Link building: Why it’s about strategy, not tactics

For SEO and especially link building, people tend to look at it a certain way that sets them back…Seeing it as purely a tactical play, trying to get links by using tricks or short-term methods.

What they should be doing, however, is developing a long-term strategy and plan. As effective link building is like a game of chess; it’s not just about the act of getting the link.

The tactical game

In link building, tactics involve the specific techniques you’re going to do to enhance your chances of securing links. That could include several things like guest posts, scholarship link building, roundup post links, broken link building, and more. All have their particular unique technique, email outreach method, and targeting.

Often, I’ve found people find a link building technique and jump on that as their go-to method of building them. The problem is that they rely on one method, far too much. Also, they execute only that technique, thinking that is going to be the solution for their business. Some people even make that mistake with guest posts.

What you are doing may well work for now. So yes, it could even very well be the source of a consistent stream of links. However, is it the most effective and efficient way of building links, unique to your business and content? That’s a key question you need to ask.

A clever example of link building

A brand like Expedia probably wouldn’t need to do any guest posts or roundup post links. They could get much more traction from just reclaiming unlinked brand mentions.  I do know they produce infographics occasionally for some arms of the business (perhaps foreign markets where they’re still trying to build some brand awareness) and use these as link-bait pieces. However, they don’t need to create infographics as they are such a well-recognized brand.

Compare that to a client we’re working with now that has a pretty advanced weather forecast tool. So many different techniques are possible. Yes, they could probably attempt to get guest posts or create infographic pieces about the weather and world climates. However, a more efficient way we’ve found of building very relevant links is to build resource links with websites in tourist hotspots. Whether it’s tourist information pages, yacht clubs, beach clubs, and local news sites, all they need to do is embed a weather forecast widget. It shows the weather in their respective locations, with a small do-follow link to our client’s page just below. Clever, right?

How content or linkable assets fit in

When it comes to having something to link to, it’s not a case of one-size-fits-all. Exactly what you should be creating depends on factors such as the nuances of your business, industry, and your relevant audience or customers.

For a funeral services portal, for example, doing entertaining social content or infographics probably would not have been appropriate. Moreover, during outreach, we’d have to approach the subject quite carefully. Where we excelled in building links, however, was having very sensitively written articles around grave subject matters, like cremations, coping with the grief of losing a child, organizing a funeral, humanist funerals and what they entail. Compare this to an engagement ring consultant; we could get away with somewhat fluffier pieces about things like taking your partner on dates, being engaged, how to choose a ring for your fiancée.

Perhaps creating articles, videos, or infographics, is not the way to go, however. An online calculator, interactive map of industry statistics, or another free tool that gives a taster of your full service could be a better idea. It’s more about having something of value you can bring to the table. Precisely what you should be doing should also not be that conventional or familiar.

More importantly, when you succeed in creating useful linkable assets, you will steal backlinks from other popular, and similar pages.

Other differences when it comes to being more strategic

When you start creating assets unique to your business (video, surveys, data sets, or online tools), it can be hard for others to replicate it. Compare that to if you did a series of generic guest posts or leveraged a linkable asset everyone has already seen before; someone could pull up your link profile and copy it, and they could probably get on a lot of the same sites too.

Moreover, something like a guest post or a scholarship link isn’t going to drive a direct sale necessarily. Yes, you’ll get link equity and some brand awareness, but when you create useful content, targeted at your right audience’s needs, you’re more likely to generate sales of your service or product in the long run.

The big issue about being more strategic with your link building, and investing in content, is quite simply the cost. It does cost more in time, research, and financial investment. Although your cost-per-link will go up, it’s still worth investing in that type of content, as you’ll eventually have a solid content strategy in place and will generate better quality links moving forward.

Do something different

If you want to have the most efficient method of building links, you’re going to have to get more strategic about how you’re building them. Thinking about the kind of tools, content, or assets you could create for your audience–which fulfills a need, interest, or solves a problem–is a much better course of action.

Yes, you can, to some extent, get ideas from looking at competitors or successful companies in adjacent industries, and see what they use to attract links. However, don’t settle for what everyone else is doing, nor jump on the latest link building technique you’ve read. Instead, think about how your business and website can stand out and use that as a foundation to build out your long-term strategy.

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Amit operates Amit Digital Marketing – a link building agency that focuses on building high quality, “white hat” links for their clients.

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