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By brian on May 12, 2015
Link Building and Link Earning are two very different things when it comes to building up links to your site and promoting your content.
Over the years, one of the most popular methods for building links has been the use of a Private Blog Network (PBN).
These networks are seen as a sneaky, underhanded way of building links to your site. Essentially, the owners are pretending to be a group of independent bloggers who are all focused on building links to money-making sites.
The real problem with PBNs is that they don’t exist as a destination on the web. Nobody’s really meant to go there unless it’s solely for the purpose of continuing on to the next site, and owners rarely put in the effort to attract new readers. Link building is the sole reason most of these exist.
Worse, PRNs are a bad long-term investment. It takes a lot of time and effort to set up a site so that many of its links are pointing to a money-maker, and the results are rarely worth the effort expended, especially with search engines actively cracking down on techniques like this.
This is the core of the matter and the main reason you should strenuously avoid link building.
A few years back, most SEO companies were entirely ignoring the power of link earning. They saw it as a long, slow process that couldn’t be used to convince others to buy their services, so they spent all of their effort on quick-success techniques to keep their business going.
It’s still possible to do some link building, of course, but search engines like Google are sending more and more signals suggesting that they’ll be adjusting their algorithms to counter artificial links and discourage people from using them.
The reasoning behind all of this is simple and straightforward.
In short, link building is a financial threat to search engines, and they’re very thorough about discouraging it. If you truly want your business to succeed, you should focus on the marketing and SEO techniques that will reward your efforts instead of penalizing them.
Link earning has a broad selection of merits that make it worth considering in spite of the long-term effort it requires. Let’s take a look at the most notable parts.
Given the choice between a hundred customers today and ten customers a month for the next few years, I would choose the latter every time.
Content marketing is a long-term strategy where the blog posts you put up today could continue attracting relevant, interested traffic for a long time to come. This is what’s known as writing ‘evergreen’ material, and it’s a core part of most content marketing strategies.
If you can survive the short-term startup hurdles, link earning is ideal for accelerating your future growth. If you can’t overcome those hurdles, then your business plan needs some serious revising.
Few things are certain online, but it’s almost definite that Google will never penalize people who have earned natural links to their content.
The same cannot be said about link building, which is already being penalized and will almost certainly be hit even more once Google’s programmers can figure out the best way of doing it.
(Check Out 50 Reasons Your Website deserves to be penalized by Google by KissMetrics)
Remember, these are well-paid, highly-talented, extraordinarily motivated people. If you invested in link building today, it’s entirely possible that the results could penalize you so much you wouldn’t even break even on your investment.
Creating great content isn’t always easy. But if you’re going to earn links, then you’ll have to focus on the quality of your content, and that’s a good thing.
Content is often an afterthought for companies that focus on link building. They believe they can get easy results, so they don’t spend nearly as much time creating material that people care to read.
On the other hand, knowing you’ll only succeed if you produce high-quality materials pushes you to make your best effort at all times. The end result is a large collection of content that’s timely, relevant, and can be used over and over again to draw customers in and support your business.
If you’re prepared to make the jump to earning links instead of building them, here are some of the best things you can do:
Having experts talk about your products and link back to your store is always worthwhile. This comes in on several levels.
Guest posts remain an outstanding way of both earning links and reaching a new audience.
The key here is that the post you make needs to be worth sharing. Nobody wants to read a blog just to get spammed by advertisements for irrelevant material.
Guest posts are a good time to be either controversial or informative. For example, you could post up an interview with someone in your company, explaining trends in the industry and what readers could look forward to in the future.
Alternately, you could take a stand on an issue, weighing in as an expert opinion to help sway readers to one side.
Press releases are an excellent way of getting the attention of journalists and other individuals who work with high-authority news sites. With the right release, you could start earning some of the highest-authority sites on the internet, and it’s difficult to understate how valuable this can be for a developing business.
However, be careful to avoid trying to manipulate the press into giving you links you don’t deserve. It is always better to create compelling material that helps them attract new readers, as this could result in earning more links over time.
Unfortunately, many businesses don’t know how to properly contact journalists and send out press releases in a way that will get noticed. Consider using a service like MarketersMedia – the return on investment for using a distribution service typically far exceeds what you’ll pay for their help, making them an outstanding choice for small businesses looking to get a much-needed boost to their profits.
Reviewing the things others have made can earn you some surprisingly high-quality links if you take the time to create thoughtful, valuable material.
This won’t always be a direct link. Reviews are often how you get the attention of a developer, and it’s the conversations these start that allow you to form connections, make guest posts, and otherwise reach a larger audience.
The more posts your blog has, the easier it will be to have people linking back to your site.
Frequent updates can and do have a direct impact on your overall scores as well. Seeing that your site is frequently updated makes search engines believe you’re timely and relevant, and in turn, that makes your posts easier to find. When your posts are easier to find, more people will link to them, reinforcing their value.
The cycle may not be entirely self-sustaining, but this accelerated growth is a key feature of the later stages of content marketing.
Sometimes, the best way of earning links is stepping away from the computer.
For example, you could make a few public speeches or participate in a conference. When people get back or even while they’re still there, they’ll probably talk about what they heard online and encourage their friends to check out what you have to say.
I’m going to be completely honest with you – link earning is not easy. It takes a lot of time and effort to pull it off, but as we discussed above, the long-term rewards are worth it.
[This blog post was originally written and published by Brian Chang on April 29, 2015. It is most recently updated by Winnie Wong on Jun 02, 2020]
Updated: 30 September 2020
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