As I sit at my desk with crystal blue, Cornish skies out of my window, I clear the inbox of client emails and consider what will 2014 will bring.
It used to be, one massive link from a website which Google deems as an authority was all you needed to kill it in the ranking pages. Linkbait, infographics, etc. all did that.
And that was great.
But now, things have changed. To get links these days, it’s better to forget about link building.
Manipulative link building, (if you want to fluff it up by calling it something like Inbound Marketing, content marketing etc. knock yourself out) has been negated. But it’s not dead, and SEO is not dead yet.
But link building has gone from the rabid wolf to the one legged coyote
Lots of people in the industry have hitched their wagon to a specific aspect of website marketing and will defend their territory when challenged, even with only one leg the Coyote is a animal to be weary of. This is why the industry is slow to change, although compared to any other industry it turns on a dime.
Google has changed things, they always do. They are like that.
It’s the animal that can change and adapt which will survive, not the one who can say, “look at my great kills of 2013″
Past performance is not an indicator of future success
The Cheetah is a fantastic killing machine, honed by evolution to perform one method very well, wait for the weakest, go fast and kill. But it’s the Coyote that thrives, who adapts, who looks at what is happening around it and changes tactics.
This is what you have to do to survive in 2014.
I am going to go out on a limb here and state that I don’t think manipulative link building is going to have the same effect as it once had. We are already seeing this happening. You probably don’t consider it “manipulative link building” and may even still believe in Santa. (thankfully my kids don’t yet read this blog, sshhhhh)
Are links still important, yes they are. But you have to respect Google for being the biggest cat in the jungle and if you annoy it, it will eat you turn you into fertilizer for the weeds.
Link acquisition should still be part of the strategic plan, but it certainly should not lead or be your only tactic.
What is becoming more clear is that tribe building is becoming more and more crucial, I have talked about this way back in 2007 and it was clear even then that this is the way to go.
Building a tribe is why you should create great content, of course links are important but people are more importent. They are they who make up your tribe, and it’s wise to consider what it is your tribe wants, do they want Game of Thrones content? Do they want you to help them save time, make money or get laid?
It’s the tribe you are the servant of, not the bot.
And don’t think your interests are more worthy than the tribe, if they want Kim Kardashian’s ass, then I am afraid you have to give it to them.
Yes, there will be outliers who kill it with links and end up on a sun drenched beach drinking a cooled beverage. But it’s not a business that can be replicated by most people.