Life after BackRub: Three Tips for Better Link Building

LinksLink building—adding links on your site in exchange for other sites adding yours—is a long-established SEO technique that goes back to the early days of Google. The search giant referred to it as a “back rub,” and compared it to how scientific and medical papers frequently referenced each other’s research. It was a foundation for how Google ranked sites.

However, as notorious link farms crept in and Google created more complex algorithms to determine the validity of sites you link to, link building hasn’t been as effective or popular—to the point where, recently, John Mueller of Google Switzerland said he’d avoid link building altogether, explaining that it might actually do you more harm than good.

So with back rubs off the table, what’s a site to do to help boost its ranking? Like my mom told me when I was a kid, worry about yourself, not everyone else. Make sure you’re being the best you can be and people will want to be around you. She was right about a lot of things; use her advice when it comes to your site—make it the best it can be.

1. Keep your standards high
While link building is declining, incoming links are still valuable. Make them work harder by creating compelling content people will want to link to—not necessarily lengthy content.

2. Help people out
Seth Godin said the best products solve problems. Apply that to your content. Make sure your content fills a need, solves a problem, or explains something helpful.

3. Be a good sharer
Technically, it’s easy to share content, so keep that in mind when you are creating it. Include an easy-to-grab graphic to make sure your content looks good on Facebook and Pinterest, and consider the length of your headline so that it fits into a tweet with room to spare to allow people to add their own thoughts.

Let's talk more about link building and how it can help (or hurt) your site.

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