As we alluded to at the start of this course, things in SEO and link building have changed fairly drastically over the last year. There are now some techniques that can actually hurt your rankings whereas before the worst a link could do was have no effect.
Google is getting smarter and smarter at detecting “non-natural” links, and you need to be aware of what they are looking for now.
In this post, we’ll cover some evergreen principles of link building concepts that you can stick in your back pocket and pull out whenever you need a refresher. These are concepts and not necessarily techniques – we’ll get to techniques later on in future lessons.
For now, let’s try to understand some of the main principles of link building so that we can make sure we’re operating from a solid foundation.
Main Link Building Concepts
Value – Why People Link to A Page – It’s best if we ask yourselves the question, “Why would a normal person link to a web page?” As marketers, we can sometimes forget that most people are NOT marketers and therefore they do things differently. We will make great strides in our link building processes if we just stop and consider WHY one person would link to a website. Here are a few reasons:
- They Link to Stuff that’s Informative – The web is an information network. People often link to resources that are well thought out and informative. You can think of this as a sort of citation. People link to information that backs up what they are saying, that is the source of what they are saying, or that explains what they don’t want to explain. The higher value of the info, the more likely people will link to it.
- They Link to Entertaining Content – Spend 3 minutes on Facebook and you’re sure to see someone post a link to some auto-tune video, the latest gossip, or a an emotionally loaded, hilarious meme. People share stuff that’s entertaining, and a link is just another form of sharing.
If your site isn’t giving out great information or entertaining information of some kind, it’s going to be hard for you to get links. The key here is to remember that we are trying to get our website in front of REAL people who we want to get to know us through our content. We must offer them value of some sort on our site if we want them to link to it.
Authority – Not All Links Are Equal – Simply put, a link from the 20th page of Joe Nobody’s blog is worth significantly less than a link from the front page of Yahoo! Why is this? Authority.
Search engines ascribe a measure of authority to websites based on a variety of factors the biggest of which is what other sites link to it. Since more people link to Yahoo!’s home page than do the 20th page of Joe’s blog, a link from the former will be worth more than a link from the latter.
Admittedly, this is quite the simplification since search algorithms take into account other metrics when considering authority such as social shares, design of the site, how long people stay on a site, etc. But the scope of this post is just an overview of the main concepts you need to know for link building.
We’ll explain how you figure out the authority of a page in a later lesson, but for now, just understand that some links are worth more than others. One good link could equal 1000 links from lesser sources meaning that the most effective use of our time will be finding and obtaining the best links rather than generating thousands of low quality ones.
The Human Factor – The best links come from real people running websites and not from automated systems that bulk post stuff all over the web. The last of these three Main Concepts of Link Building is that we are really not in the link building business as much as we are in the relationship building process. While there will definitely be some links we can obtain without talking to anyone, the more relationships we build with website owners and with our own audience, the easier it will be to get links from them.
How hard do you think it’d be to get links from the top 10 bloggers in your niche if you were their best friend? It’d probably just take a text or a Facebook message right? Why is this? Because they already know, like, and trust you – because you’re friends.
We’re going to need to make some friends and be really cool to people. We’re often going to have to add a lot of value before we ask for anything. We have to approach people to make friends even if they will never link to us.
In essence, we’re going to need to forget about the link altogether.
This is an important concept because many SEO “gurus” just DO NOT get this. These days, everyone wants a business that is 100% automated and requires no human to human interaction. This type of thinking isn’t a good long term strategy for SEO.
So there you have it: The second installment of Link Building for Leads and Profit. If you have any questions or comments, please just leave them in the comments section below!