The Challenges of Link Building

SEO

Unequivocally, link building is one of the most critical SEO channels available to website owners, webmasters and digital agencies alike, designed to boost a website’s performance in the search engines. However, few will contest, that link building is hard, obtaining links and the excessive time and resources required to acquire them can prove to be a real challenge.

Google makes no secret to the fact that a websites “top (2) ranking factors are content and the links that point to your website”. Links are a ranking factor in determining a pages worthiness, without inbound links the ability to gauge the quality of a page remains a challenge to search engines.

As with any strategy, there is a right and a wrong way to go about building links, bad neighbourhoods will inevitably raise the unwanted, analytical and judgemental attention of Google. Today, we look into the obstacles that every webmaster will at some point need to circumnavigate to ensure that your website and your business has every chance of success.

Before You Commence Your Campaign

When considering the challenges of link building, it is important to remember that success or failure of your marketing efforts should not rely solely on the individual efforts of a link building campaign. Building inbound links to your website alone does not necessarily bring traffic to your website, in fact, the type of inbound links, their origin and how those incoming links occur from the originating site are by themselves additional ranking factors.

A link building campaign requires a planned and purposeful approach if it is to yield the results you are looking for, keeping your website from the attentive eye of Google and avoid any punitive action.

Link Building Challenges at a Glance

Some of the challenges you may encounter are;

  1. Difficulty in substantiating ROI over time, insufficient funds budgeted, building links and content creation.
  2. Marketing challenging industries and finding link building opportunities.
  3. Unrealistic expectations or time-frames to produce results.
  4. The need to overcome the fear of change at an individual or business level.
  5. Businesses that seek to direct their marketing efforts but lack of time to create fresh content while finding and nurturing new business relationships.
  6. Identifying what a good or bad link opportunity is.
  7. Avoiding the trap of engaging in reciprocal link strategies, exchange groups or link farms whether intentionally or not.
  8. Keeping motivated throughout a link building campaign.

In addition to the above challenges, consider other on-page factors that determine the success of your websites, such as content quality, relevance, site speed and user engagement.

Budget Constraints & ROI

Understandably, smaller businesses have less time and resources to spend on trial and error tactics. Building inbound links is without a doubt substantially more laborious than it used to be and a lot more costly. Working under the restrictions of a tight budget or time constraints can further hamper your SEO efforts.

Weighing up return on investment for your link building and content generation efforts require measuring over an agreed term. Whereas a pay-per-click campaign’s effectiveness is deliberated over a period of days, weeks or months; link building requires a long-term approach of 6-12 months (depending on budget spend) to gauge the results more effectively.

Curating Engaging Content

The lack of a content strategy dramatically impacts on the efforts of link building and SEO, content is the cornerstone of SEO and has the power to engage customers and influence their purchasing decisions.

One of the most asked questions by most business owners or content creators, is how much time should be spent creating content? From an SEO and marketing perspective, the easiest way to answer this would be to always put quality first over quantity.

Opinions abound as to what the optimum article length should be and how much time some authors spend on curating articles. While some authors boast they invest little more than a few hours of their time drafting content, others indicate that creating content worth sharing which organically builds links, requires an investment of around 20-40 hours.

Articles which tend to rank well vary in length between 3,000 and 5,000 words, notwithstanding further necessitation of infographics to make these articles more shareable on social media.

Simply put, if you are not investing your time creating purposeful, shareable content that engages customers the chances are that you are wasting your time on your link building and content creation efforts.

Link Building in Challenging Industries

Equally challenging for SEO professionals and industry professionals alike can be the tedious task of promoting industries whose products or services that seemingly lacklustre, understandably creating conversational and informative content about bathroom taps or door hinges can prove a challenge in itself, let alone finding link opportunities for these niche industry sectors.

When brainstorming ideas for content creation on topics that might appear on the surface to have limited opportunities for expansion, experienced writers do not restrict their efforts by being too on-topic and consider more broadly engaging customer interest in topics within the industry as a whole while keeping the article relevant to the websites target audience.

Often in-house SEO teams will sway toward press-releases for their link building efforts, whereas, not surprisingly broken link building seems to be the preferred method used by SEO companies to build links.

It is imperative to consider quality over quantity at all times, aim to build relationships with bloggers and writers who are committed to showing off your content to their audiences and remember that links persevere over long periods while social media posts do not.

