Writing by Nick Stamoulis in Link Building
Within the overall topic of online marketing, content marketing and link building are typically listed as two separate online marketing or SEO tactics. Really though, there is nothing separate about these two. Content marketing is link building and vice versa.
The two are still listed as separate entities because this wasn’t always the case. Link building has evolved over the years. In the early days of SEO nearly any link that you could get to a site had value. Link exchanges and “link farms” were common. All it really involved was the link itself. Directory submissions were also quite common. All a directory listing entailed was a link to the site and a brief description. It was possible to generate links without putting too much effort in and content wasn’t really part of the equation at all.
However, as time has gone on the search engine algorithms have become much more sophisticated. Just having a backlink to your site from another web property doesn’t hold the value that it used to hold. The search engines want to provide users with the best possible experience which means that they are trying to “think” more and more like users. It’s no longer about pleasing a nameless faceless search engine spider. It’s now about pleasing actual target audience members in order to get your website to rank in the search engines.
One way that the search engines are improving search results is by paying attention to what is being shared in social media. “Social signals” are now a very important SEO ranking factor. So, in order to succeed it’s necessary to create web pages that will be shared (and linked to). Are people going to share a link to a directory listing? Doubtful. What about a product page on your site? Maybe, but probably not. A press release? Possibly. How about a blog post or a video that is interesting, informative, and speaks to their needs without being promotional? Now we’re talking!
The proper way to build links in today’s SEO landscape is by forgetting about the term “link building”. The best links to attain today are the ones that occur naturally based on content that is created, published, and shared.
If you own or operate a business website, it’s important to understand that content doesn’t begin and end with the static pages of your website. People are looking for more than that today and the search engines understand this. Perhaps the best way to become a content creator (and to build inbound links over time) is to create a business blog as a part of the website. A business blog that is updated frequently establishes your business as a thought leader, adds additional pages that can be crawled and indexed, and can help fuel a social media strategy.
While it can still be beneficial to submit information to niche directories to build links, the primary focus of link building today should be content driven. Links that occur naturally by others linking to you hold much more value.