Top Link-Building Perspectives As We Approach 2024.

Oh, link building – that age-old companion of ours. It might just be one of the most enigmatic SEO strategies of the last twenty years. Some website administrators steer clear of it, while others make in-house attempts with mixed results. Meanwhile, many opt for the services of an external agency, crossing their fingers for success.


But what is the optimal strategy to adopt? Who should play a role in this endeavor? Is it worth the effort at all? The answers to these questions are contingent on various factors, but as we bid farewell to 2023, there are a multitude of techniques to contemplate and pitfalls to avoid.


Avoiding guest blogging for link acquisition.

Let’s begin here. Were you aware that guest blog posts, as a method for building links, run counter to Google’s guidelines? This should be common knowledge at this point, but regrettably, it often isn’t.


After my recent attendance at Pubcon last month, I found it somewhat astonishing that most SEO experts I conversed with seemed unaware of this fact. Even more surprising was the number of service providers openly promoting their ability to acquire thousands of links each month from their network of bloggers.


Google has been unequivocal on this matter in recent years, introducing a link spam update explicitly aimed at this practice and emphasizing that such links offer no lasting value.


Certainly, one could utilize a no-follow or sponsored link attribute to stay within the rules, but without any real ranking benefit, is it genuinely worthwhile?


The allure of guest posting for link acquisition is undeniable – securing links from ostensibly “relevant” content and websites at an appealing cost is a tempting proposition.


Regrettably, the primary beneficiaries of guest posting as a link-building tactic are often the agencies offering it, rather than their clients.


Guest posting is essentially a quantity-driven endeavor, scalable to a considerable degree, allowing any provider of this service to offer a nearly unlimited supply.


However, this approach often does a disservice to clients seeking success, as it enmeshes them in a network of blogs willing to link to anyone with a few dollars to spare.


At best, it results in the squandering of budget and time. At worst, it introduces links of this nature into your overall link profile, potentially leading to further issues in the future.

The importance of links in 2024?

Recently, Google’s Gary Illyes discussed the role of links in ranking (you can find a concise summary by Danny Goodwin here), emphasizing that Google’s primary ranking factor is content, not links.


To a large extent, we concur with this viewpoint. The landscape of ranking has evolved significantly over the past two decades, and today, low-quality websites and subpar content cannot solely rely on their link profiles to secure rankings. Those days are long gone.


From a content perspective, the fundamentals remain essential. Keywords and related phrases must be present on the page, and the content should fulfill user intent to earn and sustain rankings. Ideally, you should go above and beyond to ensure your content is of the highest quality for any given topic, making it inherently deserving of a high rank.


However, the question arises: how can such content be discovered without the assistance of links, particularly in highly competitive industries?


Gary cited an example of an obscure Porsche car resource ranking without the reliance on links (though he didn’t specify the keyword or URL). But is it conceivable to achieve the same outcome when targeting competitive, high-value, high-traffic commercial keywords?


Can a page focused on subjects like credit cards, web hosting, or even a local law firm ascend in the rankings without the support of links? We would argue that it’s highly unlikely, and we believe most SEO professionals would concur with this assessment.


Perhaps the contrarian perspective here assumes that Google is aiming to discourage webmasters from dedicating time to acquiring low-quality links (as mentioned in the case of “guest posting”) and generating a deluge of link spam that their algorithm then has to grapple with.


Instead, Google seems to prefer that businesses and website owners prioritize enhancing the quality of their websites and content to offer the best experience for users.


In that respect, we are in complete agreement.


Integrating outreach endeavors with your content approach.

Instead of supplying content to external websites in exchange for a backlink, shift your focus towards creating valuable content assets on your own website’s blog or learning center.


Unless your website is widely recognized as a genuine resource, relying on sourcing links to your SEO landing pages is unlikely to be a sustainable strategy. There’s a limited number of reputable sites that will link to commercial pages. Therefore, you should use informative, value-driven content on your site as bait to consistently earn links.


These linkable assets can take various forms, such as resource articles, data-driven infographics, interactive calculators, and more.


For example, if you’re in the car insurance lead generation business, you can create a visual map of the most perilous roads in America or compile a research article on DWI statistics. Then, pitch these resources to local news outlets in the cities or towns mentioned in each piece.


Are you an online fashion retailer? Offer content explaining where people can recycle or donate their old clothes, or delve into the environmental impact of different fabrics. Next, inform local governments and non-profit organizations about your valuable resource.


As a B2B SaaS company, you could interview subject-matter experts on industry trends or produce resource pieces for college students aspiring to enter your field. Share this content with industry publications and universities.


Regardless of your industry or target audience, there are always ways to identify and execute such opportunities as the foundation of your link-building strategy.


This approach will enable you to conduct outreach to a more authentic audience for link acquisition, encompassing universities, government bodies, non-profits, industry associations, trade publications, news outlets, and other valuable link prospects across the web.


Implementing link building correctly through content creation and subsequent outreach can be a demanding task. Nevertheless, the consistent and impactful links obtained through this approach are crucial for some industries to maintain competitiveness.


But what if you lack a dedicated outreach team to prospect on a daily basis?


Whenever possible, seek out opportunities for resourceful and evergreen content around keyword clusters and user intent with high search volumes. Create valuable content related to these keywords to naturally earn links over time without the need to actively request them.


For instance, if you sell bedding, you might be surprised at the monthly search volume for queries related to mattress stain removal. Create the best possible page on this topic and similar subjects.


Remember the significance of internal linking and how you can leverage your website’s link equity to enhance your rankings across your entire array of keywords.


In Conclusion

Over the last decade or more, the practice of link building has evolved into link earning. Linking has now become an integral component of SEO strategies, rather than a standalone and uncertain endeavor.


Gone are the days of seeking shortcuts or treating link acquisition as a separate, disconnected activity from your broader digital marketing agency


In highly competitive industries, the often overlooked aspect of maintaining a consistent approach to link acquisition is crucial. This approach always hinges on a foundation of long-term content planning.


SEO leads, strategists, product teams, content creators, digital PR professionals, and link builders collaborate to devise a strategy that ensures engaging content consistently garners authentic citations. 


By doing so, your website and its content will be recognized as the trusted authority in your field, increasing the likelihood of maintaining enduring search result rankings.


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