There are a lot of businesses scrambling around right now in the attempt to find link building’s new secret sauce in the New World as they look to rebuild from the ashes of the Penguin Apocalypse.
After being reliant for so long on ‘easy’ tactics that involved blog network and skip fulls of directory links the cold hard reality is biting that the game has changed. For (the) good.
With any seismic change comes confusion and concern and many site owners are desperately hunting for information that may lead them, once again, to the Page One promised land. The problem is not a lack of solutions. In fact it’s quite the opposite.
With many experts, rightly, peddling the benefits of content marketing, guest posting, blogger outreach and more in an effort to pacify fearful clients and bosses a new one dimensional approach to link building is appearing and it’s not great for business.
In the fog of desperation many are forgetting that great marketing (and link building) requires a multi-faceted approach; one that trials every available medium before crunching the data and pushing more investment behind those channels offering the best ROI.
That ‘secret sauce’ does, of course, still lie out there, in all that confusion and below we attempt to dispel some of the most commonly held myths about link building post Penguin.
1. ‘I used to get 100 links a month so I know want the same.’
There is a fixation, created by the automated link approach of the past, about the monthly reporting of links and a belief that you should be adding XX new links per month.
That might of worked when you were using a network but in the real world it doesn’t work like that. If you are guest posting or working on infographic outreach, for example, it can take many weeks for the blogger to either publish or pick up and link to the content. It doesn’t matter whether you are link building to a household brand or a start up electronic cigarette retailer, the rules are the same.
Great content earns links OVER TIME. And delivers LONG TERM and sustainable success. Link building should be measured over longer periods and in different ways now.
2. ‘Guest posting is easy and is just a link building tactic’
Again this is related to the artificial environment most site owners are used to operating in and it can kill their belief in the value of such approaches before they’ve given it a chance.
Guest posting is about creating relationships for the years ahead. It might be about a link but its also about forging a bond with a key influencer in your space so you can do lots of stuff together. That means it’s hard and takes time.
Effort up front means rewards will be reaped for years to come. And those rewards are not just links. Big blogs can really produce great referral traffic and reduce reliance on Google traffic. Which is no bad thing.
3. ‘I don’t want any other links other than article links’
This is the noble early adopter ‘I’ve bought into content marketing, so let’s go’ approach and while its great to have it there should still be an understanding that a natural link profile has a lot more than lots of blog post links. Diversification wins every time.
4. ‘I don’t need to worry about the links I’ve got, I’ll just dilute them.’
It’s an approach we have had to counter several times now as some forums suggest that simply diluting a spammy backlink profile will save the day. No. Stop it. Pouring more petrol on a forecourt fire does not douse the flames. Instead take time to understand your link profile, where you’re hurting and why and do something about it; by removing the bad and earning new, high quality and relevant good links.
5. ‘I don’t need link building any more. I’ll just write amazing content and they’ll come.’
At the other end of the spectrum is the new ‘build it and they’ll come’ mentality. It takes a lot of hard work and relationship building to stand out in amongst the noise of the internet and you can be sure that 100 other people have attempted to write about the same topics. The key is reach. And reach is earned by rolling your sleeves up and earning the trust and respect of your fellow experts.
6. ‘Infographics and content marketing is too expensive for us. I can buy 10 PR4 links for £100.’
The past has to be forgotten. The only way to create a sustainable business now is to do the kind of things we’ve already mentioned. Work hard creating amazing content, relationships and ways of sharing that work and the rest will follow.
Great content takes a lot of time and is resource intensive but its because of this that you can create a barrier to entry with it. Do enough and your competitors will never be able to catch up.
7. ‘Long term is no good for me. What I need is links and results now.’
It’s true, we do all need to see results. Society has made us that way. And it’s for this reason that a great link building and content strategy created at the start of the process can help all parties buy into the ‘plan’ and know where it’s going with a shared sense of confidence.
Often a little education and some collective work is all that is needed to create the roadmap and total buy in.
This is by no means an exhaustive list but it goes some way to sharing some of the concerns and opinions of the present. Perhaps you have some of your own to share?