Let’s face it, what used to work in terms of off-page SEO strategy in the past just doesn’t fit the bill any longer. With the introduction of Penguin and Panda, “building backlinks” has taken a major hit, and if we are all very honest with ourselves, we knew this day would come. Did we really think mass link building for the sake of link building was a good thing anyway?
The modern age of SEO has forced us all to broaden our gaze, thinking more about the actual impact of our efforts online. Less tactics, more strategy. Less quantity, more quality. With that in mind, let’s talk about the future of building backlinks and how we can move away from the numbers game into a focused online marketing strategy.
Understanding Why SEOs Started Building Backlinks In The First Place
In the golden age, we as SEOs built backlinks with one goal in mind: traffic. The great thing about this was building links achieved this goal on several different levels. Of course, increases in keyword search ranking and traffic was one plus, but also the links themselves were providing referral traffic. How many “guest posts” or “forum profile backlinks” or “blog comments” have sent any traffic to your sites? Let alone conversions.
While we might not have thought about it, building backlinks in bulk used to be a means to an end. More backlinks=more traffic=more money type stuff. So obviously, why build 5 backlinks when you could build 5,000?
Identifying Your Business Goals As An SEO
Now that things have changed, shouldn’t we revert to the reason we started building backlinks in the first place? In order to find the most effective way of conducting our online marketing efforts, we first must look at the “why” behind everything. For many, this will seem almost like re-learning SEO from the ground up. Looking at different strategies and how they affect your bottom line. The most important step to this process is of course deciding what your goals or client goals are, and which are most important.
Obviously, everyone will say things like “more traffic” or “better rankings”, however these types of goals aren’t really what I’m talking about. When you think about it, these are less “goals” and more actual strategies to meet your true goals. We want to look at goals such as increasing revenue, getting more contact form submissions, or growing an email list. These are the types of things that every SEO campaign, on-page or off-site, should begin with.
Using SEO Tactics To Reach Your Goals
Now, I want to be clear. Building backlinks is not a bad thing, when done right and for the right purpose. However, it is only one of many tactics, and one small piece of the mix, and building links just to build them is way off. Whenever carrying out a task, or implementing a new strategy, the best approach is to consider what goal this tactic is working towards accomplishing. Better yet, it is important to initially start with your goal, and decide what tactics/strategies are best fit to accomplish it. It is important to remember that while building backlinks, and doing keyword research and everything else are what we do as SEOs, it is not what we are paid for. The reason our job exists is to create ROI for our employers, clients or ourselves. Remember: Goals first, then tactics.