Ask an SEO Expert: Does Link Building Matter in 2019?

About a week ago, I encouraged you to “Ask an SEO Expert” any and all questions. Here’s the one we’re going to cover today:

I used to be a link builder of a number of SEO firms based in the US. Does link building still matter in 2019? If it does, what’s the best link building strategy would you advise for a blogger who doesn’t really understand SEO very well?

Google has not made things easy for SEO bloggers to link build. Why? Because spammers had to muddy the waters with bad links.

Basically, link building started out as a way to share Google juice and/or tell the world about something you thought was amazing. The more inbound links a website received; the more Google recognized the authority of the website.

Google SEO & Link Building

Let’s just say that I find a delicious recipe for vegan lemon poundcake. (The underline represents the link.) I’d send my readers to the recipe site.

Realizing that a recipe, for example, that got shared 100 times was probably a good one, Google would rank these pages higher in the SERPs (search engine results pages.) Great content bought in great links, and a star was born (known as inbound marketing, or content marketing.)

Seeing that Google ranked them higher, folks started paying for links, joining packs of link builders, or playing the system to get themselves more inbound links.

How does an SEO blogger handle this? Linking to authoritative, good-quality sources is a perfectly legitimate concept. Likewise, trying to obtain those organic inbound links is a legitimate practice.

Google is still accounting for how content gets shared. As an SEO blogger, our goal is still to try to get our stuff shared. Plain and simple, right?

The strategy to do so, even if you aren’t a guru of SEO, is still fairly straight-forward.

Create great content

Link to some other great content

Share your great content

Next, you have the option to take your link-building strategy one step further: you can let the people know that you shared their content.

With one daily blogging client, a personal message was sent to each link owner, “Hey, one of our writers linked to your content. Check it out.” This both encouraged website traffic, and gave a polite nod to the content creator that we liked what they wrote enough to recommend it.

You can also quietly stalk the same source (not in a creepy way, just in an, “I see you!” way). Continually share their stuff, comment on their social networks, and become a part of their tribe.

Consider bookmarking 20 blogs you read regularly and returning to them every week to say hello, retweet their posts, and/or comment on Facebook shares.

After a few months, see if they return the favor and link to you. Referred to as link love, those who get it will often start responding and engaging with you.

Ideas for SEO Link-Building

You can write for a high-traffic blog. Typically unpaid, guest posting allows you to put a link to your website into your author profile.

In my case, while writing as an SEO blogger for a high-traffic site, I got quite a few clicks back to my website. The visitors to my website were often likely to opt-in to my free offer and have become part of my mailing list.

Outside the Box Link-Building

While paying for links has long since become poo-pooed, you can offer affiliate partners a part of the sale if they promote you.

Joint ventures are another great way to foster inbound links. Ask your partners to talk about you, you talk about them, life is beautiful.

What’s the key to getting it right?

It’s important your links be authentic. You should only promote things that pertain to your audience in a meaningful way.

For example, when we discussed blogging coaches, I gave you three folks I think are the bee’s knees. Likewise, my friend Geoff lets me write for his amazon product listing optimization weekly magazine once a quarter because he believes in my message

You have to give link love to get link love. Just like any good business relationship, make sure you have one eye on the balance so you never take more than you give.