Stop Link Building!

Are you still concerned about how many links are coming into your site? Still looking for quick fixes? It’s time to stop building and start earning links through quality and authentic community.

Earlier this month, Eric Ward of Search Engine Land posted an article on the Unbearable Torture of Link Building, adding his own voice to the sounds of woe coming from the SEO industry over the Panda and Penguin updates from Google. These updates penalised sites for obviously manipulated link profiles.

In his article, Ward invites those in the search engine optimisation industry to embrace link strategies that are custom-focused to the particular website and which take advantage of already existing high quality content. If a site isn’t worth sharing (linking to), then creating links for it is manipulation, it’s anything but genuine.

We agree. We would like to invite site owners to get on board with this too. Especially if you’re a site owner, and you’ve spent time worrying about number of links rather than the quality of your own site, please keep reading.

Linking to a site is a sign of confidence in a company or product. 

Linking without confidence creates a form of link slavery that holds everybody back, including your own site. It can also lead to penalties from Google. Why? It’s manipulative. Manipulation never leads to good things. At least not in the long run.

You need to ask yourself whether the site you intend to link, or get others to link to, to is actually worthy of links. If it isn’t, what needs to change?
When you’ve assessed that – go change it.

Creating a great site that speaks to your target audience, is well designed and well written and technically sound (this includes site architecture & compliance, among other things) is far more important than number of incoming links.

We’ve said this before, but this is especially true if your site is out of date, lacks good content, is difficult to navigate, contains errors, or is generally in need of improvement.

These days the majority of companies and businesses use the website as the primary way of selling their business and gaining sales. Before you demand that a company builds a bunch of manipulative links to your site, have an honest look at your site and assess the situation. A chance of heart may be in order. Stop and think.

Okay so let’s imagine your website is a house for sale: If you’re offering that house at a high price, people expect a certain level of quality. If the house is dilapidated, a fixer upper, or in blatant need of repair, then asking people to pay a high price is unfair, in fact it’s manipulative and kind of silly. Don’t you think?  You’re not going to get what you want and neither are potential buyers (unless they’re looking for a fixer upper, but then they won’t want to pay the high price).

If you still really want to sell the old house, you’ll put in the time, money and effort to do the repairs. You’ll make it presentable and worth a high price. Right? I thought so.

Earn those links, don’t simply gain them.

Building or earning links to a site is really about building community. For there to be a community, people need to care about your product or company. You can’t force people to care, you need to invite them. It takes time.

Here are a few tips for link earning & building your community online:

  1. Remember link manipulation was never going to last and this is a good thing. Look for people who can help you improve and optimise your website for your target audience.
  2. Create stuff worth sharing, whether it’s written content, videos, pdfs, images, infographics, whatever. Be creative and show people who you are as a company. Share it with others, talk about it and be engaging. This is how you build community.
  3. Be excellent! Don’t stop improving and growing. Be engaging. Continue to seek excellence in your site. Don’t let it grow stagnant. Continual content refreshes, updates, and additions help your site get found more often in search engines and also create greater opportunities for engagement and thus, linking and community building. Don’t be afraid to show the personality and human side of your company or organisation. It all helps!

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and be excellent!



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