As Google continues to update it’s search algorithm, the process of search engine optimization becomes more and more intuitive. Though it’s the major updates that occur around once a year that get the most attention, the 500 or so annual tweaks Google performs on it’s search algorithm are responsible for making search engine marketing more art than science. As SEO methodologies evolve in response, link building continues to be a proven and effective strategy; however, not all link building strategies are created equal. The strategy you choose can determine whether your website gets an SEO boost or a Google spanking.
Link Quality Versus Quantity
It’s no secret that if you do not have quality links for your site, then it matters little how many links you have. When it comes to placing links, search engine marketing experts caution against using a one-size-fits-all strategy and placing your company’s links on any site that will accept them. When undertaking a link building strategy for SEO, marketers should investigate the target site as well as the links already present on the target site to ensure that the content meets your quality standards. This strategy actually serves the dual purpose of helping to identify additional primary and secondary search engine marketing opportunities that can be utilized in the future.
Use Content to Attract Links
Search engine marketing centered around link building is primarily seen as soliciting links from quality websites by offering unique content. This strategy also works as a passive philosophy. Posting good content will naturally attract new inbound links from other blogs and content curators who find your material interesting. You don’t necessarily need to always actively solicit links and “pay” for them by proving content to a third party. Post content on your site that contains new angles or information on popular topics, create phraseology tailored to address new concepts and ideas, or simply repackage old concepts in new and exciting ways. Promoting this content through your usual channels can attract individuals who would like to link to your site to bolster their search engine marketing efforts. The particular results of this type of strategy are difficult to predict, but since you’re always seeking unique and relevant content anyway, keeping this idea in the back of your mind may help you to uncover hidden opportunities.
Generate Loyalty Through Creativity
Let’s face it, the key to content-driven search engine marketing is compelling content, plus positive user experiences, plus website reputation. Websites that combine all three of these and have been doing so for some time are the prima donnas of the search world and everyone wants a link form these sites. How will they differentiate your request from the hundreds of others they receive every day? If your search engine marketing content is that spectacular, then you are probably going to post it on your own site instead of using it for link building. Therefore, concentrate on differentiating yourself. Offer something to your target site beyond the content everyone else is offering, offer them a service that they will appreciate. An easy way to do this is to find older content on their site that could benefit from the inclusion of new information. Reconstruct the content, quoting heavily from the original article, or perhaps adding an infographic or interactive feature. Send the article to the site owner and notify them that you intend to post it on your site or offer to let them post it on their site. Either outcome should result in a reciprocal link, thereby achieving your search engine marketing goals, and you will definitely set yourself apart from others that only asking for help rather than offering it.
Take it Slow and Steady
You probably don’t have to be told that building too many links in too short a time is a search engine marketing red flag that will probably hurt you in the long run. Using software or services that promise thousands of links in a short time can only benefit you for a short time, if at all, but can hurt you forever. A slow, steady, and focused approach to link building may take a little longer, but the boost your search engine marketing efforts receive will have staying power. In addition, taking your time allows you more control and the ability to exploit the links you place to their maximum advantage. Articles that you place on sites that allow comments can provide additional marketing opportunities, but not if you don’t pay attention to them. Interacting with the responses to these posts not only increases your sphere of influence, but also gets the most mileage from the article.
Search engine marketing will continue to be an area of expertise that demands creativity in it’s application. Search engine optimization, once a simple set of steps, now demands an understanding of the way the underlying paradigm views your site and the ability to influence that perception with honesty and integrity. Proactively seeking new link building strategies will keep you one step ahead of the algorithm updates and light years ahead of your competition.