The Future of Link Building

This is a guest post by Christopher Jan Benitez.

Google, arguably the most relevant search engine in the world to date, has been aggressively rolling out updates on algorithm changes since last year. The updates aim to eliminate spam on their search results and provide users with the best possible sites based on the searched keyword moving forward. For online marketers, this spells doom to once effective but fishy link building tactics such as article spinning and unnatural keyword insertions, among others.

What is encouraged now by Google and search engines are methods that promote high-quality and shareable content related to your niche. The current trend in link building starts with your own content. By developing a fundamentally sound content strategy, you can build links coming from users who volunteered to share your content and not for any other reason.

Here are ways to develop a link building campaign that relies on high-quality content as means to a developing strong link profile.

Content Marketing

If you’re publishing content on your blog or site, you must develop the topics you intend to write about and schedule them in your editorial calendar. Consider four things when developing topics for your content: type (article, design inspiration, infographic), focus keyword, search flavor, and target market.

Make the titles of each post as compelling as possible to encourage people to click through the link and read your content. Mix up your topics by writing about evergreen (long-lasting) and timely (holidays, current events) content to diversify your blog or site. Develop a theme-based daily schedule, i.e. publish articles on Monday, infographics on Tuesday, etc. so you can develop a rhythm with your blog that readers can follow.

Link Baiting

link bait

Photo Credit: HubSpot on Flickr

This content type is interesting enough to catch people’s attentions. Link bait is determined by the social shares it receives from Facebook and Twitter, which are means to building links to your site. Once users like or tweet your content, they endorse and encourage others to take a look at that content. The more shares your content receives, the more valuable your content becomes in the eyes of users. This increases the chances of your content being read by users and linked on their sites.

Push the limit of great content to get more users to take notice. Strictly composing well-written posts will not cut it anymore – you may need to diversify the content types published on your site or blog. Think of the flash mob dance hosted by T-Mobile and The Noob Guide to Online Marketing by Unbounce. Both content are prime examples of content that exhausts and inspires action from people.

Guest Posting

This replaces blog commenting as your primary method of getting links placed at sites. Create a tailor-made guest post for the site you intend to submit on. A good guest post maintains its audience as the priority. Tie the guest post back to your business so readers will be reminded of your products and services.

At the bottom of your post, write a byline about yourself and your business. This is also the place where your anchor text and marketing message will be included. The anchor text should fit within the context of your byline and must read naturally. To add a personal touch to the byline, use your real name on all guest posts you will be writing to increase exposure of your name. Include your Google+ so you can develop your authorship and maximize search result ranking for your name.

For more information on how to do guest blogging, refer to Kristi Hines’ post entitled The Ultimate Guide to Guest Blogging.

Making Connections

Long-lasting connections with high-quality sites determine your business’ competitiveness in the search results. It all starts by reaching out to blog or site owners to write a guest post or share content on their site. Once they accept and publish your guest post, reply back to comments on your posts or even comments on other posts. Make it a habit to write for their site regularly to build readership off their existing audience.

Extend your outreach to your social media profiles. Connect with thought leaders, like-minded entrepreneurs, and potential customers on Facebook and Twitter. This allows you to get a broader sense of your market and tweak your strategies as you see fit.

Better yet, do some offline and integrated marketing to boost your online activity. Attend upcoming conventions or trade shows where you can hand out brochures or business cards to people with a URL shortened link to your site. Don’t forget to form connections and exchanging contact details as well.

The idea here is to humanize your online social profile by increasing engagement, interaction, and familiarity to your identity. All changes in the Google algorithms point marketers towards a link building strategy that views things from a holistic sense. Link building now becomes a means to an end, the way it’s supposed to be.





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Comments

  1. says

    In 2012, Google will be known as the business and niche destroyer. Its algos has changed the way it works for ever. The only way to survive is to diversify and not reply on the big G too much. As far as linking is concerned, who knows what’s going to happen. Guest posting is the only viable option let. Interesting point on publishing articles on Monday and infographics on Tuesday. Never thought of that.
    Shalu Sharma just posted Interview with globetrotter girls

    • says

      I agree with you 100%. Although Google continues to be the toast of the link building town, marketers should not base their strategies solely on what moves Google makes to its algorithm.

