During the dotcom era and subsequent years, link building gained infamy thanks to developers, site owners, and drive-by-night SEO experts who turned the web into more or less a virtual Wild West. Thankfully, search engine companies led by Google soon clamped on their unsavory practices by unceremoniously demoting sites that championed techniques like link farming. However, link building is far from dead or extinct.
The Return of Local Link Building
According to Josh Steimle, CEO of MWI, a digital marketing agency with offices in the US and Hong Kong, link building is a double-edged sword that can improve or harm your site’s SERP rank. Steimle reckons links only become a drag down when one engages in black hat practices like linking to low quality content, using spammy inbound links, and linking to irrelevant content. In fact, Google’s 2012 Penguin Update targeted site owners who had turned these practices into a source of income.
Building Local Links the White Hat Way
To avoid careening into Google’s bad books, follow advice dished out by its webmaster trends analyst John Muller. According to Muller, Google’s search engine ranks sites based on scores extracted from diverse weighted factors. As such, focusing your site’s SEO efforts on links alone will most likely lead to SERP hell.
An effective way of using links the right way, according to Muller in Silicon Valley, California by turning them into widgets. In addition, include information/rules on link usage. For instance, asking local web users to cite you as content author or name your site using California SEO. Another tip doled out by Muller is making URLs on your site easy to copy and paste.
Another effective, yet rarely tried, approach is exploiting the power of links embedded in PDF documents online. You can include links, of course conservatively, in PDF files sent out as to sales leads, trade show contacts, web users who download company-sanctioned e-books and company seminar attendees. If you do not have the tech skills required for this task, hire and consult a competent local SEO services provider to help you implement file sharing for linkbuilding.
In spite of its infamous past, link building is not necessarily a bad SEO strategy. You can turn this practice into quality traffic by linking conservatively on-site and turning site content into shareable PDF files with embedded links.