There’s been a lot of discussion recently about link building. Link building has always been a necessary evil in the world of SEO, especially in Local SEO. Personally, I’ve always hated link building. No matter what you’re doing, it always seems shady, because your sole purpose in this endeavor is to generate a link back to your site.
Sure, you can masquerade your link building as “content creation” or “guest blogging”, but, in the end, it’s all about getting that link. We’d all like to think that if we make good, quality content the links will come in all on their own. Unfortunately, that is rarely the case. AS such, we have to go out and help distribute that content to get it in front of other people. We’ve got to submit articles to other sites in hopes that they will actually let us post it on their site. And then we’ve got to hope they’ll actually let us link back to our site, because that’s not ever a given. In most cases, especially for Suburban Marketing clients, we’re producing quality content. We’re writing informative and useful articles. Still, we’ve got to do some good ol’ fashioned link building using that content.
Personally, I wish it was more like Field of Dreams where you simply build it (or write it) and they will come. That does happen. OF course it does. It just doesn’t happen often enough, especially with new sites. So, we get back to link building in its various forms – a necessary evil. However, when Matt Cutts said guest blogging was dead, the SEO world took notice. You see, “guest blogging” is industry code for “link building”. You can spin it however you like, but no matter how good the article, it’s still more about link building than informing. I, for one, am glad Google is looking at guest blogging for what it is. Will it make our jobs even harder? Sure, but it increases the quality of the content you find on the Internet and that’s the end goal.
I was just reading an article on WordStream by Elisa Gabbert that discussed the possible replacements for link building. She makes a solid case for some form of SEO Quality Score similar to the Quality Score already in use in PPC. I like it. Rather than using links to rank content – links that can be questionable in the best of times – Google would use markers that actually matter.
For instance, rather than using links generated from guest blogging, Google might use more pertinent information, like Click Through Rate, Bounce Rate, Time On Page, and number of Social Shares or Comments. You know, things that actually matter.
Will someone figure out ways to manipulate those markers? Of course, but it looks like a more well-rounded approach to valuing content than the current link-based system.