Building Links

LinkbuildingI haven’t written about much over the past few years, and it’s really a damn shame. The last two years have been chaos, and the stories that came out of that time are pretty awesome. So now I’m a professional and my business card says I know what the fuck I’m talking about. I think that’s pretty cool, considering the way everything ended up coming together.

Now I am a specialist, and I help different types of companies make really important decisions about their websites. There are a lot of different ways to tweak websites to make them perform. Once the thing is running, I help tune it on the fly and  guide through algorithmic twists and competitive obstacles. It’s a fun and fast-paced environment, where the advice that is taken could be the difference between a client’s success and a flatline. While that is mostly unlikely my work wouldn’t be worth much at all without the foundational element of PageRank; links. Luckily, I have someone on my team who is awesome at it.

We know the difference between a good link and a bad link. Good links are the ones that appear naturally and bad ones are the ones that appear forced, or unnatural. We also know that, if you’re doing it right, linkbuilding can take a very long time to produce results. Links are relationships, because they take a meeting and interaction of people in order to be built. The most lucrative ones take a long time to cultivate, and the payout is huge.

The world is more different now then it ever was before. People meet and communicate at any distance, managing tasks like clockwork on a myriad of devices, keeping up with countless responsibilities. Millions of glowing screens, of varying sizes, pounding colors and sounds into people’s faces day after day. The Internet is organized chaos, but it’s really fucking easy to tell the bullshit apart from the things that we think are interesting and useful. That is the reason why good links are so important, and so hard to come by.

Links and relationships are what drew me into SEO in the first place. I got an internship through social media research and outreach. During my internship I learned about Raven Tools, and wrote a blog post about their customer support system. The next day I got an email from Raven offering me a month or two subscription, to say thanks for the hat-tip. I was so pleased by their response, that I wrote a really nice review for them on another blog. Now I use Raven both at work and for all of my side projects. Boom. Link, relationship.

Full disclosure, the Raven Tools banner in the sidebar probably uses the old affiliate code and won’t pay me out. Old blog template, new thoughts. I was pissed about the rank tracker going away, but I get it now. It’s fine, just keep reading.

Links are valuable to both parties and timing can make it or break it. When I started looking for a job last year I had a technical interview, where I was asked about rel=prev/next and faceted navigation. I think I botched the interview and it was taking a long time for these guys to get back to me. I got tired of waiting to hear back so I wrote a blog post about rel=prev/next on my sorely neglected SEO blog. I published the blog in the morning and promoted it where I knew that my interviewer would run into it. In a stroke of pure dumb luck, he was also publishing a 11,200 word beast on the company blog at pretty much the same time of day. He saw my joint and popped in a link to Beginning SEO. Later I was offered a job. Slam fucking dunk.

I’d love to do something cool with that blog too. If you think you have something in mind, feel free to get at me.

Point is, links are tangible things that are valuable. Links can be valuable like money and they can be valuable like people. The payout is whatever you put into it, and you will get the most out of the ones you cultivate.