Dustin will be speaking on the “Links: Development, Baiting & Buying” panel at Searchfest which will take place on March 10th, 2008 at the Portland Zoo. Purchase your Searchfest 08 tickets now.

1) Please give us your background and tell us what you do for a living?

I’ve been in charge of SEO, analytics and usability for a few select companies for just over a decade now. I dabbled in PPC in the early days, but decided to focus on natural search, as that is where I see the greatest value. I was in charge of SEO at Allrecipes for a few years, but left recently to join a Seattle start-up called Wetpaint to help their hundreds of thousands of user-generated wikis perform better in search.

I’m also a bit of a renaissance man. I run a popular mutual fund site, am a Webby Awards judge, and recently wrote and directed a 30-minute short film.

2) If a newbie ask you to describe the importance of link-building, what would you tell them?

You can build the most beautiful, most useful website in the world, but without links, no one is going to find it. A simplified analogy would be a beautiful outdoor sculpture you created. No one will see it until you build paths & roads to it, which connect to the nearest highway, which connect to other highways, which connect to airports, allowing anyone from around the world to discover your sculpture.

What makes these paths and roads (links) even more important in the online world is that search engines use links as a measurement of how important your website is and search engines are the primary way people find websites. For search engine purposes, think of links as votes, but unlike choosing a high school prom queen, some votes count more than others (a link from the Oregonian is worth more than then Uncle Bob’s Fishing & Tackle Shop).

So link-building not only puts your site on the map, it provides paths to your site from other sites, and it builds your search engine credibility.

3) Do you see stocks backed by domain names as their principal assets (e.g. Marchex) as good investments short & long term?

As an investor, I like seeing larger varieties of publicly available stocks, so I’m all for more domain name backed stocks or investments. And I’m not alone. I’m seeing more and more hedge funds buying domains.

The cool part about .com domain names is that there is a limited quantity, which has caused .com domain names to start trading like stocks. However, there are dangers in domain investing. One danger is lawmakers and another is other TLDs. If lawmakers change the rules of the game, that wonderful domain you own could turn from an asset to a liability. And if a new TLD ever becomes as popular as .com, then your long-held domains might lose their value.

Check out the trailer for Dustin’s film…it’s going to be a good one!

Todd Mintz
Todd Mintz knows PPC...knows Social Media...knows SEO...knows Blogging...knows Domaining...and knows them all real well. He is the SEM Consigliere for 3Q Digital and is also a Director & Founding Member of SEMpdx: Portland, Oregon's Search Engine Marketing Association, and he can be found here on Twitter and Facebook.
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