Ok so as an online marketer you will know that link-building is difficult. On-page optimisation is fine and dandy once you have convinced your client that in fact the content on site has to be re-written and that the big pointless flash animation has to go. Link-building though? Well that’s something that needs to be explored and justified.
Let’s start with a bit of history:
- Around early 2000 the common ways of getting links were through email link requests and link buying.
- In about 2003/04 we were looking at link networks, comment spam and paid text links.
- 2005/07 saw a rise in link bait and other social media type links.
In recent years we have seen link directories (again), article submissions and link bait in the form of info graphics and so on.
I’ve heard a lot of stories about SEO’s who had been putting all their eggs in to one basket (in this case article submissions) who got totally fried by Google’s Panda update. The real trick is to not only try and keep on the cusp of ‘what’s new in link building’ but also to vary everything you do.
When attending conferences that focus on link building, there is a lot of talk about ‘outreach’ and patience. There is a certain degree of patience that is vital if you want to become a good link builder. Unfortunately average-joes simply don’t have this. The amount of endless frustration that comes with searching for that holy grail of a link is mind-boggling.
You can of course just be lazy, by submitting a few articles to some questionable sites, maybe hitting up a few directories and then paying for a bunch of links. The problem with being lazy is, that while you will have more time to drink beer and watch TV, Google will look at your ‘handy work’ and shrug its big multicoloured shoulders. The end result? No rankings for you and a very disgruntled client.
I’m going to give you one tip in this blog post and that is the following: Don’t be lazy.
There are many ways of not being lazy that you can embrace. I mentioned ‘outreach’ earlier, it is the simple act of communicating to people you don’t know, to try and get things you want. In this case, let’s say I have a client who sells patio furniture. I really want a good link to help them rank for the term ‘patio furniture’; I could just submit some articles and hope for the best. Instead, I’ll use a few methods that I have in my arsenal, to find some authoritative sites where I would like a link from and all I’ll do is contact them.
It really doesn’t get much simpler than that. The only rules that you should ever really follow are these:
“Does my content deserve to be linked to?” and “What incentive can I give them to make them want to link to me?”
If the answer to the first question is no, then I would suggest maybe you should tidy up the house before you invite people in. There are a few different answers to the second question but they generally boil down to two things:
- Awesome Content (guest articles and reviews)
- Ego-bait (award or badge for their site)
If you can offer a webmaster some killer content or stroke their ego a little bit, then why wouldn’t they link to your site about patio furniture?
Keep the details of every person you contact in a nice Excel spreadsheet with a few bits of information, like what kind of link you want, exactly what you want to offer them and the exact email you sent. This way you can begin to build a database and history to not only track what it is you are doing but also to prove the value of good old fashioned link building.
This of course is just one type of link you can get and the best thing about it is that it isn’t hard. You don’t need to be a coding genius or even use advanced tools to do this. You just need to know BEFORE you start what you want. This way you can plan your strategy for the next three months with keywords, targets and follow ups.
At the end of the day though, it is all about communication and hopefully you already know how that works…