Recent news from Google has increased the value of good, old fashioned blog links. The dominant search engine has declared war on content farms, effectively wiping out an estimated 11.8% of front page results, primarily those that use black hat SEO tactics such as copying others content. Now more than ever, inbound links are the lifeblood of your content marketing effort.
Links are the currency of the social web, driving word of mouth, third party credibility and earned search engine optimization. The hallmark of the social media revolution — and now the online networked economy — is the referral to someone else’s content. When someone gives your site a positive link, it’s an endorsement of the content. Peer-to-peer recommendations are the foundation of word of mouth credibility. We tend to trust people like us.
While peer trust has declined recently as more people have grown accustomed to social’s strengths and weaknesses, it’s still a critical component of developing earned media impressions and trust. Fostering referrals from other bloggers and content producers through strong editorial strategies and outbound links is the heart of word of mouth development.
Beyond word of mouth value, an editorial recommendation via a link helps increase page rank, a critical component of search algorithms, forming the t backbone of search. You need this for search engine optimization. Without inbound links, Google and other search engines will consider your site irrelevant.
Search engines treat blog links like gold currency because of their frequently updated content. The better ranked the blog, the higher the link quality. Quantity and quality of links drives SEO and blog rankings in a variety of metrics, including indexes like the AdAge Power150, which measures Yahoo! page rank.
And yes, you will receive traffic from inbound links. No, not as much as a real media outlet delivers. This is the long tail of media, but additional traffic is certainly welcome. Who would be foolish enough to complain about more traffic? Consider it gravy on top of the word of mouth and SEO benefits (The Nonprofit Marketing Blog was yesterday’s sixth leading referrer to this blog. Thank you, Katya!) .
So go out, and participate in the generous social web. It’s the best way to earn what you want: Link love.
Do you believe in link love?