With all the hoopla and hundreds of columns and posts about the launch of Google’s “Search Plus Your World”, you are likely already quite aware of what has taken place over the past week.

If not, Danny Sullivan eloquently covers it in detail in his post Google’s Results Get More Personal With “Search Plus Your World“.  If you only read one post on the topic, that’s the one to read.

But this column is called Link Week, and, since as most of you know by now I have been helping content and content seekers find each other since way before Google existed, I could not be happier. I had just about given up on telling people their linking and content publicity strategies should not be too Google centric.

Putting all your eggs in the Google basket was, is, and always will be a strategic mistake. I’ll repeat once more the statement I make at conference after conference: If Google vanished tomorrow would you go out of business? If your answer is yes, you have been going about link building and content marketing wrong, and I’ll gladly debate anyone any time as to why.

As a side note, I get about 6 million pageviews a year to my site, and Google is responsible for less than 6% of those visits. And I rank in the top three for all my key terms. Google can disappear like D.B. Cooper and I’ll keep on truckin.

I’ve accomplished this over time by developing a collection of thousands of inbound links that point at the hundreds of articles and columns and webcasts about link building I’ve created.

I’ve also freely offered to write for the major search industry publications. What you call link bait today we called sharing good stuff yesterday. I’ve never been shy about saying the pursuit of links should be for people first, engines second.

You can do both, actually, as I’ve also purposely created contemt for professors to use at universities, and sought out interviews and attention from the key Internet news venues.

But these are just a few of the many linking related strategies I’ve used over the years that were designed to build recognition of my site, name, brand, and send me a trickle of traffic.

Now, even though Google may be my single biggest source of traffic at about 360,000 pageviews per year, all those links I’ve gotten over the years collectively send me 5.6 million pageviews per year.

Simple analogy: It’s easier to get a million people to give you a dollar than it is to get one person to give you a million dollars.

Still, everyone keeps chasing that million dollar #1 ranking at Google. Big mistake. The less you chase it, the more it is likely to come right to you.  I’m living proof.

But back to “Search Plus Your World”.

Having made my case clear above, I must also state that I do have a Google+ page, and I wouldn’t for a moment suggest you ignore what Google is doing right now.

The key is don’t panic, and plenty of people are, because they have no idea where this will all lead, and exactly how it affects their SEO or link building strategies.

With this in mind here are the simplest linking strategies I’m recommending in response to Google’s launch.

1.  Now would be the worst possible time to abandon the traditional high value static link as a marketing strategy. Why?

Permanence. Social is fleeting. (Hey check this out, wow did you see this, hey read this article.) This is a far cry from a few thousand website curators putting together vetted lists of resources in any given vertical. I’m about to launch a site about hearing impairment, and my linking blueprint for this launch includes over 20 different strategies, with social being just one of them, and GPYW will be in there, but not my core long term ranking tactic.

Without permanent merit based links earned by content quality, no site will rank well.  You cannot social your way to the top, just like you can’t press release your way to the top, or directory your way to the top, or article blast your way to the top.

2.  Simple.

If you don’t yet have a Google+ page, create one, and if your website’s pages don’t have G+ buttons, add them.

It’s free, easy, and you should have already had one anyway. Here’s mine. I didn’t create this profile because I was after any linking related credit. I did it because it’s just silly not to.  It doesn’t change my core ethos and strategies towards linking, it simply augments it and takes advantage of the ever widening presence Google is creating.

3. Learn exactly how Google Plus Your World works, so you can start building your audience on Google+. It isn’t going away, and it isn’t that hard. I’ve barely used it and somehow I’m in over 2,000 other people’s circles? How did that happen?  I’ll take it.

So take the time to learn how Google Plus Your World works, from  avariety of sources, not just Googles’ official announcement about it. For example, here’s a great slide show tutorial from the Washington Post.

4. Most importantly, now is the time to expand your link thinking process beyond the traditional link building tactics that have slowly but surely stopped working with each passing year.

If you’ve read my work, you know I never used directories, article databases, press releases, swaps, paid links, or networks. They are too easily gamed and spammed. And I never dropped in rank with each passing Google update, because my link profile was real. I’m not that smart and I don’t know anything you don’t. I just chose to stick to a merit based path, while others chose something else.

Lastly, while I don’t usually give out my private linking secrets, do you know where I got most of my traffic last week? I wrote a list of link marketing tips for a private email based newsletter in the automotive industry.

That private email newsletter went to 35,000 people, many of whom had websites. That email also had a link to my site in it.

None of this had a thing to do with Google, Google+, Google Plus Your World, or any other search engine or social network. But it was still link building, or more accurately, link marketing. And it was a nice bit of traffic. That’s where you need to be headed in 2012.

There are a thousands ways to get links and traffic that have nothing to do with search. While you pursue your Google+ traffic, why not augment that thinking with ideas and strategies like mine above. The goal isn’t Google, the goal is staying in business.

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

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Link Week Column

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About The Author: has been creating linking strategies for clients since 1994. Eric publishes the strategic linking advice newsletter LinkMoses Private, and provides linking services, training and consulting via EricWard.com.

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



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  • jhuman

    Google + and Google alert = traffic explosion

  • AJ Mihalic

    You’re always preaching the same common sense. Maybe people would listen more if you called it innovation? Staying in business means having the site Google wants to return as a top result tomorrow today. You could also call that SEO Innovation.

  • http://www.brickmarketing.com Nick Stamoulis

    When building links and creating content online it’s important to remember that the primary focus should always be target audience members. Focusing too much on Google is a mistake that can lead to some bad decisions. Focus on the end user, and Google will reward you for it.

  • http://www.redevolution.com David

    I’m one of Eric’s biggest fans but I worry this article is adding 2+2 and making that 5. Sure Eric gets lots of traffic from links and his site is popular, but this is because he’s a globally known guru. I’m all for merit based relevant links but I’m not convinced it’s a rich source of traffic for all sites.

    People have always searched for products and services but as with most things the way they do this has changed. I used to search through yellow pages, I don’t even take the book out of its wrapper these days.

    I used to search through on-line directories (remember that? Country click, town click, businesses click, flowershops click) I don’t do that any more either.

    I don’t think the ‘what if Google went under a bus’ scenario is very persuasive and although I’m all for good quality merit based links in a world where people are increasingly aware of the fact that links have a value, it’s increasingly difficult for small firms to make any sense of it.

    A balanced approach to marketing is always going to be the right approach and I know that’s what Eric is suggesting. I just don’t think the idea that because Eric can get tons of traffic from links it’s something that’s accessible to all businesses, possibly most businesses. It’s just a point of view :)

 

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