Keywords, content and links. This is the currency of the Search Engine Optimization world and the rules for spending that currency seem to be in a constant state of flux.
At TopRank Marketing, we take a conservative approach to attracting links through purely organic means. Our focus is on creating content that’s actually worth being linked to with an emphasis on customer engagement and share optimization over pure SEO value.
The irony of this approach is that while we don’t “build links” directly for SEO, the attraction based approach we take typically results in links that are very high value and sustainable that many overt link building tactics.
In this session at Pubcon Florida, Ann Smarty @seosmarty from Internet Marketing Ninjas broke her multi-year silence on link building to share her current insights on the topic of link building through relationships.
To understand link building for SEO, you must first understand what NOT to do.
One important lesson is not to scale link building. Scale risks not being useful to consumers and Google responds to that with penalties.
Early on, Ann recognized the value of guest blogging and started a community. In 2012 Matt Cutts from Google shared that guest posts were ok as long as bloggers simply didn’t duplicate the same post over and over.
However, once SEOs recognized the value of link building, they exploited it. In 2014 Google penalized Ann’’s community and guest blogging has been deemed a risky tactic ever since.
Controlled link building of the past:
* Paid links
* Directory links
* Press releases
* Site networks
The effect of Google’s penalties on link building tactics like those listed above has been significant. 89% of sites that ranked 7 years ago are not ranking today. Marcus Tober, SearchMetrics
The rub: You cannot scale link building, but you can’t really get anywhere in SEO without it.
The adjusted approach suggested by Ann is “link earning” vs. “link building” with a focus on building relationships
1. Relationship powered link building. The most important rule is that you do not “ask” for links. Be authentic. Genuinely and openly do your best for each opportunity you come across.
2. Resource Building + Outreach (Trust bait)
Why use research-powered trust bait linking:
1. You create a better guide, it improves content quality
2. You can refer to a well known expert in your outreach
3. You’ll receive links from your experts / contributors
3. Viral Marketing and relationships.
Create a variety of formats of content, aka digital assets. Use viral content + social media promotion + smart email outreach. Get exposure on popular destination or community sites. For example, find moderators or sub-reddit influencers to seed your content on Reddit.
Content that gets featured on Reddit’s front page can attract many links. If you seed your content the right way, it can get noticed by many media properties which can mean a quantity of high value and organically sourced links.
Tools for seeding content assets:
To EARN links:
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