So before I broke up for Christmas and got all festive with beer and pies. I decided to ask a few experts about what they thought the biggest link building method will be in 2013.

I tried to keep it short in terms of allowing people to write huge answers. This is why everyone who has been questioned has only been allowed to write 1-2 paragraphs. Now I am not saying all of the below are going to work, they are all a matter of opinion.

One thing for sure is with the amount Google changes and makes updates none of us will ever be sure how we can build links which might not be penalised within the coming years.

The idea of this blog post is to give you some ideas as to what people who have being working in SEO for years think will work throughout 2013.

Industry Experts

Jon Cooper | PointblankSEO | Twitter

Even though it’s broad, the method that will take over in 2013 will be helping webmasters in any way possible. Just offering your help and being genuinely helpful, and when you get positive feedback in return, just asking for a link to be repaid in.

For example, broken link building is exactly this, but this will broaden from a practicality standpoint to just about anything, even like for things such as fixing grammar, updating old content, fixing on site SEO/dev issues, etc. I know these tactics have been talked about to some extent, but again, not from a practical standpoint.

Nick Rinylo | Creare Group | Twitter

2013 will see Google continue to drive out low quality sites from the search rankings, I’m confident that this will result in Google being harder line with traditional link building such as TLA’s, low quality guest blogs, sidebar ad’s and footer links. I believe that the best link building will be achieved by quality outreach through traditional PR techniques combined with engaging content. This will ultimately result in a natural, relevant and high quality back link

Ned Poulter | Ned Poulter | Twitter

Link building is an area of SEO that has perhaps changed the most over the last 2 years, the Penguin update caused a big shift in recognising link profiles and, most importantly, recognising when links were deemed bad and penalising based on this. Because of this, there has been a real shift in the approach to acquiring links, particularly when looking at the ever-closer relationship of SEO and PR. In 2013 I can only see this relationship developing, many top SEO agencies now actively recruit PRs to sit in their outreach department. Unfortunately there is a general myopia in the SEO industry where many SEOs believe that ‘they can do this job anyway’ I disagree, most can’t; just like many PRs that claim to be SEOs fall short also. Between these disciplines there are genuine mutual beneficiaries and skills that can be learned, or exchanged but we, as SEOs, don’t always possess these. The real winners with link building in 2013 will be those that engage this, either by: internally hiring PRs, up-skilling with genuine PR skills, or working closely/partnering with a digitally-savvy PR firm.

Tara West| Koozai SEO | Twitter

I think that link building in 2013 will move away from standard link building methods such as social bookmarking & directories, and continue to become more tailored to each project individually. It will be about thinking of the kinds of links you can get which your competitors might not yet be going after or links that they will struggle to get such as high value PR queries. Keeping your link profile natural will remain extremely important in 2013 and as a result I think link building will take into account the web user a bit more and offer something of value to them, not just Google.

Ruth Burr | SEOMoz | Twitter

I think the biggest (by which I mean, most successful) link building method in 2013 will be a shift in focus from link building to link earning. That means SEOs are going to have to get serious about relationship building: finding reputable sites we want links from, and working to build ongoing content sharing relationships with them. The best part of this tactic is that it can pay off in multiple links from each site. A progression toward earned links will also mean a decrease in tactics like article marketing, pushing press releases to hundreds of sites, directory listing, or any other tactic that doesn’t require a.) a good, link-worthy piece of content and b.) some groundwork to build trust with the sites that link to you. Finally, it will be important for SEOs to pay more attention to community building and management in 2013, as social sharing activity continues to be more important, both as a ranking factor itself and as a way to get your content in front of new people who might want to link to it.

Gary Taylor | TMW Media | Twitter

PR/Social mentions, both physical links and co-occurance of brand names – mentions in press media and social media will keep becoming more and more important and so will Google+ – even though Google have said that it does not directly affect rankings a good Google+ author profile will rank higher than standard content. Fact. – Geographic link building – with so much variation of rankings depending on the location of the searcher having a larger link density in a particular city or region will give that site the advantage. This will be particularly effective in the leisure/attraction and hotel industries for example.

Jamie Farrelly | Jamie Farrelly | Twitter

Personally, I think the biggest link building method in 2013 will be guest posting. I know that when some people hear the words “guest post” they automatically think that it’s a spammy way to build links, but in my opinion this isn’t strictly true. Fair enough, there are plenty of people who are using guest posts in a spammy way, but there are always people who are trying to take advantage of something that really can work well if used correctly. There are a lot of sites that make it easy to get in touch with other site owners that are looking for guest posts, but I think in 2013 there’s going to be more and more people actually trying to build relationships (using Twitter etc.) with other site owners so that they can get quality links, rather than getting a link from some site that is full of guest posts with titles such as “Top 10 iPhone Apps”, “5 ways to…” and so on. That’s just my opinion, but who knows what’s around the corner in 2013, either way it should be interesting!

James Agate | Sky Rocket SEO | Twitter

Frankly guest blogging will probably continue to be “the” tactic of the year in 2013. There’s definitely a right way and a wrong way to go about guest blogging so anyone reading this should be careful that they don’t just engage in a ever so slightly higher form of article marketing and think they are doing legitimate guest blogging. It is a solid way to acquire valuable links for the purpose of driving referral traffic and improving search engine visibility but it certainly isn’t the only tactic you should be using and nothing screams “unnatural link warning” like a link profile distorted by just one tactic. I also think that paid links will make a return as more nervous marketers and their clients worry about the patterns and footprints they are creating with their free uncontrollable and natural links and subsequently head underground again to try and “manufacture” and control more of their own link graph to avoid any nasty surprises when it comes to Google updates. I’m not necessarily condoning this behaviour but I wouldn’t blame anyone that feels this way.

