Link Building… Time-intensive. Frustrating. Sometimes confusing. Yet Unavoidable. Because ultimately, it’s still the trump card for higher rankings.
Many of us have been hoping that it would go away. In Brett Tabke’s 5/18 Robots.txt entry, he echoed a sentiment that many, many webmasters hold on to as a hope:
What happens to all those Wavers that think [ i ]Getting Links = SEO[ /i ] when that majority of the Google algo is devalued in various ways? Wavers built their fortunes on “links=seo”. When that goes away, the Wavers have zero to hold on to.
The pertinent questions:
Will link building still be very important for rankings in the medium term?
When will link popularity be devalued in favor of other algo elements (that are less tedious, from a webmaster’s point of view)?
Sorry, but link building is still going to be the SEO trump card for the foreseeable future.
I wouldn’t hold your breath for search engine algorithms to place less importance on link popularity until the Semantic Web arrives, or maybe when HTTP gets replaced by a new protocol. Because links are still the basic connector, the basic relationship, on the Web. And for the foreseeable future they’re going to be the easiest way for a computer program to judge the importance and trustworthiness of a Web page.
What will happen to the way search algorithms score links is already happening. The Google algo has become much more elegant and advanced, devaluing staggering amount of links that shouldn’t count, and placing more emphasis on trusted links. And the trust and juice given by those links is then verified by elements like user data, domain age, and other relatively hard-to-spoof factors.
But please, don’t fool yourself. Links that should count are still the key to rankings (in Google, at least — and MSN and Yahoo! are only a few short years behind). In that spirit, Aaron and I have created our 101 Ways to Build (and Not Build) Links in 2006. (Yeah, it just so happened that there were exactly 101!)
Oh, and mad props to our inspiration, 131 Legitimate Link Building Strategies, one of the original authority documents on link building. It was just getting a bit rusty, that’s all (“Host your own Web Ring”?). Anyway, enjoy the update. It’s guaranteed to be accurate until January 1, 2007. 😉
71 Good Ways to Build Links
Love for Lists
1. Build a “101 list”. These get Dugg all the time, and often become “authority documents”. People can’t resist linking to these (hint, hint).
2. Create 10 easy tips to help you [insert topic here] articles. Again, these are exceptionally easy to link to.
3. Create extensive resource lists for a specific topic (see Mr Ploppy for inspiration).
4. Create a list of the top 10 myths for a specific category.
5. Create a list of gurus/experts. If you impress the people listed well enough, or find a way to make your project look somewhat official, the gurus may end up linking to your site or saying thanks. (Sometimes flattery is the easiest way to strike up a good relationship with an “authority”.)
Developing Authority & Being Easy to Link At best link tracking software
6. Make your content easy to understand so many people can understand and spread your message. (It’s an accessibility thing.)
7. Put some effort in to minimize grammatical or spelling errors, especially if you need authoritative people like librarians to link to your site.