Overall trends for SEO and link building in 2011 and beyond are tilting even more in the social media direction. A recent search engine journal article points out a strategic shift in link building priorities is in order:
So I suggest you to scale down these link building methods in favor of others:
* Forum posting and blog commenting. It has plenty of benefits, but don’t do that in hopes of increasing your PageRank.
* Social bookmarking. Same as above, share what you think is valuable. You can get some click-through traffic, but don’t expect any PageRank.
* Article submission. Don’t go for the numbers, submit to top directories to get traffic, syndication and recognition.
* Bulk directory submission. It’s probably not worth your time and money any more.
* Bulk link exchange. This is explicitly discouraged by Google now, and can get you banned from their search results.
I don’t mean you should stop doing all of the above. Remember about link diversity, both for SEO and traffic building reasons. Get some extra links if that’s easy, but focus on high quality links in your strategy. I believe any extra one-way links can’t hurt you, otherwise it would be too easy for competitors to bomb each other with bad links.
Now, some quality link building methods to scale up:
* Guest blogging. It’s the most reliable way to get a quality context link on a reputable, relevant blog.
* Link baiting. While it is hard to create a successful link bait, one success can pay for several failures.
* Press releases. With some effort and some luck, you can get a quality link from big media.
* Joint ventures. Get to know people and discuss how you can do business together. Be creative.
* Building communities. Create a resource that attracts a targeted community, and they will link to you.
As you may notice, the methods that bring the highest quality links are also the ones which are widely used by the bloggers, and which can benefit a lot from their already high social activity. So as a blogger, you should probably welcome the change, and hope that the Internet will become a better place for everyone, with less spam and clutter.
And listen to the advice from Google. Pay less attention to PageRank and more attention to your content, traffic and conversion rates.
While this is far from conclusive, its worth doing A/B testing using this as a hypothesis for future search engine optimization and link building efforts in 2011.