Link building without links—the future?

The last 18 months or so have seen the SEO playing field change dramatically, and one of the key changes is in relation to link building. Once the core part of any SEO campaign, link building has come under scrutiny in the wake of Google’s algorithm changes and doesn’t hold as much weight as it once did—in fact, link building done wrong could do more harm than good with poor-quality, spammy techniques meaning you’re instantly in Google’s bad books whilst the possibility of negative SEO only adds to the concerns, and that’s why link building without links could well be the future…

These days things like social signals and relevancy carry far more weight than link building tactics of days gone by, with anchor text-based links quickly becoming old hat. Google is becoming increasingly focused on relevancy and providing a great user experience with semantics being a core concept, and that means you need to think about creating a relevance profile rather than a link building one. You need to start by understanding what’s relevant to you and your business and can go on from that to incorporate those “relevant” features into your wider campaign, and there are plenty of semantic tools that can help (Google Semantic Operator, for example, or bottlenose.com). You’ll then be free to create content accordingly, perhaps utilising keywords and phrases that you wouldn’t normally consider but ones that are relevant to your company as a whole, letting you branch out and attract an even bigger audience in the process.

You’ll be able to engage with people on a whole new level and won’t be so consumed with thoughts of a link profile—it’s all about creating content and attracting an audience without necessarily generating backlinks, and whilst this seems like a ridiculous notion it actually makes a lot of sense. These days marketing and SEO as a whole are more about connections, particularly with the rise of social media and the importance of engagement, and if you get people talking about you it’ll have a much bigger search impact than a few ill-gotten backlinks ever could. It’s all about building your profile, your associations, your authority and your community as a whole, so don’t be solely focused on links from now on—link building without links is the future of search.

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