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Link Building vs Link Earning: An SEO’s Guide

Link Building vs Link Earning: An SEO’s Guide

In a time when “Quality Content” is touted as the prevailing factor contributing to SEM, many webmasters have become frustrated at the lack of tangible, definitive tactics to improve search rankings. It seems we’ve left the age of if I do X (list my website on 100 web directories, for instance), I will get Y (higher Google page ranks) and entered that of if I do X (create compelling content) I may or may not get Y (higher Google page ranks).

However, link building isn’t dead, it’s simply evolved to provide more value to the searcher. Rather than rewarding sites that have built countless links on poor quality directories or through commenting on spammy blogs, Google boost the rankings of those who’ve taken the time to build links on credible sites. Think quality, not quantity here.

Rand Fishkin of point out that one classic SEO link building strategy continues to provide value: competitive link building. He recommends using a tool like Moz’s Open Site Explorer to investigate your competitors, specifically those with higher rankings thank yours, and their inbound links. This platform allows you to identify sites that are linking to your competitors’ websites, thereby determining sites to approach for your own link building. As Fishkin states, chances are if these sites were interested in your competitors, they will likely create content related to your business in the future and will be glad to have a ready-made source.

Though this brand of traditional link building is still viable, a new strategy for attaining valuable inbound links has emerged: link earning. While link building is a push strategy, with you making the effort to build links directly, link earning is a pull strategy. You pull people in, creating opportunities for them to want to build links for you and making it easy for them to do so.

The Three Pronged Approach to Earning Links

  1. Create Quality Content: There’s no getting around it, the creation of engaging content is absolutely crucial, not only to provide value to your customers, but to build a site that people want to link to. If you’ve created a useful site that provides the information your customers are searching for, they will gladly do the groundwork for you by sharing your site on their blogs and social media platforms, no extra effort on your part required.
  2. Get Social: SEM and social media don’t work in silos. Social media provides a validation to search engines, serving as evidence that you’ve developed a web presence beyond your own website. In addition, it makes it easy for others to share your links, thus extending your web of inbound links and increasing your visibility.
  3. Ask and You Shall Receive: To use an old sports cliché, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. In the same way, you lose 100% of the links you don’t ask for. Fishkin states that simply adding a line to your email signature, through social media, or even at the end of your business voicemail message telling your customers how much it would mean to you if they were to share your website with others if they’ve found your business helpful.

Overall, both link building and link earning are important strategies for creating a web of high quality inbound links. In fact, they are two sides of the same coin. If you’re looking for guidance incorporating either of these tactics into you SEM strategy or building one from the ground up, give us a call. We’re here to lead you down the path to SEM success.

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Creative Director/Senior Designer

Tom DiGrazia

With over a decade and a half of professional design experience, Tom brings his knowledge of design principles and focus on user experience to every aspect of his contribution to TTG. Paying special attention to each client’s brand, personalized needs and individual interests, he strives to create compelling concepts utilizing intuitive and highly-refined design solutions. In addition to traditional and digital design work and oversight at TTG, Tom also boasts a wide portfolio of web development projects with the company, allowing him to stretch his CSS and HTML skills across multiple platforms and disciplines. He feels that being a designer in the digital landscape of websites, eCommerce solutions, email marketing platforms and social media, it is important to understand the code that goes into these areas as it assists his ability to tailor designs specifically targeted to achieve the best end result and further builds understanding and communication with backend development teams.

In his off hours, Tom is an avid pop culture enthusiast, staying up to date on the latest shows, films, comics and games. He can also typically be found taking part in a whole host of artistic activities that help him further stretch his creative legs. Regardless of the activity, Tom is always accompanied by his dog, Eli, and his cat, Tib.

Design, Photography, Illustration, Digital Imagery Manipulation, Wesbite Development

Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Lightroom, HTML/CSS, Wordpress


Courtney Dumont

As Senior Marketing Strategist & Analyst at Technology Therapy Group, Courtney is energized by the ability to flex both her left and right brain daily. Courtney discovered her passion for Marketing at Bryant University, where she spearheaded research on students’ perceptions of Social Media Marketing for her Honors Capstone Project. After graduating Bryant in 2012, she joined the Technology Therapy team, where she’s honed her skills in social media, search and social advertising, email marketing, SEO, and more.

Since joining the team, Courtney has created digital marketing strategies and managed campaigns for clients across the country, ranging from plastic surgery centers, to jewelry stores, to construction companies. With a cohesive, cross-channel approach and a focus on data-driven decision making, she has increased their leads by up to 217%. But Courtney doesn’t leave her zeal for social media at the office; she also runs a local foodie Instagram account with her husband to document their meals across Rhode Island and beyond. Check them out: @hoppilyfed.

Marketing Strategy, Data Analysis, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Social Media

Google Analytics, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Facebook Creator Studio, Instagram, Klaviyo, Mailchimp, Emma Mail, Google Data Studio, WordPress, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Microsoft Office