Is it just me or has everyone been becoming a little ‘link obsessed’ lately?
This week I’ve been counting the number of posts I’ve seen written about getting links for your blog – I’m over 40 and still counting.
Posts I’ve seen this week so far have covered:
- How to ask for links
- What type of links to ask other bloggers for
- How to write content that is linkable
- What type of links are best
- What type of sites to target for links
- How to do internal links on your blog
- How to get .edu links
- Link building tips
- Linkbaiting techniques
- How to get links that increase traffic
- How to buy links effectively
The list goes on…. and on…..
Not only have I seen a lot of posting about links, this week I’ve had around 40 emails from bloggers ‘asking for link exchanges’ (not including all the emails with suggestions for posts that others have written).
So what’s my problem with all the link building articles and exchanging links? Am I ‘anti link?’
No – that’s not it, I believe that SEO has a place in blogging and that one of the most powerful ways to grow in your search engine ranking is to build incoming links to your site. I’ve written many times about this and have covered a lot of the topics in the list above here at ProBlogger. I value the incoming links that I have to my blogs and would like to see their numbers keep growing.
However this week my alarm bells have been going off and I’m starting to wonder if we (as a blogging community) might be getting a little distracted from…. from…. well blogging itself.
Two main thoughts come to mind:
1. Blog Holistically
Beware any type of blogging obsession. I’ve talked about the temptations that bloggers face to focus in on one aspect of blogging at the expense of others – link building is one of those that can lead to blog destruction. Give it some attention by all means – but keep things in balance and realize that of all the factors that make up a successful blog – incoming links is at best midway through the list.
2. Blog well and the links will follow
This might be easy for me to say as a reasonably established blogger – but I’m a big believer in the principle. How do most of the top bloggers going around build their readership? From talking to a few of them I’d humbly suggest that the main thing in their favor was that they built blogs with compelling content which engaged their readers – the links followed.
My Secret Link Obsession
Let me let you in on a little secret. I’m a recovering link-a-holic.
In my early days of blogging I stumbled across the idea of incoming links as the key to SEO and so I began a campaign of gathering links to my blogs (at the time I only had a couple).
I wasn’t all that blog-savvy at the time and so did a pretty crude job of it (I bought a few links, I tried to exchange links, I got into listing my blogs in directories) but I managed to increase the numbers of links to my blogs over time. In the process here’s what else happened:
- My posting frequency dropped
- Readers became frustrated with my content (which was obviously linkbait)
- I lost some of my passion for blogging and my topic
- I sold out content wise (started picking topics to write about that didn’t really add value to my blog)
- I started watching my metrics more than the news in my industry
- Frustration crept into my blogging when the links didn’t come
- My Page Rank increased – but my actual SERPs (the position of my blog in search engines) dropped
It wasn’t until I took a step back from blogging for a week at one point that I realized how distracted I’d become and how the very thing that I thought would ‘make’ my blog was in danger of killing it.
I decided to focus again on my readers and on producing content that would be useful to them and in doing so saw a reversal in all of the above points.
Do I think about incoming links these days as a blogger? Yes I do – they are one aspect of blogging that is important. However as a recovering link-a-holic I attempt to keep that side of my blogging well in check. I think my blogs and I are in a lot better shape for it.