It’s not easy to build links. Building links the right way is even harder. You have to put in lots of effort, and sometimes all you get are rejections. It’s not easy, but it pays better than any other technique for raising organic ranking. Matt Cutts of Google has mentioned the importance of links time and again, stating that links will still be relevant for many years to come.
However, there’s also the question of manual and Penguin algorithm penalties, which were created to punish unnatural linking practices. If links were not important, there wouldn’t be a whole industry dedicated to link auditing and sanitization of link profiles. Google would not dedicate this much time and resources to examine link quality and punish spammy links.
Still, there are many people proposing that link building is dead in order to shoo away one of the most important organic ranking techniques. The reason for this, other than the fact that it’s difficult, is that incorrect link building can lead to attraction of a penalty or worse, a lawsuit. But that’s not reason enough to take the next flight out of link-building-land.
Any marketing strategy aimed at improving organic rankings must include strategies for natural link-building. Sure, great content is very important and matters a lot, but there are thousands of pages on the Internet with great content which no one ever sees. Without linking, great content can only stretch so far, especially in more competitive market segments.
Organic link building techniques
The thing to remember is that genuine link building is very different from link spamming. The former involves gaining editorial links that have inherent value that may be different from SEO value. These links must be placed by human beings. Automatic link dropping is a sure way to attract trouble.
Here are a few ways you can build links naturally:
- Controversy – you want to apply this very sparingly, because if you use it too much, it loses both taste and efficacy.
- Humor – you can depict your controversies in a softer, more humorous tone every now and again. Be original as it’s more effective.
- Forum participation – Not as a spam-linker, but in your personal/professional capacity to engage with the community and provide helpful answers and contributions on the subjects under discussion. You will build authority and improve your opportunities to attract links.
- Original research – dig into a subject not previously explored and publish your findings; this can earn you a lot of links.
- Social media – choose the platform that a huge chunk of your target audience is found and be there. Get to know people and engage with them on an authentic basis, which could build interest in your brand and content hence attract shares, which improves your quality links volume.
- The “Top X List” – these should also be provided sparingly to avoid diluting their effectiveness.
- Blogging – this helps to build credibility and establish authority and thought leadership in your field. Write well and do it frequently.
- Tutorials and how-to’s – these may not give you tons of links, but they make an enormous difference for rankings, especially with long-tail keyword queries.
- Plugins and other products – create a useful extension, app or plugin and make it open-source.
Where rubber meets the road, editorial link building counts for a lot, and it still will if you’re looking at making a difference in the long term.