In this article, we’ll look at seven guidelines of inbound link-building that most people won’t tell you.
They won’t tell you because they’re “facts” about link-building that are uncertain.
Because they can’t say it with authority, they don’t want to say for fear of sounding indecisive.
The reality is that link-building is as much art as science.
There’s room for uncertainty.
In fact, it’s uncertainty that makes it interesting and possible to do well.
#1: Start with asking yourself one simple question: Do you really want that link?
Don’t go after links just because they’re links.
If links didn’t matter, would you be working to be linked to that site?
It’s assumed that any link is a good link if it’s to a good site.
You should only link your site to other sites that make sense.
A physician linked to a grocery store makes no sense but being linked to a local pharmacy is right.
Don’t pursue links just for the sake of having links.
#2: Go after the links your competitors don’t have
When you ask a typical professional link-builder how they’re going to get links, the answer is usually, “I’m going to see what links your competitors have and get you those.”
That’s fine, but it’s not enough.
Go after links to sites your competitors don’t have.
Don’t be equal to them. Be better.
#3: The good and the bad
Often, you’ll hear someone say that a certain link-building strategy is good or bad.
It’s rarely that simple.
The right link-building strategy is the one that’s right for your website at that time.
There are few hard and fast rules about which strategy is always better than the others (as long as you’re not using black hat techniques).
Don’t assume that one strategy, like link exchanges, is good or bad, but look at the links you’ll get from it.
Are they the right quality with companies that makes sense (see No. 2)?
#4: They do it for free
Your site’s best link builders do not get any salary.
There’s a way to make sure that you get lots of high-quality organic inbound links for free.
Create awesome content.
Be a site that’s so good your visitors want to share it with others.
They’ll give you organic links for free.
Great content is still king!
#5: Sharable – like family dinner
Make everything you create sharable.
Blog posts, videos, white papers, everything you put on your site should be easy to share across social media with the click of a button.
Make it a single click to share your great content.
#6: But remember: big changes can mean big trouble – maybe
A sudden increase in your inbound links can get you punished by Google… maybe.
Everyone assumes that if Google sees a lot of new inbound links, the algorithm assumes you’ve used black hat techniques and shuts you down.
It’s more complex than that.
Google knows that if your company suddenly pops up on Bloomberg TV, there will be a lot of inbound links.
The trick is that organic links that you get today should look like the ones you had before.
Google isn’t just looking for changes, but for changes that are outside of your normal links.
If you have a great mix of websites, you’ll be fine.
If all the websites are the same link to a bunch of low-quality sites, Google will come after you.
#7: Google is not everything
So often Google is the only site we focus on.
While they’re the big dog, they aren’t the only dog.
Putting all your faith in Google can cost you. A new update can knock a top-ranked website down hard – and arbitrarily.
All it takes is some random, hidden change in the algorithm.
Work to get traffic from a variety of sources. That way, when Google pulls one of its stunts, you’re not missing most of your business.
A new perspective
Link building, like everything else on the internet, is constantly changing.
What’s not changed in the last 15 years is the basics. Google, Bing, Yahoo, and all the other search engines in the world have all said it over and over:
Quality, quality, quality.
Quality links and quality content are the keys to success.
They’re looking to help real people find the real results they need.
If you think about links (and content) from the perspective of what real people need and want, your site will rank well and remain stable.
Follow these seven guidelines and build a stable of great links that make sense.
That will keep your site top-ranked for a long time.