The Exponential Power of Relationship Based Linking

Link Building Through RelationshipsAll links are not created equal. Some links are high quality, high authority links that come from relationships you’ve nurtured over months and years. Other links are one-off, or self-generated links that Google doesn’t like nearly as much. When you’re building your links, it’s important to look at not just the quality of the link itself, but the underlying relationship that created that link.

That’s what a link is, after all. One human being is looking at a piece of content created by another human being and decides that it’s worth endorsing. A link represents someone who either likes you enough or trusts you enough to recommend what you have to say to their entire network of readers.

These kinds of genuine links have a domino effect. Tip one such link and it ripples down the line.

How One Strong Relationship Can Net You Many Links

Knowing one person well and getting a link from them can result in many, many more links – As well as many new relationships.

First, getting a link from an authoritative site means you’re going to be exposed to a lot of their audience. Unlike a link you create yourself, this link represents a genuine endorsement. People who see your link know that.

They’re more likely to click on your link. Because you came from a reputable source, they’re also more likely to repost that piece of content on their social media profiles. They’re more likely to also link to you if they have their own website(s).

How Google Views These Kinds of Links

Google is getting better and better at picking out self-generated links. In fact, Google’s Penguin update was more or less a pinpoint attack against self generated links. Simultaneously, links that were generated through real relationships got a nice boon.

It’s nearly impossible to say exactly how Google evaluates links and relationships. They can read behind many lines and use hundreds of different indicators to determine whether a link is authentic or not. Instead of trying to game the system, smart marketers have simply moved on. Instead, they focus on relationships.

When you build links based on real content and real relationships, you get real rankings. Those real rankings in turn lead to more real backlinks, assuming your content is good. The cycle repeats itself, netting you more and more links.

Putting This Into Practice

So how do you actually use this concept to generate more links? Here are a few different tips.

Be open to new relationships, even if they’re from people who aren’t established yet. Often time’s those who’re just starting out are much more willing to link to you, work with you or partner with you than those who already have a firm footing.

  • Check your analytics. Who’s linking to you already? If someone goes out of their way to link to you without you asking for it, chances are they’re already a fan of you and your content. Reach out to them and nurture that relationship.
  • Help others succeed. Link to other people’s content. Retweet other people’s content. Recommend resources that can help others. Refer customers to them. Do everything in your power to help someone else win. Then when it comes your turn to ask for a backlink, they won’t hesitate to say yes.
  • Watch your social media. Are there people who regularly @mention you? Are there people who regularly retweet what you have to say? Reach out to these people. Again, chances are they’re already a fan of your content. You can leverage that affinity by building a relationship with them.
  • Network in person. Go to events, seminars, trade shows and conferences. Make real friends. It’s much easier to ask someone for a favor – And much more pleasurable for them to say yes – Once they already know who you are in person. Use trending topics to build quality links to your website.

When you get a link from someone who’s real, someone who really likes you and someone who’s genuinely endorsing you, it has a domino effect. You get more links. You get more traffic. You get more rankings. Your relationship strengthens. And from there, the domino starts all over again. Put as much energy and attention as possible into cultivating real links that are based in real relationships.

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One Response to “The Exponential Power of Relationship Based Linking”

  1. Nick Stamoulis on September 11th, 2012 1:21 pm

    This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to build and maintain relationships online. Social media and blogs are great places to start a relationship. It’s important to remember that it’s a two way street. You can’t expect others to link to you or share your content if you aren’t returning the favor.

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