Cra… pardon, “outdated” Link Building techniques

In Link Building by Marius Badenhorst

With all the various articles on how “SEO is evil” or “SEO doesn’t work” etc etc news that crop up occasionally (especially Jill Whalen’s “Most of SEO is boondoggle” article) I’ve had the urge to rip apart the monthly promotional/link building tactics some  SEO companies still pitch to clients, especially when they make a big fuss about these crap stupid “outdated” link building techniques, which mislead clients (looking at a competitor’s proposal to a client right now and shaking my head) and any newbies entering  the SEM market.

For example:

Search Engine Submissions

Firstly, we cannot really call this a link building technique; I’m not sure what to call this activity at all besides completely outdated and useless. We have 4 (perhaps 3 soon) top search engines in our market, excluding the likes of Baidu in China (and a few others in foreign markets), so why on earth would anyone need to submit a website to any other search engines when the overall market share is dominated by currently 4 search engines? Any SEM worth his or her salt knows there is no need for this (please do a little bit of research into how the search engines crawl and index web pages). If you are still promoting this kind of activity as part of your service or to clients, let’s meet outside in 10 minutes, I’ll be bringing a spade to knock some sense into you.

Article Distribution

I’m specifically referring to the mass submission of the same content piece to a large number of ezine article sites. Have you ever really seen an increase in rankings for your targeted phrases that you can isolate as resulting from ezine submissions (and be truly honest with yourself)? Have you ever spent time working on a well thought out author bio instead of just whacking in the links? I need to add a bit of clarification here as well, mass submissions don’t work. If you’re using submissions with the intent of achieving rankings, you’re barking up the wrong tree. But if you’re getting some traffic off a unique article that’s served with a bit of creative flair you may be onto something.

Reciprocal Links

Oh boy, where to start? How many high quality, authority websites do we see nowadays that have a “links” page with an insane amount of links, ranging from fairly relevant to ‘what were you smoking when you decided  those sites were relevant’. There has been a dramatic decrease in the number of websites that still participate in reciprocal link exchanges. We know the value of this type of exchange is less than sourcing  one-way relevant links (and I’m not referring to 3-way link exchanges here The quality of  links from reciprocal linking is just plain terrible and the sheer volume needed to achieve any form of ranking to drive traffic is insane. You keep your 10 000 low quality reciprocal links; I’ll keep my 5 or so high quality one-way links.

Directory Submissions

There are a few directories (paid directories that is) that can play a role in your link building strategy; however, submitting to any directory you find in the hopes of gaining links to help with rankings is a lost cause. Not sure what I’m on about? In 2007 SEOmoz did a great write up on directory links and penalties. Don’t forget the role of anchor text in your link work, and then take a few minutes to let that sink in before you jump back into your directory submissions.

There are so many new and creative ways of sourcing links for websites. Those still stuck in the past with outdated tactics really need to take a step back and rethink their approach and the value they are actually offering clients. Each time these “link building techniques” get pitched to clients, SEO’s are not educating clients but misinforming them, and contributing to the SEO industry’s lingering bad rep.

There are many other “outdated” link tactics out there, so leave a comment with your point of view or just rant. For those members of the mob with the pitchforks and torches my home address is…. Sorry, my mobile battery is running low… not sure if you got all that 🙂

About the Author

Marius Badenhorst