2012 was a year of purging in the field of search engine optimization. More specifically, it was the year when low quality and spammy link building tactics were explicitly condemned.
While most SEOs have already recovered from this much needed chaos, there are still those who are quite at a lost on how to proceed with their link building strategies and which route to take. Of course, different experts have different approach, but if there’s a common denominator across what are deemed as effective link building strategies, it’s the need to add value to a business and help it grow both in terms of bran equity and actual revenue.
The End Goal of Link Building is Not to Build Links
Consider this your SEO wake-up call. Link building is a strategy or a tactic to achieve a set of business objectives. It’s not a measure of success. This kind of thinking actually takes you back to the link building “dark ages” when search engine marketers obsessed over building hundreds and even thousands of links that don’t actually add business value.
Do the Necessary Preparatory Work before Building Links
The first step in effective link building is to sit down with your client or your in-house team and answer one question: why do you need link building in the first place? You have to frame your answer to this pertinent question in a way that will ground your link building strategy on metrics that truly matter to your business.
If you’re providing third party SEO consultancy, this step involves understanding the industry that your client belongs in. There are a lot of SEO service providers out there who boast that their link building competencies are industry amorphous, meaning, they work for all kinds of businesses across all types of industries. Easier said than done. While there would be similarities, it’s actually knowledge of the small nuances and industry intricacies that will spell the difference between success and failure.
Link Building Strategies Built on a Business’ Purpose
Aside from understanding the industry where your client operates in, it’s also essential for you to understand their business. Go beyond the technical intricacies and the rational aspects of the company. What’s really important is the brand’s unique selling proposition or the unique value it adds to the market. Knowing this will enable you to create content that’s perfectly aligned with the customers’ intent and motivation. It will allow you to identify which channels your links should be present in and in what form.
Link Building with an Entrepreneurial Flare
At the end of the day, an effective link building strategy is one that was able to accomplish a business goal and ultimately, stimulate growth by contributing to its revenue whether it is through brand equity building or actual direct sales. The most important takeaway from this is that link building should be approached differently and in a more value-centric manner.