When Link Building Think Relationships not Technology

Two girls who are very fond of each other, apparently close friends are sitting and looking into the distance

When link building many stingy webmasters only want inbound links. In contrast they don’t link out.

They are even afraid that links from User Generated Content (UGC) – like comments – are draining their PageRank.

  1. Is your site authority leaking through comment links?
  2. Does linking out hurt you on Google?
  3. Are links dangerous?

Questions like these are really popping up everywhere. Website owners and bloggers are scared!

Even high profile SEO blogs like SEMrush add the crippling nofollow attribute to all their outbound links!

Linking Out is Good for You

Years ago Matt Cutts of Google confirmed that good outbound links are a positive ranking factor but few people did notice or care.

People are still stuck in the past.

Moreover most people wrongly focus on technology not conversation. It should be the other way around!

To succeed in a modern social media environment – where the social Web is

  • all-encompassing
  • self-evident
  • taken for granted

– you need to focus on the human factor.

Some people already argue that the E in SEO stands for experience not engine anymore. Face the facts. It’s about

  • humans not robots
  • humans not tools
  • people not Google

Modern search engine optimization is about conversation not technology. It’s even more than that, it’s about relationships.

Meeting People Online Leads to Connections

The people I “met” online back when I started out are mostly still around and I’m part of their virtual sphere. People still know and recognize me after years.

I can be silent for a while or they might have stopped blogging in the meantime but all the time the number of my friends online is expanding due to my sheer ongoing activity.

Having a link means having a relationship with another human being who edits a website.

Social media allows everybody to link in a plethora of ways. You can

  • bookmark
  • vote
  • tweet
  • like
  • love
  • share

You spread the news and good resources via a myriad of channels. The channels change over time. You can’t always build a new audience from scratch on each one of them.

  • One day it’s Friendster
  • The next it’s MySpace
  • Then it’s Facebook
  • A day later it’s Instagram.

It’s WhatsApp in the morning, Snapchat during lunchtime and Telegram in the evening. Social Media hypes come and go.

You can’t be everywhere all the time yourself and broadcast your content. You need other people who use these tools and genuinely engage with their audiences. They share your content! You can’t solely rely on self-promotion!

The relationships stay and the links to other people stay as well. Unless you think robots, tools and Google. They can dump or ban you anytime.

How to Connect with People

People can abandon you as well, but they usually don’t out of the blue. Even when supporters do leave you on the Web you won’t lose 2/3 of your revenue over night.

Make sure you listen to the right people in the conversation. Then make sure to connect with them, forge a relationship, create a link. A link is a real connection between people.

The HTML link that shows up on your website is just a manifestation of the real link between two individuals, the person who links and the person who is linked to.

What does this mean for blog comments? I don’t care if you just link your microsite which is unrelated to my blog as long as the link between us is a real and valuable one.

A supportive or also a critical comment will pay off for both of us, sooner or later, no matter what the robots, tools or Google have to “say”.

As long as you contribute something of value you deserve a link.

The only thing you must care about now more than ever considering blog comments and likewise user contributions elsewhere is the quality of links. With WordPress blogs it’s easy:

  • Moderate comments with links
  • Moderate all comments on posts older than a week
  • Do not allow links to empty pages,
  • Edit deep links (unless they’re relevant)
  • Remove gambling/adult pages
  • Delete automated “thank you, great post” comment without context

Nothing fancy here. Unless you are new to blogging you have encountered such comments already.

Being Anti-Social Hurts Yourself

Most of these comment moderation measures are common sense best practices and have been implemented by most bloggers already.

Also make sure to use one of the many “dofollow” plugins as long WordPress does not remove one of the harmful “nofollow, UGC” etc. attributes from the default WordPress package.

When using the anti-social nofollow attribute you hurt both your site and your commenters sites.

UGC is just another red flag for people not to count your links properly. I always check comment links.

For people who want to switch off comments altogether: Why are you on the Web? The Web is about sharing or at least offering information.

Consider this: everything you publish and share might empower others and hurt you so either you risk that and reap the benefits or you go offline, no need for a website then.

Think Relationships not Technology

When link building you have to think relationships not technology! Why? You’re invincible.

No single tweak, small or big from Google or any other gatekeeper can hurt you.

Stay connected to your peers throughout the many social media platforms and using all the upcoming tools and never forget what really counts.

All you need is link love! Connect with the right people and success on Google and beyond will ensue.