The SEO industry is facing a strange problem. Everyone seasoned web marketer around knows that the traditional ways of website optimization are slowly fading.
If you attend a seminar or search conference you will come to realize that most SEO’s discuss the importance of doing ‘real marketing’ (or RCS in the case of Wil Reynolds) and advising to start to lean away from traditional SEO methods. However, nobody seems to actually spell out ‘real marketing’ in plain and simple English what this ‘real stuff’ is and how other people can undertake their own ‘real marketing’.
So far, ‘real marketing’ seems to be confined to guest blogging, submitting infographics to external websites and a couple of other basic methods. We are just going round and round hoping to achieve something remarkable but in the end, it’s pretty easy to end up building crappy links for our clients.
$200 Guaranteed SEO projects. Really?
There really are still clients around who live in dreamland and believe that SEO’s possess the magic wand of Harry Potter. They strongly believe that they can pay peanuts and SEO’s can help them draw thousands of visitors to their websites. The days of cheap SEO should be drawing to a close thanks to the slew of updates from the house of Google, the realization is dawning on both clients and SEO professionals that just spamming the web is not the way ahead and is becoming less and less likely to work.
As soon as these clients are out of the $200 comfort zone, they are gripped by paroxysms of spasm. They find themselves clueless as to what to do to make their website search engine friendly and how to rise above other competitors in search results. All they have up their sleeve is bad SEO methods and have a limited knowledge of anything substantial. They have been doing the same spammy link building techniques for years, they cannot comprehend anything beyond that.
The changing landscape
We should embrace change and accept the fact that the search industry has evolved a lot after the Penguin and Panda updates. Scores of websites with crappy links have been relegated to the nothingness. Very few of these websites have recovered after Google’s onslaught while the majority of them are still reeling under penalties.
It has become all the more difficult to build links that don’t have the potential to deliver a penalty. It should not just be about building links anymore, the concept of marketing has evolved into earning links, which is unquestionably far more effective when it comes to establishing brand image. There are no shortcuts in SEO anymore and if there are – they are more than likely too good to be true.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to be able to build these ‘almost’ natural links but they aren’t always easy to build. Having said that, they are certainly worth a shot given their immense benefits. I have put together some creative link building strategies that do work and that can probably help you emerge as a better SEO who knows how to cope with the changing online marketing landscape:
1. Guest blogging for visitors:
Remember the good old days when people treat guest blogging as an opportunity to connect with audience and (believe it or not) actually send visitors. They feel honored to be featured on popular blogs and share their views with a larger audience. The good old days are gone; rarely do SEO’s treat guest blogging as an opportunity to get acquainted with new people and building relationships, rather they treat them as a golden opportunity to get a Link. Once the post goes live on the host site they never come back. This one-night stand method might not actually do much good anymore because you would have thought it would be quite easy for the search engines to track the pattern. Guest blogging might have been working fine for your brand and your rankings might be stable but things are sure to change a lot in future algorithm updates. Considering that the next generation Penguin algorithm update has just hit us, you should change your guest blogging strategy now before it could be too late. Bring back the good old days and write for an audience and not a link. Make your guest blog natural and add a few links to high profile relevant websites. Use your real name and add a link to your Google Plus. Transparency should be key.
2. Get interviewed
Interviewing is a great to make people aware of who you are and your achievements. Did I mention that it gives you an opportunity to get a link back from the Interviewer’s site? It is one of those few natural link-building processes that I strongly believe will stand the test of time.
3. Don’t be a grumpy guy
The link earning process should be fun instead of being such a serious business. You have to be lighthearted in your approach to earn natural links. Memes are great a way to get noticed and maybe even get some links, although my personal favorite is a decent April fool’s joke. Did you notice how well Google stirs things up with some mind-blowing April fool pranks?
4. Crazy Video
Videos are still the most powerful medium. If not, we would not have witnessed the mind-freaking moves of Psy. The reason behind its immense success lies in its awkwardness, crazy moves and a funky style that people rarely see. Why not do the same? Do a crazy video with your employees and you never know, you might hit the red carpet next season. Even if that never happens, you can be rest assured that this video is going to help you build links.
5. Exploit the Power of Images
It is surprising that despite the rise of Pinterest and other similar platforms, no one seems to be exploiting the immense power of image marketing. Personally, I don’t mind giving a link back to the original creator of an image while using it within posts on my blog and could potentially mean that you might end up earning some really great quality links without stepping foot in shady areas.
6. Embrace Google Plus
Whether you like it or not, Google Plus is here to stay. It will play a huge part in Google’s ranking factors at some point in the future and jumping on the train now might just enhance your reputation. Build relationships, join communities, get involved with other SEO’s and make sure when you post your articles on other websites that you add a back link to your Google Plus profile. And to do all these, you also need access to some cool social media tools and platforms. Your Google Plus profile page – just like any other page on any other domain – has a Page Rank. You can use this PR to help build links using your own Google Plus posts.