Are There Really Any Outdated Link Techniques?
…Or is it just a matter of being smart and not relying on any one of them to build your profile?
Take guest blogging, for example. It worked, people loved it, but people abused it to the point that it became a big no-no if you used “keyword-rich anchor text.” However, plenty of people still do it. They don’t crank out 150 guest posts a month but they do them here and there and, amazingly, some do still have keyword-rich anchors in them.
Before it became such an overused tactic, it was actually an honor to be asked to write a guest post. We didn’t flood webmasters and site owners with requests to contribute to their sites, either. I will never ever forget being contacted by a site owner who wanted to write a guest post on our agency website about swimming pools. Swimming pools!
My first guest post was on the Wordstream.com site and I was asked to write it since one of the usual writers would be out and they needed a fill-in. That was in 2011 and I was truly honored to have been asked to contribute. That’s a very far cry from what we are seeing with guest posting today. Even after the big crackdown, I’m still getting unsolicited emails from people that I don’t know who want me to post their piece on something completely unrelated to my site. We know that’s bad though right? But if someone you truly respect asked you to contribute to an authoritative site, would you turn it down? I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t accept 50 offers in a month though. Common sense.
Then there’s the directory listing, that much-reviled old standby that tends to generate nasty comments whenever you mention it. Yep, people still use directories and some of them do still matter. I’m not talking about spammy article directories or directories with no authority that only exist to host 10k unrelated links. I’m talking about business.com, dmoz.org, and relevant local directories that have an editorial process.
Our city has a vibrant downtown and there’s a great site that has a directory of businesses in the area. Why wouldn’t I want a link like that? Would I want links in 50 local business directories in one city or in cities where I don’t even have a location? Nope.
I’ve written articles and even done a presentation where there were a few people who complained that I obviously didn’t know what I was talking about since I mentioned that you could still do something like submit your site to a good directory or email to ask for a link in someone’s resource page. (You can’t imagine the comments when I mentioned Toolbar PageRank in 2014, which some of my clients did still use as a metric at the time so it was indeed something we looked at.) To many people hoping for a new magic pill, any technique that isn’t brand spanking new and doused with dazzling made-up words is outdated and suspect but these people aren’t seeing the fact that many techniques, no matter how outdated they think they are, can still work as long as they aren’t the sole method of getting links.
Take this resource page, for example. If you sold cruelty-free products wouldn’t you want a link there?
You can still find a good expired domain and use it successfully. Should you buy up 100 of them and 301 them all to your main site? Heck no. In almost every link profile that I have ever audited, there are some really good redirected domains that I would not advise the client to get rid of.
Look at this infographic. While I’m not metrics-obsessed, it’s hard to deny the power of the ones that infographic has with a Page Authority of 83. Apparently infographics are a “dying breed,” though. If I could do one this well for a client, I’d do it. I bet you would too.
PR vs. Link Builders
There’s also been a big debate between journalists and link builders that’s seemingly everywhere I look lately. Some say don’t build links, just let a PR person do his or her thing. Some point out that a PR person doesn’t know enough about SEO. Some point out that maybe we could all just work together and realize that there’s a place for everyone. That’s my perspective. That’s because I like balance, and balance comes from not putting all your eggs in one basket.
People are always looking for the newest technique, some miraculous scaleable linksplosion that will require very little effort and will generate tons of links with no repurcussions down the road. That is why we quickly completely abandon a tactic so easily.
So maybe (?) we can agree that some techniques might be outdated but they might still work in small quantities, if done well. What I think is outdated is the idea that there’s only one way to do well online.