I would hope that since the Google Penguin update came crashing down around everyone's ears last year that site owners are being a little more careful about their link building choices. While I don't want the fear of a penalty to halt your link building campaign in its tracks (which I'm sure has happened for plenty of sites), I do hope that site owners are becoming a little more discerning during their hunt for inbound links.
That being said, I think a lot of site owners are leaving valuable SEO and brand building opportunities on the table because they are still looking at a link as just a link, but in reality the right link can be worth so much more.
So when is a link worth more than a link?
I have an SEO client that exists in the computer programming and coding world. And while I consider myself a pretty tech-savvy guy I am not a programmer. So while I can understand my client's business, what they offer, who their target audience is, and what they hope to accomplish with their SEO program, I can't "talk shop" quite as well as they can when it comes down to the nitty, gritty details of programming and coding.
As part of our SEO services my team looks for forums, industry sites, and associations that are a good fit for this client. We can go in, create and optimize the profile (hopefully with a link back to their site) but we just don't have the in-house expert programmer knowledge to provide any real value and insights into some of the conversations that are going on. The last thing we want to do is damage our client's brand or reputation in any way by posting (at best) fluff or (at worst) something straight-up wrong.
I'm sure other SEO professionals have found themselves in a similar situation--you have the SEO expertise to find a great link building opportunity for your clients but not the right industry knowledge to get the extra value that comes from being a contributor on those sites. That's when a link is worth so much more than a link.
One of the profiles we created for this client back in October 2012 has already sent about 70 targeted visitors over to their site. Granted, 70 visitors might not seem like that much but considering its one link in one profile on one site that's pretty good in my opinion! 10 links that like and suddenly you're looking at 700 visitors.
Now this profile is on of those sites where programmers can share problems they are having with coding projects, debate the finer points of different programming languages and so forth. My team may not have the knowledge to get involved in these discussions but my client sure does! Even if they left one or two comments a month somewhere on that site that would create a few extra links, introduce their brand to a few more people, build their brand authority and online reputation and maybe lead to a guest blogging opportunity in the long run. That's what one good link on the right site can become!
I think a lot of site owners are so concerned about just getting the link they are actually leaving a lot of the real value of that link behind. The best links are the ones that provide real value for a long time to come--they send traffic, get your brand seen by more prospects, lead to more links down the road and so forth. I know that a lot of site owners are looking for ways to maximize their time and get more bang for their link building buck so start 2013 off on the right foot and revisit some of those old profiles you (or your SEO firm) created and see what other value you can pull from those links!
Nick Stamoulis is the President and Founder of Brick Marketing, one of the premier full service SEO firms in the United States. With over 12 years of experience Nick Stamoulis has worked with hundreds of companies small, large and every size in between. Through his vast and diverse SEO, search engine marketing and internet marketing experience Nick Stamoulis has successfully increased the online visibility and sales of clients in all industries.
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