Google affirms the value of outreach link building
Google’s John Mueller answered a question about natural links and mentioned that building outreach links is okay as long as certain lines aren’t crossed.
Create quality content and get links to it
The person asking the question had just received an answer to their link exchange question. So now he was talking about the nature of a natural bond, what it is.
He framed it in the context of quality content.
“For example, we have to create quality content, naturally people will give us a link. It’s natural or something because…”
Mueller Validates Link Building Awareness…Up to a Point
John Mueller did not use the words link building or outreach.
However, most of what he said was about the process of outreach to publishers to let them know about the content. This is commonly known as outreach link building.
The strategy is to create content that publishers would be interested in linking to, and then promote it to publishers who tend to link to that type of content.
John Mueller commented on link building awareness:
“That’s basically the idea behind the natural link type.
From our perspective, it’s good to reach out to people and tell them that by the way, I have this great content and… maybe that’s something you’ll appreciate for your website.
It’s generally fine.
When Outreach Link Building Violates Google’s Guidelines
Building outreach links may also be against Google’s guidelines.
There are many forms of creating close ties. For example, soliciting a publisher to offer them money to place links on their site is also called outreach link building.
This type of link building is usually misrepresented to customers as outreach link building when in reality it is a paid link that was arranged via outreach.
True outreach link building is about posting interesting content and telling others about it.
John Mueller explains how outreach link building can go wrong:
“But anything beyond that where you say like, well…you have to link to me like this or you have to pay me money or I’ll pay you money for that link or I will trade something for this link…
All of that is something that, from our point of view, would make this bond unnatural.
So providing it to people and promoting it and saying like here, it’s great content and they refer you, that’s perfectly fine.
Er…providing it and saying I’ll make a trade if you give me a link is something we would consider unnatural.
Related: Reciprocal links: do they help or hurt your SEO?
Is creating awareness links obsolete?
Getting a publisher to link to a site is difficult, if not impossible, for some sites, no matter how good their content.
What makes the process even more difficult is that people have more options to express themselves today than in the days of blogging.
Unfortunately, those platforms where people express themselves, like social media and YouTube, don’t provide links that can help a site rank better.
The world PageRank was created for no longer exists.
Yet publishers are still under pressure to get links from an online ecosystem where links are increasingly non-existent.
The idea of creating great content and having someone link to it is apparently an outdated concept, as people today express themselves in contexts that don’t support links.
Watch Google’s John Mueller discuss link reach from around 11 minutes.