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Do you suffer from no-links angst too?
Aaron Pratt of SEO Buzz Box writes about “circular linking patterns” and how A-list bloggers form their own ‘link cliques‘ and eschew their own advice of linking out to quality content for the sake of some friendly back-scratching.
He’s talking about the ‘elite’ SEO bloggers and I think it would be interesting to dissect the core problem Aaron’s facing and see how that applies to SEO blogging.
What are friends for if you can’t profit from their troubles, eh?
Aaron’s problem is one that many of us face on a daily basis in our lives, online and offline. People continue to struggle with being accepted in select social circles. In school you wanted to play with the coolest kids because everyone liked them and secretly, you wanted to be liked too.
Playground behavior manifests itself in the business world as well, except the stakes are much higher. In the online business world, Links = Traffic = Money. You can’t escape that equation, and in the SEO world this is even more important.
So the main problem is this – what do you do to break into an ‘elite’ social circle?
Note that this will work in the real world as well as any niche online – it’s a proven strategy to get those authority links that you’ve always wanted for your blog but rarely gotten.
Step 1: Realise that these are people like you with the only difference being that they got their act together before you did. As long as YOU do the same, and work hard at building your blog, you’ll do fine.
Step 2: Write quality content, but first, find out what the A-list wants. Trawl the archives of SEOmoz, SEW, SEOBook, SearchEngineLand, SERoundtable, Wolf Howl and the rest and see who they link out to, what sort of content they’re linking to. You don’t need them to link to you every day, but a handful of early links will definitely give you the impetus to push on and invest more in your blog and your ‘network’.
Step 3: Network like crazy. I always give people Rand Fishkin’s example – I’ve seen the SEOmoz blog go from a relative unknown to one of the leading SEO blogs in the industry. Keys to success – quality blogging and networking. You can’t get to the top of the pile without some people skills.
Bottom line – if you think your opinions should be valued, then make sure you reach out to the leaders in your niche and frame your opinions according to what they are most likely to link to. And talk to them – at conferences, in the forums, via email (but be polite and not obnoxious).
In effect, you have to whore yourself out – even if you do it in politically acceptable ways
One last thing – I run my own SEO consultancy and I have a blog on SEO too. I’ve rarely bothered with maintaining it too much or pimping myself, but that’s because my work comes from referrals and the copywriting and AdWords work that I did in the past, not because of my blog. At the end of the day you have to know what you want to achieve from your blog – my goals are not fame nor business but education for clients and a place to iron out thoughts about SEO.
So what do YOU really want from your blog? Fame? Business? If you’re going for fame, you’re never going to be satisfied, you can never have enough links or enough followers.
If you want business, you should be involved in the forums and build your reputation through other means – it’s a totally different PR game of which a blog is a small part.
And if you want to be accepted and acknowledged, please leave your ego at home and realise that as in the playground, you win approval by being the attractive choice, not by picking up your ball and taking it home.