There are two kinds of people who are afraid of link building in 2014.

  1. People who ignore link building until Matt Cutts has something to say about paid links and press releases
  2. People who thought paid link strategies were ever a guaranteed, long term strategy for gaming the system

And, wherever there’s fear, there’s yet another group of unscrupulous SEO and SEM professionals waiting with open arms and open pockets to provide this year’s set of platitudes and assurances that “this time, this gimmick will work forever.”

You can avoid falling for this year’s gimmick and set your website up for continued, long term success, if you take another minute and a half to read the rest of this blog post.

See, successful link building boils down to three very simple ideas, stemming from a central theme. The three simple ideas are:

  • Directories have been dead for years, but high quality industry portals are amazingly effective
  • Paid distribution for press releases is generally worthless, but coverage from reliable news outlets is fantastic
  • Guest authors and guest blogging are becoming less effective, but kick ass articles are always a great idea

Can you spot the central theme, from which these ideas stem? It’s an idea that will never, ever become ineffectual or out of date:

  • Make great content and put it in the right place.

Trusted, high-quality industry and niche portals will change over time, but they’ll always be useful places for your content. Paying for placement or entry isn’t necessarily a bad sign. It takes resources to weed out all the junk. Find the portals your potential customers use and try to be there as often as possible.

Cheap, automated press release distribution is only one tiny tool for keeping your name in the newsfeeds. If you’ve got something newsworthy to say, write a kick-ass press release and then reach out to the news editors and aggregators covering your industry. If you don’t have something newsworthy to say, it might be best to say nothing at all.

And, finally, hosting and writing guest blog posts is a great idea, if-and-only-if the blog post answers a question your audience is asking. Getting your name and link on another website is pointless if it’s attached to a piece of ill-conceived or thoughtless content.

Keep these three ideas in mind as you continue link building in 2014, and you’ll have nothing to fear.

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