The term “link-building” has been around practically forever. After the Panda and Penguin updates, however, people have been hearing about link building being dead. But is it really dead? Some say only certain types of link building activities are now dead. Others say only the old concept of link building is dead. The truth may be somewhere in between.
Link Building Defined
What is link building, anyway? This is something you first need to answer to understand exactly why link building is still very much alive, despite what other people may say. Link building can be defined as an active pursuit of links or the effort of striving to acquire links. This usually involves reaching out to people who otherwise may not bother to link to your site. Yes, link building can be hard, but the best things and the biggest rewards usually require hard work, don’t they?
What Makes a Good Link
Before you even ask how you can build links today without getting penalized, you should first learn what actually makes good links. The “How” should come later. Generally speaking, you can consider a link good if it satisfies the following attributes:
- It comes from or goes to a site that’s directly related to yours.
- It comes from or leads to a web page that has content relevant to the page or content it is linked to.
- There’s good reason for a reader to click it.
- It differs from other links on the page that it links to or from.
Remember that link building is no longer just an SEO tool or strategy. These days, it is all about offering value to your audience. If a link doesn’t do anything for them, people aren’t likely to click on it.
Have you noticed how social signals have become more and more relevant in recent years? Even content marketing is now being done on various social platforms. That being said, you may want to make your link building efforts a bit more socialized as well. Again, this is going to need a considerable amount of time and effort from you. Nothing worth your while ever comes easy, my friends. You can’t just post content anywhere and then expect people to automatically want to read, share, or link to it.
You need to engage with your audience on various social platforms such that they’re encouraged to actually care about what you have to say. You’ll also need to develop a strong relationship with your audience. This means not only encouraging them to care, but also showing that you care for them as well. You can’t always be on the lookout for quick links; these rarely work nowadays. Rather, you need to spend the time and make the effort to build relationships that’ll benefit you for the long term.
Links from Content
Many people also use content marketing for link building purposes. What you may not have realized is that content marketing is best used to earn links, rather than build them. What’s the difference between link earning and link building, you ask? Earlier we defined link building as the act of pursuing links. Link earning, on the other hand, refers to gaining links even without actively asking or looking for it.
The idea is to keep offering content that’s valuable enough to your target audience for them to link to and share with others. So, you’re not actually creating content to get links, but you get links as a result of providing your audience with valuable knowledge and insight.
Now, did you know that there is a way for you to use your link earning web pages as a stepping stone or foundation of your link building efforts? Let me explain. From time to time, you’re bound to find broken links in your site, right? Try to check at least one of these broken links to see where it leads. If you find that it leads to a page on your site that used to have valuable content (you can check through a tool such as Archive.org), and if you see that the page actually has a considerable amount of backlinks, you could reconstruct it, this time with even better content to get even more links.
I know this probably comes as a surprise. Like many other people, you’ve probably been told several times before to remove broken links or to call webmasters to get them removed. Well, you could do that, too. But why waste an opportunity when you can take advantage of it instead?
Other Ways of Earning Links
Aside from creating excellent content and reconstructing broken links, you can also gain more links by constantly updating content on pages that .org, .edu, and .gov sites link to. Furthermore, you could conduct interviews of industry experts and create content from those interviews, with links to the experts’ sites. It also pays to make yourself available for interview as well. Finally, you need to perfect your method of reaching out to industry movers and your target audience so you’ll have better opportunities to build links.
Link building really isn’t going away…at least, not anytime soon. So there’s no reason for you to stop doing it just yet. Regardless of how many people tell you the practice is dead, it is still very much alive. Just make sure your link building efforts cannot be misconstrued as manipulative in any way. That’s what usually gets some websites in trouble.
Google is now quite adept at recognizing poor links and preventing them from dominating their algorithms. Other search engines are also making adjustments to follow Google’s lead. The message for you, therefore, is not to stop building links altogether, but to stop promoting useless links. This paves the way for good link building to become more valuable and encourages webmasters to keep building links the right way.
Yes, proper link building requires hard work. This is exactly why the real SEO experts complain about link building—because IT IS HARD. But complaining about it doesn’t mean they don’t do it the right way. They know the significance of proper link building. You should, too.