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Link building and content marketing in 2013: part 1

This blog entry was inspired by a discussion our intern had with an agency who claimed links don’t matter.

Being a fresh faced newbie, he was unable to answer directly and had to come to us to get our opinion on the post penguin and panda world. Whilst things have most definitely changed, it is undoubtedly a mistake to think that links no matter. So for his benefit and yours, we take a look at link building and content marketing in 2013 and beyond.

Things we know don’t work

Automated link building is perhaps the worst way to perform link building in 2013. Almost everyone who participates in this kind of activity will no doubt quickly receive warnings from Google about unnatural links. The same goes for any spam practices, publishing content on sites with 0 trust or authority.

Paid Links

Google have been upping their game in the war against paid links, penalising people who buy links in vast amounts. That being said, paid links continue to work despite what people say. The decision comes down to whether you think the risk of being penalised is worth taking.

Penguin Paralysis

SEO can ultimately be defined by one maxim: “content is king”. The Panda and Penguin updates really spooked the SEO world and the internet in general. The focus suddenly switched to creating hi quality content. Whilst this move has generally been accepted as positive, many people have begun to churn out content with no real aim – which has resulted in a load of rather useless content that doesn’t benefit anyone. As a result, people’s SEO efforts have slumped despite the increase in quality work.

High quality content with sharing in mind

Earning links is the best link building solution in 2013 and beyond. By trying to gain a link from a respected website that doesn’t accept payment, you’re forced to create blog content that would be deemed appropriate, useful and shareable. This in turn results in the creation of high quality content that is likely to engage an audience as well as provide link value. This is the perfect link building technique as it works alongside Google’s philosophy.

Link building has become somewhat of a dirty word but as of yet is still the single most important metric we have. Whilst there is a growing feeling that social signals are becoming as equally important, there is little evidence to show that they will ever be as valued as links. Anyone devising an SEO strategy of any worth should most definitely include a linking strategy into their efforts.

Stay tuned for our second instalment on the best link building strategies for 2013 as well as further analysis of link building practices.