That’s it some unique ideas on what various industry experts feel will be the best link building tips for 2013. If you have any ideas or thoughts on what you think will be the biggest tip be sure to comment below.

Enjoy your 2013 SEO Campaign


9 comments on “2013 Link Building Tips from SEO Industry Experts

Interesting thoughts from James about paid links making a come back. It seems like even though Google are pressuring sites to make their link profiles more natural it’s still going to result in people manipulating their link profiles but this time with the end goal of trying to ensure they ‘look natural’. If you were to use paid links as a way to gain more branded links (for example) and even out your link profile then people probably will start doing more of this (in a less obvious way than standard paid links). Nice collection of thoughts here thanks Kevin.

Agree with a lot of the comments above. Guest blogging is still big news for 2013. A great way to enhance it’s use would be to incorporate author tagging. Utilise a respected author to write your guest posts and add a link to their G+profile as well as your site link to the post or author bio (if your blog host will allow it). This tactic will also benefit your blog post if the author adds their site to the ‘contribute to’ section of their profile.

I think that the one thing on Google’s radar this year is definitely going to be crowd sourced posts. A quick few emails around the new year time, and a bit of copying and pasting hardly speaks quality in my mind. That technique could be a one way ticket to SERP oblivion…. Only kidding on that one of course! 😉

James and Jamie are right that guest posting is going to be even bigger this year and done well it can still be a powerful strategy. There will no doubt be an explosion of the lower quality varieties of guest posting, which expressed in another way would be an explosion of much higher quality blog networks.

The general talk from what I understand from some black hat places is that the old techniques work better than ever (with a few tweaks). I much prefer to talk about risk profiles than coloured hats, but it’s always the guys in the middle that pay the price of change.

It will be a dangerous time to be a grey hat link builder and I think more small companies than ever are going to get into trouble from low quality SEO companies or from doing their own SEO in house. Does anyone do their own dentistry? Both SEO and dentistry are equally skilled professions in my opinion (well let’s be honest, dentistry sounds easy in comparison) and so I see a lot of small firms getting into trouble with their link building.

So I think the battle has only just begun and this year we’re going to see a serious battle between the dark and light side of the force this year! In my opinion we need to be very careful and stay whiter than white when it comes to link building methods.

Networking and building links seems to work well. Taking the time to comment on good articles also helps.

Thanks for the article, more information is always helpful.

It does still worry me when people talk about link building as a separate entity.

It might be a bold statement but a solid well optimised website, hitting all the onsite and technical SEO buttons, partnered with a solid marketing campaign build around driving referral traffic will see you do well in the search engines.

2012 was the year SEO grew up and 2013 will be the year traditional marketers become much more of a threat to SEOs than ever before.

It might be an old post now, but your post came up 1st when looking at Link Building in 2013 as we have come up to a bit of a wall after hitting the top spot for our initial keywords (had a massive improvement in the online enquiries from this though, so good on that front!!) and are now trying to get similar placings for the next terms on our list. Whilst I agree with Harvey about own dentistry, as a wedding band, paying for SEO is not something we can afford beyond the time I put into it. I know that paying for this may get us more work, but its hard to rationalise paying for this compared to the new PA we have to fork out for!

Thats why these sort of articles are a massive help for someone like myself, that is having to figure out how all this stuff works to get SOMEWHERE, then learn how to keep ahead of the game to keep that level of placement in searches. I have done all the backlink checkers for our competition and unlike most of them, I try to do everything white hat (sounding like an old pro!!). My aim is now getting contextual links for another set of keywords and phrases back to the site and to continue the building of our Facebook and Google+ profile, adding in our wedding band blog too (the last is more for me to rant than for SEO!). Honestly though, I wouldn’t know how to do any of that without these sort of articles, and whilst I know getting an expert to do it would see even more results, I think its great that SEO guys do them, and in particular this post that Kevin has written with the opinions of others.

Wonderful post Kevin

Pretty Vegas

Kevin Wiles Post author

Hi Ritchie

So nice comments, I think people get way to hung up on SEO and the time it takes. I firmly believe taking time to build relevant content and engaging with users can have brilliant effects.

Especially with Social Media on the increase I still think this is something which will continue to grow. I would be careful with how much Anchor Text you are using over your brand name as this might have an impact.

Drop me a line with your URL and maybe I could send a few tips :)

I’m a little worried about all the talk of “keeping your link profile natural” etc. This to me reeks of chasing an algorithm using tosh like 75% brand, 25% exact match etc. rather than thinking about how a human reviewer would interpret your profile. If what you’re doing doesn’t look natural, don’t do it!

Also “Paid links will make a return”. I wasn’t aware they had gone anywhere. People haven’t stopped building paid links. The main shift is that bloggers have become more aware of the situation and the good legitimate ones aren’t interested in cold hard cash.

For years everyone in our industry has been going on about “making worthwhile resources” etc. and very few have actually been doing it. Now (and for the last 12 months at least) you need to rise above link volumes, DA targets etc. and try and gain natural interest from your linkerati / people you want links from.

If you build it, they will come! Just don’t make it sh*t or they won’t. A Googler will and you will be fooked.

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