Last week we mentioned how to use keyword research organically. While it may seem elementary to some, the reality is Google’s algorithm has changed in the past couple years, forcing some brands to think twice about the way they are using (and sometimes abusing) SEO elements like keywords. (If this is you, be sure to check out the post so you know where you can safely use keywords on your site.) Today we’re going to dig into link building, or outreach, as it’s often referred to in 2013. Even if you haven’t purchased links for your site, there’s a pretty good chance your old methods are quickly fading into oblivion. So let’s look at a brief overview of which tactics are losing their relevancy and what you can do to get back into the game.
1. Put away the credit card.
This is probably obvious, but if you aren’t completely convinced, it’s only a matter of time before The Goog catches you red-handed and makes you suffer the consequences. Don't buy links. Don't let anyone convince you it's a good idea.
2. Stop posting links in comments.
Most blogs (especially those that have high authority) automatically assign “nofollow” attributes to any links in the comments section. So go ahead, spam the comment sections of blogs that attract the audience you wish you could have. Not only will you annoy everyone reading the post, but you’ll also waste your time on a totally futile venture.
3. Back off the directories.
There was a time when it was really beneficial to be included in directories because it made the crawling/indexing process easier for search engines. Nowadays, some directories still hold value, but there are plenty that will end up hurting your reputation more than helping it. We recommend pursuing more relevant measures.
4. Bring something to the table.
If your link building strategy has always consisted of contacting webmasters for a link – just because – well, you’ve probably noticed that it’s not working anymore. And that’s because while it used to be flattering to be asked for a link, it is now aggravating for webmasters. Why should they share the authority they’ve worked hard to build? Unless you have something to give them in exchange (i.e., content their audience will appreciate), don’t waste your time. Or theirs. This brings us to the core of outreach strategy – content! Yes, we know you’re sick of hearing about it, but try to put on your grown-up pants and realize that you’re going to have to do things the hard way from here on out. Content generation is not easy, but it starts with keywords. This is because keywords are essentially real queries from real customers, so you can understand what kinds of questions you should be answering. (That’s the aha moment.) We’ve recently written several posts about content, so if you’re stuck in a rut – and let’s face it, this happens to everyone – you can hopefully gain some inspiration. First figure out what purpose your content should serve; there are eight purposes we came up with. Keep in mind that while content can sell for you, it doesn’t always have to be overly promotional.
Outreach is still a very difficult, time-consuming process, so we took the time to outline our method. It's literally a step-by-step instructional guide for conducting outreach. We’ve actually assembled a couple of versions, one that is geared toward tech-savvy folks who have access to the kind of software we use at Evolve Digital Labs. The other is for non-nerds, so it’s a bit easier to digest. Whether you’re a fellow SEO, marketing director, or student, we invite you to download these outreach documents and get started.