What Your Link Building Strategy Should Look Like in 2014

Online Marketing

Links are an important part of Google’s organic ranking algorithm.  In fact, the most effective way to create visibility at the search pages is through building links.

However, the Penguin updates that put a fork into low quality links shook up the once lucrative realm of link building.

One major mistake online marketers make is looking at links as an end in itself instead of a strategy to promote great content or a great product. In essence, building your brand and your reputation should be your main objective when it comes to your link building strategy.

So, is it worth it to incorporate link marketing into your overall digital marketing plan? The answer is yes. But it is important to have a different outlook on what building backlinks in 2014 is all about.

link buildingEarned Backlinks through Online Thought Leadership

A shift from ‘link building’ to ‘link earning’ is imperative. Faced with eminent Google penalties and ongoing updates, building backlinks is no longer about engaging in link schemes. Google’s PageRank algorithm places more emphasis on earned editorial links as a measure of reputation, authority and social proof. Acquiring editorial backlinks obviously requires a lot of input in content creation, to encourage authority sites to link naturally to your content. In 2014, going forward, development of outstanding content will be at the heart of link earning.

Looking At The Grand Scheme Of Things

As mentioned earlier, one of the reasons for Google’s growing concern about link building is using backlinks as a marketing goal. Undoubtedly, backlinks are an essential aspect of inbound marketing. But it should be just that—an aspect. Making link building a metric or a goal in itself rather sidetracks marketers from the real objective of this inbound strategy. The real objective here is branding and reputation building.  Looking at backlinks as a linear process that includes building links – ranking at the SERPs – Obtaining traffic – Enjoying Profits is quite flawed. Your link building strategy should incorporate a variety of techniques such as social media marketing, PR marketing, guest blogging, article marketing, outreach campaigns etc. With such a multifaceted approach, webmasters are less likely to run afoul with Google penalties.

Having the end user in mind in the Hummingbird Era

Hummingbird not only changed SEO. The update also has several implications for link building. Pre-Penguin, webmasters would obtain backlinks from contextually unrelated sites that offered little value to readers. In the wake of Hummingbird, semantic-search algorithms have modified the search experience, allowing users to access contextually relevant results. Hummingbird ranks highly those sites that offer contextually useful content. If you choose to manually building links, an important question to ask is whether the links will be valuable to your target audience. Contextual relevance should guide your link building strategy, to improve user experience.

link buildingTrying A More Comprehensive Link Building Formula

Other than looking at backlinking as a linear process, some marketers also adopt rigid link building strategies. Instead of obsessing over the number of links that should be exact matches, partial exact matches or branded, it is best to adopt a more holistic approach. Your link building strategy should include a well thought-out content development plan, an effective outreach and joint venture campaign, and participation in social media and other relevant platforms. It is important not to be digressed by the numbers and metrics; this is a sure way to divulge from the true essence of link building.

Admittedly, other factors such authorship and social proof may soon contribute to PageRank. But what is certain, is that link building is the predominant PageRank factor. Knowing how to play within the rules while attaining your marketing goals is the main challenge for marketers in 2014 going forward.

Do you have a link building strategy in 2014?

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