2013 was a wild ride for link building. Lots of changes happened last year, changes that appear to make link building irrelevant. Is link building really dead in 2014?
Link building keeps evolving, but that doesn’t mean it’s no longer an effective strategy in helping you achieve your web marketing goals. Actually, quite the opposite. The ability to adapt your marketing approach to the changing online landscape is in direct correlation with whether your business thrives. Metamorphosis equals survival.
This is the second edition (third overall) of Link Building Secrets Revealed that I’ve been involved with. Maybe I’m partial, but I feel this is our best LBSR to date. I’d say “third time’s the charm,” but I don’t want to negate the first two.
It’s interesting to observe how the contributions have changed over time. In the first and second LBSR, the contributions were heavily tactic based. However, this 2014 edition of Link Building Secrets Revealed contains a well-rounded mix of tactics, strategies and tips, which include employing a broader and more integrated scope of web marketing disciplines. I believe this is an accurate reflection of how the true value of link building relies on the accompaniment of social media, SEO and content. Link building is less of the stand-alone powerhouse that it used to be.
Gaining Quality Links Takes Time
I recently reviewed a site’s backlink profile, which at first glance appeared healthy. But with a more in-depth look, I noticed that the velocity in which links were obtained during a two-year period was very unnatural. I think it was enough to trigger unwanted attention from Google.
The site took a risk in acquiring a ton of links, and in return appeared to have been slapped with a penalty. However, if they start investing time and effort into gaining quality links at a more realistic pace, through legitimate efforts, they may be able to regain some of their rankings. If only they would have done it right in the first place.
Fewer are the instances where obtaining a few keyword-heavy anchor text links can boost your position in search rankings. More often, those tactics are being discovered and penalized. For link building to work, you need a well-rounded link profile. And you don’t get that with old-school link building strategies.
Link Building In 2014
Do these terms sound familiar?
- Reciprocal links
- One-way links
- Three-way links
- Link bait
- Link wheels
Those “link building strategies” have all been eradicated from the web marketing playbook. However, before you breathe a sigh of relief, some of the remaining “strategies” still being used today could end up worthless in the future. For example, infographics are hot, but if used solely to “get links,” they are doomed to failure like the rest of them. 2014 is the year that link building goes holistic. It can no longer stand alone. Are you guilty of slanting your link building efforts toward one particular “strategy”? Favoring one online marketing discipline over all the others, in order to get the quickest results? If so, you’re missing key opportunities and are flirting with the perils of becoming banished in organic search. Now is the perfect time to reflect on and rethink your strategy. Any single link building strategy can be valid, but only when used as a part of a larger approach, with goals beyond “getting links.”
The Only Constant in Link Building Is Change
Search engines are evolving, and we must evolve with them. Old strategies such as “get links,” “get traffic,” “get rankings,” etc., are no longer viable for the long-term. Today’s search engines are more natural than ever, and have become increasingly adept at filtering out the junk. If you don’t believe me, check out some of Google’s recent updates like Panda and Penguin, or the rebuilt algorithm, Hummingbird.
Social media is on the verge of directly effecting search results. There is no hard evidence that social engagement directly translates into rankings, but there’s plenty of documentation to show that sites that are more heavily social, produce the kind of signals that Google uses as ranking factors. Google is investing in ways to determine a person or company’s credibility and authority by evaluating their social networks and authored content. Again, if you’re not sure you agree with me, look into authorship tags and personalized search. If you don’t have a social media strategy, you’re falling behind.
In link building for 2014 and beyond, there are a lot of aspects to consider. I realize you only have so much time and so many resources, but dividing them into a more enduring strategy is crucial. Download the ebook for plenty of actionable takeaways.
If you have feedback or questions, please feel free to contact me, or any of the contributors, directly. We’d love to hear from you! You can also join the conversation on Twitter using #linksecrets.