Once You Start, Can You Stop?

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Warning: Link building is addictive.

It’s like working out. Once you get going and you see results, you want to keep on. You want to do more and more but what happens if you slow down or stop your efforts? With exercise, you’ll gain weight again, most likely. With links, it’s not as straightforward.

Will stopping, or slowing down, raise a red flag? Will your past results look like they came about through spammy efforts? Will your current results remain in place when there’s no more actively driven effort?

Here’s the thing about basic SEO…there are principles in place that, once enacted, can indeed produce excellent results. Theoretically, if you did practice good SEO and you optimized your site perfectly, you should rank highly and stay there. However, this rarely happens. The industry changes, as we’ve most recently seen with the amazing popularity of social media. That alone has caused many people to rethink their marketing strategies. People also game the system. Thus, if you sit around not doing a whole lot, you’re going to get passed by, and quickly.

With link building, things can get extra complicated. Look at any backlink history graph and, chances are, you’ll see something that makes you wonder what exactly happened at a specific point. Why are there spikes? What happened? You’ve probably done the same thing with traffic in your analytics package.

That’s because, in most cases, there was something that occurred to cause a blip of some sort. Since link building is such a well known and much abused marketing tactic, it’s only natural that this might raise a red flag. Stopping a full-scale link building effort can easily produce one of these weird little points in time on your graph.

Conversely, people DO become addicted to links. They want more and more and more, never thinking about what will happen when they do slow down. If links aren’t pursued with traffic in mind, only rankings, the traffic isn’t going to match the massive increase in links most likely. That’s a bit of a red flag, don’t you think?

One of the problems with always wanting more is that you end up with a strict quantity mindset. You want 50 more links, but you don’t stop to think about alternate ways to get them, or different pages to work on, or anchor text variations. You just want more links. As you probably know, all links are not the same. You can get a massive boost in rankings from one fantastic authority link, and the traffic that comes with a link like that can equal what you’d get from 1000 crappy little links on blogs that no one ever sees.

So my answer is no, you can’t stop. You shouldn’t stop. However, keep going for the right reasons and don’t just get greedy. Recognize that link building is a continual effort but that, with the right links, it can certainly be easier than if you do it poorly.

Julie Joyce
Julie Joyce owns the link development agency Link Fish Media, is one of SEO Chicks, and contributes to Search Engine Land and Search Marketing Gurus.
Julie Joyce

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  • upen27

    truly said Julie, Link building is quite an addictive. Sometimes it generates detrimental effect as well, when people link their domain with checking quality of link

  • le-juge

    Thank you for this article. Link building is indeed addictive but I'd put one more warning than just doing it right. People Need to remember that link building is important in the relevancy calculation algorithm but IT IS NOT THE ONLY parameter that can have an impact on one website ranking.

    So yes, everybody should continue link building, yes it should be done the proper way and with regards to the quality of the partners. AND hey careful! you should continue to produce good content on a well implemented website!

  • simpleflair

    Link building is like putting things in a black hole – you don't know whether your link will be accepted by the sites you submit to but you must keep doing it.

  • verticalmeasures

    Haha, I like @Simpleflair's comment: link building is like putting things in a black hole. Indeed it is, but oh so addicting. Link building, when done correct, can provide lasting effects for your website rankings but the key here: DONE CORRECT. Many neglect simple logical things when determining whether something is worthy of a link or not.

  • Todd @ BuzzStream

    It can be completely addicting and being addicted to quality link building vs. quantity may be the best type of addiction. Being able to follow the quality of those link relationships over time is key. Making sure that all your link relationships are healthy can be a huge advantage and that's what we help you do.

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  • Cheryl

    Link building is addictive! I like seeing the impact from linking to different sites. Relevancy counts. I choose sites that are on topic with the link I'm leaving. It seems to make a difference with my alexa traffic ranking.

  • Cheryl from thatgirlisfunny

    Link building is addictive! I like seeing the impact from linking to different sites. Relevancy counts. I choose sites that are on topic with the link I'm leaving. It seems to make a difference with my alexa traffic ranking.