12 Sep 2012

Are All Link Building Tactics Forbidden Now? (Weekly Q&A)

Links slow

There’s a great discussion taking place at SEOchat forums:

So we’ve been taught that we need to get backlinks for ages. The old Google Webmaster Help section had something like “get other webmasters link to you” tip which we were all happy to follow.

Now with all those Penguin updates and SEO fear that followed, poor website owners are really lost: Is there any legit way to still build links?

Let’s try to keep sanity here:

Build It and They Will Come? – Wrong!

We all like repeating that: if we create top-notch content, Google will figure we are cool and rank us high. We don’t need to do anything else except for focusing on creating quality.

I am one of those SEOs always preaching that principle.

But does it actually work that well? Here’s a great citation from the same thread (courtesy of joshz)

I reject the concept that building ‘good content’ will simply attract links.

Every. Niche. Is. Different… Who the heck is going to link to Joe The Plumber.

Not all niches are technically related, not all are content driven. The main example is ecommerce.

The majority of plumbing sites out there that you want links from are going to be competition. Granted, some may be related such as HVAC or handymen sites or even industry related directories. But that’s where the problem comes and why I simply grin every time I hear “build content that people will link to”.

Moreover, you open up the chicken vs. egg theory. If your site is not ranking and not getting visitors then who is suppose to find and link to your content without you marketing it..?

It’s like saying “I’m a great catch for a female, I cook, I clean, I have a great job, and I make great money and love to spend it on my women” but the same guy stays in his house every Friday night making no attempt to meet a female then complains and asks why he’s single? “I’m a great guy and a good catch, but I’m single!?” You’re not making yourself seen/noticed aka promoted or marketed.

Hard to argue, right?

So what can we actually do?

It’s NOT the Tactic to Blame, Dummy

… It’s how you do that!

When did guest blogging, blog commenting and forum posting become associated with spam? – When you started doing it wrong!

All the three most popular ways above are the essence of social media and web inter-linking! If you make great comments or place awesome guest posts you are not going to be called a spammer. Nor will it be a waste of time. Similarly, closing your site for guest posts or blog comments is the same as closing your blog and starting talking to yourself.

So Do I Still Need to Build Links?

Forget about the links and start networking for yourself.

Here’s an example:

Getting back to Joe The Plumber discussed above: If he just writes great articles about plumbing on his website and does nothing more, he will fail.

However, if he starts providing real help on home-related, DIY and local Q&A sites and blogs (via useful comments, blog posts and forum posts), he’ll get noticed.

“Build it and they will come” theory is worth nothing when taken isolated. But “get links to your site by all means” is a dangerous one when approached improperly. Choose being useful and authentic and you’ll get linked.

Building links is still important but links should not be your priority because this will be easy to notice.

What are your thoughts?

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by gruetter