Each aspect of an SEO campaign defines its own area of importance. Building links should be no different. While significant in its contribution, link building on its own does not make or break an SEO campaign. If you’re investing all of your time, energy and resources building links, it may be time for you to change scope.
A Link is a Link, Right?
Just like the myth that #1 rankings can be achieved overnight, treating all links as equal can lead down the road to SEO oblivion. The type of links you should be looking to build are:
- High Authority
The type of links you should avoid building are on:
- Directories that contain little to no use
- Sites or blogs full of ads or spam links i.e splogs
- Sites that are unrelated to your own (you may get the link juice, but your time would be better spent writing quality content)
A good way to find out if you’re wasting your time pursuing a link from a certain website, is to use the Raven Quality Analyzer.
I can find out in one report which other sites link to the website, how old the domain is, the website’s traffic, and its PageRank. The report lists lots of other metrics, but with just these four, I can find out whether or not it’s really worth my time.
High Quality, Not Quantity
Google’s recent clampdown on directories is a signal for the future. No longer will they see directories as viable for passing on link juice – this means neither should you. This is not to say that they’re not worth going after, but they should be pretty low on your link building scale. Niche directories, on the other hand, are still worth getting a listing from. So instead of pursuing a link from www.general-link-spam-directory.com, you should choose something specific to your website, such as www.soccer-linkage.com
A conundrum that you could come across is that you get in a situation where you have to choose between a site with high authority but which is not subject relevant, and a site that has less of an authority but is relevant to your content. I go with the relevant content every time. Just because a site has a high priority today does not mean that it will still hold the same sway tomorrow. A site can lose authority, but unless it drastically changes, the relevance factor will always remain.
Link Building Strategy
Strategies can be very subjective – a lot of people will stick with what’s worked for them in the past, while others will be a little more experimental. However, there’s a difference in running your own SEO campaign where you might feel more open to thinking outside the box than running a campaign for a client where you have to be mindful of what you’re doing. However, with that being said, there are several concrete methods that should be included in your link building strategy:
- Blogging:A blog is for life, not just for Christmas. In all seriousness, blogging truly is a long-term commitment, and if set up right, can be a great weapon in your arsenal for ranking highly in the SERPs.
- Showing Some Love: Everyone likes to feel wanted. Be generous and selective with your outbound links and don’t expect anything back in return.
- Remember the User: Create content that is unique, well-written, and which encapsulates your niche.
- Participate: Interact with your users by taking advantage of all that social media has to offer.
Inbound / Outbound Links
A link building campaign should consist of utilizing both internal and external links. When looking for sites to build links to, you should assess:
- Where the site’s external links point to
- Where the site’s inbound links are coming from
Finding out who the site links out to is a good measure of what they are trying to achieve. Are they being user centric by linking out to good content, or are they linking to meaningless directories, spam blogs or content that only they will benefit from?
No such thing as a bad inbound link? Think again. Would you really want a link to your website from a pornographic or spam-infested website? If your website is treated as the representation of your company online (which it should be), then you need to ask yourself the question – would you associate with these people in real life? The search engine bots will make the same assumption and decide an outcome that may not have the affect that you were looking (or hoping) for.
So, we’ve covered eight steps that will put you well on the way to a successful SEO campaign. The steps should be used all inclusively – singularly, each one is just a process to go through, but used collectively they’re a great foundation to build most any SEO campaign on.