The Myth of Organic Links

Organic Links

There are no natural links

There are no organic links

But wait, all the seo industry keep banging on about you must have natural this and organic that.

I say to that is, “we are not discussing peaches”.

And I love a good peach

Quite simply, and I hate to say this as I have a lot of mates (and I even do it myself) doing the natural/organic, shuffle. The reason it exists is one of marketing, rather than something that accurately describes what it does.

In other words, it’s guff

It’s marketing guff

And it’s very effective marketing guff.

As an industry we need to label complex, machine based processes with easy to use fluffy, psuedo hippy terms like “organic”. This helps us sell a service that is imperfect, and hide the fact that we don’t totally know what the hell is going on because Google wont tell us.

Google will hint that we need to build fields of lush, verdant organic links without a tinge of blackhat (another guff word) pesticide.

The problem with this is that this is how marketing people talk. But Google is run run by engineers and what we are dealing with is a highly engineered, efficient machine.

This is the thing to remember

Google is a machine

What the hell is organic about that?

Machines are process led, they repeat tasks, they create patterns. Not that you could possibly backward engineer Google. It is one of the most incredible things man has created, I could throw out some mind blowing stats here but you probably already know.

The Google bot is a machine, but we should be creation content for human beings, content that is amazing, magnificent. And it should attract links that humans have been inspired to give.

Create for humans and not the bot, and please leave the organic stuff at home. It smells.

Further Reading on this subject:
59 Amazing Organic Link Building Articles
A Look at How Organic Links Have Lost Value
Link Building Strategies: Organic Link Building
Free Link Building Tips For 2015
SEO’s: Time to Revolt Against Google?

Image source

Create Great Content Ask for a Link Be Nice

Yesterday I wrote a post that got carried on Searchengineland.com, which was very nice of them. Thanks.

It was titled. Have you Tried Asking for a Link and I talked about that fact that sometimes you simply has to ask. However, to be clear and I have had a few emails about this. The post said that you could “Just nicely ask for a link, using your own words in a real way and ask for a link to something good.”

As I find people tend not to ask the right way for a link and others do not ask at all.

The post goes on to say, “I will give you a link for free, from an authority blog, just give me something to link to, ask nice and make me think you will do something nice back in the future.”

Of course, some thought all they needed to do was to ask for a link and they would get one. And that “something”, meant anything. I clearly stated that I wanted to “link to something good”, meaning it has to be good enough to link to.

Perhaps I was not clear as I should have been, and should have outlined what “something good” actually meant as not everyone creates content for links. In my world, “something good” means a specific level of quality. Quality of communication, quality of attractiveness etc.

And so when I got several of the emails asking for link this morning, a few of them didn’t get it. So I wrote an open letter to those people to save time.

Thanks for that [NAME WITHHELD], appreciate it.

Yes I have had a lot of requests.

The point of the “ask for a link”, article is about asking nicely and in a human way. Just asking me after saying hi is missing the point.

Although I do note that you have helped me with pointing out the error on the email link, although I have had plenty of emails this morning, I’m not really that hard to contact.

Would you give a link simply because someone asked?
Of course not, it wouldn’t be good practice.

You need to have something, a piece of linkable content you want to be linked to, I need a reason to link, something specific or something interesting. As I wrote in the article.

It can’t be just the fact that you have a website there has to be a reason for me to link to the website. Something of merit, something to be cited, something different. The whole reason I have links on my blog is to help the reader, either giving them more context or allowing them to explore the subject further. A link has to be of value to the reader within the context of the blog and the blog post.

Obviously people buy links, you cannot buy links on my website, but you can on others and when that happens it is sometimes blatantly obvious, because there is no context to the link being given or that the content being linked to is not worth being linked to. And if a website exhibits a pattern of bought and sold links and Google finds out, Google may ban them.

I don’t want my website to have the hint of bought and sold links because I don’t want my website banned. Not that linking to your website would get my website banned. I just need a reason to link, as I stated in my blog post.

Of course I can give out a non paid link that is not entirely contextual to prove a point, for example the Blue Bar at Porthtowan beach, where I am often found. OK, this is not entirely non-contextual as it’s a place that I love and go to regularly.

But you see the point about simply dropping in links with no context? There has to be a reason to link.

If you want me to further analyse your request further, it didn’t leave me feeling that you were going to do something nice in the future. It simply told me that you saw the request (not sure you read the article) and thought you simply had to ask.

This is not the point of the article, it’s not the correct methodology for effective outreach and it certainly isn’t a nice way for human beings to communicate.

If you are in a pub for example and someone comes up to you and says, “Hi, I’m John, hope you had a great holiday. Your laces are undone. £50 please”.

It’s probably not going to be effective.

And this is the point of the article.

Not that you simply have to ask, using as few words as possible. But that you actually have to connect with another human being and treat them better than a cynical way to get a link.

Don’t get me wrong, my verbose reply is not indicative as anger or even annoyance. It’s more about frustration that opportunities are being lost, simply because people do not connect with others effectively over the Internet.

I don’t say “connect properly“, as that is subjective. I mean “effectively“, as in getting to achieve your goal.

It’s very clear what works in link building and what does not. No one wants to be taken advantage of or thought of as an idiot who will link to anyone.

People tend to link to people who they like, they do not link to websites but to people, as I have said in my blog and at numerous conference talks.

