Adam Audette will be speaking about “Advanced Linkbuilding” at SearchFest 2011, which will take place on February 23rd at the Governor Hotel in Portland, Oregon. Tickets are available now. To purchase, please click the following link.

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

First of all, thank you for the opportunity Todd! I am a loyal fan and member of SEMpdx. Really looking forward to the awesomeness that is SearchFest 2011.

I’m the CEO of AudetteMedia, a boutique online marketing shop. We are on the smaller side of agencies (less than 20 people) and work with big companies doing advanced search and social marketing work. We are most known for our technical SEO and out-of-the-box projects (what we call internally “Big Ideas”). Our clients include Amazon, Zappos, Kroger, Charming Shoppes, Gannett, and HSN. But we also work with mid-sized companies like Rockler, Thompson Cigar, Eloqua, Crutchfield and Doheny, to name a few.

I started my career in 1997 or so, working for my father John Audette at MMG (now Outrider). I like to blog but don’t do it enough. I write regularly for SearchEngineLand and SearchEngineWatch,
and sporadically for other sites and publications. I’m on twitter as @audette.

AudetteMedia is located in beautiful Bend, Oregon, which is something of the motherland of search. My father’s old company, MMG, was at the roots of SEO. It’s where many big-time industry folks got their start, including Bill Hunt (author of Search Engine Marketing Inc), Jeremy Sanchez (CEO of Global Strategies), Derrick Wheeler (lead SEO at Microsoft), Marshal Simmonds (lead SEO at NY Times), Disa Johnson (industry veteran), Adam Sherk (talented social media and SEO), Meg Thompson (partner at AudetteMedia), and more. More here and here

2) At Pubcon, Greg Boser talked about the importance of linkbuilding without any keywords in the anchor text. Why is this now so important?

Yeah, the whole exact-match anchor text thing. Link builders have obsessed over anchor text (with good reason) for a long time.

Unfortunately it’s become another manipulated signal. A natural link profile includes things like “click here” and the URL, the brand name, and obscure or unanticipated text, along with exact-match text. A spammy link profile includes way too much matching anchor text (usually of only 1 or 2 words).

Anything that gets manipulated gets modified. Anchor text joins a long list of practices SEOs have used and abused. Although it still works fine at Bing, Google has adapted and made changes to the algorithm to account for it.

At AudetteMedia we have always taken a different track. Instead of creating links with exact-match anchor text, we work hard to build great, unique content and resources that are real contributions on the web. We provide value, which builds links over time based on its own merit. And we focus on long-term partnerships, too. So this isn’t really a problem for us.

Most of the latest changes or reactions by the engines don’t really impact us, because we have stayed true to internet marketing principles all along, rather than chase the latest and greatest fad.

3) How valuable are social media links today and where is this trending in the future?

They’re becoming more valuable, but not as a standalone channel, rather as a complement or addition to a complete link profile that includes many other types of links, too. The engines will be using social media signals in additional ways to be sure, but it’s still mostly about links. Social is just another type of link, really. At least right now. That may change.

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