Hey, let’s exchange links and both improve our rankings. Hey, let’s swap guest blogs and comments and boost our SEO. Hey, let’s plug in as many links as possible into this webpage and convince Google that we’re awesome!
Sound ridiculous? That’s because it is. So many of us have forgotten the true meaning of link building and what defines a website’s success. We’ve gotten so sucked into this world of Google Penguin fixes, guest blogging, anchor link optimization, over-abundant social sharing, and other tactical maneuvers, that many websites are starting to miss the whole point.
The fundamental purpose of link building is about building online relationships. It’s that simple. This article isn’t going to blow your mind; it’s intended as a pragmatic reminder of what you need to remember about linking, but often forget.
Find Quality Links Like You Find Quality Friends
Think about your highest quality friends. What type of traits does he or she have? Probably dependability, kindness and a supportive nature. It’s a commendable set of traits and one that adds significant value to your friendship. Wouldn’t you want your links – the ties that bond your website with others – to have the same thing?
Of course you do. Quality links should derive from trustworthy sources, where there is a level of transparency and a good reputation. They should be relatively difficult to achieve, because anything that you can get without really trying is probably suspicious. And it should be beneficial to your website, like a symbiotic relationship. The link should drive traffic to your website, boost your link juice, and improve your worth in the eyes of Google. By identifying these qualities that matter, you can more easily identify quality links.
Build a Link Network Like Your Friend Network
As you find and build more links, you realize that they start to fall into general categories, just like your friends fall into different groups. For instance, you might have a group of friends from childhood, some from the office, some you met through the local gym, and possibly neighbors too. It’s important to have all these different connections as they help you out in different parts of life.
You have to treat your link network the same way and build links from all possible sources. Quality links typically fall into three categories:
Organic Links – These links are built through your natural content creation, such as a new webpage, blog article or white paper. They are some of the strongest links you can have and are seen as drivers of inbound traffic.
Outreach Links – These links are built through your involvement with other websites, such as guest blogging, partner links and community forums. When done right, they are a great way to boost your reputation and build your brand beyond your website.
Social Links – These links involve everything from your LinkedIn profile to your SlideShare posts to the shared content you have on Facebook. They are becoming more important everyday and have a big impact on your search engine rankings.
You need links from all three groups to be successful. If you’re focusing your energy on just one, then you’re missing out on important opportunities and customers.
Remove Links Like You Cut Off Friends
Of course, even the best of us can have a falling out with a friend and usually there is a good reason for it. Sometimes he or she abuses our trust, mistreats our friendship, or falls out of our life. These circumstances can be seen from miles away or they can occur overnight.
That happens with links too. One day you think they’re ‘good’ and then search engines smarten up and they’re suddenly seen as ‘bad’. When the relationship you once had with a website comes undone, it’s time to part ways. You remove it or disavow it and be much more careful about taking on that type of link again. It’s a normal part of the link building cycle and one that should always be top of mind.
Get Back To The Roots
After years of trying to get around the system and come out on top of the rankings whichever way possible, it’s time to go back to the roots. Build a link profile like you build friends and your website will be rewarded. And as times change and new opportunities emerge, you’ll need to take your friendships and links to new levels.
We’re not going to sit here and pretend like it’s easy work. No way! It’s hard work, but so is every friendship. If you need a friend to help you accomplish all this, reach out to our LeapGo team. We can investigate your link profile and put your link building back on track in no time!