Link Building: The Grey Area

Link building is always advancing, but for SEOs and clients alike, it’s a painful grey area that can be confusing.

From the client’s side, it’s time consuming (which can absorb big chunks of their marketing budget). From the agency point of view, it can be a frustrating and arduous mission for those carrying it out.

There has been a lot of talk that link building is ‘dying out’, and some argue that it is dead. Clearly, with search engines operating the way they do, this is not the case. In reality, the way that links have to be built is continuing to evolve, just as it always has done.

Content – possibly the most overused buzzword of all time – may well be reigning supreme at the moment. However, natural links as a result of this still help rank your website. The content that is created may well serve to increase engagement on your site and it’s overall quality. However, it exists in equal measures to create links and boost social shares.

Tackling link building

We’ve certainly seen this in the success for our infographics and other visual forms of content. Even on site, having original and useful content that you can show those you contact during outreach works wonders. It also adds a mutual and reciprocal benefit that isn’t obvious otherwise. Hell, Google Webmaster Guidelines are even recommending it!

The other great thing about this shift is how it can impact client relationships and expectations. Meanwhile, it is also (hopefully) safeguarding against Google updates. It’s impossible to predict how many links can be built through the creation of something stimulating like an infographic. It does provide a far more tangible demonstration of what exactly we’re doing when we’re link building. Having outreach activities that can be quantified to an extent can greatly reduce the grey area clients sometimes have on the subject matter, easing the frustrations when these things take some time.

Transparent marketing

The greater transparency clients should now get stops less than ethical agencies pulling the wool over unsuspecting eyes, and this is a great thing for the industry. Google’s even working to further improve client transparency for users of AdWords.

If anything, link building’s reach seems to have far extended what it was previously. Now much more than simply a numbers game, it is the driving force behind a lot of social interactions and content creation and forms the backbone of an integrated digital marketing mix. As Google continues to reward quality over quantity, the time invested in link building becomes even more valuable and some of the associated pressures are alleviated; but above all else those hard to get links become even more rewarding.

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