The Backlink Is Dead! Long Live the Backlink.
In the past, the more backlinks pointed toward your site, the better you would rank on Google. But, as Google has refined their search engine algorithm, the strategy of firing off guest blogs on networks and posting press releases on every self-serve outlet will no longer work. But, offsite SEO still has a place in your promotion mix.
Legitimate Backlinks Are Still Important
When Matt Cutts warned web owners off guest blogging, he was talking specifically about guest blogs that were there just for a backlink. These can include cookie cutter blog posts on low value sites and those submitted through guest blog markets. Press releases that are created only to house a couple of optimized links are also now a poor strategy.
But, there is still value to having a link to your site come from high PankRank, well-respected authorities in your field. Hire blog writers to write excellent posts for your site that contain information and analysis relevant to your industry. If you are a content marketer who can garner a shout-out from Search Engine Land, this is still an authority link that adds outside SEO value. Google also gives added weight to links from pages with established authorship; so, hiring blog writers to create quality content on a consistent basis can help in this way, as well.
And, press releases are still an absolutely legitimate way to promote when you have something new to announce. The key question to ask when commissioning content is this: would you follow the link if you stumbled across it during your day?
Links Can Still Yield Social Traffic
When seeking links back to your sites, think in terms of surfers not spiders. Links to your content shared on social networks like LinkedIn, Google Plus and Facebook can draw curious readers to your site. And, these visitors are usually better-qualified prospects than those who come from search engines. They are being referred by people they trust, and that trust can extend to you and your products.
Focus on What Readers Really Want
Google has never been shy about what they want from webmasters: create and display content that is valuable and original. Not coincidentally, this is what readers want, too. Instead of commissioning content that is laden with keywords or looking for ways to get more links facing your sites, concentrate on blog posts, articles and other web content that answer readers questions and help them educate themselves. When you hire blog writers to do this, you can build relationships with surfers that are more valuable than any backlink.
Lara S is a content writer and blogger. She’s written professionally since 1998 and specializes in creating reader-friendly posts for complex industries like healthcare, law and insurance. On the weekends, you’re likely to find her out on her sailboat or ensconced in bed with a book.