How do you know what link-building is safe in 2014? Is there such a thing? That’s a question most SEOs, marketers, and business owners have been trying to answer since Google Penguin first hit in April 2012.
Image source: searchfactory.com.au
The only answer you can really provide is that all links should be naturally acquired as a byproduct of your brand. As Matt Cutts says above, Bing’s Duane Forrester followed up recently by stating that “You should never know in advance a link is coming, or where it’s coming from.”
People are much more cautious about link-building now, and rightly so – no one wants to leave a footprint for Google. Yet we still all need links! Everyone knows links are still a very strong factor toward organic rankings, and despite all of the algorithm updates, this still isn’t likely to change in the near future.
As an agency we have always developed our own internal guidelines to make sure that link acquisition is more natural and content-driven. Below I have listed these guidelines to share with readers:
1. Build an Audience, Not Links
Your biggest link-building weapon should be your publish button. If you publish content to four readers, unless they are the biggest influencers in your industry, it’s very unlikely to go viral!
Whereas if you have a publisher readership of more than 100,000 subscribers, it’s much more likely to resonate and have a natural outreach effect of shares/links, because you’ve got the attention of the right crowd. Being in this position is the ultimate position you want to build into, but if like most you’re not quite there yet – try leveraging someone else’s audience instead!
Look to Place Content on Sites With Clear Readership Levels.
Don’t take any of these figures too seriously individually, but this can be determined via a combination of the following:
- Brand recognition of website
- Number of quality comments on recent posts
- Social engagement levels of recent posts
- Number of Facebook fans/Twitter followers (measured against engagement levels)
- Associations within niche (partner sites, mentions, celebrity writers)
Make It Win-Win.
Always have something to offer the publisher that they can’t