You may not think of fairy tales and business together very often, but we do have a business fairy tale in our culture. You can see it in movies.
Our heroine is perhaps a baker. She makes wonderful breads and cakes and pies, and several people encourage her to sell them, so she does. Gradually, everyone in town hears about her, helped along perhaps by the magical evening when one of the most important people in town chooses her special Buche de Noel for a dinner party. She has an evil competitor who uses underhanded tactics and tries to sabotage her puff pastry, but she wins out through goodness, hard work, and possibly the assistance of John Cusack.
We imagine that it will be like that with our websites, as well. You have excellent content and you’re selling something good, so you should sort of magically show up at the top of the search engines and have lots of traffic, while your evil competitor who tries to buy links should be foiled.
Links still matter.
High quality links are still an important part of Google’s algorithm. It takes a human being to make valuable judgements on the quality and usefulness of a web page, and links are like a vote of confidence from a human being.
But Google only pays attention to high quality links that have been created naturally. Those who buy links nowadays will certainly be foiled.Unnatural link profiles get penalized.
However, you may not just automatically get high quality links, any more than the mayor will automatically hear about that Buche de Noel in the absence of actual marketing.
What if the baker decided to put a sign out saying “Bakery”? Perhaps she might give out samples at a fair, or run an ad campaign. The eventual success of her bakery would be less of a fairy tale, but no less positive an outcome.
Linkbuilding is like putting a sign in front of your business. It’s respectable and sensible. The difference is, a linkbuilding campaign is more effective if it looks as though you didn’t have to put out a sign. Ideally, it will look as though people just decided to give you links because your strudel is so delectable.
So to speak.
How to get those links
You certainly don’t want it to look as though you are the evil competitor. My basic philosophy of marketing is that you should be very good at what you do, and let people know that. How can you accomplish this? Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re linkbuilding:
- Choose relevant websites. Link farms, “free article” sites, link wheels — these are the kinds of links that Google penalizes. Request links from directories of businesses like yours, influencers in your industry, and journalists writing about your subject.
- Make sure the content you use to build links is actually useful. Approach webmasters with something that will add value to their sites. Don’t leave comments with your URL unless you actually have something to add to the discussion. If you’re really good at what you do and you choose relevant sites, then you should have something to add to the discussion, and you deserve to have your URL there.
- Build relationships. People will give you links out of respect and friendship, as well as linking to your worthwhile content just because they want to share it. Chances are, they won’t give you links just because you asked them to, along with hundreds of other webmasters you haven’t bothered to build relationships with.
If you follow these suggestions, the links you’ve worked for should be indistinguishable from the ones that have come about naturally without your asking for them. This is a time-consuming process. It makes sense to hire someone to do it. There’s nothing wrong with that, either. Just make sure your linkbuilding partners understand the importance of getting That Natural Look.