I had the pleasure of speaking at The Sunday Business Post SEO Masterclass last week in Dublin alongside Alan Coleman of Wolfgang Digital, John Ring of Tinderpoint and Sandra Hennessy of Be Dynamic.

I wanted to focus my talk around link building as there’s a belief by many in the industry at the moment that it’s not as important as it once was. While the general consensus is that the value of great content will continue to increase (and rightfully so), it’s typically the industry practitioners that have been negatively impacted by Google’s algorithmic changes that are shouting loudest about SEO being dead. In order to ensure that as marketers we’re focusing on link building as a future-proof approach of increasing our audiences, I talked through 4 vital ingredients which I believe are important.

Focus on Traffic: Build Your Audience and not just Links

As SEOs, we’ve long been focusing our efforts on building links from authoritative websites due to the value these links bring about in terms of link equity. However, we’ve fallen into the trap of ignoring the importance of building our audience through getting our content placed on websites with readership similar to our own.

When you’re starting out with a new website or being faced with the challenge of extending the reach of your content when you’ve little traffic, it’s important to understand where your target audience currently lives. You need to identify not only the strength of this website in terms of domain authority, but the benefit your content will gain if it resides here in terms of social shares, engagement, referral traffic and increased brand awareness for your business.

Build Relationships: Help Your Customers and Fellow Industry Practitioners

No matter what algorithmic changes are made by Google, the importance of building relationships with both your customers and fellow industry practitioners can’t be understated. As SEOs, we’ve long been focused on making technical changes to our website (on-page SEO) and building links from authoritative websites (off-page SEO), but we’ve forgotten about what’s important. If Google decided to discount the value of links in the future,  it will be the relationships we’ve built with our customers which will keep them coming back to our websites. It will also be the relationships we’ve built with fellow industry practitioners which will open up opportunities to promote our content.

No matter what business you work for in the future, the relationships you build with people will follow you if you nurture them and be selfless with your time when asked for help.

Identify What Works: What Content Currently Ranks and Attracts Links?

So you have a rough idea of what topic you want to write content about? I’m a big fanatic of BuzzSumo due to the ability to identify competitors content that has attracted attention via social media and then using Open Site Explorer to pull in the backlink metrics for each article to see what websites have linked to it.

While this approach will help you to see what has worked best for competitors, the volume of new content being created on a daily basis has meant that simply copying others will never allow you to stand out from the crowd. BuiltVisible are a great example of an agency that understands the importance of going the extra step in content creation by doing something no one else has dared to do before.

Focus on the User. Every Time.

Never ever forget about the user. It’s what Google is focused on and it’s what we’re being punished for every time we forget them (Google Panda and Penguin). If you’re creating content or link building, ask yourself whether you’re doing this to simply game search engines or whether you perceive your actions will have a positive impact on the people you’re trying to reach out to.

Want to learn more about link building? Come along to the next Learn Inbound event in Dublin to upskill your inbound marketing knowledge. At each event, we have a panel of leading industry experts presenting actionable tips and advice that YOU can use in your job the next day. Hope to see you at the next event 🙂

Mark Scully

I'm Learn Inbound's co-founder, a geek and introvert at heart. When I'm not busying myself with inbound marketing, I'm relaxing with my Netflix account and a strong cup of coffee.

All articles by Mark Scully

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