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‘Guest Blogging is Done’: Matt Cutts on Natural Link Building in 2014

We all know link building has changed drastically over the past few years, and Matt Cutts’ recent revelation that ‘guest blogging is done’ is something that most SEOs saw coming. Whilst the majority would probably agree that genuine guest posting still has merit, providing sub-standard content just for the sake of a link most certainly does not. So, how can SEOs move away from guest posting to acquire links more naturally for their clients?

Reactive PR

The boundaries between SEO and PR are becoming increasingly blurred, and reactive PR is a great way to get those all-important media placements (and links) for your clients. A simple way to react to any media placement opportunities is to use media alerts services to receive journalist requests straight to your inbox. Whether they’re looking for a product, a quote or a discount code to tell their readers about, if you’re quick to react you can secure your clients great links, as well as revenue-driving exposure.

Existing Mentions

Make the most of your clients’ existing brand mentions by making sure that wherever they’re being talked about online, there’s a link back to their website, even if it’s no-follow. It improves user experience if a reader can click through to the client’s site to find out more information, so it’s beneficial to the webmaster or blogger to add the link, resulting in a win-win situation for all involved.

Linkable Assets

If your clients don’t understand why it’s important to invest in their on-site content, then you’re doing something wrong. Educate them and make sure they understand how important it is that their site is a useful resource and not just a promotional tool. Investing in evergreen content like printable PDF checklists, for example, will encourage people to link to the site naturally, as well as providing great link-bait for your outreach efforts.

What We Say at WMG

This list is by no means extensive, and of course there are many other ways to secure natural links for your clients that we couldn’t possibly map out in one blog post. So, we’ve asked a few of our Relationship Managers here at WMG to add their two cents.

“I deal with a lot of reactive PR, and find that sending product suggestions to journalists and bloggers that are looking to put together a feature is a great way to secure links, as well as revenue-generating exposure for clients. This works especially well for e-commerce clients who have well-established, recognisable brands.”

– Elissa Hudson

“Creating high quality, engaging and sharable content for a client’s site is an excellent way of attracting natural links and building brand awareness. By reaching out to influencers and thought leaders from within a client’s niche and involving them in the content creation process, we can ensure on-site content is authoritative and genuinely useful, and that it will be linked to by respected websites and bloggers.
I’d also advise that if you want to differentiate yourself from the SEO spammers, pick up the phone and talk to influencers rather than sending out a generic email. Often, it’s those pre-existing PR-style relationships that result in success.”

– Brit Peacock

“I find that one of the most effective link building tactics is to promote my clients’ current content assets such as videos, guides, and infographics to influential websites and blogs. Simply having interesting content on the client’s blog or website isn’t always enough to attract inbound links, especially if the client isn’t particularly well-known or is just starting out. Sometimes it needs some manual effort to be discovered.”

– Pano Savvidis

The Recipe for Success

Finally, above all, before placing a link ask yourself ‘would coverage on this website be beneficial even without a follow link?’ If the answer is yes, then the chances are that you’ve got yourself a good, natural link.

In 2014, focus on building links for the purpose generating traffic, brand building and creating social buzz. Link placements should be readable, relevant, and have the potential to drive revenue if you’re looking for serious SEO success in 2014.