Why won’t Matt Cutts link to me?

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Do you suffer from no-links angst too?

Aaron Pratt of SEO Buzz Box writes about “circular linking patterns” and how A-list bloggers form their own ‘link cliques‘ and eschew their own advice of linking out to quality content for the sake of some friendly back-scratching.

He’s talking about the ‘elite’ SEO bloggers and I think it would be interesting to dissect the core problem Aaron’s facing and see how that applies to SEO blogging.

What are friends for if you can’t profit from their troubles, eh? 🙂

Aaron’s problem is one that many of us face on a daily basis in our lives, online and offline. People continue to struggle with being accepted in select social circles. In school you wanted to play with the coolest kids because everyone liked them and secretly, you wanted to be liked too.

Playground behavior manifests itself in the business world as well, except the stakes are much higher. In the online business world, Links = Traffic = Money. You can’t escape that equation, and in the SEO world this is even more important.

So the main problem is this – what do you do to break into an ‘elite’ social circle?

Note that this will work in the real world as well as any niche online – it’s a proven strategy to get those authority links that you’ve always wanted for your blog but rarely gotten.

Step 1: Realise that these are people like you with the only difference being that they got their act together before you did. As long as YOU do the same, and work hard at building your blog, you’ll do fine.

Step 2: Write quality content, but first, find out what the A-list wants. Trawl the archives of SEOmoz, SEW, SEOBook, SearchEngineLand, SERoundtable, Wolf Howl and the rest and see who they link out to, what sort of content they’re linking to. You don’t need them to link to you every day, but a handful of early links will definitely give you the impetus to push on and invest more in your blog and your ‘network’.

Step 3: Network like crazy. I always give people Rand Fishkin’s example – I’ve seen the SEOmoz blog go from a relative unknown to one of the leading SEO blogs in the industry. Keys to success – quality blogging and networking. You can’t get to the top of the pile without some people skills.

Bottom line – if you think your opinions should be valued, then make sure you reach out to the leaders in your niche and frame your opinions according to what they are most likely to link to. And talk to them – at conferences, in the forums, via email (but be polite and not obnoxious).

In effect, you have to whore yourself out – even if you do it in politically acceptable ways 🙂

One last thing – I run my own SEO consultancy and I have a blog on SEO too. I’ve rarely bothered with maintaining it too much or pimping myself, but that’s because my work comes from referrals and the copywriting and AdWords work that I did in the past, not because of my blog. At the end of the day you have to know what you want to achieve from your blog – my goals are not fame nor business but education for clients and a place to iron out thoughts about SEO.

So what do YOU really want from your blog? Fame? Business? If you’re going for fame, you’re never going to be satisfied, you can never have enough links or enough followers.

If you want business, you should be involved in the forums and build your reputation through other means – it’s a totally different PR game of which a blog is a small part.

And if you want to be accepted and acknowledged, please leave your ego at home and realise that as in the playground, you win approval by being the attractive choice, not by picking up your ball and taking it home.

Ahmed Bilal is a business consultant – you can reach him through his blog.

Loren Baker
Loren Baker is the Founder of SEJ, an Advisor at Alpha Brand Media and runs Foundation Digital, a digital marketing strategy & development agency.
Loren Baker
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  • https://www.searchenginejournal.com Loren Baker, Editor

    Speaking from the perspective of an A-List Blogger, I’d recommend that SEO bloggers out there don’t be shy.

    If you’ve made a good post, email some of the top bloggers in the SEO community and ask them to read or maybe write about your post.

    It works pretty well and the worse that will happen is that even if you are not featured on their blog, they may add you to their blog reading list and write about you later in time.

  • http://www.cumbrowski.com/CarstenC/ CarstenCumbrowski

    Good post.

    What you also need to consider is the fact that even if you “know” people for a long time and may be even do what they do for a long time as well, does that not mean that they know you or even heart of your name. Chances are that you are a complete stranger for them who might just turned up on their radar recently. You must give them the chance and time to get to know you better and a bit longer.

    Btw. I did not know you, but a colleague of mine knew you very well already and reads your blog all the time for a while now. For me did you just appear on my radar screen. I need to get to know you better. Just to demonstrate my previous statement on a practical example :).

  • http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/ Matt Cutts

    I posted on Aaron’s blog to say that I’m traveling and not linking to much right now.

    I do read a lot of feeds regularly, but there’s only so much time in a day, so I’m sad to say that I can’t read every SEO blog. 🙁

  • http://seohotline.com Ahmed Bilal

    That’s what I was trying to say Matt – to get attention, you’ve got to know what the big dogs ‘like to read’, because they’re short of time and will be more likely to make space for something new if it aligns with their interests.

  • http://www.seodensity.com Carl Lrac

    I actually posted a picture explanation of linking (similar to this topic) in my blog on 2.06.07. and it was supposed to be a “reality joke”.

    Since it’s all pictures, I can’t really repeat my comments here. But if you care to look, the link to my post is http://www.seodensity.com/2007/02/06/google-backlink-and-real-life-backlink/

  • http://andybeard.eu/ Andy Beard

    The best way to get Matt Cutts or other A List SEOs to link to you might be to get the people they read linking to you.

    Write quality content that people want to link to
    Create some great link bait such as widgets
    Do some original research and post the results
    Create a useful plugin

    My blog is only 3 months old, but I am picking up PR6 and PR7 links on an almost daily basis now.

    I am not even an SEO, and I have people approaching me to do SEO work on a consulting basis… which I am turning down

  • http://www.seobuzzbox.com/ Aaron Pratt

    Matt Cutts is a funny guy, when I asked him for an interview a couple times he said “I am really busy”, well you know what that means. 😉

    Thanks for the mention Ahmed.

  • http://www.shopitoutlet.com Roger

    Hey, Im new to this and just trying to figure this link thing out. Just trying to make it like everyone else,,,,,,,

  • http://www.seorankings.com Wezley

    Just curious, do you have to be on his A-list to submit comments on his blog too? I’ve submitted quaility comments to his posts, but they never get approved…. :(.