As a digital marketing professional, I'm not a big fan of building links.
I know, this is one of the most utilized methods in SEO. Most SEO experts out there talk about building links as immensely important.
But Google's John Mueller outright said that most attempts at building links are unnatural and despised by the search engine.
Asking other websites to link back to yours seems a little sleazy to me. There are ways to do this ethically, of course. But it's still risky.
Bruce Clay, known as the grandfather of SEO, outright said that building links unnaturally runs the risk of being penalized by Google.
The solution is to earn and attract links back to your site naturally.
That's where content marketing comes in.
It makes sense. Post a really good piece of content on your own site, and promote that instead of links. If people like it, they will link to it.
Not only that, but it will create a compounding effect.
People will talk about it. They will share it. They will post their own articles discussing it. This in turn will reach other people who have never heard of you, and they will talk about it and link to it, too. Et cetera.
In fact, Google pays just as much attention to “mentions” as they do backlinks. Mentions (also called brand mentions) are often referred to as “implied links.”
But there's one important side benefit to this practice…
Content amplifies your credibility.
- It establishes you as an authority in your field.
- It creates more awareness of your brand and your business.
- It attracts ideal prospects to your business.
- It helps to prequalify your prospects before they approach you.
- It advances the sale and lowers buyer resistance.
- It creates less cognitive dissonance once clients buy from you.
- It cuts through the clutter that ads create and bypasses ad blockers.
- It distinguishes you as a trustworthy thought leader.
- It communicates and solidifies your value proposition.
- It positions you above your competition in the mind of your market.
- It attracts opportunities for creating strategic marketing alliances.
I could go on and on. You get the picture.
In 2006 at the height of the dotcom boom, when all people cared about was traffic and conversions, I wrote about the third missing element in marketing.
A decade later, Google cracked down on less-than-credible websites. Millions of websites lost traffic and rankings overnight.
It killed many a business, too.
Back then as today, it made sense to me that trying to game the system in any way, shape, or form is going to come back and bite you.
This is why as a professional…
Building credibility > building links.
You can work hard at building traffic and sales. But if you don't build credibility, your practice will not grow as fast as you wish, you will stagnate, or you will be virtually non-existent ⏤ let alone crushed by competitors.
Build content. Build good content. Build more content.
You will build credibility as a byproduct, which is far more powerful.