Forget Link Building — My Best Link Earning Strategies for post-Google Penguin World

Link Earning and Authority Building for Savvy Digital Marketing Practitioners

I cringe whenever I hear digital marketers, SEO managers, or start-up people talk about “link building” as their best SEO strategy. Why? These well-meaning folks are stuck in the 2012, pre-Google Penguin mentality. They don’t understand how getting visibility for a website, be it for a small company, a large brand, or a start-up, works in the post Google-Penguin, machine learning world.

Don’t Take my Word for it — Examples of Enterprise Link Building Gone Wrong are Numerous:

Image via MOZ

It’s really hard to mess things up when “building links” for a major enterprise website, thanks to all the existing link and brand equity of the site. However, it is certainly easy to derail your SEO efforts when trying to “build links” for a smaller website.

The funny thing is that even some experienced SEOs still rely on the “old school” link building and SEO tactics. This becomes evident when you hear them talk about “link building”. Not only that, but even some truly seasoned SEOs working on large, enterprise-level websites with a lot of brand and link equity, often resort to various misguided link building tactics.

Don’t Take my Word for itExamples of Enterprise Link Building Gone Wrong are Numerous:

So, what are some proven and creative ways to establish long-term topical authority for a website and gain a lot of natural links, without having to resort to questionable and dangerous “link building” tactics?

Right off the Batt: Natural Links are Still SEO Gold, But…

Natural aka organic links are still an integral and vital part of Google Search algorithm, and getting that coveted page one visibility in Google, often means that you have to find a way to earn a few good links to those critical site pages and important pieces of content. — But (and it’s an important but), it’s link earning, not “link building” that will ultimately carry the day in the post-penguin, machine learning world, where unnatural linking patterns are easily detected.

Image via Grow Map

Don’t get me wrong, there are still a few good online resources and even some, ahem, well-ranked topical directories where you can get quality links for a website in pretty much any industry, as long as you’re willing to do a bit of digital digging and competitive research.

What separates real digital marketers from amateurs is the ability to orchestrate and execute a sound, long-term vision for topical authority building and ongoing link earning, not the grandeur of their organizational titles.

So, How Do I Earn Links in a Way that is Natural? Links that Point to Pages that Matter Most

Image via MOZ

1. Publish Content that will Knock their Socks Off and Earn Links

My best tip for creating content that will continuously earn links is to create targeted content that is beyond helpful — the kind of content that will knock your socks off in terms of its value, helpfulness, and presentation. — This applies not only to your evergreen content, but also to your newsworthy content, case studies, compelling stories, cool projects, etc.

Here is what Rand Fishkin, the Wizard of Moz, has to say about creating the kind of content that will rise above the noise:

Rand has a name for that exceptional content we all want to publish: “10x content.”

“What is 10x content?” Rand explains:

“We can’t just say, ‘Hey, I want to be as good as the top 10 people in the search results for this particular keyword term or phrase.’ We have to say, ‘How can I create something 10 times better than what any of these folks are currently doing?’ That’s how we stand out.” Rand Fishkin

“Luckily, Rand offers many solid ideas on How to Create 10x Content. He first explains the criteria for 10x content — and how it should make the reader feel — then offers four steps to create it.” Michele Linn

2. Ever Heard of FlipBoard? Yes, You Can Use FlipBoard to Drive Lots of Free Traffic to Your Content

Promoting your best content not only on your regular social media channels like Twitter and Facebook, but also tapping into the top content distribution hubs like FlipboardReddit, and others can give your best content the kind of exposure it deserves, which incidentally may also lead to links. 😉

What the Heck is FlipBoard Anyways?

” Flipboard originally started as a magazine-style feed on your tablet and has transformed into one of the top resources for content discovery on multiple devices: smartphones, tablets and desktops.”

“Using Flipboard for personal reasons can be addicting. (Think  Pinterest for long-form content and news stories.) But what’s amazing is its ability to drive traffic to your organization’s website or blog. With more than 100 million monthly users, Flipboard is taking content curation to the next level.” Joe Dudeck

Did you know? FlipBoard can deliver thousands of visitors to your article.

“After applying all the tips mentioned in this post, I managed to drive 3K+ traffic on a single given day. See below screenshot for proof & read on to do it for your blog” Harsh Agrawal

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5 Deadly Decision Making Bias and Mental Traps That Kill Startups – Lessons from the Trenches

The status-quo trap is a common decision-making bias that often leads otherwise smart and accomplished business people, fearless startup founders, and decision makers of all stripes to making a decision that perpetuates the status quo, whether on the team, product, or company level.

Decision makers who are trapped in the status quo mentality (they are often not aware of it) tend to make “safe” decisions and will only consider alternatives that don’t violate the status quo.

Consider the example of Kodak, a once prominent maker of optical zoom cameras, that refused to see digital cameras as an emerging and disruptive technology and an alternative to the status quo. Refusing to embrace this new technology has resulted in a great missed opportunity for Kodak and ultimately lead to bankruptcy protection filing for the company.

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