When Is Link Worth More Than a Link?
I would hope that since the Google Penguin update came crashing down around everyone’s ears last year that site owners are being a little more careful about their link building choices. While I don’t want the fear of a penalty to halt your link building campaign in its tracks (which I’m sure has happened for plenty of sites), I do hope that site owners are becoming a little more discerning during their hunt for inbound links.
That being said, I think a lot of site owners are leaving valuable SEO and brand building opportunities on the table because they are still looking at a link as just a link, but in reality the right link can be worth so much more.
So when is a link worth more than a link?
I have an SEO client that exists in the computer programming and coding world. And while I consider myself a pretty tech-savvy guy I am not a programmer. So while I can understand my client’s business, what they offer, who their target audience is, and what they hope to accomplish with their SEO program, I can’t “talk shop” quite as well as they can when it comes down to the nitty, gritty details of programming and coding.
As part of our SEO services my team looks for forums, industry sites, and associations that are a good fit for this client. We can go in, create and optimize the profile (hopefully with a link back to their site) but we just don’t have the in-house expert programmer knowledge to provide any real value and insights into some of the conversations that are going on. The last thing we want to do is damage our client’s brand or reputation in any way by posting (at best) fluff or (at worst) something straight-up wrong.
I’m sure other SEO professionals have found themselves in a similar situation–you have the SEO expertise to find a great link building opportunity for your clients but not the right industry knowledge to get the extra value that comes from being a contributor on those sites. That’s when a link is worth so much more than a link.
One of the profiles we created for this client back in October 2012 has already sent about 70 targeted visitors over to their site. Granted, 70 visitors might not seem like that much but considering its one link in one profile on one site that’s pretty good in my opinion! 10 links that like and suddenly you’re looking at 700 visitors.
Now this profile is on of those sites where programmers can share problems they are having with coding projects, debate the finer points of different programming languages and so forth. My team may not have the knowledge to get involved in these discussions but my client sure does! Even if they left one or two comments a month somewhere on that site that would create a few extra links, introduce their brand to a few more people, build their brand authority and online reputation and maybe lead to a guest blogging opportunity in the long run. That’s what one good link on the right site can become!
I think a lot of site owners are so concerned about just getting the link they are actually leaving a lot of the real value of that link behind. The best links are the ones that provide real value for a long time to come–they send traffic, get your brand seen by more prospects, lead to more links down the road and so forth. I know that a lot of site owners are looking for ways to maximize their time and get more bang for their link building buck so start 2013 off on the right foot and revisit some of those old profiles you (or your SEO firm) created and see what other value you can pull from those links!
Nick Stamoulis is the President and Founder of Brick Marketing, one of the premier full service SEO firms in the United States. With over 12 years of experience Nick Stamoulis has worked with hundreds of companies small, large and every size in between. Through his vast and diverse SEO, search engine marketing and internet marketing experience Nick Stamoulis has successfully increased the online visibility and sales of clients in all industries.
“The best links are the ones that provide real value for a long time to come–they send traffic, get your brand seen by more prospects, lead to more links down the road and so forth.”
I am a member of a particular forum myself, and I have actually stumbled upon the few who just use links for links without thinking as to whether or not their reputation will be affected by what they are saying. A topic is being asked, and they will just give definition of what was asked, and not answer it directly for the purpose of “just to post.”
The main objective must really be “To NOT damage brand or reputation in any way by posting (at best) fluff or (at worst) something straight-up wrong.” You intend to create good links, not just links.
People, especially SEO companies need to be more careful about the places they get links from. I think most SEO agencies stopped paying attention to where the link is coming from and what it’s true value is. Less but more quality links are always better than more low quality ones.
Excellent article – I had to start from scratch after the last big G update – but I am glad I did. I am learning so much and this website is a great resource.Thank you!
Thanks for an insightful post. I too, have found myself in this position a few times and you are right, finding links that are worth much more than just a link pays off. As a Link builder I believe it’s about bridging the gap and passing it on to those who have the right understanding to write a unique guest post and sometimes it’s about passing it on to the client to deal with after you’ve found a way to get them to connect. I often find that twitter is a great tool for finding good link opportunities like this.
Awesome post. By the way, the title of your post has attracted my attention straightaway because you’ve reminded of the situation where a genuine help normally gets rewarded sooner or later.
So, here’s what’s recently happened in my life. I’ve actually decided to follow the tips of some of the most successful entrepreneurs such as Jay Abraham and Bob Proctor who say that we should go ahead and help make somebody else’s life better every single day.
So, one day I opened up my email inbox and one subject line has magnetically caught my eyes. It’s said: “Why you should have a fan page and how to use it correctly”. Now since I know that I am both knowledgeable and passionate about creating fan pages and also passionate about helping others learn how to do it, I decided to email him back and offer him help in this matter.
Here’s the shocker. Despite the fact that I was on this person’s mailing list, I didn’t actually know what kind of business they do.
To cut the story short, I soon find out from their reply that they are happy to receive some valuable tips from me and also that my tips will be particularly useful for their subscribers who are pageant girls.
Furthermore they also said they were happy to return my favor by posting both my photo and the link to my site in front of these girls and about 5,000 visitors a day.
Guess what. My dream vision is creating and fully enjoying an international playboy lifestyle. Can you imagine how super excited I got immediately after he told me that he’s actually a pageant girls coach. Man, I was feeling exactly like: “Wow! Here’s my dream come true!”
To sum up, both of our stories are actually an awesome proof that doing any kind of business whether it’s about link building (exchanging links), SEO or creating fan pages, it all comes down to us as human beings communicating with one another based on offering value or help to each other.
Nice post Nick. Commenting on blogs and forums, while viewed by many as risky or low value, can not only provide SEO value through link domain diversification, but by add to the conversation. We are Internet marketers and typically read and comment on industry blogs/forums when we have something of value to add to the conversation. People read comments and if the contribution is thoughtful, will click on the comment link, drive some readers to your site to learn more. The better the contribution, the better the results in driving targeted traffic with the clicker already is beginning to form a positive impression on your brand. It’s a great way to build relationships with peers in forums and other publishers in blog comments. If linking at links solely for SEO, then value is “left on the table”. Thanks for sharing.
The best luck that I’ve had with building inbound links is finding quality links, from quality sites. I never recommend the packages for hundreds or thousands of links, and I think everyone knows to avoid those as well. But as far as providing quality comments for clients, I sometimes just send a quick email to the client (since they are the subject matter expert) and ask them to write me a paragraph about a programming problem that they recently had. Then I can post a quality comment on a quality site without having to become a subject matter expert myself.
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