Link building is tainted by a shady past. There have always been people who do it properly but link spam was effective so link building ended up as no more than a tactic with a bad name. In the bad old days the quantity of links to a site was a more important ranking factor than quality so websites ended up paying for links that they now pay to disavow. Link building in 2015 has moved on.
In 2015 there’s a move away from the term link building with its air of fakery to link earning based on solid content that people want to link to out of genuine interest. But I believe the term ‘link building’ should still be used for today’s solid activities – it’s the past use of the term which was wrong, ‘building’ was too noble a word.
What Google wants to reward
Link building has always been one of the most reliable strategies for improving search rankings. The only thing that’s changed is that now you must do it from the perspective of what adds value to the user experience, that’s what Google wants to reward.
So all you have to do is attract quality links from quality sources, and forget the spammy practices…
I’ve broken up the infographic to give each section a closer look. You can explore the full infographic on the next page or download the original from Digital Marketing.
Earn ‘hard links’ and not ‘easy links’
The type of links Google wants to find don’t scale easily. Links that do scale are exactly those that Google wants to ignore or punish. As a rule of thumb, the more effort it takes to build a link the more valuable it will be.
Transition link building to link earning
Link building in 2015 means offering something of unique value to web users. The focus is on meeting user expectations and satisfying their queries by giving them the content your title describes. This should be something useful that earns links. In the same way that a lead magnet earns email addresses.
Link building with epic content
Increasingly the key to ranking in Google will be making richer content and a better user experience. This is the main reason we’ve seen the explosion in content marketing.
Link building in 2015 means engaging through social media
Social media ratings do factor in Google rankings. But it’s through links that the web works and not Likes. Without a doubt Google will go on scraping links as a more important indication of value than what gets clicked on social media.Whatever importance Google gives social signals in themselves, social media does get your page in front of an audience, which is how you pick up the organic links that Google wants to see.
Speed up natural link building
Google wants to reward a good user experience which means links should take users to the best place. It has said that it only wants to count links that are ‘natural’. As Eric Ward suggests above the best approach for SEO is to speed up this natural link building, it’s not something that can be manufactured.
Earn links that deliver relevant traffic
What Rand Fishkin is saying is that you should focus on building links with a purpose. This is the opposite of old-style spammy links which existed for no reason other than to fill a quota. Did anyone even click on them?
Use link building techniques that still work
There are many techniques for link building in 2015. Most strategies of the past would now be considered ‘black hat’, something that companies should strive to distance themselves from or face the wrath of Google.‘White hat’ techniques consist of methods to improve user experience, such as the above examples of great content, sharing and guest blogging. Another great technique (which I’m using in this post) is the infographic.
Use the best link building tools
For me the mainstay tool is the free Google Search Console (which used to be called Google Webmaster Tools). I’m planning a review article of other options.
Google still relies on links to find, rate and index websites in 2015. Is that news? Regardless of how good your content you need links pointing to it for the system to work. What I’m learning is that if your content is good then those links will appear naturally.
Link building should be integrated with your other strategies in the creation of a valuable user offering. Focus on creating great content that deserves links, you can’t encourage people to link to anything else. If you agree, please link to this article!
You can explore the full infographic on the next page or download the original from Digital Marketing.