Rethinking Your Linking
If you haven’t already seen it, SEOmoz had a very special Whiteboard Friday video blog about the changes in link building practices that are emerging due to the recent Google SEO algorithm updates. What it boils down to is that the cheap and easy ways to get links to your website are now being ignored by Google, meaning they don’t help your search engine ranking anymore. In fact, using those old link building practices can result in swift and brutal punishment. If you’re doing any of the following:
- Quick link exchanges
- Link email blasts
- Buying links
- Submitting to trashy link directories
- Submitting to trashy article directories
- Posting links in forums/comments (I don’t think guestbooks exist anymore)
- Participating in link farms or rings
Don’t waste your time. What I’ve been saying and will keep saying until someone takes my keyboard away is that you have to invest your time into building a valuable presence on the web. Reach out to similar websites to establish a relationship. Then, instead of posting artificial recommendations about eachother, act like a regular human being. If you’ve got a pet products website and you’re writing a blog post about pet health, you mention that your partner vet website just wrote a great blog about heartworms, and here’s a link if you’re interested. And you know about the blog because you take time every day to check out each of your partners’ blogs and keep up on the latest material related to your industry.
Email blasts and website networks are a thing of the past. If you still think they’re useful, you might want to check the dates on the content you’ve been reading. Social media replaced those long ago. Building your Facebook likes and Twitter followers isn’t a complicated process. Generally, if you’ve got some good content on your page, and you like or follow someone, they reciprocate. The downside is that this process takes time and often daily commitment. Make social media a part of your usual schedule.
You can still post in forums and comment on blogs. That’s not gone out of style. What you must not do is just stick your link in there with a two-word comment and call it good. Like your own blog and your Facebook page, your comments need to have substance. Respond to what was said, and read the other comments to make sure you’re not saying the same thing as everyone else. New insights and perspectives are appreciated. Responding to other comments is also valuable as it facilitates discussion.
The bottom line is that if you care about what you’re doing and put in the effort to create useful, original content and participate in the online community, links will happen by default. Put the whole “link building” thing out of your mind and focus on becoming a valued member of the Internet. Good content links itself.