Don't Bother with Link Building

Eric Ward had a good post on Search Engine Land recently about a situation where a link building campaign would most likely fail. In his article he describes the site as one that is template-based and largely a duplicate of many other sites. Hence the conclusion that it wouldn't be able to attract links.

This got me to thinking about other situations where a basic link building effort would probably be a waste of time. Here's what I came up with:

  • If the effort is going to focus on directory submissions, submitting to more than a handful of the best directories is probably a waste of time.
  • If the site is well established and has thousands or more good links, a manual link-building effort where you reach out to many small time blog or website owners is probably a waste of time. Instead, you'll need to step up your game a bit and look at opportunities to get many links with a single effort e.g. link bait, social media optimization.
  • If the site is well established and has hundreds of thousands of links, any additional link building effort is probably a waste of time. That is unless you have the skills and connections of an Eric Ward or an SEOmoz and can really inspire website owners and content creators to link to your site.

So what do you do if you fall in to one of the above instead of waste your time? Be sure that you've done EVERYTHING you can for on-page optimization. While it's true that on-page optimization faces diminishing returns, it can be the little things that put you on top in highly competitive markets.

Other than on-page optimization, look to adding additional content to your site. There are always opportunities to expand a site's content as long as you're open to such ideas. And there's an added benefit of more content — more links! The more useful and well-written content you have on your site, the more likely a visitor will find something worth linking to.

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