Consider that your content needs to engage your audience, on page metrics like topical relevance to your website, customer dwell time, responsive design and uniqueness of the material that you offer are all important signals.

Look for people to review your products and service, offer giveaways in exchange for guest posts, be charitable, think about local charities, professional or trade organisations that you connect too.

Searching for Link Opportunities

There are an abundance of online analytical tools available to webmasters, digital agencies and business owners alike designed to help you with your SEO efforts, tools like Moz, Majestic, Ahrefs, URLProfiler, Semrush and Buzzstream all provide tools which some view as being quintessential in achieving their SEO objectives.

Aside from website or competitor analysis, they also provide automated solutions for laborious tasks which are conducted daily, methodically scanning billions of pages searching for broken-link or guest posting opportunities.

The real challenge is identifying prospects from automatically generated lists and converting those prospects to valuable business connections that are willing to work with your business, who allow guest posts or offer other content creation or link building alternatives.

Notwithstanding the difficulty most experience searching for link building opportunities, it is essential to avoid reciprocal link strategies, exchange groups or link farms as these will negatively impact on your SEO efforts.

Dealing with Low Response Rates

Regardless of the industry targeted in your link building campaign one of the most common challenges is that of low response rates. Better filtering of prospect opportunities may result in improving response rates but may not directly translate to increasing the number of link prospects; it may only make your conversion statistics look a little more productive.

Sometimes the path to reward is not always clear, the road to success will inevitably be rocky; however take some comfort in the fact that perseverance, persistence and patience will achieve positive results.

Lack of time

A malady that most often afflicts many businesses in the decision making and implementation processes is the lack of available time. Most common but not limited to small to medium size businesses is the lack of time or staffing resources to enable them to commence or sustain a content creation and link building strategy. Time is a precious resource which directly translates to a monetary sum so if your business is unable to dedicate the time required to pursue this incredibly important SEO strategy consider using the services of an experienced digital agency.

When commencing a link building strategy, it is essential to realise the investment required and the benefits received. Pursuing a link building strategy will require a significant investment in your time or that of your employees and budget accordingly. Slow, methodical and planned progression in creating your content and link building strategy in the interim stages will not only give you an opportunity to test and gauge its effectiveness but also avoid the risks of building links with unfavourable sources and save costs.

Keeping Motivated

In our last article, “The Biggest Challenges Facing Businesses Today”, we briefly mentioned some ideas on how to stay motivated. Sometimes fatigue or repetition can impact on our enthusiasm, mood typically dictates how we write, so if we start feeling tired or disinterested, it is worthwhile to take proper rest. Read some articles, allow yourself to recover, focus and recentered again before you start delving back into content creation, your readers will notice your new found enthusiasm and thank you for it.

You can find some interesting resources about keeping motivated at the Writers Digest and Smart Blogger or read Heidi Cohen article, “30 Blogging Tactics to Stay Motivated”.

Fear of Change

We all at some point either have personally experienced or have been impacted by others suffering the effects of the “fear of change”.

Fear can legitimately encompass our thoughts in moments of decision making; fear can indicate that we have not done enough research to enable us to proceed, a feeling of lacking the knowledge required to make decisions may cause you to feel that an action has an element of volatility.

Often when a company has to make a directional change in their marketing efforts, this causes significant anxiety, especially when leading down an unfamiliar path, this fear can paralyse their ability to make timely decisions or progress to taking action.

Fear of change in any management decision is never admirable, arm yourself with the knowledge to enable you to proceed confidently even if that means engaging another business to handle the link building process for you.

Professional Considerations

There is an element of respect and understanding that should be portrayed by both business owners and digital marketers alike, namely that business owners will have a better knowledge of their business, industry, products and services, budgets and profits than a third-party organisation.

Consideration also should be given to digital marketers who have acquired through experience wealth of knowledge through day-to-day dealings with other businesses across a comprehensive industry base.

When planning your link building campaign, carefully consider your budget and staffing limitations to enable you to set objective, realistic targets.

In Conclusion

We should critically analyse how we work and make decisions regularly, keep in mind that the metrics of SEO often fluctuate and that the best-laid plans sometimes need adjustments.

Hard work and perseverance aside, we are working on a solution we believe will enable businesses to define prospects better and assist them in building meaningful industry contacts, resulting in better prospect conversions saving you time and producing better results.

If you disagree with any of our remarks or would like to give us your feedback, we welcome it; we’d love to hear your thoughts and insights on how link building has worked for you, or if on the contrary, it has not.

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