Gavin Hirst - Friday 22nd May 2015


What is the future of link building?

There has been a lot said about the value of links in terms of SEO over the past few months with some even going as far to say that link building is dead. Although we agree that the way we carry out link building has changed, we still think there is a lot of value in building links but one thing to make sure of is that you are building the right types of links and not wasting your time and money on links that will add little SEO value.

Let’s make no mistake, link building is not a 2 minute job. The process of building a link outreach campaign, talking to relevant bloggers and people on social media and targeting relevant news sites takes time and effort and quite often, we don’t see any movement in our rankings so what gives?

Are you building the right types of links?

If you’re spending time and effort on link building activity, you need to make sure the links you are targeting are right for your business. There are some signs that should let you know whether the sites you are targeting are reputable:

  • Domain authority
  • Page Rank (not as relevant anymore but a good guide)

Then there are elements that are more down to your own personal perception:

  • Relevance of the linking site to your own content
  • Editorial quality – are the articles/page on the linking site well written or do they look paid
  • Poor domain diversity – are all the sites/bloggers you are targeting the same? If your links all come from similar types of site/blogger, they can look spammy
  • Multiple links from one domain – if you suddenly start to see lots of links pointing your content from one domain, again this can look unnatural
  • Link location (main body, footer etc) – ideally Google wants to see the links in the editorial body of content
  • Is the content of the page linking page to yours unique or are they just republishing your work and linking back to you? Ideally you are looking for editorial endorsement of the content you have produced

Looking at all these different elements that contribute to the overall link quality score, we can see there is a lot to think about and consider but it is worth putting in the effort now to establish where a quality link is going to come from – one quality backlink is far more valuable than 50 or even 100 poor quality links which could have no benefit at all to your SEO.

Your content is important

Although your content may be on topic and attracting links from relevant sites, it may simply be that there is better content already out there which may have more longevity than your content. For example, you may produce a piece of content that is very current but that maybe is going to be dated in 2-3 months – an article about something recent in the news perhaps is never going to stick around at the top of the rankings as there will always be existing content around that content which is permanent and more relevant to searchers over time.

Another thing to consider is the user experience once a user click through to your content. Is it displayed in a way that is easy to consume across every device? Does it load quickly? Does it offer options for commenting? Can people easily engage with it? You must make sure all these elements are in place before you publish the content to give your link the best chance of sticking – you need to meet people’s expectations when they click through to your site whether that is in the answers you provide in the content or the way the content is presented. If one or both of those is not right, then this can lead to a user bouncing straight off the site and for Google to interpret that you are not on topic.

For us at Digital Hothouse, we work hard on trying to build the right types of link and those that will have the biggest impact on our clients’ rankings. For us, link building/outreach work and content marketing and strategy are very closely linked and we build strategies that focus on each of those elements. Get in touch if you want more information or leave us a comment below.

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