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The Odyssey of Link Building: A Harrowing (But Essential) SEO Tale

Gather 'round your screens. It's time for a gripping tale, full of plot twists, trials and sweet triumph about the mysterious world of link building.

Marlene Dietrich smoking

The Essence of Link Building

Ever watched the movie ‘The Social Network’? Remember when the guy from Napster (Sean Parker) says to Zuckerberg: “We lived on farms, then we lived in cities, and now we’re going to live on the internet!

Well, link building is the real estate development of this new, pixelated world. It’s the process of getting other websites to mention your pages, making Google see them as the popular kids in town.

Why? The more links that redirect to your page, the more it gets the high school prom king title - a top spot on the search results page.

However, like every high school drama, the popular crowd isn’t always king. So, if you're building links left, right, and center, and still not ranking high, there may be other nerds in your school (read: ranking factors) you're not impressing.

Alright, you've got the basics. Let's dive into the tactics.

The Fab Four Link Building Tactics

1. 'Adding' Links - The Shy Beginner’s Approach

This is when you tiptoe into a website that isn't yours and gently drop your link, hoping no one notices. This includes tactics like social profile creation, blog commenting, or business directory submissions.

Easy? Absolutely. But remember, what’s easy to you is easy to your competitors too.

Imagine setting up a lemonade stand in your yard. All your neighbors can see and taste it. It’s great for local popularity, but so can anyone else set up a stall. So while your links on Yelp or TripAdvisor may not make you a Michelin Star restaurant, it might bring some hungry foodies to your door.

Beware of the snake oil salesmen promising to register your site in hundreds of directories. It's akin to selling air - not worth your time or money. Remember, what was cool in 2005 (like those 'web 2.0s' and 'bookmarking sites'), is as relevant today as using a Blackberry.

2. 'Asking' for Links - The Bold Suitor’s Play

Asking for a link is like asking someone out on a date. You must give a compelling reason why it's worth their while. You're a great cook? You're fun to hang out with? You've got the latest Marvel movie tickets?

Now apply this strategy to your website.

There are plenty of strategies to woo your date (or website), from guest blogging and testimonials, to ego-baiting (everyone loves a compliment). But let's not kid ourselves, it's hard. Unless you're the Ryan Gosling of your field, you'll have to deal with rejection - quite a bit of it. For every 100 emails, expect to get two "yeses" and 98 "it's not you, it's me" replies.

To sweeten the deal, some may offer a shoutout on social media, an email blast, or even a link exchange. But remember, excessive sweetness can lead to cavities (or in our case, a possible Google penalty). So, keep your dealings above board and your content outstanding, and you just might win the prom queen's heart (aka high ranking).

3. 'Buying' Links - The Roulette Gambler’s Move

Now, let's address the elephant in the room - Buying links. Picture this, you're at a casino, ready to put your hard-earned money on the roulette table.

The risk is high, the return uncertain. This is exactly what buying links feels like, with one small difference - it's a game you don’t want to win!

In link building's casino of life, buying links is a quick but perilous shortcut. You might see the rich and famous of the SEO world getting away with it, but if you're an ordinary Joe like most of us, tread carefully.

This is an underworld fraught with penalization threats and the potential to waste a lot of moolah. If you're desperate to go down this road, we're not the accomplices you're looking for. The Ahrefs way does not include buying links.

4. 'Earning' Links - The Knight's Noble Quest

Welcome to the Holy Grail of link building - Earning links! Imagine being so irresistible that you become the talk of the town. Your charisma is infectious, your charm is unmatchable, and everyone wants a piece of you. In link-building terms, this is what earning links is all about.

But before you become the Shahrukh Khan of the internet, remember this: “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” If no one knows about your killer content, no links will come your way. Therefore, to earn links, you need to shout from the digital rooftops and make sure your page is seen.

Soon, I’ll share some tactics and strategies to help you create this "link-worthy" content, and ways to promote it to potential link-building Romeo's and Juliet's.

So, there you have it - your crash course on link building, with all the drama, risks, rewards, and some existential questions thrown in.

Remember, like any gripping tale, the path of link building isn’t always smooth. I've always struggled with it, to be honest, because it's such a long term game that requires constant attention. I'm more of a sprint girl than a marathon one.

Be better. It's worth it.

But that’s just me… thinking out loud.


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