Link building is like steroids.
Both work but it’s risky.
Steroid use can get athletes banned from sport and can result in health problems, even death.
And yet for many, the risk is worth it.
Take Vahe Aivazian for example.
He’s a masters racer who was recently banned from cycling for four years.
He was caught taking 10 banned drugs.
Not one or two. TEN.
He ingested all the biggies.
He’s 52 years old.
It’s a wonder he’s still alive.
He’s the Keith Richards of cycling.
I’m not sure why he thought he’d not get caught.
Read the story here.
I guess some folks can’t resist the risk.
If one steroid is good, ten is better.
Likewise, if inbound links are good, 3,000 acquired in any fashion is better.
I used to have that link building mindset.
Before the first Google Penguin update way back in 2012 I spent 80% of my time building links.
I built ’em all.
Article spinning and mass syndication, link farms, reciprocal links, guest posts… anything for a link. I never bought them though, not because I viewed them as risky but because I didn’t have the money.
All that link building worked until it didn’t.
I’m on the straight and narrow now… kind of.
Similarly, I don’t use roids. I just wear this instead:
— New York Post (@nypost) April 19, 2021
These days with my portfolio of sites I’m taking a two-pronged approach.
With my biggest site, it’s pure white hat. I don’t ask for links. I don’t pitch links. “Link” is not in my lexicon. Not an option. Too much to lose.
But for a smaller site, I’m taking a short frolic on the wild side.
I’m not going all in like Vahe did with drugs.
But I’m dipping my toes in the water.
I’m doing outreach for some graphics I’ve created and a few guest posts.
I call it “nudge linking”.
I create something cool.
I then contact other sites offering my cool graphics as a free resource.
I’m bringing it to their attention.
Ball is in their court but I hope it results in some links because it’s an offer they can’t refuse.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with nudge linking. Actually I don’t think there’s anything wrong with any link building. It’s not an ethical or legal issue.
It’s a business decision.
Risk vs. reward.
By “nothing wrong with it” I’m referring to what a Google web spam reviewer might consider it.
It’s inconceivable to me that a Google employee would consider a link sourcing something cool as a bad link.
Even if they do check Gmail accounts and discover my “hey check this resource out” email.
I’m just getting the word out.
I have a course in my bundle on creating linkable assets.
Because I historically haven’t done any outreach, I don’t cover the outreach part of it.
Outreach is a topic unto itself.
It’s a numbers game. With the right linkable assets and outreach process, it can result in some quality links for very low cost per link.
It’s also a fairly low risk link building method.
I know Fat Stacks readers are interested in the outreach side of things because they ask. It’s also been brought up in the forum.
Of all the courses I’ve taken, Authority Hacker Pro is the ultimate when it comes to teaching outreach. Gael and Mark have streamlined the process to ridiculous levels.
If you have linkable content/assets but need guidance on launching a world class outreach program, AH Pro is the course for you.
There’s up front work setting up campaigns, but once your rolling, you’ll be ahead of the curve instead of floundering.
Do links work? I thought you didn’t do link building?
I’ve not done any link building for my biggest niche site. That doesn’t mean links don’t work. On the contrary. It just happens that over several years, the site has attracted some links. Those links work. It wouldn’t be what it is without those links.
It currently has 37,000 referring domains.
Inbound link volume growth was a long slow grow until mid-2020.
That’s because I didn’t do outreach or build links or anything link building related.
I just published content.
With my smaller site (niche site 9 on income reports), I’m doing some nudge linking and a few guest posts to speed up traffic and revenue growth.
Here’s the result:
Most of those are natural but some are via nudges and guest posts.
As you can see, the trajectory is steeper out of the gates compared to my bigger niche site.
Is the traffic the same trajectory?
No, but it is upward in a sloppy manner (the steep ravine-like drops were Analytics mishaps).
The initial trajectory is misleading though because the seed content of that site was on another site I owned. I transferred it and 301 redirected those URLs.
So this site had a nice boost to start followed by some link building.
Is link building helping?
I suspect it’ll take a while longer for it to kick in.
It’s already an Ahrefs DR32 which is not bad for a less than 12 months old domain (registered as a fresh, never used domain).
It now earns $3,300 per month which isn’t terrible. Decent growth. Not stellar. Not horrible.
The next 12 to 18 months will be all-important. If it doesn’t dramatically increase, I’ll consider it a bit of a bust.
If it plummets, that’ll speak volumes.
If it doubles or triples revenue over the next 12 to 18 months, that’ll be a big hit.
Getting $6K to $10K per month inside 2 years is very, very good.
What should you do?
That’s for you to decide.
Nudge linking is good if you’re up for it. Learn from these guys.
Guest posting is a tad riskier.
That’s about the extent of my link building repertoire. I know there are other clever methods but I doubt I’ll go there.
For me, I’m glad I have a site that I’ve never done any link building to. It’s certainly not immune to traffic drops from Google updates but it’s less risky.
Diversifying with riskier, but higher growth is worth it in my view.
It’s like stock investing. It’s good to have both conservative and growth investments.
Websites are no different.
At least I hope not.