      Although the suggestions I made above can help you shore your own link building campaigns, every one should try find fresh, exciting, and innovative ways to make long-lasting relationships to spike your search engine results. Thanks for commenting!
      Christopher Jan Benitez just posted Effective Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses in 2013

  2. says

    I can’t agree more. I’m truly amazed at the number of people that are still posting spun content using push button software to get links. I guess there will be some that try it even after it is no longer effective.

    If we have learned nothing else from Pandas and Penguins, it is that Google is going to keep improving their ability to filter out the junk and the only sites that will be left standing (eventually) will be the one’s with great content.
    Chris Hardee just posted Laser-Focused Writing

  3. says

    I agree that google is always changing and you can’t rely on them to make your business. But on the other hand they are always changing for the better. Their ultimate goal is to put high quality content that people are naturally drawn to in front of their search results. Creating this content should be your goal, because in the long term it should mean you get more Google traffic. Even if Google waves from that goal, people would just go to the next big thing which would want to show people quality content around the web. So, in the end quality content wins because it is what people are searching for in the first place.
    Shaun Rosenberg just posted 8 Moving On Quotes To Help You Come Back Stronger Than Ever!

  4. says

    Really useful link building points Benny,

    In coming times only useful and informative content would play huge role in the success of your link building techniques and social media trends are getting more important for your link building.
    Aasma just posted Mobile Recharge Software

  5. says

    “Better yet, do some offline and integrated marketing to boost your online activity.”

    I agree completely! There is a lot of work that can be done online, but sometimes it is better to do things face to face. Connecting with people at networking events and industry-specific “Meetups” is a great way to start a conversation that could lead to a partnership or a guest blogging opportunity. Email sometimes get stuck in spam folders, but speaking in person with someone is a good way to ensure you make the connection.

    • says

      Thanks for the reply, Nick! I sincerely believe that face to face marketing will soon make its way into every site owners’ link building strategy. Aside from Meetups, attending conferences and expos related to your niche and meeting new people are brilliant ways to do offline marketing.

  6. says

    I agree with your point of view. But it is worth noting here that Google is making some quick changes to its algorithms, which are destroying the big niches. It becomes tough for everyone to stay on top in front of Adwords campaigns.

    The first page is normally now filled up with several Adword ads, and the rest links are those who have done Adwords campaigns in the past. I am not talking about each & every keyword, but for some keywords that are the main backbone of Google Search earning stream.
    Hamza Sheikh just posted 7 Content Marketing Tips To Produce 100% Targeted Content For Readers

    • says

      I can relate to what you’re saying. Google makes changes to their algo because it not only aims to “enhance user experience,” but also sustains their business model. However, we, as site owners, must adapt to the changes or die trying to fight off change.

      Link building is never easy – we have to find unique ways to make our sites reach the tops I think that the ones featured above are good tactics to start with. Thanks for the comment!

  7. says

    Hi Christopher,

    Definitely guest posting is the best way to make yourself known. A guest post on a popular blog is gonna acquire a lot more links that if you would post it on your blog, because people tend to link out to the top Google results. You can get a lot more links just from one awesome guest post.

    One other thing, I think a lot of people are just afraid to reach out to the top bloggers, but you never know until you ask. Just simply asking for tips or a guest posting opportunity will do a lot for you.

    Thanks for posting this, have a great day Chris.

    ~Philip
    Philip A just posted The Most Honest Tweet Adder Review You’ll Ever Read

  8. says

    “Guest Posting – This replaces blog commenting as your primary method of getting links placed at sites.”

    So are you saying that the new emphasis is not on generating links to your site that garner traffic through natural increases in your organic site rank, but that the emphasis should be getting traffic FROM guest posting? Of course this is always a great strategy to add traffic to your site, but do links from blog comments not boost your ranking like before?
    Matt just posted Does Dehydration Affect Sport Performance?

