Pandas got you down? Penguins gnawing at your website? SEO is tougher than ever in 2013, now that almost every link-building scheme that once was useful at best and useless at worst has now become a gigantic kick in the pants.
Directory submissions? No.
Blog comments? No.
Article submissions? No.
Link exchanges? No.
Paid links? No.
What’s a poor webmaster to do?
The good news is that it’s simple. The bad news is that it is not easy! That is because quantity is out and quality is in. That means…automation is out and manual is in.
Gone with the brawn, in with the brains. Here is what you need.
You need lots of difference sources and types of sources of links. The zoo gets boring if all the animals are the same, and the penguins and pandas do not like boring zoos!
Directories? Well, a few good quality directories – especially niche directories and local directories for local businesses – are actually a good thing.
Blog comments? Yes, well-thought out and substantive (not spammy) comments on real blogs in your niche are very good sources of links.
Article submissions? Actually, unique articles (ones you submit only to that one directory) on top article directories like GoArticles, EzineArticles and Amazines are a great source of links.
Link exchanges? Personally vetted exchanges between two sites in the same niche or the same town can be very effective, not just with the search engines, but with referrals (so you want to vet them for quality). You don’t have to trade links with competitors, just with others in similar businesses (like car washes exchanging with car dealerships exchanging with car parts stores exchanging with driveway pavers, for instance).
Paid links. Indeed, these could be – I am informed that I am legally required to tell you that these are evil under all circumstances. Use common sense. It is pretty rare that it is worth the payment, even without the risk, for a paid link.
Surprise! There are almost no types of links that are bad.
Did you notice that all the types of links that have been discredited are actually still worthwhile when done manually and focusing on quality?
Unique articles. Thoughtful blog comments. Niche directories. Vetted, relevant link exchanges.
What they also have in common is that they all have to be done manually. They all take effort and time. Automation is the road to Hades.
If ever there was a lazy road to SEO nirvana, there is none now. If you don’t take the time to care for each animal, you’ll have a zoo full of dead animals…and the penguins and pandas do not like zoos full of dead animals.
A Few Favorites
We all have our favorites. I love Malay Tapirs and Giraffes, as well as Toucans and Poison Dart Tree Frogs.
When it comes to SEO, I very much like guest blogging. It might just be because I am a blabbermouth, but it also gives me a direct line to readers of someone else’s blog. Like you. And good quality links. Again, the uniqueness of the content and the quality of the host blog are what really count. For instance, the following email message I received is not an opportunity:
“We have many websites for paid, permanent link building & guest blog posting. We have list of websites of all the themes & with good back links.”
These are obviously not successful blogs with top quality content, real visitors, real comments, real social sharing and…well, the search engines can sniff out a phony at least as well as you and I can.
I love social bookmarking. No, not the 1000 social bookmarks for $99 type of social bookmarking. That is simply a submission service, also known as s-p-a-m. I man submitting and promoting, voting and commenting on other people’s submissions. In other words, networking.
I love social sharing, like on Twitter and StumbleUpon. If your content is truly amazing, other people will spread it for you and they will do all the dirty work of building your links. Yeah!
In general, my favorites are those link-building techniques that make sense with or without the search engines.
Which brings us to attitude. Did I mention quality once or twice in this post? And you might be wondering how good is good enough.
Uh-oh – if you are thinking that way – trying to do the least you can get away with – you have already lost the battle.
Read again that last paragraph about social sharing. See the word “amazing”?
If you don’t put every ounce of effort possible to win Gold, why would you enter the Olympics?
Do you think that any other attitude will win against your SEO competitors?
You should never ask, “How good is good enough?” You should always ask, “How good can I make it?”
So variety, quality, some well-planned techniques and a winning attitude are what it takes to win the SEO game in 2013.
The penguins and pandas will love you. They will hug you. And they might not even give you a wedgie on your birthday.
You have what it takes.
Are you prepared to make it happen?
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net