Whether you read industry predictions about the demise of manual link building or follow broader-scale discussions about the displacement of workers due to technology, automation and artificial intelligence clearly impact the way we work. With the ability to automate much of the work surrounding link building, from sending requests in bulk to monitoring links, it is important to revisit the value of manual effort. Exceptional content is developed through the creativity and work of its producers, and building links to this content also requires strategic thinking and the human touch.
Why are SEO Links Important?
Before we explore the value of manual link building, let’s take a step back and remind ourselves why links are important in the first place. Search engines look for signals that a web page contains high quality content that will be interesting and relevant to users. When a website links to your content, this is interpreted as a vote for your page, and the number of links is then used as a ranking factor by Google and other search engines.
Not All SEO Links are Equal
In earlier days of link building, many websites accumulated links using what are now considered to be black-hat SEO techniques such as link farming, which is exchanging reciprocal links with other sites to manipulate ranking. Using Google as an example, the introduction of the Penguin algorithm helped the engine to penalize websites engaging extensively in such techniques. The focus shifted to the quality of links, prioritizing those from sites that are seen as authorities. Major news sites are considered authorities on information generally, while blog sites may be authorities in their niche market.
The Value of Manual Effort
Link farming and similar techniques required much less effort and strategy than acquiring a link from a website considered to be authoritative. We still are inundated with offers for cheap links that are “guaranteed” to boost rankings, but participating in these schemes is an outmoded practice that puts your site at risk of being penalized by search engines. At the other extreme, we cannot simply expect that creative content alone will cause links to materialize. Quality content is key for your overall digital marketing, but knowing how to secure links from sites of authority requires a strategic, tailored approach.
Content promotion and link requests involves researching relevant sites, creating a relationship with the right person, and communicating the value of what you are sharing. Consider ways that you can connect with other sites and engage with a community, whether it is specific to your industry, location, or niche. Content curators will be more receptive to creating a link when they are approached individually rather than as part of a bulk process.
Quality links not only factor into your search engine rankings, but they can connect you with a new audience and attract more visitors to your website. While tasks such as monitoring when links go live are suitable for automation, there is no substitute for human creativity and ingenuity in the link building process. If you need help building and managing links, feel free to reach out to Premiere Creative and give us a call at (973) 346-8100 for more information.