Link building

CommerceCo Recap: SEO Link Building Is Difficult

One of the most important search engine optimization techniques is link building. It is fundamental and essential. Just about every successful business venture wants or needs to make connections, but it’s hard to do well.

Plus, there is no easy way to “hack” link building. It won’t scale like other SEO or marketing tactics.

Link quality

What you might call “tactical bonding” was once relatively easy to do. There were even services for it – pay a monthly fee and links would appear. You can also participate in a link exchange.

But a lot of those bought or traded links didn’t make much sense. For example, does a link from a blog on the hook to an eCommerce site selling comics make sense? Probably not, but it’s the kind of connection that might have appeared in the past.

Buying links (and not tagging them as paid) or exchanging links to improve a site’s ranking in search engines is a violation of Google’s policies and not recommended by other search engines as well.

“The way I think of links is the way Google has always thought of links – the ‘editorial link’ was what they were looking for,” Bill Sebald, founder of Greenlane Search Marketing, explained during a live on the 13th. May 2021. stream for CommerceCo by Practical Ecommerce.

An editorial link makes sense in the context. An example is this article on linking, where I linked (above) to Google’s policies on buying links or exchanging links. Another example would be a comic book price trends article, linked to an online store selling comics.

Editorial links, Sebald continued, are a clue to Google. They show the search engine which pages are popular for a given topic not because of the exchange or purchase of links, but because of the quality of the content on the page. So an editorial link is a better link.

In the past, Sebald said, some companies bought links to trick Google. But the search engine’s algorithms are too good for this kind of lazy effort to work anymore. Therefore, SEO link building takes a lot of work because every link should be worthy.

Difficult to scale

The fact that SEO links cannot be easily created also means that SEO link building is relatively more difficult to scale, said James Wirth, senior director of strategy and growth marketing at Citation Labs. Wirth was also speaking on the aforementioned live stream from CommerceCo.

“We would all love to hack link building, but it’s really [done] one link at a time, ”Wirth said. “We can’t just do it programmatically; it requires human intervention … especially the style [of SEO link building] we do – by focusing on the landing pages, sales pages and local pages where the links have the most impact.

Worth doing

Having established that SEO link building is difficult, Wirth and Sebald have encouraged businesses to do it and do it well.

Sometimes doing the tough stuff is the key to competitive advantage.

Creating compelling content, especially landing page content or product detail page content, isn’t easy. It will be difficult to find and contact site owners and show them why it makes sense for their business to link to your product page or landing page.

If you are not strategic about the process it is even more difficult.

But link building could be that SEO technique that your competition doesn’t because it’s difficult.

Link building

Now that you understand that SEO link building is difficult and can give you an edge, give this approach a try.

  • Understand your topic in context. Think about the page you want to promote. In the context, how is this topic used? When does anyone need help on this topic? What sort of things could a site post on the subject?
  • Identify the “citable” elements. What about content worth linking to? What is quotable? How does this quotable item relate to the context of your topic? If nothing is quotable, what can you add?
  • Select sites carefully. Don’t just ask for links on every site that publishes guest posts. Spend time understanding why the submitted link or article would benefit the publisher. How does the subject of your content make sense to the site and its audience (answer to last step), and how do you articulate this offer?
  • Make a meaningful connection. Contact the publisher not with spam or an email template, but in a personal and specific manner. For example, consider calling the editor to pitch an idea for a story rather than just sending an email with a “guest message.”


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