    • says

      Thanks for the comment, Matt! I think I need to clarify what I said about guest posting “replacing” blog commenting in your link building strategy.

      Blog commenting, as a link building tactic, is not less valuable than guest posting. The problem lies in getting blog owners to approve your comments. In my experience, I have found getting relevant comments with anchor links approved on different do-follow blogs much more difficult through the years. I have waited in vain for my comments to be moderated for weeks and months, only to be ignored (or stripped off of its link).

      Conversely, owners have been more positive about getting my guest posts published on their sites. This could be also due to the fact that the Panda updates are geared towards the promotion of great content, which is what guest posting is about.

      In other words, guest posting has become a much more “acceptable” link building technique, i.e. easier to implement, allows you to follow up on blog owners to post your guest post.

      However, I wish to hear from you soon on whether or not you’re still having success with blog commenting as an integral part of your link building strategy. I hope to learn from what you have to say!

  9. says

    Google changes the conditions all the time, small changes take place every day on Google. After Panda and Penguin updates coming soon a new (puma?). I think that blog comments and guest blogging articles will become less important in 2013.

  10. says

    Totally agree about guest posting. Wish I could make myself do it more- always leads to more traffic.
    Personally I hope Google continues to get better and better at weeding out the weak sites. Nothing worse than having to sift through dozens of fake/sales sites to get to the info you want!
    Larry Lourcey just posted Twitter FaceOff – Round One!

  11. says

    Hey

    Very helpful post, and I fully agree that “Link building now becomes a means to an end, the way it’s supposed to be.” I would say not just now, I feel like it’s been that way for a while.

    Also, I like your suggestion of getting into a blogging schedule and rhythm, and I would also say to keep that consistent for a good while. It’s better to try something and keep it the same for while before you go trying something new every month or so.

    Thanks for sharing this post,

    Eric

    • says

      I personally think that you should focus on appeasing your readers first before anything else. Optimizing your site for Google is important but once you have developed a readership off your blog, then it’s time to focus on creating targeted content that’s based off their needs or likes. This should help you increase leads and sales (assuming that you’re running a business with your blog).

      As for headlines, you can’t go wrong with Copyblogger’s How to Write Magnetic Headlines.” This should help you gain a deeper understanding on how headlines are composed and how they directly affect click-through rate to your blog post. The link to resources is found below.

      http://www.copyblogger.com/magnetic-headlines/
      Christopher Jan Benitez just posted 3 Inspiring Small Business Advice from Martin Luther King, Jr. Quotes

  12. says

    Hey Christopher,
    Great post!

    Guest posting is something I keep on telling myself to do but with multiple blogs and websites on the go finding time to write for someone else always takes a “back burner” and I find that writing for my own sites is at the top of the list. Maybe I’ve got this the wrong way round and I should be writing for other peoples blogs as my priority?

    Cheers,
    Mark
    Mark Morphew just posted Prometheus (Blu-ray/ DVD + Digital Copy)

    • says

      Thanks for the comment, Mark! I think you’re doing the right thing by focusing on your site first. By developing high-quality content for your sites, you increase your online presence and authority as an expert in your fields of interest. However, you should try and dedicate time for guest posting if you want to build links and increase your standing on the search results.

      My take regarding your situation is that you develop article topics that you want to get published on your blog and other blogs for guest posting. If you’re running lots of blogs, simply hire a freelancer from sites like Elance, Freelancers, Guru, etc. who can write the blog entries or guest posts for you on the cheap. I found writers who helped me out on writing the content for $25/post. A steal, if you ask me :)

      If you’re not interested in getting freelancers at the moment, you can register at guest posting sites and get other people to post on your site, which allows you time to write content for other people’s sites. Among the guest posting sites around, My Blog Guest is arguably my favorite, as I’ve had some of my posts published there as well as “adopted” high-quality content from other writers too.

      Hope I helped with my comment :)
      Christopher Jan Benitez just posted 3 Inspiring Small Business Advice from Martin Luther King, Jr. Quotes



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