Stop Link Building Right Now – You’re Doing It Wrong!

Stop!

You’re doing it wrong!

Got your attention? Ok, then I shall explain. Chances are good that you are doing your link building wrong (if you’re doing any at all). I can make such a bold claim because I know that the majority of link building is done wrong – I see it all the time.

Stop sign - stop link building

The biggest reason that your link building is wrong is simple:

You are trying to build links

Ok, so now for the helpful part of the post. You want to know the quickest to improve your link building? Change your mind set.

Here’s how to effectively build links in 2015 and beyond:

  • Step 1: Build an awesome website
  • Step 2: Write cool stuff that people may want to link to
  • Step 3: Reach out and build a brand

Build it and they will come???

If you read a lot of SEO blogs you might get the impression that you are meant to simply keep working on your own site and your own content and hope that you somehow get discovered and the links come flooding in.

It’s the link building equivalent of the mantra “Build it and they will come

And quite simply, it doesn’t really work like that. At least not for the majority of people. You might get lucky, but I’d rather ensure some success.

The Alternative

Unfortunately, since the “build it and they will come” strategy doesn’t work so well, a lot of would be SEOs figure that they need to go and build their own links and try to make them look like the natural, earned links that they wish they had.

And as Google gets smarter and smarter, this works less and less too.

So What Is The Right Way?

I thought about writing this post when I watched Moz’s whiteboard friday the other day, where Rand says [paraphrasing]:

Brands tend to earn more links, get better rankings and more traffic, so to do good SEO you have to become a brand.

Simple Enough Advice… But what does it mean for link building?

Simple really… Continue link building, but don’t do it for the links. Do it for the branding and exposure.

This means that to do link building properly you need to:

Start by making sure your site / blog deserves links:

If you don’t do this people will never start linking to you without you asking, which means that you will forever be building links and not earning them (like you want to). In other words, start by working on your own site and create some link bait.

There are many ways to create link bait, and I don’t have space to go into them here. Fortunately, Stacey at Blogsession has done a round up of 30 different resources full of link bait ideas. So go check out her post, click a few links and discover more link bait ideas than you will ever get around to trying.

The important part is to just try a few, try a selection of different strategies, and then work hard to make sure people find your content so that they can share it.

Approach your outreach with a branding mentality:

This sounds a little bit vague, but once you realize that you are building brand and not links you will be able to be a lot more flexible in your outreach efforts, and do things that you wouldn’t have done when building links for links sake.

Guest posting:

Guest posting is fine, but focus on guest posting opportunities which can generate traffic and build your audience. If a guest post works well for you, ask if you can follow it up, or even become a regular!

It’s all about doing the outreach right. As Oli Archibold points out in this recent post for link building noobs:

There is a world of difference between sending out a standard template to X amount of contacts, and going the extra mile to personalise emails.

And if you are worried that you are doing too much guest posting, ask the blogger to nofollow your links – remember, you are doing it for the traffic and branding, so that’s fine anyway.

Product reviews:

If you sell or make a product then sending out products for review is a great way to build your reputation (assuming your products are good of course!) Offer products to reputable bloggers who have a relevant audience.

If you do a lot of this Google may consider it to be buying links, so again, it is a good idea to ask bloggers to nofollow any links. And once again, that’s fine.

Giveaways:

Again, if you have something you sell, you can use a giveaway or a prize draw to get attention. Many bloggers are willing to help push your giveaway to their audience too, so long as you are giving away something good.

If you have a prizedraw, make the cost of entry a Tweet or a Facebook share – this is free for your entrants and you can get a lot of exposure if you do it right.

You won’t build links directly, but you will make some new relationships and potentially some new customers too. And as the guys as Seer Interactive point out in their easy ecommerce link building post, there are opportunities to form more imaginative collaborations too, which is a great way to find more link and traffic opportunities.

Build Relationships:

Above all else, to build your brand you need to build relationships with the sorts of people who have the ability to bring you exposure. So rather than treating bloggers and site owners as a potential link, treat them as a potential friend.

This may sound soppy, but it’s a lot more fulfilling, and if you are genuine you will gain so much more than just the links you covet (although you will also gain some links in time!)

So there you have it.

Embrace this new mentality and suddenly, link building won’t be something you have to worry about. You will be too busy thinking of fun ways to make new connections and get some exposure!

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