Gone are the days of directory submissions, article submissions and reciprocal links. It’s now 2000 and great (2008) and the way websites generate natural links is more important than ever.
Link builders have to evolve with the times; they should have a strategic and creative mindset behind them now. If you work for an agency or website design company you have to let the higher management know this. Links can not be bought by the number any more, this will not work effectively.
So what of the old link building methods, why don’t they work anymore?
Firstly I’m not saying stop any of your on-going link building methods, for example submitting links to directories will not harm a websites performance in the slightest. However if you want to achieve the same kind of SERP movement as was available through 06 and the beginning of 07 then a new link building strategy must be created, this should be your social media strategy.
There has been an on going debate between seo gurus discussing if social media work is technically classified as seo. I have previously blogged about the subject does seo include social media if you’re interested to know my opinion. What I’m implying here today is that link building has now morphed into social marketing.
So how do I build links in 2008?
The graph below is a basic description on how quality links are generated through link bait and social marketing.
Using social media platforms to link build is a clear and effective method to achieve more search engine visibility for the content on your site. Making the content on your site more visible will open up new opportunities in terms of link building. In stead of the search engine seeing directory links and duplicate articles etc, they will see users bookmarks of your URL with a possible review. Webmasters and bloggers will usually get their information or news for their own blogs from social sites. It’s these links that are valuable, because they are usually high quality and will help with traffic and SEO positions. (Providing you have planned which keywords to use in your content title).
The root to success of this strategy should be the content that is promoted (link bait), this must be high quality and “link able” – this is where a cost might incur on your clients side.
Metrics and Deliverables will change
Previously keeping a note of submissions as well as new purchases of links may well have been included in your metrics. Your agreement with a client could have previously been based on a number (100 new links per month). All this should change! Show the following metrics:
1. Traffic per link bait
2. Social bookmarks per bait
3. Links gained (site/link analysis required)
4. Search traffic gained as a result of bait
5. SERPS analysis and benchmarking for keywords targeted
Your deliverables will obviously be unknown to start with but you should measure the overall link increase per bait and per month, this will give you some averages.
Of course this method of link building is not cheap and it does require a lot of time and effort, the results however are better than any other link building strategy on the table.
P.S – In regard to one of my posts (25 websites every seo should know) as to why I included so many social sites, link building is part of seo, without it you would not be able to achieve good search positions. Link building will eventually be based around social marketing – hence my inclusion of so many social sites.
About the author
My name is Matt Ridout, I've been working in digital marketing for 9 years; worked for agencies and currently Head of SEO at fashion startup called Farfetch. Try to test my own theories.