Link building is a part of every SEO strategy. As SEO has changed over time, so have link building methods. The ways professionals scored backlinks 2 years ago became outdated, as new search engine algorithms were introduced.
In old SEO days, scoring backlinks was relatively easy. It was about scoring as many links as possible, to develop higher positions in search engine rankings. Algorithm changes mentioned above changed the way Search Engine Optimization works and acquiring backlinks along with it. Nowadays, not only the number of links is important, but their quality and relevancy to the topic are as well.
Link building – how it used to look like
Formerly, link building was much easier. The more links a website had, the higher the chance was to make an impact on the SERPs. The most popular link building tactics were:
- adding a website to directories and listings – adding a website and scoring a backlink from such a site is most of the time, free of charge
- creating presell pages – pages with a industry relevant article, filled with keywords, hosted on a website with a high pagerank
- creating forum links – placing links in posts and personal signatures
- buying links – buying sponsored articles and reviews
- participating in link exchange programs – buying links and publishing them in random link exchanging platforms
Most of the techniques were cheap and as a matter of fact – effective. What the search engine algorithm updates did, is that they changed the way the backlinks were analyzed. The positions of websites, which were using prohibited techniques mentioned in Google Webmaster Guidelines were at least drastically affected. Some of them were excluded from search results. The search algorithm cut of spam from the SERPs, leaving only websites that were not using spam or the methods mentioned earlier to level up their rankings. How this translates into SEO language is links, that are easy to grab are the ones that could make a big threat to your efforts.
The updates of search engine algorithms aren’t a new story in the marketing world. Many marketers, SEO professionals and entrepreneurs are changing their strategy to fit in with the new and demanding SEO landscape.
Build Relations, not backlinks
Algorithm changes like Google’s Panda and latest Penguin updates made old methods unreliable. One of the most popular methods of getting quality backlinks is by guest posting on various blogs.
Instead of focusing on getting more and more backlinks, try to focus on creating relations. There are lot’s how-to’s on the Internet about how to approach a blogger. Remember that bloggers are no different than you and I. They are the guys, that are passionate about a specific topic and want to share this passion with other people. As you can imagine, building relations is not about hit and run backlink catching process. It is more about:
- being proactive in a community – actively commenting and participating in discussions
- social media interaction – sharing valuable content and commenting on the topic in social media
- creating content – it’s always good to add new value or fresh thoughts to the community
The point of building relations is much more than backlinks. It’s about building personal authority and gathering readers, which translates into positive impression around you as a professional and around your brand as the right person to do the business with.
The relations are an even better investment because SEO, strategies and techniques of developing a brand are changing. The relations with bloggers and achieved credibility are long lasting.
Backlinks – quality, not quantity
Guest blogging, although it is better than any other link building tactic, is not about quantity. In terms of co-citation and co-occurrence, it’s a better strategy to acquire backlinks from solid and quality websites.
Co-citation is a process of link building, which doesn’t have to involve outgoing links leading to your website. It’s more about the similarities found between a group of websites, based on the information provided by other websites.
Co-occurrence on the other hand, refers to co-occurrence refers to the connection of some particular phrases or keywords that come in close proximity to each other.
Co-citation and co-occurrence are part theory, which assumes that they could be another important ranking factor besides the anchor text associated with backlinks. Theory or not, SEO strategy means also being prepared for upcoming changes. If the next updates would be significant, strong backlinks from authority websites will immunize results of your hard work.
Content and link building
Content, as it’s commonly said, is the driver of any modern SEO strategy. Creating informative content is a basic element of building your website, as well as sharing the knowledge in the guest posts. Want to score a mention? Instead of spamming discussion boards, forums and people in person, try to engage your readers and make them participate in your story.
- organize giveaways – it’s not about sales and conversions everytime, celebrate your special occasions with you readers
- give freebies – give your product or service free of charge, as one of the best way to score a review or a quote
- share the knowledge – provide informative and valuable how-to’s, tutorials and case studies on common problems people in your niche encounter
There are vast ways of link building methods and they are only limited by your capabilities. Bear in mind, that quality should always be in the first place, while working on any promotional activity online.