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My unbeatable process for building links

Yeah, I have gotten several emails lately trying to sell their unbeatable link-building process or asking me to reveal mine. I’m blushing. No, not from the compliment. Because my link-building process is not terribly exciting. It just works. Even calling it a process seems overblown.

But I have had several people ask me about it. They’re still trying rank higher in Google with this venerated SEO technique. One of the folks that contacted me shared that he had built 70,000 links for a client but that a recent Google update “wiped out” 60,000 of them. Why would Google suddenly be less interested in your links? Maybe it’s because you used link-building to get them. Think about why Google is interested in measuring inbound links—it is an unbiased vote for the quality of the content. So, if your inbound links are not so unbiased, then they aren’t valuable to Google as a proxy for quality.

Now, I am not saying that all link-building is bad or wrong or unethical—not at all. But if your only approach is go out and solicit links any way you can, you probably aren’t building up unbiased votes. If your approach to link building is more akin to traditional PR, when you are making sure people are exposed to your content and then decide to link to it, that’s more my style.

Er, my process. Yeah, that’s what it is. A process.

My process is to create very good content that answers questions that the target audience is asking. Use the same language they are using (yeah, that’s keyword research). And then share it. Share it on social. Link to it from places where it is relevant. Send it out in emails. Make sure people are exposed to it. That’s it. When people are exposed to quality content, some of them link to it.

Those links are really the unbiased votes that Google is looking for. And those votes are not likely to later become ignored by Google, so it’s always worth the time you spent doing the work. And, maybe you forgot this, but the act of sharing the content gets your content exposed all by itself. And getting those links mean that some people click on the links and see your content. Because isn’t people seeing the content the reason you want it to do well in search anyway?

So, there you have it. It’s not sexy. It won’t yield a process patent. But it is something that brings value for the work you put in and never becomes a problem with Google. Maybe others think it’s not enough, but I’d rather focus on other techniques than trying to push a rope with link-building. The goal is to sell things, not just get high search rankings by any means necessary.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in digital marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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