Updates To Old Link Building Practices That Score Wins Today

Everyone is itching for new link building ideas.  Google is getting smarter, and the game is getting harder. What worked five years ago — shoot, what worked last year — isn’t going to work today.

link-building-student-chalkboard-featuredExcept, that’s not necessarily true.

Sometimes, it’s not the tactic that stops working — it’s the way people approach it. SEO got the reputation it has because people started gaming the system. They started taking the easy way out.

Below are 4 outdated link building practices and how to update them for sustainable SEO.

Resource Listings

The Old Way

Scrubbing every page from an [intitle:resources + keyword] search, sending blanket emails to info@domain.com asking to be included, and maybe — just maybe — getting a response 1 in 100 times.

The New Way

There are billions of pages on the Internet. I’d guess less than 20% of them are actively updated. Most of those probably still have people linking to them — .gov sites are notorious for this.

Instead of just asking to be included as a resource, find a page that’s linking to outdated content, and update that content on your blog. Greenland SEO has an Outdated Content Finder that will find pages related to a search term between certain dates. Update the content on your blog, find who links to this page, and then contact those sources. (Note: The tool’s still in beta, and for a couple of queries I put in, nothing came up.)

Furthermore, broken link building is still a great way to get your listing up because we are trying to make the web a better place. Make your outreach personalized and stay targeted to your specific industry.

What You Need

  • Google advanced search queries
  • Outdated Content Finder
  • Good copywriter
  • Check My Links

Outreach & Guest Posting

The Old Way


(If you are a blogger, you still probably get these. I’m sorry — I really am. We’re not all like that!)

That typically leads to a guest blog like this:



The New Way

You can hate it and chastise it and call it a “buzz word” all you want, but relationship building works. People are no longer wanting to do business (yes, and that means links) unless they know you — unless they trust you. The only way to do that is get out from behind your keyboard and show your face, even if that’s just on your Twitter profile.

Find people who matter in your industry. Talk to them. See what they need help with. Do something without expecting anything in return. Tailor content so it’s really, truly specific to their source.

What You Need

  • Keen fact finding abilities
  • FollowerWonk
  • Rapportive
  • Basic human etiquette

Bonus: Jason Acidre talks about reverse guest blogging in his latest Moz post. Don’t underestimate the power of having good people write good content for your site. It will get linked!

Press Release Submission

The Old Way

Sending two press releases a month, every month, across PRNewswire, PR Web, Online PR News, and every other mass distribution site you could find.

The New Way

Do something newsworthy. Host a scholarship in your local community for students involved in your industry.  Put on a 5K. Donate your time. What’s newsworthy? It has to be new, and you’ll have better success if it’s local. If a dog bites a man, that’s not new. If a man bites a dog, well, now we’re talking.

When you do send out press releases, be targeted about it. Send your release to specific journalists who cover that niche.

One tactic you could use is to release your own research or put together a study related to your industry. Think about what the general public wants to know about your industry, and then go ask people. (For example, are people really okay with checking email on vacation? How few are too few stars when looking for a hotel?) News outlets eat up statistics.

What You Need

  • Journalists contact information (You can usually find this on a newspaper’s website.)
  • Something newsworthy

Directory Registration

The Old Way

Manually — or worse, automatically — submitting your website to 1,000 “one-way link SEO directories to increase your PageRank.”

The New Way

Submit your company to be nominated for an award. Find some of these sources with [keyword + award], but think big picture: Do you have a fun place to work? Is the office in a creative space? Is the business fast growing?

Look for sources that allow people to vote for the winner. For example, AWWWARDS lets you submit your website to get voted on by its user base for its design, creativity and content. How do you know if a site has a good user base? Domain Authority is good, but look at their social profiles: Are they active? Do people engage with them?

What You Need

  • Good advanced search queries
  • Time

How else would you update some old, shady link building practices to be more sustainable for the future?

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Link Week Column


About The Author: is an experienced digital strategist, content developer and search marketer. She's currently the SEO Manager for The Home Depot and has previously worked agency-side for mid-sized business and Fortune 500 companies. She speaks regularly on digital strategy, content development and inbound marketing at conferences nationwide. Follow her on Twitter @erinever.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn


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  • http://www.searchboostmarketing.com/ Joe Lane

    Thank you for taking the time to write a great update on these old practices. Some great info especially for new people or those just starting out in seo.

  • Dominic Mapstone

    Your tip about media / press releases is spot on. But the ‘new’ you suggest is actually the ‘always has been’ REAL way of getting press coverage / links in real news articles. Those press release submission sites are and have always been a waste of time and money. If you don’t have comment worthy of directly contacting a journalist – forget press releases.

  • Abdul Wahab

    I really liked the “New way of Resource Listings”. Finding outdated content and writing really good content to replace it… I will definitely try this out

  • http://www.wecareplanet.com/ Saifi Rizvi

    Incredible way of describing the aspects of working. I am impressed by the way how you describe the way of working (Old & New ). I will surely use it on.

  • Erin Everhart

    You’re totally right. It’s sad that we have to present the right way as the new way.

  • Morgan Akchehirlian

    Old practices surely works but you have to make dead sure that you build links the safe way.
    AWWWARDS any one here can provide a list of site or at least some Google search query to help find sites like it.

  • SEO Socratic

    old methods of link building doesn’t work anymore cause this may be the reason your website will be vanish without knowing why.

  • http://www.hotelstreasure.com/ Carl Wathne

    Link building is considered as the trump card for strengthening a company or a product’s presence on the web. With the Google algorithm taking strategic turns, it is all the more important to hire a Link Building expert with expertise in key Link Building practices.

  • http://missdriftedsnowwhite.com/ Miss drifted Snow White

    I’m a fashion & beauty blogger and the amount of emails I receive that try and have a personal touch and then get it completely wrong is beyond ridiculous. Or how SEOs have amazing content that would totally benefit ONLY me and how it’s totally FREE OF CHARGE for me to post it. or how people are new freelancers trying to build up their portfolio. or how they’re running a fantastic competition and all i need to do is a blogpost promoting their products and driving sales and even get a chance to win some random crap.

    please seo people, come up with awesomer stuff.

  • eWritingCoach.com

    The example guest post query you used was above par in my experience. Most of them don’t even bother to describe what post their offering.

  • Anthony J. Alfidi

    I get a few guest blogger requests from time to time. Other bloggers find them useful but I prefer to generate my own content. I have nothing against freelance writers; they do fill a niche. It’s just not my chosen style.


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