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6 Daily Habits That Make Up My Link Reading List

I’m frequently asked what resources I read to keep up with the latest trends and information on link building. While it’s an easy question, answering it takes a while since I follow a long list of sites. Here’s a  list of resources I find invaluable and try to review every day. I’ve grouped them by type, included a short description and added a tip or two when applicable.

The Engine Wars

The engines don’t blog secrets or even the obvious when it comes to ranking information, but they do a good job sharing new features and programs on their official webmaster blogs.

The last one isn’t a search engine blog exactly, it’s the personal blog of an engine owner. Rich Skrenta recently launched Blekko, an engine which searches the web by using slashtags. I’ve been following Blekko’s journey to reality with interest and was hooked when Rich posted:

So why join a search start-up then? Because I don’t believe to be successful in this business you need to be a Google-killer. In fact, trying to be a Google-killer is probably the one sure way not to succeed.

If you were to start a soft-drink company, would you be a Coke killer? Would you create a product that tasted exactly like Coke and put it in a red can? Of course not, that would be product suicide. You make something that tastes different and package it differently – Snapple, Red Bull, Vitamin Water.

We think the same about search. Google isn’t going anywhere. We think there are a lot of problems that search isn’t addressing right now that it could be. And that’s where we want to play. Own a category or die. So no, we’re not a Google killer. But stay tuned for more…

The blog offers some interesting insight to developing an engine and also on how to promote it. He wanted links and exposure and got them, check out the blog to see how 🙂

TIP:  When you find a helpful post on the search engine blogs, make a note of which search engine rep wrote it. Drop that name into your alert service and follow him/her when they speak from other publications and sources.

Link Tool Blogs

In addition to hearing about changes to their tools almost as soon as they’re made, you can glean a lot of  valuable information from the comments being dropped by people using the tools. Often, they’ll share short cuts, tricks and additional sites in their comments.  I’ve found some amazing resources this way, if you rent a link tool, check out its blog and the comments being dropped.

The SEO Forums and Others

I joined my first forum in 2003 when Jill Whalen launched HighRankings and have been hooked ever since. Of all the communication vehicles out there, I think forums are the best for learning and sharing link sources. Most of  the SEO forums have link building categories, they are good for basic information, while others discuss more advanced* topics. People are extremely generous with their knowledge and resources in the forums, I find new link partners and tactics on a regular basis. Find a couple you like and get involved.

TIP: If you’re looking to hire a link builder, check out the “contracting” or “marketplace” sections of the forums for leads. Also – save time by loading the link building RSS URL from forums of your choice  in your reader and creating a category marked “Forums”.

My Alert Services

Of all the reading I do, going through the alert services takes the most time. I used to do it all myself but now I farm out terms and brands to the account managers. However, because the news industry is near and dear to my heart, I still sift through these alerts and add leads, names and publications to our database.

Because the information can be overwhelming (we run hundreds of alerts daily), I recommend you break them down by category and then again by type. For example, all of the news alerts are cataloged as “media” and then broken down by journalist/industry, publication/industry and publication/location. I think the reason why is obvious but I wanted to mention the last one, “publication/location” is one I’ve placed great emphasis on lately given the influence of local results.

I use a number of alerts services, which are different than page trackers and reputation monitors. Most are free but IMO, the best one is subscription based which isn’t surprising since it does all of the above. Trackle is a must for anyone serious about building links, it has awesome tracking and competitive research capabilities and has become an indispensable part of our link building toolbox. I also depend on Alerts.com, Yotify.com  and Google Alerts.

Link Learning Resources

Most of the sites listed in this article can be classified as ‘learning sites’ but there are four exceptional sites I wanted to highlight.

If you’re into reading search patents, SEO By The Sea, Mi Islita and The SEO Training DoJo are the sites you want to visit. If you want to take advantage of  breaking trends and  industry drama, Hacker News is a site you want to add to your feed reader.

“TIP”  Hacker News aggregates a huge amount of content on a wide varietyof  technology/computer/search subjects. You’ll find threads on almost any topic which you can use to write blog rebuttals and second opinions as well as drop comments on the host sites as a way to generate links.

And last but not least….

News & Articles

This sites listed in this section are owned by people who either blog consistently about link building or who have created significant historical content on link building. I highly recommend adding these sites to your news readers.

Everyone who writes articles found in the link building sections of sites such as these also have other personal and company blogs dedicated to link building, you can find them listed in their bios.

I know it seems like a lot of reading but once you find the news outlets and sites you like, it gets easier. If you want to rank well, you need to link well and to link well you need a competitive edge. Keep an eye on what’s being discussed by people who do it every day, you’ll be able to take advantage of trends and build better links as a result.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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