Link Building: The Grey Area

Link building has come on a vast amount in recent years, but for SEOs and clients alike, it remains a painful grey area that can be pretty difficult to understand.

From the client’s side, it seems to take up a lot of time (which can absorb big chunks of their marketing budget). From the agency point of view, it can be a frustrating and arduous mission that strikes fear into the hearts of those who have been tasked with carrying it out.

There has been a lot of talk that link building is ‘dying out’, and some argue that it has already died. Clearly, with search engines operating the way they do, this is not the case. In reality, the way that links have to be built is continuing to evolve, just as it always has done.

Content – possibly the most overused buzzword of all time – may well be reigning supreme at the moment, but natural links as a result of this still help rank your website. The content that is created may well serve to increase engagement on your site and it’s overall quality, but it exists in equal measures to create links and boost social shares.

Tackling link building

We’ve certainly seen this reflected in the successes we’ve had with infographics and other visual forms of content. Even when placed on site, having original and useful content that you can show those you contact during outreach works wonders. It also adds a mutual and reciprocal benefit that isn’t easily obtained otherwise. Hell, Google Webmaster Guidelines even recommend it!

The other great thing about this shift is how it can impact client relationships and expectations, as well as (hopefully) safeguarding against Google updates. Although its impossible to predict how many links can be built through the creation of something stimulating like an infographic, it does provide a far more tangible demonstration of what exactly we’re doing when we’re link building. Having outreach activities that can be quantified to an extent can greatly reduce the grey area clients sometimes have on the subject matter, easing the frustrations when these things take some time.

Transparent marketing

The greater transparency clients should now get stops less than ethical agencies pulling the wool over unsuspecting eyes, and this is a great thing for the industry. Google’s even working to further improve client transparency for users of AdWords.

If anything, link building’s reach seems to have far extended what it was previously. Now much more than simply a numbers game, it is the driving force behind a lot of social interactions and content creation and forms the backbone of an integrated digital marketing mix. As Google continues to reward quality over quantity, the time invested in link building becomes even more valuable and some of the associated pressures are alleviated; but above all else those hard to get links become even more rewarding.

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