Content, Relevancy and Relationships In Post-Penguin Link Building

 By Cody Cahill , originally published Oct. 29,2012, via SEOMoz

Editor’s Note-The author who penned this article is Cody Cahill, one of our many talented writers on staff at Page One Power. His articles cover a range of subjects, including search engine optimization (SEO), the ethics of the web and tips for writers and bloggers. 
“Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet.” – Bill Gates, “Content is King”, January 3, 1996

For many years, content was treated by SEO professionals with anything but regal regard. Often relegated to subordinate duties – or banished altogether – in favor of aggressive link building strategies, King Content’s ascendency to the crown was delayed.

Instead, black-hat SEO practitioners reigned supreme, bolstered by their armies of link spam, article directories and link farms. The white-hat philosophy of using high-quality, creative content to generate notice and build links was persecuted into exile.

But the evil empire began to crumble in the wake of Google’s Panda and Penguin updates, and a new hierarchy has begun to emerge. Content has taken its rightful place at the throne – it’s the key to any long-term link building campaign – and the King is nobly surrounded by fellow royals Relevancy and Relationships.

Unfortunately, there are still many in the realm of guest post link building that attempt to circumvent the edicts handed down by King Content and His Court, stubbornly relying on get-links-quick methods that sacrifice the kingliness and long-term viability of quality content in favor of less regal virtues like quantity and rapidity.

As cream rises to the top of the pail, so too in time will those that heed the decrees of King Content be ascended above those that defy him. In other words – to step away from this silly monarchy metaphor – if you are writing and creating poor quality content and hoping that this will lead you to a mountain of good links, you will be sorely disappointed when you find that all you have created is a pile of crap – and a link portfolio that emits that unmistakable odor which will undoubtedly detected by future algorithmic updates.

The King and You Hopefully you’ve recognized that skillfully utilizing guest posts to obtain and build links will only be a viable long-term strategy when you are generating content that is of such quality that it offers lasting value to the specific community for whom it was created.

Whipping out 500 fluffy words on a subject that you are scarcely familiar with in hopes of duping an unsuspecting webmaster into hosting it with your link is a strategy that has recently become the flavor-of-the-month in some SEO circles, but in the long run will be no match for those that are using an engaging voice to create informed, niche-specific content that experts in a given field will be eager to read and share.

For this reason, some of the top link-building companies have recognized the need to hire employees that are skilled at crafting creative content, and then training them on the ins-and-outs of SEO, as opposed to taking SEO gurus and expecting them to write engaging copy, which in many cases is akin to shoving a square peg into a round hole.

A Queen is Crowned

Relevancy has emerged as the principal compliment to quality content, making it the Queen to the proverbial Content King. The goal of any effective guest poster is to create high quality articles for high-quality blogs on subjects that are relevant both to the website’s readership AND the client for whom you are building the link.

Lazy and ineffective link-builders will no doubt try to diminish the sanctity of this marriage between quality and relevancy by obtaining links with mediocre articles written for websites of dubious relevance. Eventually, however, these tactics will be punished as little more than attempts to manipulative SERPs, while doing nothing to contribute towards a richer, higher quality web experience for users – which is foremost among Google’s stated goals.

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