How Relationship Building for SEO Works Without Link Begging

A group of elephants in the wild trotting behind each other. Two large elepants, two kids and one smaller elephant at the end.

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

  • like
  • tweet
  • share
  • vote.

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!

  1. You forget that hideous link building thing you are after.
  2. First you look out for great people you actually like who also cover the topic you are interested in or optimize for.
  3. You search for the curators, the connectors, the bloggers.
  4. You don’t look after the egoists, the “I am an island” people, the ignorant self-promoters.
  5. 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”.