Link Building Is Necessary, Not Evil

Poor link building has developed a pretty bad reputation over the last decade of search engine marketing. Clients who have a little knowledge about the subject think that link building means spammy practices and black hat applications. But this surface-level interpretation has made things difficult for agencies and SEO professionals to do their job. The bottom line is that there are good and bad characteristics of link building and modern SEO must understand that difference to successfully build a website’s SERP presence.

SEO pros don’t have to travel too far back into time to reach a period where purchasing links was easy and efficient. Promising a client that you could get them to the first page of Google was commonplace, and not far-fetched. Black hats were overlooked, not rejected and then all of a sudden Google woke up. Spammy links were punished and anyone who used black hat practices to rank were abruptly nonexistent on the SERPs.

Google’s algorithm punished those who tried to take a shortcut and rewarded those who built links the right way. I repeat, Google rewarded those who built links the right way. Link building is more alive than ever before because it is unquestionably essential to successful SEO. Let’s take a comprehensive look at a few reliable, effective link building techniques that work today.

Being Actively Social

Content marketing inundated the search engine marketing blogs for the last two years, and rightfully so. The majority of the astute agencies placed more emphasis on their content departments and companies allocated bigger budgets to the content cause. In the mad rush to produce meaningful, authoritative content, one of the most commonly neglected aspects of content marketing surfaced: content promotion. What’s the point of creating a killer piece of content that no one knows about?

In 2015, the ability to promote content is more critical than it’s ever been and social media is the hub of this promotion. As the newly deemed “cornerstone of blogging”, being active on social media is the most effective way to distribute your content. Creating a social buzz will quickly lead to creating new links. Do some of this:

  • Join LinkedIn groups that are relevant to your business and post your links on there
  • Make sure you’re posting your links to all of the social media platforms you are a part of
  • Submit your posts to GrowthHackers.com, Reddit, and StumbleUpon
  • Engage with people who you link to or mention in your posts with an email or message on a social site

While social shares do not directly translate to links, research has proven a direct correlation between social shares and high-quality backlinks. Create good content and then dedicate real time to actively promoting it on social media. Great content pieces don’t need to be shoved into people’s faces. More often than not, if you share good content, links will come.

Guest Blogging is Still Very Much Alive

When Matt Cutts announced that guest blogging is now a thing of the past, many SEO pros took him seriously and threw in the towel on that front. Sure, Google’s algorithm is punishing spammy guest blogs and removing a number of blog networks, but that doesn’t mean that guest blogging is dead. Remembering that guest blogging is about producing awesome content for another site’s viewers and not for backlinks is the key to understanding guest blogging today.

Growing relationships with likeminded individuals and companies is something that every sales team knows to be the key to success. Taking that perspective into guest blogging, it becomes clear that when an owner of a website trusts you to create compelling, worthwhile, high-quality content for their site, it’s a big deal. The central focus here is that trust is established and thus a relationship is assembled. Building these types of relationships lays the foundation for future blog contributions to the site.

Online content was meant to be shared in order to inform a large group of interested parties and that concept has remained unaltered. Guest blogging is arguably a more powerful tool today than it was in the era before the algorithm change came into action. As one of the most scalable methods of earning backlinks, guest blogging is something that should be encouraged throughout your company. Just remember, guest blogging is built on a trusted relationship, backlinks are simply an added bonus.

Getting to Know Co-Citation and Co-Occurrence

The terms “co-citation” and “co-occurrence” have been thrown around a lot lately when it comes to the future of SEO and link building’s place in that future. From an overarching brand authority standpoint, these two concepts seemingly overturn link building all together. However, conventional link building will still very much play a role in regards to co-citation and co-occurrence. Speculations from many SEO professionals center around the fact that the algorithm is already using co-citation and co-occurrence references and that their significance will only grow in the next year.

For those who are a bit unfamiliar with the terms, co-citation refers to a mention (not link) of a brand or website by two different sources, it is content-driven, and some call it “link building without the use of links”. Co-occurrence refers to keywords in relation to presence, proximity, and frequency throughout a number of websites where the keywords are related by topic and not because they are exactly the same words.

The importance of co-citation and co-occurrence in regard to link building lies in how intertwined the three concepts are for SEO tactics. In most cases, co-citation and co-occurrence work with link building to build brand authority online.

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When all is said and done, link building in 2015 is alive and important. While far more labor intensive than it has been in past years, quality rankings are still impossible without a solid foundation of link support. As you develop your link building strategy for the coming year, be sure to keep these techniques in mind as you navigate the necessity of increasing backlinks.

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