By Julie Joyce
The rule of thumb for link building as of late seems to be thus: “Would you put a link here if Google didn’t exist?”
I’m starting to like this question more and more. As a link builder, I naturally see links — and potential links – absolutely everywhere when I’m online.
However, creating content with links in mind, whether they’re external links you hope to gain or internal ones you hope to incorporate, can result in content that’s possibly too manipulative, misleading, or salesy.
Who wants to link to that? Marketing can’t really separate itself from manipulation, of course, but still it’s good to take a few steps back and get offline for a bit to see why our content might not be as good as it should be.
Going Offline To Think Like A User
I usually read newspapers online, but I had a brief subscription to The New York Times back in the summer. I hadn’t touched a proper print newspaper in months, and as I read the articles, I could see places where I’d want to see a link in the online version. Something would be mentioned, and if I’d been online reading it, I’d have clicked.
That was a powerful signal to me, one that said, “This is where a link belongs!” Reading a physical paper was completely different from reading it online. I thought about where I’d want to see a link, not where I’d want to place a link.
That experience helped me to think much more as a user than a producer of content.
One big problem that I see with today’s content is that much of it is obviously written in order to promote a specific site. You see lots of really well-done articles that go on for 2,500 words… yet, there’s just one link in there. You see five …read more