…yes, so what is link building actually? Lee Odden wrote an interesting post about link building vs. content promotion. In this post, he explains why he thinks that ‘unsolicited link acquisition based on content’, perhaps with a little bit of “traditional” link building, will lead to search engine traffic. He is absolutely right, but it won’t lead to optimal search engine traffic.
Link Building isn’t the same as content marketing, just like link baiting isn’t exactly the same as viral marketing. Link Building (or link marketing, as I prefer to call it) is the place where SEO and content marketing meet. You can achieve great results with just good SEO and you can get awesome results with just good content marketing, but if you add link marketing to your strategy, you’ll be able to perform even better.
Link Building is… Getting that perfect anchor text
The content you wrote is perfectly aimed at your target audience. It even is targeted at the bloggers and journalists you’re trying to reach. That’s content marketing.
You even considered writing a title for your post or article that has one or maybe even two keywords in it you’re going after. Lots of journalists will copy that title, which results in good keyword rich anchor texts. That’s search engine optimized content marketing.
Contacting the authorities in your niche that linked to your article, but failed to use a descriptive anchor text (or maybe even failed to use an anchor text), however, that’s link building.
Link Building is… Reaching that specific web site that makes a difference
Every niche has its own authority web site, or maybe even several authorities. You know, those authorities that don’t get updated a lot or just don’t link out much, but have been around since ’95 and haven’t been doing anything but building trust. Link building is reaching those websites, whether it’s with an extremely targeted piece of content or with a simple link request.
Link Building is… Reaching that specific web site that you normally wouldn’t
A content marketing strategy usually tends to be targeted at either your target audience, at linkerati that are able to reach your target audience, or both. Link Building is figuring out ways to reach an audience that you normally wouldn’t reach, in order to get a competitive advantage.
Link Building is… Being better than Wikipedia
Lots of people who write new pages (especially when they start a new blog or web site), will search for relevant pages they can link to. In 99% of the cases, they’ll at least link to the best, most prominent and most complete sources. This often is Wikipedia, so all you have to do is to be better (more complete, more comprehensive, funnier, better designed, etc) than Wikipedia. That’s content marketing. But getting (and keeping) your URL into the Wikipedia you’re trying to beat, that’s link building.
Link Building is… Leaving your URL everywhere
Hey, you’re marketing your website. Be proud of your website, it’s your business! Show your baby to anyone, don’t be afraid to mention your URL. Link baiting can provide awesome results, but I agree with Jim that link baiting isn’t enough. You’ll need tactics like this if you want to make the difference.
Link Building is… That extra oompf.
It may look like I’m splitting hairs here, because all things described in this post sure have a lot of overlap, but I really am not. This post isn’t even near complete, but the small differences that I mentioned can already cause the small difference between ranking 4th and topping the rankings.
Just my $0,02…