If you have a website that has a blog you might be getting regular e-mails that say “we love your content” and “we want to share something we think your audience might like.’ The idea of building organic links to and from your website is not a new one, but businesses are taking it to the next level these days.
The question for many: What is link building and should I be doing it?
SO we have a lot of thoughts on this… Link building can be constructive if there are truly good reasons for another website to have your site or your content referenced. In fact many SEO tools like Yoast actually tell you to try and find external links to help you “promote” your content to search engines.
Here is the catch with link building
Link exchanges are not going to win over the search engines. When articles that reference each other are linked it can actually hurt your ranking. You see Google is really smart. Their artificial intellegence that goes into the algorithm of their search engine is a well oiled machine. Even if you think that you are being sneaky, chances are, Google has seen it before.
In fact Google itself has warned users not to abuse the practice of link building. Anyone can review their policies for best practices HERE
One of my favorite online forums to follow is Search Engine Journal (SEJ) they have a slew of amazing content to help small businesses understand the digital marketing landscape. I happened onto a great article from them recently about the best ways to do link building for 2019. Obviously my disclaimer is that what works today, may not work tomorrow. That is why people like us do hours of research on topics like this all the time. It changes. For now…. This article has a bunch of great ideas that I agree with. Sign up and download it here.
Again, it is a great idea to use link building as part of your digital marketing strategy, but with pause. Just because I used a a link or two from articles that I read and liked, I don’t think that SEJ is going to use my article as a reference. One can hope to be seen as a smart marketing human worth a link, but in reality that is not realistically going to happen.
It is OK to not have someone reciprocate links.
Think of links as sources. Often times if something is complementary to the work that you do or you find an article that was amazing written, you can reference it. Knowledge base doesn’t hurt anyone.
However think about it this way… If the same 3 sites share links and they are all using each other as a source we can have things written about a “purple bird never before seen by man” and what google sees is a circle of links that are all pointing to each other. Just because all three websites site each other doesn’t mean the purple bird exists. Maybe that is a crazy analogy, but the reality is that Google sees that it is circular. You don’t get extra credit for a bunch of circular links.
What you can do to build real quality links
What you want to do instead is find others in your field and ask them to reference your article, and say that you will promote their content on your social in return. OR just reference others with no expectation of the follow back. Those who are trying to “cheat” the system do not win in the long run.
It never hurts to ask others that are writing great content to include your research, or your product/service when appropriate. The worst they can say is “no.” Sometimes you just have to put it out there and ask.
Lessons Learned about Link Building:
- Don’t try and cheat the system.
- Make sure the links you build make sense for your content.
- Be willing to help and share information with others.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for someone to consider posting your link.
- Offer something in return, like shares to social media. A reciprocal link may not be the right choice.
- Develop content people want to share and reference.
Additional Reads from our Blog:
More about author Elizabeth Orley HERE