These are tough times for link-building SEOs.
Just when we thought we had SEO figured out, Google came along and released major algorithm update after major algorithm update. Now, SEO’s are still reeling from the “Panda Update.”
For a significant period of time, the SEO process was simple: do keyword research, create keyword-driven content, build backlinks to that content. To build backlinks, we’d create additional keyword-driven content, post it to article directories or Web 2.0 properties and link back to our websites. We got free easy links and the article directories got free content. It was a win-win.
Unless you were Google.
Because it was so easy to get articles published on article directories, and because article directories had so much authority built up, top 10 results on Google were flooded with “fluff” articles – articles that didn’t really deliver any value to the people reading them.
Since Google’s business relies on people finding the information they’re looking for, something had to be done. In an “us or them” situation, Google had no problem eliminating the vast majority of authority article directories did. Additionally, Google reduced the “link juice” from the most common sources of backlinks (forum posts, blog comments, article directories, etc).
In one fell swoop, Google changed the way SEO would be done forever.
But, believe it or not, there are still people building backlinks using these methods. There are still people spamming forums with signature links. There are still people posting articles to directories for a “quick link.”
The game’s changed. Sure you can still use these methods. You might even get a few links out of it. But those links won’t help your website much – in fact in most cases, they actually harm your website.
Google’s now at the point where they’re advanced enough to determine how much value your website provides. So even if you have thousands of links pointing at your website, if your website doesn’t provide value to its users, your chances of ranking are severely diminished.
Is backlinking dead? Absolutely not. Although the amount of authority Google gives links will probably continue to go down (mainly due to social votes making their SEO debut), there will always be “authority sites” on the internet.
And links from these authority sites will always mean something to Google. Let’s face it: if you get a link from the New York Times, Google’s going to count it – even if they usually give social media “likes” and “tweets” more link authority.
So for SEO’s who are looking to build links, it’s still very possible. However, it must be approached in a different fashion.
Of all the popular link building methods, the guest post may be the last one still capable of increasing your rankings. Not only that, though – the guest post can help you “borrow” traffic and credibility from massive authority sites on the web.
With a guest post, you give a particular authority website free content. In exchange, they link back to your website. Not just any link – a link embedded in relevant content. It doesn’t get much better than that.
So how’s it done? Fortunately, the process is fairly straightforward.
Let’s say I have a website on “guitar strings” and wanted to rank on page #1 of Google. Now, I could either flood my website with thousands of blog comment links and article directory links, or I could do things the right way.
I could find the major players in the “guitar” and “music” niches. Then, I’d craft unique high-quality posts and submit them to the websites. If the websites accepted the content, I get a link. Along with that link, if people enjoy the article (and they will if it’s high-quality), they’ll click on your link and visit your website.
So you’re not just getting SEO authority. You’re also getting traffic from the authority website you wrote the guest post for!
Lastly, on your website, you can post “as featured on” badges that link to your posts on authority websites. This way, people who have never heard of you before can see that you’re linked to reputable sources.
As you can probably tell, the guest post is an incredible way to build a backlink. Yes, it takes a bit more time than setting your SEO bot to spam thousands of forums. But unlike that method, these links actually mean something. On top of that, you get a lot more additional “perks” for writing a guest post anyway.
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