How Relationship Building for SEO Works Without Link Begging
It’s official: relationship building increasingly replaces link building in SEO. That’s truly amazing news!
I’ve been preaching relationships for years before the approach arrived in the SEO mainstream. I’m glad it has.
There is just one problem with relationship building as applied using the old school SEO mindset: it doesn’t scale! Ouch!
You can’t build 100 relationships like you built 100 links in the era of SEO 1.0
Thus relationship building is not a one to one link building replacement! It’s different! How?
It’s much more than link building but also much less. Most importantly relationship building is not about SEO at all.
Relationships Are for People
Relationships with like minded individuals are a prerequisite to get noticed and ultimately to gain links but you do not forge relationships with people only for the inbound link of it. Why?
People are not stupid and they’ll notice you’re behaving strangely and have something else in mind than you pretend to.
The good news is that having friends online or maybe even in real life will actually result in getting links. You don’t make friends by asking strangers for links first in case you wonder.
How does this SEO 2.0 relationship voodoo work and how can I make it scale? I’ll give you an example that is easy to understand:
when publishing online to get traction on social media you need the so called “initial push”.
It’s the initial push of shares to get your message out. SEO agency employees will ask their colleagues to like, tweet, share or vote for their new post for example.
This way the article gets noticed by several others interested in the subject matter. In case it makes sense some of them
After a dozen or two people shared the post even more people notice and thus the post becomes popular ideally.
Afterwards it gets added to the curated lists of important posts etc. and thus gets additional links. This is the whole story you are after.
Building Relationships on a Budget
Sadly poor guys like myself who can’t afford to pay a whole team of SEO practitioners have a disadvantage as it might appear: we have nobody to ask for that initial push to get the ball rolling.
We seemingly have to beg influencers to help us or something similar. Or we have real relationships with our peers and thus get the initial push organically without pushing anybody.
By forging a relationship prior to publishing their flagship content you get organic reach.
You make some people potentially interested in your work and aware of you. Ideally you became trustworthy and reputable already this way.
Once you publish your masterpiece everybody is already awaiting it and glad to give it the initial push. People want to be the first to share or comment!
Making People Like and Trust You Without Asking for Favors
How do you build relationships properly then without begging for links? It’s not about link begging!
- You forget that hideous link building thing you are after.
- First you look out for great people you actually like who also cover the topic you are interested in or optimize for.
- You search for the curators, the connectors, the bloggers.
- You don’t look after the egoists, the “I am an island” people, the ignorant self-promoters.
- You share their content first, you help them where you can, you promote them.
You connect with the people who are genuinely likeable as human beings and then magic happens.
These people actually like you too as long as you are likeable! You don’t even have to go to expensive conferences or trade fairs.
You can connect with people online using social channels of your choice.
Then one day you publish that cool piece about your favorite topic and your online peers are delighted to help you.
Your Peers Are Eager to Help
Your peers will share your content! They will even link to it but most importantly they make their friends and followers notice.
When you have something to say, to show or even to sell that has actual value the word will spread. This is how relationship building scales.
You just need 10 supportive online peers to get a 100, a 1000, or 10k shares and links!
It all depends on the content quality and the actual value. The initial push is just that, a good start. Don’t look upon people as a means to an end and they will support you.
Mutual aid is a natural trait of our species. SEO is just a hypermodern way to apply it. Just don’t ask for help first on “hello”.
good message here, Tad, and thanks for the inclusion (drinks potion out of skull).
i get a little sick to my stomach each time i observe relation building coinciding with link building. no. the latter is not an alternative. that’s creepy to begin with.
link building got to the point that G had to put the kibosh on shitty endeavors. So now, the logical alternative is to make friends for links? WTF. Webmasters are human. Business people are human. Consumers are human.
If we assume we must offer something of value to get a link, then other humans must agree on our ability to make good on that endeavor. Being friendly to someone does not secure one’s ability to provide value. it never will.
build relations to learn/teach. Regarding link building, yes, it’s a sound strategy to be human, introduce a relation, and possibly, if the fit is right and value is offered, a link or many links (hard to predetermine) can result..
I agree, but it worries me that this might not be common sense for everybody.
…and the more people that employ this method, the more valuable a community is. Thanks for sharing.
You’re welcome Anthony. And yes, making friends solely to get a link is obnoxious. It doesn’t work that way.
Iain: Yeah, that’s why I had to write this. Otherwise people might mistake relationships for links and start going after “one link stands”.
Annalisa: Exactly, the more genuinely connections the better for the forming of an overall community.
Relationship Building…. (I frigging hate this word) is actually what we used to call Networking in business before some SEO wanted some new fangled word for his/her blog.
Yes networking works, helping others works, yes I can get lots of new business through offering free advice that works for me in my business and I apply those rules on the internet too.
What doesn’t work is when a client pays me good money to help him make his site more profitable. Yes as a consultant I will distill within him and his team its a good idea to try this thing called the “Twitterz” and it’s worth his time networking online and yes he will ultimately get links from creating partnerships and “relationships” with his interwebz buddies.
But that’s not going to solve the problem that his website may as well have a DA of minus gazillion because for the past 2 years he’s done zilch to promote his website beside hire some schmoozer a year a go to spam him to oblivion and be charged £5000 for the privelege.
My client wants to see results, I want to help him get there as quickly as possible via the most efficient processes as possible he’s not paying me to write egobait about people in his industry he’s paying me to make his site make money.
I then go find a load of people who write about finance, wills, probate, tax and ask them for their input…
I don’t ask for a link, they say hey Chris that’s really cool perhaps can you change XYZ… they don’t know me from Adam I just cold emailed these people…
I make the changes they say “yeah that’s frigging great can I embed this mother on my site or is it ok to link to it….”
All I’m doing is what you recommend above Tad I’ve created something of value & seeded it to a network of peers. My client, other webmasters & people looking for this tool/content/advice all benefit, no?
What I’m pissed off with are people writing blogs saying that all you need to do is make friends online & perhaps write some low level ego bait to get on their radar.
You & I both know that those hours sat on social media would be better spent creating something of value & then yes, seeding it within a network of peers, good old fashioned outreach or hey what about paid traffic.
We have similar beliefs Tad & as I say my gripe is with the “don’t worry about it the links will come” brigade.
I like the post due to two reasons, one being the issue of ethics, like when we add a flavor of strong relationship building it naturally becomes organic and alliance get stronger but it has inherited pitfalls of organic growth like slow, complicated, difficult workability and could be costly over time (short run). Second issue is coping with changing trends that demands speed and swift response. I myself is a believer of cooperation instead of competition (for the greater good) but reality lies in standing out. This is fulfilled by quantitative link building. On the other hand quality is a function of strong relationship.
This fairly draws a conclusion of mixed approach as equilibrium of quality and quantity. Instead of intertwining one another both relationship building and link building goes side by side and one prevails according to prevailing needs of environment.