Any link building business model where a client simply pays a company to build links to an existing site is destined to fail. Eventually the activities of that link building company will be detrimental to the client site.

The only viable long-term link building strategy is an extreme focus by the client on generating truly great content, tools, and resources on the their site that cannot be found on hundreds of other sites on the web which their targeted audience would find very useful, informative, and interesting. This will garner great natural links from authoritative relevant sites. Link building is dead. You have to figure out how to “earn” links, and earning links MUST start with great content.

The days of a business building a web site and then outsourcing link building to some 3rd party is dead (or at a minimum more risky than it ever has been). Businesses who do so are spending money to destroy their site. That money should instead be used for their marketing folks to generate great content, tools, and/or resources that will “earn” those great links.

Buying links is bad don’t do it. Good content is definitely the way to do it as well as outreach. Find influencers in your vertical get in front of them if you can and if you have good content you may get some shares or links that way.

Other ideas are to have an active social profile so you can push your content to go viral in hopes it will get picked up by quality sites.

Link building (especially when outsourced) in my mind has always has always referred to situations where some company who has already built out a site pays someone to build links to that existing site or to specific URLs on that site. The link builders are essentially handed a finished product and told to “build links” to it.

If that finished product (web site) does not have truly great content then the link builder will have been given an almost impossible task. This is why most end up building very low quality, unnatural links. They have no other option. What authoritative, relevant web site is going to want to link to some low quality, even mediocre content? None. So link builders are forced to “plant” links on other sites through some unnatural link building technique like blog commenting, article submission, directory submission, forum spamming or signature links, etc.

We think “link earning” is something quite different than the “build a web site and throw it over the wall to the link builders to promote” approach. With link earning, those responsible for getting links must broaden their involvement in the overall process of building out a site. They need to provide input to the content team with ideas of the types of things they might produce that would be link worthy.

The old paradigm for building a site (or its content) and getting it to rank by acquiring links must essentially be reversed. Rather having one team building out content and another building links, when earning links the content team and link building/SEO team should work together as one similar to the following:

* Figure out who your site’s targeted audience is

* Figure out which authoritative sites are frequented by large numbers of your targeted audience (these sites will almost always be very relevant to the site seeking to acquire links)

* Figure out what content, tools, and/or resources you can build on your site that (a) would be very useful to your targeted audience, (b) would be found by those related authoritative web sites to be something their visitors would be interested in, and (c) cannot be found on literally hundreds or thousands of other web sites on the Internet.

Once you have ideas for great content, tools, and/or resources that would attract (“earn”) natural links from those relevant, authoritative sites THEN and only then would the content team get to work building it. The content team should be told not to cut corners because even this approach only works if what is produced is truly great.

Once the content has been generated, acquiring natural links from those authoritative, relevant sites where your targeted audience can be found in large numbers is MUCH easier.We typically only requires that you contact the webmaster or person in charge of content on the site.

We get 10-15% success rate with this by simply email those decision makers to tell them about the new content.

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