Would you rather be friends with live people, dead people, or zombies?

Pretty easy question to answer.

But the funny thing is, people don’t always make the right decision when it comes to their search engine optimization (SEO).

What does this have to do with SEO?!?

When you get a link from a page, you’re essentially making friends with them. That web page is linking to your web page and saying “I like what you’re doing over here.

And links — hyperlinks pointing from another web page to your web page — are still one of the most important factors in Google’s search engine algorithm. And probably always will be.

So, whether you realize it or not, you’ve got a decision to make…

You can focus on getting links from 3 different types of pages:

  1. Pages that are alive
  2. Pages that are dead, and
  3. Pages that are the “living dead” (aka zombies).


Here are some examples to clarify what I mean…

1. The Live Web

The “live web” (as I’m calling it) consists of web pages that are active. They are updated and edited on a regular basis, and they’re adding new content. And importantly, a real person is responsible for creating or curating the content.

Good examples of the live web include:

  • Blogs
  • Social media websites
  • News websites

These are, generally speaking, the best links you can get.


Because Google actually wants links to mean something. Links are meant to be a signal of your website’s reputation and authority. And the most valuable links you can get are links that demonstrate  “editorial discretion” — where a real, live person made a conscious decision to link to you.

OK, moving on…

2. The Dead Web

What’s an example of the “Dead Web”? A directory page that hasn’t been updated in years.

For example, the Open Directory Project – aka DMOZ – is a huge human-edited directory. It was created by real people. And so there was editorial discretion. However, this directory is (for the most part) DEAD. Or at the very least, it’s on life support.  You can submit your website if you want to, but you might not hear back for months or even years. The place is like a ghost town.

Similarly, resources and links pages on college and governmental websites are often dead. Now, SEO experts will tell you that getting links from websites with ‘.edu’ and ‘.gov’ domains is hugely valuable — and that’s true. However, many of these pages were created when the web pages were first created — and haven’t been updated since. And the people who created these pages don’t even work there any more. As a result, you’re going to face an uphill battle getting your website listed on these pages.

My advice to you: focus on the active web.  Some SEO experts may disagree, but I think it’s a better use of your time and energy to focus on the live web, and skip the dead web.

And finally…

3. The Zombie Web

What in the world is the zombie web?

Well, just like in the movies, we’re talking about the living dead.

The web pages are getting updated and posting new content… so they’re not totally dead.  But the content isn’t being produced by a real person. Instead, it’s being “scraped” by software programs or cut-up and re-assembled (“spun”) to appear like fresh, unique content.

Many of these pages exist for SEO purposes.  They contain links to other websites, and those links are designed to help improve those sites’ Google rankings.  Links from “zombie” sites often help in the short-term, but they usually aren’t effective in the long-term because these links aren’t examples of real, authentic editorial discretion.

So, Here’s My Advice to You…

Focus on getting links from live pages — and avoid the corpses and the zombies!

The ‘Living Web’ Litmus Test

When you’re looking for pages to attract links from, here are some questions to ask, in order to find out whether you’re dealing with a living, breathing web page:

  • Is a real person responsible creating or curating this content?
  • Can I identify who that person is?
  • Is there contact information on the website?
  • Was this website updated recently?
  • Does this website have an audience consisting of real people?
  • Does it seem credible and trustworthy? (Would I recommend it to my mom?)


Good luck with your link-building… and remember, watch out for the ghost towns and zombies!