Non-Google Link Building for Search Emancipated Optimization


It may be a surprise to you but link building has been thriving long before Google. When I went online and started publishing in 1997 Google didn’t even exist. Many search engines like

  • Infoseek
  • Webcrawler
  • Altavista

already did but they didn’t take links into account. They ranked pages according to onsite factors.

I didn’t really engage in SEO until 2004 so I spend 7 years on the Web without caring for search engines and Google.

So having no Google traffic is nothing new to me. How did I get people to read my poems and view my sites back then? I mean 7 years is a long time.

Building Links as if Google Wouldn’t Exist

Today I will introduce you to non-Google link building for search emancipated optimization of Web properties.

It’s an optimization for people first no matter what tools they use to find you.

First a little history lesson before I update the techniques used more than a decade ago to fit the new Web we face today.

Here are the main ways to get visitors to your site we used before Google on our non-profit sites about literature:

Mailing lists – It’s not what you think. I didn’t mean “the list”of people you send newsletters to by mail business bloggers tell you you must have.

Mailing lists were discussion lists where one person could reply to all the others at once. Ideally you would reach lots of people at once with a mail and everybody would discuss your mail copying the original message.

Of course you would either post your text in it or link to it if it was too long. So all the people actively reading the mail you flock over days to your site in case you did incite a debate.

Web rings – Web rings were connected lists of sites. You would add a small piece of code to your site at the bottom and a user could go to the next previous, or next site from the Web ring.

Also  Web rings also had a random site button in the middle plus a link to the homepage of the ring itself where you could browse all sites from the ring.

Republishing – In the early days of the Web nobody would have though something like “duplicate content” could be a bad thing.

The opposite was the case, the more sites published your work the better. In many cases this was also needed for technical reasons as many servers could not withstand major traffic spikes or were unreachable for other reasons.

Remember that the Web was very slow in those those. Literally hit “enter” in my browser and read a book while waiting for a site to appear.

Writing together – Today we again follow the one text one author dogma dictated by print media.

In the early days of the Internet we experimented a lot with texts having multiple authors.

Some of them have even been edited all the time by many people at once. That was even before the invention of Wikis.

We were enthusiastic about the possibilities of hypertext and linked within those texts a lot.

Newsgroups – Do you remember the Usenet and so called newsgroups? You needed special software to connect to this part of the Internet. It wasn’t suing the http protocol.

There you could discuss things with sometimes thousands of people at once who were specifically interested in a particular topic.

For example I would enter a JavsScript Newsgroup and announce my experimental JavaScript poetry. Btw. the name onreact stems from these days.

We have different tools these days but the techniques can be adapted.

Feedback communities: We don’t use mailing lists in such a way today but forums are still popular and work similarly.

Btw. I did program forum software myself with a friend of mine before phpBB and the likes existed. Then we connected the forum to our existing mailing list.

The best way to combine the advantages of modern and old techniques are feedback communities third parties offer like UserVoice.

Combined feeds: There are some web ring tools left but it’s also not difficult to create one with the help of so called RSS feeds. You can use services that will combine several feeds into one.

Just connect with your fellow blogging peers and explain the idea.

I consider doing this as soon as possible. It’s not about the software though. You need to find like minded publishers to connect with you.

Republishing: You can still republish content as long as you are not afraid of the Google “duplicate content” penalty.

I banned Google search on my blog so I wasn’t afraid of it anymore and thus I give away my content for republication under a Creative Commons license.

In case Google has already penalized you for one of the myriad reasons they do penalize sites you can do it as well you won’t lose much traffic either then.

Also it’s a good way to prepare for hacking attempts etc, when you have a mirror at least for your best pieces of work.

Writing together: You can still write something together with others. Even WordPress is an easy tool to enable several authors to add to one piece but you can’t edit at the same time without deleting passages.

There are so called CVS (Concurrent Version System) tools for programming and groupware tools for collaboration that should enable working on one text as well.

Ultimately you don’t need fancy tool. You can cooperate on a text via mail as well as long as everybody is responsible just for her/his own part. Think group interviews if you still can’t imagine what I mean.

Niche communities – Newsgroups do not exist anymore and forums have replaced to some extent. The best way to share links IMHO are niche communities though.

For the marketers and beyond there is Growth Hackers for example. For startups there is Product Hunt.

For many niches there is no lively niche community site you can create one of use forums instead. Do not flood them with your links though, neither the communities nor the forums.

Give first to get later. For example I rarely submitted my own postings to niche sites. In case they were relevant other community members did it for me.

It’s Neither Rocket Science – Nor Modern Art

OK, doesn’t sound that complex, does it? It’s neither rocket science or “technical SEO” not akin to modern art or way to abstract for mere mortals. You can type text into a mail? You can do it.

These are just the most common techniques used in the past for link building before Google arrived on the scene and disrupted the Web.

Do you remember the early days of the Web? Tell me how you got traffic before search engines and Google. I will follow up with more Search Emancipated Optimization techniques.

* Creative Independence is an Creative Commons image by Nattu.