Link building sucks. There I said it. Of course it's been said before and most people who have even the slightest bit of experience with it can tell you the same. It's tedious. It's monotonous. It's mundane.

True link building is marketing. But that doesn't make it any more interesting. For every link achieved there is a lot of time spent researching, analyzing, comparing and communicating.

It's the same for whatever kind of link building you're doing; link exchanging, link buying, link convincing, link baiting. Very few people can open up shop and immediately gather hundreds or thousands of links. There is a process.

Where does it start? Having something worth linking to.

This is the entire concept of link baiting, creating something that others want to link to. I suppose if you're buying links having link worthy content isn't as much as an issue, but it should be.

There is more to life than links

ShoutGetting links is great, but as search marketers we should be looking far beyond that. We should not be so much as trying to get other websites to link to us (that's certainly a welcome result) but we should instead be working on getting exposure, in whatever format that comes in.

Why? Because exposure is far better than a link.

If you had to choose between getting a link from a decent, industry related website, or a mention in a high-powered publication such as Time Magazine, which would you choose?

I think we'd all prefer the exposure we'd get from Time Magazine. Screw the link, get me a positive mention in a publication like that and it's money for nothing with the links for free.

And that's exactly my point. Exposure brings links.

But it also brings so much more. Credibility. Trust. Validity. And those things bring links. But not just run-of-the-mill average links. They bring high-powered links. Trusted links. Authoritative links. Links full of all kinds of link juice. The real good stuff, too.

Motive can make a world of difference

Does all this change the game of link building? No. The processes of getting links are still the same, whether you're link exchanging, link buying, link convincing, or link bating. But the motivation behind that is what changes.

If one is motivated to get exposure--legitimate, positive exposure--rather than links, the process of linking will evolve. Not on the surface, but underneath, where it really matters.

Most people don't want to bring exposure to their crappy company with crappy products or crappy services. You're only shining a light on the crap.

So if you're motivated to bring exposure to yourself you're going to do what you have to do to make sure that all the exposure you get makes you look good. Instead of shining light on crap, you want to shine the light on things people like such as quality, honesty, integrity and knowledge.

This means you need to run a company that is exceptional in all areas. It means building a website that offers more than "the lowest prices" or the "most stock". It means providing something that people truly want and need.

It means going beyond getting a sale and creating a resource that people want to return to time and time again. That gives you exposure. And that exposure will likely lead to more exposure. Bigger and broader exposure.

And that exposure earns links. Good links. Quality links. Powerful links.

When you start thinking beyond the link, start looking for ways to build your exposure within your industry, you'll get the links, plus a whole lot more.

March 26, 2008

Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.

If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.

Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.

Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.


Great stuff! Exposure is definitely key. Link building done the right way and in a quality way is priceless...what better way than just achieving good exposure.

Great article! Absolutely true, and it falls in line with the whole "organic is better" mentality.

Hey Stoney,

You make a good point. Its so easy to move at a frantic pace focused only on getting links and sales and think that this is going to build a lasting business.

However, the best businesses are focused internally on building a better product or service.

It reminds me of a great quote from Peter Drucker:

"A well-managed a quiet place. A factory that is 'dramatic,' a factory in which the 'epic of industry' is unfolded before the visitor’s eyes, is poorly managed. A well-managed factory is boring."

The point I'm trying to make is that a well managed website shouldn't be a constant hectic whirlwind of activity with links flying right and left.

The sites that get the most publicity are those that are worthy of publicity. They have spent the time focusing on their core business and adding value. Then you can't avoid publicity because everyone wants to talk about how great you are.


You are absolutely right. There is soome truth in the saying, build it and they will come. But this only holds true if you have unique, useful content on your site.

There is no rule that says you cannot build a great website thereby attracting links due to the quality of your site and go about the other usual link generating activities at the same time eg forums, article marketing etc


I am also agreeing with your points raised in your article about link building.

You have raise a good point here. Every body is in race of building links, but...

Good effort...

Good article. All SEO efforts, and any other marketing, are worthless if you don't have something great to offer your visitors when they arrive you your website.

Good article. All SEO efforts, and any other marketing, are worthless if you don't have something great to offer your visitors when they arrive you your website.

You are right. My blog does not get much traffic, but as part of my overall business strategy has been quite successful.

Today I came to your site here and clicked on Sage video, having watched and listened to the video I thought the information shared was great and for that reason I have booked marked the site and will keep coming back for more, well done Sage.

Even though I have to admit that linkbuilding for most terms sucks I still feel like contradicting you: Link building does not have to be boring! When you have valuable content in a niche you are interested in (not because of the money but personally) that gains some momentum, link building can be quite entertaining and enjoyable.

Stoney, great piece man, sending it around to the troops!

The main idea behind link building IS creating linkable content. Exposure and links come hand in hand. The more exposure you have the more links you will have. The more links, the more exposure.

This was a great article Stoney. I'd love too see more!

I agree that link building does stink BUT i feel search engines will adapt to fradulent building techniques. The best links will occurr naturally.

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Search Engine Guide > Stoney deGeyter > Think Beyond The Link: How Exposure Building Trumps Link Building