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How Linkbuilding Works: Past and Present


Five years ago, SEO and link building succumbed to uncomplicated automation: from compiling and propagating content to coordinating the placement of links on external resources. In 2019, links remain one of the strongest ranking factors, but they turn out to be part of a complex puzzle along with content, high-quality website optimization and assessment of user behavioral factors.

Link Building in past
Even five years ago, the link process was automated to the maximum. It was possible to send hundreds of requests per week and post dozens of materials. The link profile increased by 20-30 new links weekly. Link building was also all based on content, or what is commonly called guest posting.

1. Not quality, but the quantity
From 2015 to 2017, any SEO optimizer was looking for automated outreach methods - contacts with webmasters, editors, site owners who decided to post content on sites. Few watched the high relevance of resources. Just looking for all possible ways to accommodate.

2. Unique template content
Casey admits that they were constantly sending out 3-4 according to new census publications. The uniqueness of the texts was high, but the practical, informational value and novelty tended to zero. The content was well formatted, attractive, but empty - users did not learn anything new from this content.

3. Tools, not people
Automation was used at all stages: from collecting sites for placement to contacts of company employees, and it does not matter whether they made decisions or not.

To summarize a short summary:
To build the link mass in 2015, several tools for collecting sites and contacts, mailing lists, as well as several beginning authors for rewriting articles were enough.
moderate pace guaranteed the absence of manual sanctions, but no one ever knew where the limit after which a letter of happiness arrives about the punishment of the site.
Link Building in 2019
By 2019, much has changed:

in the ranking formulas there was a reassessment of the main factors
Algorithms have learned to distinguish natural links from paid links and have ceased to take them into account in ranking; and this makes the life of the optimizer very difficult, since it’s now impossible to understand which links influence positions and which don’t.
thinking optimizer approach to link building
Now there are still many who are trying to apply outdated methods of promotion: mass thoughtless buying of links without preliminary analysis, the same publication of empty content, quantity, not quality.

In order to successfully and, most importantly, safely increase the link mass today, it is important to follow three simple rules:

1. Thinking about the benefits
The goals of editors, webmasters, and site owners have changed. With how Google and Yandex have learned to evaluate the quality of content, it’s almost impossible to break into a reputable resource with a second-rate rewrite, even if it was once an original and interesting article. Even for the money.

In assessing the quality of sites, Google takes into account the parameters of E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness - competence, authority and trust of users of the site). The placement of low-quality, non-original materials casts doubt on the reputation of the resource.

Therefore, the vector has changed. You do not ask to put a link to your site, but offer a relevant site useful material that can add value to the topic. You replenish personal stocks of editors - lists of authoritative thematic publications that you can safely quote.

2. To approach link building comprehensively
You can’t promote a site only with links. Depending on the site, links can be both the only hope and a waste of time.

It is necessary to objectively evaluate the project and understand how the links will affect the achievement of the goal. MOZ shows a great example of HotJar. The article “5 Ways to Use Scroll Maps” takes the first position on Google for scroll maps. Moreover, only three domains cite the site, and the CrazyEgg page with a large number of referring domains takes only the third position. And most surprisingly, the second position was taken by the site without a single inbound link:

site positions and number of inbound links
This example proves once again that links are not the only tools for influencing site ranking.

3. Quality content to naturally attract links
If the page is in the top of the search, then you can exhale and reduce the speed of efforts to increase the link mass. The thing is that when the editor needs data for citation, then as a rule the search starts from the first page of the output.

To increase the chances of a page reaching the top, it is important to ensure that it is highly consistent with the user's intention. For this, before creating an article, it is important to analyze what exactly the user wants to receive on request: information, the ability to buy / perform another action, a manual / instruction / training.

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