Every serious long-term link builder remembers the days when anyone and everyone could be a link builder. Scraping sites, blog comments, and half attempted links could have a positive impact on a site with just a bit of effort. Things were nowhere near as complicated because in those early days SEO was the wild west.
Things are vastly different now. PBN networks, shoddy links, and questionable content don’t work as well anymore, and sometimes don’t work at all. To build links that last, you have to either have a sizeable budget and the ability to research/vet your sources, or you need a bit of creativity.
In this guide, we will undertake the task of answering the following questions:
- What will SEO look like in 2018?
- What did we learn from 2017?
- What basics remain the same?
What can link builders do to stand out and beat their competition?
So, without any further delay, let’s get right into it.
SEO in 2017
Until 2017, we had seen a gradual emergence of blog networks arise as sources for building powerful links that could drastically improve a site’s link profile with their link juice. While it seems like those days are coming to a close, we have to examine why.
First, Google is better than ever at reading the footprint that runs between sites. Small details that previously didn’t matter are harming sites such as:
- Hosting connections that show common ownership between PBN sites.
- Links to spammy sites due to the links obviously being sold to whoever could pay
- Lack of relevance between sites linking to each other.
Each of these details points to a higher amount of focus on relevancy, uniqueness, and quality. The goal of Google is to have search engine results that are not only catered to people but are ultra-relevant with the highest quality gaining prevalence.
There are new ways that Google is allowing higher quality sites to be displayed in search engine results which can influence site’s rankings and traffic.
Link builders that want to have better control over their site’s progress need to focus on user experience first.
Site Organization & Content Quality
Everyone knows that natural link building works best. At the basis for this, it requires your site’s on page SEO and organization to be top tier. Proper interlinking to increase on page site time and positive social signals matter now more than ever.
Your rankings will tank more easily if your site metrics are terrible. Manual review in many cases still plays a part. This means, one of the most important things you can do is plan your editorial calendar and choose which content you create and put out.
If your content is littered with crap, poor writing, uninspiring ideas, and doesn’t get natural links to it, it won’t flourish.
There are two types of content:
- Linkbait & Pillars
- Placeholder Content
Linkbait & Pillars either build attention or simply inform your audience of something that they find interesting and would find necessary. These are articles that have thorough research and when shared, inspire others to share it. These articles get everything from low-level links to high-end links due to the apparent research that went into creating them.
Linkbait articles garner attention and are infectious in how they evoke an emotional response, which is great for social signals, traffic, and more that Google uses to rank your site based on quality.
The Actual Link Building Process We Recommend
To put it simply, focusing on high-quality blog comments, forum, and social page discussion, and outreach are the keys to a successful year. These bring traffic and quality links to your site. But, without going into too much detail in this post (we are saving that for another post), the real key is that it brings a diverse link profile.
Instead of it being the result of an obviously skewed link campaign when google crawls it and notices all of the PR/DR of links are concentrated in a high-end area, this strategy brings links of all kinds that seem to be more on a natural bell curve.
The result, is it appearing more natural to search engines, and thus positively influencing your site.
So to review:
- Quality Onpage Optimization
- High-quality content
- Social Media Traffic (Signals & Links)
- A Diverse Link Profile