You Forgot to Order the Secret Sauce with Your Links!

by Stuart McHenry August 8, 2012

Link building is still a major part of search engine optimization. 2012 has been a tough year for those companies hit hard by bad SEO. On a weekly basis we are contacted by companies that have a huge number of links but yet lack the search engine traffic and rankings they feel their websites are capable of. This is a result of companies pounding links over and over and not caring where the links were coming.

Today some of those companies have shifted gears a bit and they still are not seeing much bang for the links they obtain. It all boils down to the quality of the link. So let’s take a look at the quality of a link.

The Basics

Getting your link on a single page within content is a good start. Unfortunately, there is way more to quality links then just content and location. Some people are still chasing Pagerank. While it’s nice to see the little green bar it’s one of the worst ways to gauge quality. You can have a PR6 blog but if nobody visits it or shares its content you might as well do link exchanges.

Trusted Websites

Links are the most powerful when they come from trusted domains. So what makes a trusted domain in Google’s eyes? Look for social signals and visitor traffic. Does the website have an audience? If so how big is the audience? Not every blog post needs to have hundreds of social shares to be considered trusted but the more the better. So don’t waste your time getting a link on a blog with no audience as you are assured to have wasted your time.

Secret Sauce

Why do links on websites with an audience work so well? Google uses numerous ways to determine the quality signals of the page your link is on. How many social shares did that page get? How many links point to that page? Are the links pointing to that page from quality domains? The list goes on but those are some of the most important factors.
This is where the pavement meets the road. Anyone can go out and get a post on a blog. The difference comes from the “secret sauce” that determines how much weight Google will give your link. Ever wonder why someone with one or two links outranks you while you have ten times more links than them? This is it. Your links aren’t exactly worthless but are in the neighborhood.

How Can I Get The Secret Sauce?

Some people call this 2nd tiered link building but the best thing you can do is write shareable content on popular blogs. When I say “sharable” I mean controversial, funny, actionable and/or shocking. It’s easier to get people to share great content then it is to link build to your crappy content. If you write quality content, to begin with there is no need for you to go out and do 2nd tier link building.

If you aren’t getting the links and shares then maybe you should consider hiring a quality writer. Or you could do some of that 2nd tier link building manually. A good strategy for this is to link to a post you have written in another guest post. (Guest post “A” links to guest post “B”) Don’t go crazy and do this all the time but rather sprinkle in a link every once in a while.

Once your links have the secret sauce you will start to see your rankings increase easier and faster. Don’t forget to always vary your anchor text and keep things as natural as possible.

Stuart McHenry
Stuart McHenry is a US-based SEO Consultant focusing on link building, content marketing, local SEO, and reputation management. Follow Stuart on Twitter @smindsrt

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