What Is A Backlink? (If you know skip this section)
A backlink is highlighted text on a website linking to another website. It can be a link to a url such as www.apple.com or it can be text such as Apple. When search engines started ranking websites the would look at the text of the links that pointed to your website and if you had the most links to your website with the text “Apple” you would rank for “Apple”. For the last 20 years if you wanted to rank on search engines like Google, having backlinks pointing to your website from other websites was key.
In the beginning it was a lot easier to get links pointing to your website, anyone doing SEO would look for ways to build links. However, search engines intention was to serve content based on quality. They wanted users to search and find the best results available to the search intent. By using backlinks as a voting system they would figure out which websites had barter quality content and serve it to user.
People are people and will do what comes natural to them, get links, whatever it takes. People would exchange links from website to another, link to me and I will link back. People would buy and sell links. Once links were discovered as the key to getting Google rankings, people did what people do, they did whatever they can to get links. People build fake websites to get links, private blog networks and other methods that would get them links. However, they were not getting links pointing to their content for reasons intended. Search engines wanted content to be the reasons link was made, plain and simple.
What did search engines do to ensure link building was controlled, how did they shape the market and ensure people focused more on content overall (Google being the leader)? If you know skip this section.
Google Webmaster Guidelines was created. Google created a long list of what is acceptable and not acceptable for webmasters to do. If a website would violate Google guidelines they would be punished for it and need to undo the violated work, prove they did everything they could to undo it and request reconsideration (beg for forgiveness). The amount of time it took to undo something was longer than the time it took to violate the guidelines.
Over the years people found new ways to game Google but Google got better and better at identifying the violating websites and ensuring they are not rewarded for their efforts.
How hard is getting links in 2019?
The way Google wants you to get them. Naturally, by creating content and getting people to link to it because it is useful. Do not skip this section.
If you want to rank in a local market you need to work on obtaining local links. However, if you want to rank for a website nationally you need to get links from websites nationally. Logically, people are people and continue to find ways to make money in the link building market, they offer to provide you with links for money (this is against Google guidelines). Website owners think, oh nice all I have to do is pay money and my website can rank for keywords that will bring me business. Sounds too good to be true! It worked at one point but not anymore. However, the selling links business is still alive and well. Website owners think how is Google going to find out? Well they have that same list you do, that’s how. Also, they can identify these sites with many other signals the website gives off.
We tested link building in two ways. The first was buying links, in this experiment we spent over $5,000 on links for a medium competition set of keywords, the links were all purchased and the website was optimized nicely. Many SEOs might speculate and say well it could be all these other factors. Sure it can be, but my study showed that a 5,000 investment did absolutely nothing.
We took a different website and used several recommended methods to try and obtain links, this process is extremely time consuming and you get back very little for your efforts. Basically I read this somewhere before “a good link builder has to be good at being rejected”. With every manual outreach email you send which follows Google guidelines you need to spend time creating useful content and giving whoever you reach out to a purpose to link to you. Here’s the list of problems or pain points, when you send that email is it going to the right person? 90% of the time it is not. Is the email good enough? Is you content good enough? Did they read the email? Did you make it past the spam filters? Do they have time for you?
There are definitely people who are good at building links and have great articles on doing so. However, for a small business it will take up too much time. For an SEO agency that works with small businesses they don’t have the budget. Unless the small business has deep pockets and hires the right person (1 in 1,000) or the right company (1 in 100) it’s very unlikely they will succeed.
Link building is soo hard a company Google invested 100 million dollars I ended up violating their guidelines. Fortunately for the company, Google invested 100 million dollars into that business and the business got out of this penalty within a week. Unlike, BMW and many other large brands.
Why Did I Write This Article
Well one day while brainstorming, fully frustrated with the system I had an idea (all my ideas come to me in the shower, I know I’m weird). I realize the issue with link building isn’t the value of the content I create as much as the work it takes for me to get in touch with the right person who will see the value and be able to execute. I mean link building is so hard, a company backed by Google with a 100 million dollar investment had to cheat the system (even though they got away with it).
How BizSwipe Came To Life
An application that is designed to help website owners and digital marketing agencies make connections. It’s was such a simple concept but took two years, a lot of money, time, swear, tears and we are finally proud to announce BizSwipe. An application that matches businesses like never before. A website owner can login add their website, pick a category to add their website to and select a category to see other businesses in. If you are only looking for a local market, we added a radius filter. It doesn’t end there, once we kept building the idea we decided to add social media accounts. Not only did we add social media accounts we added filters for these social media accounts as well. Building this app to be intuitive was not easy. It’s free and if we hit critical mass a business can build relationships before links.
Hope you like it and we’re open to any feedback you have.