Link building is a practice that has been around since the early days of the internet – so why is there still so much confusion about it? Well, any online marketer worth their salt knows that link building is a vital part of any impactful and effective SEO campaign, but there’s still a lot of misinformation out there.
It’s true that SEO is always changing and, as long as the search engines shroud their algorithms in mystery, there’s always going to be room for people to get things wrong. But, as a leading Manchester SEO agency here at Embryo Digital, we’ve spent a lot of time analysing what works and what doesn’t. The conclusion? There’s a lot being said out there that is as likely to hurt your campaign as it is to help it, and you might be missing out on some fantastic link building opportunities.
It’s important to be always refining and improving your linking building practices – when done right, it can transform an SEO campaign, boost your business to the position of an industry-leader, lead to increased visibility, higher traffic, and more. So here are some link building myths that you’ve probably heard and should definitely ignore.
Guest posting doesn’t work anymore.
Back in 2014, Google engineer Matt Cutts sent shivers down many an SEO’s spine when he said:
“Okay, I’m calling it: if you’re using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop. Why? Because over time it’s become a more and more spammy practice, and if you’re doing a lot of guest blogging then you’re hanging out with really bad company. So stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy.”
Now that’s a strong statement. Spammy? Bad company? Stick a fork in it? Well alright then, I guess I’d better cease and desist. But just hold on a second: Cutts later clarified that he was just talking about ‘spammy blog posts’, giving us yet another blurred line to worry about.
So how should you tackle guest posting for link building in 2020? Well, at the heart of things, it’s still about publishing the kind of meaningful, authoritative and informative content Google loves. Here at Embryo, we still treat link building like the legendary Eric Ward – we build relationships first, links second. Guest posting can be a huge part of that, striking up opportunities for collaboration and partnerships between businesses – backlinks being a very welcome outcome of that.
Link building can be hard work that requires time and patience, and people are always looking for shortcuts. It’s understandable that people might want to bypass this lengthy and committed practice, but to say that you don’t need links to rank isn’t exactly right. Now, there’s a lot that goes into a single SEO campaign, and here at Embryo we champion long form and creative content writing as one of the most powerful tools at any SEO’s disposal, but believe us, you still need links too.
SEO is a cooking pot with a lot of elements but a very simple formula: get your on-page, tech SEO sorted, and it’s basically ‘good content + good links = good ranking’. Choose one over the other and you’re limiting your campaign and restricting your growth. Both content and link building together are vital for creating an authoritative website that continues to rank and benefit from your work for years to come. Want to establish a web page that ranks well for all its target keywords and maintains its high position against tough competition? Well, you’re going to need links.
As seen above with Matt Cutts’ famous quote about guest posting, many SEOs are still wracked with panic every time they see ‘links’ and ‘spammy’ in the same sentence. It’s true that this is something that Google is concerned about, and you just need to look back to the Google Penguin update to see evidence of Google trying to stamp down on spammy link practices such as PBNs (private blog networks). As such, some people are certain that building too many links (especially too quickly) to one page is spammy.
This doesn’t make sense. Surely you want a campaign that generates a lot of attention, shares and exposure in a short space of time? Here at Embryo, when we’re conducting a link building and digital PR campaign, we’re always aiming for that golden egg of virality. We want to create cracking pieces of content and perform effective outreach that builds as many links and mentions as possible.
The fact is that Google isn’t stupid. Yes, if you build one thousand links to one page in a week using PBNs, directories, and paid links from low DA and low trust websites, then you will quite likely be faced with a penalty or link profile devaluation. But if you create a piece of content that very quickly generates decent, high authority links from news sites, industry publications, influencers and more, then you’ve really got nothing to worry about.
Outreach can take time, which is why so many link builders are still just mass sending one-size-fits-all templates out there into the ether, thinking that the more they send, the more links they’ll build. Not quite. This is an absolutely classic case of quality>quantity.
Casting a wide net sometimes has its place, but I want to take things back to Eric Ward for a second. Remember: if you want to achieve link building success, then treat links like relationships. That means to personalise your emails, treat your correspondents like humans and talk to them that way. Remember that influencers, journalists, and webmasters of high authority sites probably receive hundreds of emails every single day. Your job is to stand out and actually pitch the value of linking to your site. Focus on building a relationship with that individual first and build the link second.
This has a number of benefits. You’ll get a better response rate, and you’ll potentially build business relationships that continue to reap rewards for years to come. This is where digital PR comes in – why limit yourself to building links when you can turn this into extra exposure, more broad social media visibility, building a network of partners and collaborators, and much more? Trust me, take the time out to do outreach properly – you’ll soon see the benefits.
Get in touch.
Want to improve your link building and outreach? Embryo Digital can help. Just get in touch with the helpful team of experts here to find out more about how we’ve implemented transformative SEO and link building campaigns for large and small clients across different sectors.