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01 June 2020 by Dan Petrovic
If you’ve just spent $2,000 and two weeks of work on a magnificent piece of well-researched, insightful content for your client and then published it on their blog. You’ve just wasted a huge opportunity. You’re promoting the URL they’re on instead of the URL that you want to rank. These are the pages that you want customers on, pages that convert and make money. That’s where links should go, but these pages tend to be quite boring and not worthy of links. It’s a common situation with many online retailers.
The obvious solution is to place most valuable linkable assets on client’s most valuable product pages. You don’t want all this interesting content to distract customers from converting though, so place the linkable asset below the fold and away from converting elements and use named anchors to send people to the exact linkable asset during your outreach campaign.
Can’t edit the product page to add named anchors?
There’s a nice workaround for this problem. Utilise Chrome’s scroll to text fragment feature to deep link to their exact location and share the deep link version during your outreach campaign. This won’t work for a small percentage of users with outdated Chrome or those who use other browsers.
Here’s a scroll to text fragment Chrome extension we made to help you get started. Once you install the extension just select any text on the page and copy the deep link from the context menu.
You don’t want to appear to be popular – you want to BE popular.
Alistair Lattimore, Wotif.
Imagine a website so rich in value that people link to its content every day. Wouldn’t it be great if your website was linked by others without you having to ask or pay for those links?
Imagine a steadily growing link profile as your ranking foundation. Imagine not having to worry about link building, Google’s algorithms or penalties. You’re on one such website right now. We receive thousands of free, contextual, organic links each year. A proof that what we do for our clients works for us too.
Link Building: The Past
Paying an agency for link building is no longer a thing. There are many reasons for this. Web pages of value receive numerous inbound links naturally and search engines use that as one of many measures of that page’s popularity. Link building companies are paid to simulate those signals in hope that a search engine will mistake an ordinary website for a great one and rank it higher than it deserves. This used to work well for many years but we’ve reached the point where risk outweighs the reward and Google’s algorithms keep improving their link scheme detection capabilities.
You should never have to depend on an agency for your links.
The problem with this model is the dependence on the supplier of links. Once the relationship ends, your link acquisition stops as well, allowing your competition to quickly catch up. This is if you don’t receive unnatural link penalty from Google in the first place.
Lack of competitive advantage.
The links which are easy enough to get are also easily replicable. Your competitors can scan and copy your link profile, wiping out all your competitive advantage.
Pure link building is a waste of time.
Natural links typically occur as a result of a combined effort of various marketing activities including outreach, SEO, SEM, branding, PR, advertising, email, events and social all with content as a central item. By focusing on link building only you may be missing the opportunity to create something of value instead of tricking search engines to believe that you provide value.
Link Building: The Future
We have conducted extensive link research in order to discover how and why people link on the web naturally. Our findings show that editorially given links differ from links created for SEO purposes, no matter how clever they may be. Natural links are typically based on a relationship, engagement or value of your content and are hard to replicate by competition.
The best links are the ones you didn’t ask for.
We reached out to John Mueller at Google and asked whether he would offer link building services to his clients if he owned an SEO agency.
John told us about an internal discussion at Google about link building and added that they understand that communication between webmasters is a perfectly normal thing, but he believes that hiring an agency with a link building team to purely email people and ask for links is not the best idea.
“It’s not the case that I’d have a link building team that would go out and email everyone to try to get links to my clients websites”.
John believes agencies should find the right balance when promoting their clients online.
“I think there’s some middle ground there where finding the right balance makes sense.”
The above is our guiding principle, a common-sense approach to online promotion. Our primary purpose is to make you and your brand stand out as being extraordinary. Links, like many other signals will follow organically as a by-product of your popularity and not as our primary deliverable.
Bing’s View on Link Building
Duane Forrester, senior product manager at Bing explains how links should happen:
“You want links to surprise you. You should never know in advance a link is coming, or where it’s coming from.”
He doesn’t deny the fact that links are a valuable ranking signal but sees them as a part of a bigger picture:
“Links are part of the bigger picture. You want them, but you want them to be natural. If an engine sees you growing them naturally, you’re rewarded with rankings.”
Duane warns against link manipulation stating that any link which hasn’t been earned organically may attract a penalty:
“If they see you growing them unnaturally, you’re rewarded with penalties.”
The New Role of an Agency
First step is to learn about your business as much as we can and explore and document all possible opportunities available to you.
Once we gain better insight into your business and the industry we form a plan of action which involves two components:
- Content Development
- Outreach Campaign
High quality links contribute to more than just your rankings:
- Authority Building
We believe in working smarter in order to provide the best value for your investment and have implemented our own practices and methodologies to maximise our performance: