Why do we complicate Link Building so much?

Why do we complicate Link Building so much? pixelwork

Why do we complicate Link Building so much?

People regularly ask me what tactics and strategies I can share with them about link building.

When I respond, “Well, I just search the web for good sites and contact them,” I tend to get a lot of disappointed looks and long faces. I don't have any secret methods for finding good link partners, creating great content, or forming a connection.

For me, building links is pretty simple and always has been. It's just that some parts can be difficult.

Execution can be difficult

While link building is a simple concept, campaign execution can be complex.

Finding good sites takes an enormous amount of time. Researching can take forever, and taking the time to establish a working relationship can be very frustrating.

In fact, the “relationship” part of links may be the most difficult part of search engine optimization (SEO) I have ever done because it depends on the cooperation of other people.

Link building can be incredibly fun at times and extremely boring at others. You can't sit back and wait for links to happen, you have to work hard, keep brainstorming new ideas, learn about industries and their niches, and keep generating new ideas for content. There is a clear process that I know works well, and I believe anyone can do it.

So why do we overcomplicate this thing called link building? Is anxiety about failure an important part of online marketing? Is it to make our work seem more glamorous? Is it because some of us really can't build links without using tools, spreadsheets, and email blasts? I'm not sure.

Would you click here?

The concept of “Would you click this link?” It is extremely basic. I know it can be subjective, but common sense goes a long way here. You don't need metrics to make this determination, and you don't need to conduct hours of analysis or use sophisticated tools. You just need to look at the site to see if your link would be appropriate there.

Some types of link building are definitely more difficult than others. Broken link building comes to mind here.

You can't really look at a page and see a broken link. Tools are essential to execute this tactic, or you would be wasting a lot of time.

And yet, building broken links is a fairly simple process:

Use a tool to find broken links.
Contact the webmaster, propose a different link.
Thank them when they use your link.

What about using content to build links? Certainly, that's not so easy, is it?

Creating and promoting content as a way to build links is not easy. This technique requires a lot of planning and money, a great writer and/or designer.

There are a lot of logistics, and coordination can be difficult, but the concept behind it all is simple: create content that people want, and they will link to it.

So again, link building is pretty simple and always has been, just some parts are difficult.

Blinded by the numbers

In my opinion, metric blindness can cause problems.

Early on, we made the decision to leave the SEO aspects of link building out of our process and focus on finding the best partners.

When we had our link developers focus on finding links to benefit an SEO campaign, we noticed that they did not do well. They overthought everything. They would look for an irrelevant link on a site with great metrics and pass up a relevant link for one with lower metrics.

That doesn't help anyone.

Consider this: one of my link developers had almost no experience working on the internet when he came to us. Let's call him Bob.

Bob had just retired from a long career as a textile industry manager and was looking for a change, knowing very little about the internet and nothing about SEO. And yet, Bob became a great link builder without needing any tools or a ton of metrics.

As? You just find a site that looks good, send an email and get a link.

It really is that simple.

If you're reading this and thinking, “Simple doesn't sell,” I'll agree with you. Why would anyone want to pay you to do something so simple? Even if you sell it to the client, it doesn't always sell well to the boss. Bosses want to see the numbers and hear that it was “difficult” to justify the fee.

“Making” simple is easy; It's just that some parts are difficult.


Link building burnout is very real, and creatively hitting a wall is a big problem.

In my opinion, that's where the real complications lie. I know link building agencies that have struggled with this for years and no matter how hard they tried they failed. Coming up with new link building ideas is difficult. If you don't keep the creative juices flowing, people get frustrated, burned out, and leave.

Keeping people interested and the creative juices flowing is my top priority. In general, it takes a lot to stay motivated and stay interested when you're doing the same thing every day, all day. Brainstorming sessions are a good way to help with this.

Training is also important, especially for new team members. They will have a little downtime, but once they start sending emails and getting positive responses, they realize it's not that hard.
Eight is the number

Every six months, I reevaluate the time it takes to secure a link, and on average, it has consistently been eight hours.

However, that doesn't mean we get a link every eight hours. It means we could get one link one day, nothing in the next few days, and five links later in the week. But each one takes about eight hours to secure.

Trying to calculate the average time it takes to get a link is difficult, but it should be done. Considering I've been building links for years, the fact that it continues to take eight hours is very telling.

The time it takes to get a link remains the same, regardless of the changes with Google.

It doesn't matter if it was eight years ago or now, it still takes a good link builder about eight hours to secure a relevant link. Interesting, right?

A friend recently told me that you should be able to build links without using any tools, and I totally agree. If you want to complicate it, go for it. Building links is pretty simple and always has been. It's just that some parts are difficult.