with 3 years of experience. Can you tell me a salary range that I sould be paid at?


Dear Brittany

It’s difficult to speculate about SEM and SEO salaries because they vary widely. However, judging by your experience and current portfolio of clients, your salary does seem quite low.

In my opinion, SEM specialists are experts in a niche industry and should be paid for this expert knowledge. Put it this way, in 2001, I was in a very similar position to yours, in a similar sized agency and I was receiving a salary of USD 80K. Granted, the industry was even more niche then, but according to Indeed.com, the average salary for SEM staff currently ranges from $68-85K.

If I was you, I’d be asking for a payrise! Have a read of this post about SEM/SEO salaries and some of the salaries quoted in these SEO/SEM job postings before you knock on the bosses door so you come prepared with ammunition.

Good luck!

Q and A: Review my site, Perth Florist

QuestionDear Kalena…

I was just wondering if you would have time to look at my site and give me any ideas of how I could improve it from a customer landing on the site for the first time. I seem to be getting good traffic but conversions are just average at best. Any ideas would be appreciated.


Dear John,

There could be lots of factors that result in lower than desired conversion rates. It’s possible that your expectations are too high. If you are only servicing one local community, you have to assume that a lot of your traffic may be coming to your site only to find out that you do not service their area. However, I never like to tell my clients that their expectations are too high, although that is sometimes the case.

The design and professional appearance of your site is terrific. It’s easy to navigate, has all of the important information, and even does a good job at up-selling the customer. One thing I noticed rather quickly is that you do not mention any of the benefits of your flower shop over any others in the Perth area. When someone lands on your site (according to statistics) most people look at the top left of the screen. I would try adding a big button above your left navigation that says something like “Same Day Delivery” or “Guaranteed Freshest Flowers in Perth”, or whatever. Just make sure it’s a benefit that keeps them on the page. Since most of your internet business is deliveries, you might want to feature more information about that on your homepage. In fact, wouldn’t it be really cool to have a little call-out on your site that displays every day up to 11am (your same-day delivery cut-off) that says “It’s not to late to have your flowers delivered today!”? I am sure you can do that with a little PHP code.

One feature of another florist I have used, which I think is nice, is a flexible pricing option. I noticed that some of your flowers have different sizes and different prices. Why not feature this on the category page instead of just the product page? When a user browses all of your flowers you should have a buttons that shows them that they can buy this plant for $12, $24 or $48…. you get the idea. It’s just really nice to know that if they like a specific arrangement, they don’t have to spend $75. Check out this site to see what I am talking about.

You may want to also add a search box on your site. Not only does this help your customer find what they are looking for, but it also gives you invaluable intelligence about what your customers want! Google Analytics has a great feature that allows you to read a log of whatever people are typing in your search box. It provides great information for e-retailers.

Lastly, your site analytics could help you to find out where all of your traffic is going. For example, if you find that 90% of your traffic is entering your site through your index page and that you have a high bounce rate (users who click right off the site), or a very low “time on site”, you’ll know that your homepage may need to be optimized for sales. You may also want to determine what the most frequent exit page is. If you find that most people leave your site on the delivery information page, than perhaps you need to look at your delivery policies, or even your fees.

Again, your site looks very nice! Good luck, and thanks for the question!


Search Industry Job of the Week: Search Marketing Manager

Job Title: Search Marketing Manager
Job Reference #: Unknown
Position Type: full time
Name of recruiter: Xpand.com.au
Location: Sydney, Australia
Date Posted: 5 September 2008
Position description:

Join this leading SEM Agency as Search Marketing Manager – Work with top brands on high revenue accounts
Great career progression – $60k – $70k AUD
Leading Search Marketing Agency
Work with great brands!!
CBD location
Excellent career progression/stability
Relaxed team vibe!

Ready to take your career in Search Marketing to the next level? Join this progressive team as a Search Manager and receive access to excellent training programs, supportive senior team members and a stable career path. In this role you will work with big brands on large-scale accounts worth millions of dollars in revenue. You will be closely mentored as you take on this client-facing role and will build some excellent analytical and commercial skills along the way.
Key to securing this role will be your well-honed analytical skills, outstanding communication and solid knowledge of the Search Marketing industry. The ideal candidate will have at least two years commercial search marketing experience. You will be a good team player and a ‘can do’ person – these are the kind of people you will be surrounded by and expectations will be high.
For more details, contact Vanessa Bell direct on (02) 9346 5246, or email vanessa[at]xpand.com.au

Salary range: $60k – $70k AUD
Closing date: Unknown
More info from: Vanessa Bell (02) 9346 5246 or email vanessa[at]xpand.com.au
Contact: Send resumes to vennessa[at]xpand.com.au

For more search industry jobs visit Search Engine College Jobs Board.