As we wrap up LinkLove, Will takes us on a journey into the future to discuss what has changed, what is changing and what link building is going to look like in the coming years.
Will hates link building. But links are not dead. It’s link building that is in trouble. It is not a moral crusade thing, apart from very illegal spam stuff. But it is a question of sustainability. And Will is not even against taking risks, define as things that might not work.
He explains that all these thoughts he had made him decide this was the last Linklove. We have to move on, and Distilled will still talk about links in the next editions of Searchlove.
So what is the future of link builders?
Before answering that question, if we want to be the SEOmoz of tomorrow we have to solve a problem, a big one, first. Stop doing what we have done until now. We broke directories, we broke forums, we took infographics, which as a tactic 150 years old, and ruined it.
Sometimes we broke it failing the purpose of the tactics, for instance creating infographics that were not infographics at all. Guest columns too have existed forever, and we transformed guest blogging into a spam practice.
Things have changed. Just think what Eric Schmidt told about the ranking power of verified profiles by authorship. Will knows how there is people already thinking about how to trick it. Simply don’t do it, again.
Do you know one thing? Celebrities are better than us, brands are better than us.
Let’s stop worrying about the IP, stop about C-block, anchor text, being misquoted, nofollow links… stop calling it link juice.
In the intersection between content and technology we can find content strategist, while in the intersection between content and fame we have PR and, finally, in the intersection between fame and technology we can find CMOs.
We must think, as link builders, that we are technological marketers. We must start thinking about earning attention instead of shares. We must measure links based on engaged visitors (Analytics Dashboard: source > full referer > landing page and include referral as medium in filter), not other values.
Finally, Will gives us homework, which is inspired by Entrepreneurial Design by Gary Chou and that is based on this idea: make ourselves uncomfortable.
Not extrovert? Get a journalist to run a story based on your tip. Physically call 3 journalists and tell them your story and tip. Or present to a board or to a public of 200+ people. Or negotiate with a salesperson, or record a screen cast or webinar.
- Sell something door to door, or make 10 cold calls.
- Run a live usability test: buy a stranger a coffee and ask them to find something. See what they do.
- Not technical? Install a web server. Build a tool or contribute to an open source project, which is easier than ever with things like Github.
- Make something and sell it online end-to-end. Set up the payment processor yourself.
- Not creative? Film and edit some video. Make a graphic. Make an interactive graphic. Build a wire frame or remove someone from a photo.
= Write for a publication you’ve previously bought (bonus point for calling yourself a “published author”).
If we combine knowledge about content, Technology and “Fame” we can become the real web marketers, the real SEOmoz of the future.