One of the most common myths when it comes to search engine optimization involves link building. There are many ways to phrase this idea and they come in many different forms. But they can all be summed up in this sentence: You need to build links.
Now, you may be thinking to yourself, well that’s why it’s called link building. Isn’t link building a part of SEO? What am I talking about?
Well, you have to understand that it’s no longer the year 2000. In the year 2000, link building was all the rage because it worked like clockwork all day, every day. You can do this on an automated basis and you would have a big pile of cash at the end of every month if you’re an affiliate marketer. That’s how easy it was.
Well, we’re no longer living in the year 2000 and the game has changed quite radically. Now, Google, thanks to artificial intelligence and machine learning, has come up with a way to determine context.
Imagine that. Context from all the pages that they indexed on the internet. It’s as if you have this electronic eye that is tied to some sort of computer brain that is able to make heads or tails of the information that it’s fed billions of times every single week. Crazy.
As you can well imagine, the old tricks of blasting out link requests, as well as using software that automatically fills out all sorts of online forms which in turn automatically spit out links, are long gone. In fact, Google has become so advanced that those practices which were completely legit back in the day, would actually harm your rankings now. These are called toxic links.
If you’re just getting links from everywhere, those links are not going to help you all that much. In fact, it could work against you. That’s how advanced Google has become. The key here is to change our mindset and our attitude towards getting the right signals.
It’s all about getting signals that Google cares about.
As you probably already know, Google is the first search engine that actually worked. Seriously. Believe it or not, there are many other research engines before Google. One of the biggest was Alta Vista.
But the problem with Alta Vista was when you enter a search, let’s say, how to buy baby socks. The chances of you pulling up a porn result is quite high. Of 20 results, maybe 5 would have something to do with buying baby socks and the rest would be pornography. That’s how crude, ineffective, and ham-fisted search technology was back in the day.
Whether it was Excite, Coast, Hot Bot, or Alta Vista, they all had one Achilles heel. They all looked at the content of the page as a ranking factor. They basically would pair your keyword with the words on the pages of websites. If it meets the search engine’s mathematical equation, that page would rank high.
Well, Google found a way around this. Because as you can well imagine, people were able to cheat this all day, every day. Basically, they would just copy and paste other people’s pages, put it on their page, and be done with it. They would do this millions of times using software every single day.
This practice filled the internet with junk. Google was able to fix this problem by using backlinks as a signal. The idea is when a website links to your page using a word, let’s say, baby socks, the chances of your page being actually about baby socks go up the more websites link to you using that text. Otherwise known as an anchor text.
As simple as this was, this was Google’s secret sauce. And before you know it, people started using Google and they were getting better results. Instead of getting 20 results and 15 of them being porn, now it’s flipped. It has become 15 legit results and 5 junk.
As you can well imagine, people figured this out quickly so they started creating link farms, creating software that blasted out links, and before we knew it, Google was getting closer and closer to the position that Alta Vista was in. In other words, the results were just full of garbage.
Now, fast forward to today, and thanks to RankBrain and artificial intelligence, as well as Google Panda and Google Penguin updates, Google, for the most part, returns clean results.
The name of the game is to earn backlinks.
So now that you understand the technology that is keeping you from spam linking your way to the top, what is the logical step to take? Well, you have to roll up your sleeves.
In other words, you really have to work for your links. You have to get these legit third-party sites to link to you organically. You don’t just fill out a form on their site and out comes a link. You don’t bug them saying hey, link to me. Instead, you have to do something on your end that would gain their attention and they would link to you voluntarily and organically.
If you need link building ideas that work today, pay close attention to Okay Cupid. As you probably already know, the dating space is already saturated. It seems that there’s a dating site for every man and his dog. There are just so many dating sites.
OkCupid was able to rank really high among dating sites because it would release surveys of its members. And members of the press are always looking for trends and demographic info regarding dating issues. Okay Cupid’s content was a good fit for that. They also wrote a lot of guest posts, and included links to their research. It is no surprise that Okay Cupid ranks really well in most dating related searches.
The same strategy was used by adult sites and they would release statistics involving adult content viewing habits. And they got rewarded. Do you see the pattern?
Earn your links. The days of link building are over. I know that that rubs people the wrong way, but that’s the truth. The key is to earn your links. One way to do this so through guest blog posting by pitching content based on the ideas of the blogs that you want to publish your guest posts. That also qualifies as earning your links.
Whatever the case may be, the key to the most effective among all link building ideas is to stop building them and start earning them.