In the post-Penguin update era, link building has been frowned upon and disregarded by many marketers as a viable long-term SEO strategy to improve visibility on search engines. However, the fact is that link-related metrics still form a large part of the ranking algorithm. Therefore, the practice of acquiring links is still very important, especially for new websites.
Based on our experience, we see that traditional link tactics and methodologies no longer work effectively. New tactics need to replace these in order to continue building a strong link profile for any site.
Link strategies that no longer work
Direct acquisition strategies – such as blogger outreach, low-quality directory submissions and article marketing – seem to have become obsolete and less effective. While they are still used by many SEO agencies, we at Resolution realize that employing them at scale is an unprofitable, unrewarding and an unnecessarily high-risk investment.
Link strategies that still work but not for much longer
There are a number of articles and announcements, some of which are directly from Google, that claim certain tactics are no longer viable and should not be used in order to try gaining new links. Guest posting and press releases are just two of these. We think that these tactics can only work if they are implemented carefully (these also only work on certain types of websites).
Link strategies that are likely to work beyond 2014
At Resolution, we believe that the above link building tactics (used standalone or in combination) are no longer viable and that active inbound linking acquisition should not be used as a primary link profile building activity. Instead, the focus needs to shift towards a wider link management approach where more is done beyond acquisition. We list four strategies below:
An active audit process of all the existing links pointing to a website. Essentially, it is a regular link performance and health monitoring exercise done via reliable SEO technology, to assess the quantity and quality of a link profile. It also includes the detection of new links, whether natural, semi-natural or direct. Beyond just looking at physical links, link monitoring needs to integrate brand mentions, as this can be the source of potential new link development opportunities. If a site has already mentioned our brand but not linked to our website, it may be worth considering doing so in the future.
Entails a series of processes, whereby existing links on your website are either removed, unfollowed or followed, optimized, fixed or edited. This “housekeeping” process covers both internal as well as external links.
Includes researching and identifying natural link opportunities through social media and content marketing, as well as other tactics that include leveraging personal and professional business relationships. As part of the process, all potential opportunities are assessed, including content seeding and promotion utilizing social profiles and connections.
This is an active link building process, using some of the link acquisition tactics that still work and are effective (includes social/local profile building as well as social media platform and content optimization). Building local listings on Google and other search engines, optimizing past and newly developed Google+ posts, and submitting the site to relevant and quality directories are just a few examples to mention.
The above tactics can be combined and used as a future-proof link management and development strategy that should be customized to each website, depending on its history as well as the industry itself. The key things to bear in mind are diversification, quality, relevance and potential scalability, in order to implement a successful link building strategy.
For further information on link building, read more here.