Link building

5 biggest misconceptions about building links that keep coming back


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A few months ago, I was speaking at a large, well-known digital marketing conference. Apart from me there were several other popular link builders, some of whom also offer paid courses.

One of these experts shared a case study of how he generated NNN links and achieved solid organic traffic growth to his site.

During a question-and-answer session, he was asked how he managed to persuade so many people to give him a connection. His response was, “People were happy to give us a link because we were promoting their content on our social media. “

At first I thought I misheard the guy because I knew it didn’t work exactly that way.

We’ve spent the last few years mostly bonding and I can hardly imagine anyone who would be happy to trade a link for a social share.

So it made me think:

  • How many more damaging misconceptions are circulating on blogs and social media?
  • How many people are wasting their time and money trying to follow these inaccurate recommendations?

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With that thought in mind, I decided to put together the most common misconceptions about bonding that I constantly come across in my daily work.

Misconception 1: don’t bother linking – if your content is truly engaging and insightful, the links will come

Of course, great content deserves links.

But then why do most of the content not get any links?

If you take any average blog and check how many links each of their posts has, you’ll probably see something like this:

Here I sorted the posts by number of links and out of 120 of them only a few had more than 5 referring domains.

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By the way, the second post in the list is provided by me and the reason it has so many links is that I have deliberately invested the time in creating them.

In fact, I contribute to quite a few blogs and love to refer to them in my other guest posts.

That being said, small and medium-sized sites aren’t the only ones struggling to acquire links.

Even popular blogs with a decent number of readers struggle to gain links organically, as they are called.

5 biggest misconceptions about building links that keep coming back

As you can see, 15 is the most links a coschedule.com post could get, and it’s actually not that bad if you know how things work in the industry.

Misconception 2: It doesn’t matter if you buy or earn links

Many of my clients don’t see the difference between a earned link and a purchased link.

To them, a link is a link, no matter how they got it.

Here I must note that this is a very slippery slope.

Links earned are a great long term investment. They gain in value over time as the sites that gave them to you increase their DR scores and organic traffic.

That is, a link obtained on a site with a DR score of 39 gains more weight once its DR score reaches, say, 51.

Regarding purchased links, you cannot be sure what will happen to the referring site in the future.

First of all, you need to understand that if they link you to a lot of other websites. So, it is not known if (or more likely when) they will be penalized by Google.

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Also, the price per link built and bought is currently at the same level, so there is no sense in buying links, especially in the long term.

Misconception 3: The best links come from digital PR campaigns

This statement is my personal “favorite”. I know a lot of people who are willing to sign a 30,000 PR deal in order to make some top notch connections.

If you’re one of them, I have to ask you this: Have you thought about the limits of digital PR?

Here are a few, to get started:

  • You get links only on the media. That is, there won’t be links from niche blogs and business sites that are usually, let’s face it, more relevant to your business.
  • You link to your main page or to a page with PR content. Normally people want to improve the ranking of their existing pages, but with a PR campaign, this is rarely possible.

What’s more, and most importantly, the price of a link acquired in a digital PR campaign is skyrocketing.

Long story short: many stars must align for you to get a substantial ROI in a PR campaign.

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Misconception 4: The best way to build links is to create guest blogs

Even though I regularly guest blog myself, I strongly disagree with the claim that this strategy may be the only way to get links.

How many guest posts can you produce on a monthly basis?

20? 30 ?

One person cannot do everything.

Sooner or later you will start to think about outsourcing production, which brings a whole new set of challenges.

But that mainly brings us to the next question:

How many of those guest posts will actually be a good read?

Remember that all of them will be associated with your brand, that is, the reputation risks are as high as possible.

Here are the issues I see with guest posting:

  • If you want to get it right and produce quality content, the price of a guest post is way above average. Even if you create quality posts, it’s absolutely impossible to scale them, which means you won’t be linking enough.
  • For all your effort and time spent finding the right blog, building relationship with a publisher, etc., you’ll only get one link per post. Not too huge of a return on investment, right?

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However, there are several things to optimize to streamline this process. If you’re curious about more, I’ve listed them in my guest blogging post The Right Way.

Misconception # 5: Accessing Relevant Blogs Is The Right Way To Secure Links

If only it was true!

Here’s a quick exercise for you: google “how to link” and calculate how many blogs recommend submitting sites relevant to your content in order to link.

I guess that’s all.

Now here is the sad truth:

The response rate for such a pitch will be around 8%, according to a study by Brian Dean, one of the industry’s most experienced link building theorists.

Also, a response does not equal a constructed link, which means the bottom row number will be even smaller.

In my opinion, the game is not worth the candle.

If you want to create a decent number of links, you will need to send thousands of emails which can turn your link building campaign into a spam campaign.

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That’s why we prefer to connect with the people who are relevant to our client’s brand first. It requires a lot of networking online and offline, but leads to exceptional results.

People who know you and your brand are much more eager to respond to your link building pitch.

You should never forget the relevance of the content of the site to what you are presenting. The closer the subjects are, the easier it will be to make the connection.

Summary

Link building is a holistic task that requires a lot of specific practical skills.

More than that, it is constantly evolving: Current tactics are becoming obsolete as practitioners invent new, more effective ways of bonding.

However, the digital trace of old practices is still there, reproducing misconceptions.

Even industry experts fail to tell the difference between a real work tactic and a popular lie.

So, stay alert and keep educating yourself on the most effective way to bond.

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Image credits

Featured Image: Created by Author, January 2020
All screenshots taken by author, January 2020

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