You can clearly see this human effect in action after a conference when people who have met people and like them, link to their blogs afterwards when they would not have linked to them when based just on the website.

Going to conferences and being liked is the best link building technique I have seen. I say “technique” tongue in cheek, because it’s not. It’s a way of being.

And yes, I suppose some people think it tiresome to actually interact with people you have zero interest in, but this is the point. People can easily sense that, even emails have an odour.

The solution is simply to be nice. Take the time, be genuine have something real to share.

This of course takes time, and if you can get away with a quick ask, job done. I totally understand why someone would knock out a crafty email link request between a mocha.

But knocking out a crafty one was not the point of the article.

Being effective by being nice was.

Link building should be looked upon as a tribal act. Look how the tribe of Moz acts, totally tribal. Look how Buzzfeed acts, they feed their tribe daily.

I wont tell you that link building is easy, you have to really work at it. But you have to work harder if you see it as a vending machine, or a cash point machine. Gone are the days of the push linker and I am old enough to remember those days. They were fun times. But it’s better now because great content can now give you a reason to properly ask for links.

My goal is to teach people the effective way of doing things, that was the point of the “Link offer”, blog post and this is the point of this blog post.

Thanks for taking the time to email and reading my blog post. If you do have great piece of content to share with my readers, please do not hesitate to contact and if the content works, and if your website is cool and if you are not a horrible person and if you [Insert here all the obvious stuff that most with a basic understanding of SEO understand] then I will drop you a tasty, contextual link.

Regards
Lyndon Antcliff

Too Zen? I don’t think so, this is about what works and what does not work.

It is the sound of a link being built to an idea that does not yet exist.

Have you tried asking for a link

Just nicely ask for a link, using your own words in a real way and ask for a link to something good. It’s a controversial statement I know judging from my email inbox and what doesn’t get talked about on Twitter.

I think I have a pathological aversion to cut and paste emails and cookie cutter content.

I get emails stating, “we are quaility link builders”, good because I always have people looking for those and I am quite liberal in linking out from my own blogs.

But the emails are obviously not written by the sender, but by some dry, crunchy assed, baked in the sun so long it has bleached their soul, copywriter.

I can’t read those emails without feeling my brain trying to escape through my ear.

But I want to link.

I even want to buy links.

Why not talk to me like a Human Being?

I prefer to get links without asking, by crawling inside your head and working the levers mostly. But when I do ask, it is I who am asking, using my own words and sending each request out individually.

Even if it means bleeding into the keyboard, I send link requests out manually.

I will give you a link for free, from an authority blog, just give me something to link to, ask nice and make me think you will do something nice back in the future.

You don’t even have to do a nice thing for me, you only have to make me think you will do a nice thing.

Incongruous Juxtaposition of the Seemingly Unrelated

seemingly unrelated

I’m writing a book, it’s nearly finished too.

Perhaps even this weekend.

But just a quick thought.

I’ve written about the phrase, “incongruous juxtaposition of the seemingly unrelated”, which I think is a wonderful sentence and makes you appear dead brainy at parties.

The first time I heard this was when John Carlton was talking with Michael Fortin about a the success of a headline that talked about the success of a one legged golfer. They talk about

how a good A good hook grabs your readers “by the eyeballs.”

It’s a great read, go read it.

I apply the same methodology to a lot of the headlines I create and when I mentor people to build content I teach them this method. Of course it’s not as simple as randomly picking the words that fit the parameters. They have to work, they have to tell a story, it has to seed the mind and move people forward.

The next step is of course to destroy trees, and I can’t remember who said that. It may have been Gary Halbert, apologies regarding my feeble research. But this phrase was about when we used to put pen to paper. Now you simply destroy a few keyboards, the point being you have to graft and lay the bricks when creating this stuff.

Only way it’s going to build is if you lay the brick.

The phrase of course speaks for itself, it’s what the great headlines have. That friction, that orbit of two or more bodies.

A great headline is a work of art.

Art born of sweat.

OK, back to the book. Hopefully it will be out soon.

Image source

The Magnificence of Creating Content on the Web

Cornwall sunset

From my twitter feed, earlier today.

Content creators take nothingness and fill the void.

How cool if you fill the void with a special kind of wonderful

Content creators taking nothingness and fill the void.
How cool if you fill the void with a special kind of wonderful

Especially in SEO, when grinding it out.
We forget the magnificence of human communication.

I am looking to start 2015 out differently.

With a different attitude to creating content.

We tend to allow the act of creating content to become too mechanical, feeding only the Google bot. Rather than seeing it for what it is, the magnificence of communication between one human being and another or between one human being and many.

I fully realise how “hippy dippy” and hopelessly idealistic that may sound. But think about that for a moment if you do not fear the path it will take you down.

The level of human communication we now have is staggering.

The quality of that communication is something that as a content creator, I take direct responsibility for.

Remember, if you Tweet, Facebook, blog, etc. you too are a content creator.

This year is my year of training others. I am making myself available to share what I know, teach what I have done, to coach, motivate, direct those who want to take their content creation to a higher level.

2015 is going to be about Total Availablity

I will come to your office
I will come to your conference
I will write for your audience
I will Skype, Hangout, Facebook, Connect to your crowd

 

I’m going in
100%

Let me know if you want some of that.

You can email me lyndon@cornwalseo.com
You can Tweet me lyndoman
You can Facebook me
You can Google+ me
You can Linkedin me

Lets make 2015 Magnificent