S ohere I am for the fifth yearwith ap- proximately the 10th version of Top Tips (updates included). It took me awhile to compile them because as time goesbyyou–myaudience– becomemore educated, and recommending something that hasn’t already been said is difficult. Therefore, this time around I’ve decided to mix in some questionable techniques (which of course I do not condone) with some still fairlyunknownorunderutilized white-hat information, along with one or two tips that consolidate several basic but important techniques that I have talked about in thepast. I decided to do this because practically ev- ery day I speakwithpeoplewho have read mystuff foryearsbuthaveyet to implement any of it. We also havemany readers who arenewwebmastersoraffiliatesandassuch will benefit from seeing that the small stuff is justas importantas thebigstuff. More importantly I want to present these techniquesstepbystepso thatanyonecan implement them, evenwithout knowing a wordof code. Once again I must emphasize that I am simply a conduit for the information that follows. I do not condone in any way the use of these techniques– some in fact are dangerous–or theuseof someof thesoft- ware that Iwillmention. Now that being said, let’s get going! 1 Links — I thought I’d take the bull by thehorns from the start. I have a lot to say about links, and since at least half of the questions I get in the forums, at conferences and from clients are about links, I’m guessing they’rewhat interest you themost. Google has said over and over not to buy links. If you have bought them, then you’ve probably taken a hit or two, de- pending on your techniques. Determin- ing which links to buy and where to buy them has always been a bit speculative because everything from page size, site size, the number of other links, the qual- ity of the links, the relevancy of the site and various other factors affects what a link is actuallyworth. Thenof course you have todealwith things like checking the integrity of the link: is it still intact, or does it even still exist? There are dozens of tools available that were built just for dealingwith these issues. Sowhat do youdo? I had a look at all the different methods available and discov- ered that several are still effective (e.g., blog posting, blog rolls, establishing fo- rum links, using Yahoo! Answers and so on). In the end, what I’ve found is that the clear winner for my money is going out there, doing one’s homework, nego- tiating and then actually buying sites. If I own a site then I also own the content, and more importantly the links I’ll put into the existing content. I’m looking for related content or aWeb site with a silo of related content fromwhich I can take existing keyword phrases and change them intohyperlinks.