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And the 2012 Link Building Buzzword Award Goes To… Relationships!

by Jon Cooper
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Read a recent post telling you to forget links and build relationships?

Well, I’m sorry. I’m not here to tell you it all over again.

Relationships are nothing new, yet when people finally realized that the saying “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” can be applied to SEO, they got caught up in the buzz and forgot what it really is – a means to an end.

In SEO, relationships by themselves mean absolutely nothing. Links, on the other hand, do mean something – they mean increased search traffic, which directly leads to more sales/conversions.

Yes, relationships will help you get links, but completely forgetting about links in an all out pursuit for building relationships will not get you far in SEO. You have to have the end goal in mind. I’m not saying you should go to each of your contacts asking explicitly for a link, I’m just saying that you need to remember one of the reasons why you’re building that relationship.

So next time you hear “relationships” when talking about SEO, realize the concept is older than business and that it’s a means to an end, not the end goal itself.

This post was written by...

Jon Cooper – who has written 119 posts on Point Blank SEO.

Jon Cooper+ is an SEO consultant based out of Gainesville, FL who specializes in link building. For more information on him and Point Blank SEO, visit the about page. Follow him on Twitter.

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13 Comments
  1. Adam says:

    Haha! That’s a great post. I wonder how many people totally miss out on opportunities because they’re so concerned about “relationship.”

    • Jon Cooper says:

      Exactly. There are so many opps out there for links that don’t concern knowing people. Building cool things & leveraging the reciprocity principal are two I’ve been doing a lot of lately.

  2. Steve says:

    Eek… Just checked to see the number of times I used the word “relationship” in my guest post: luckily it’s zero.

    Thank goodness you didn’t choose the word “bait”… hah! ;-)

  3. Nice one Jon! But I think the problem is also that a lot people don’t know how to “ask” for a link. There are many ways to get links but sometimes you need people to lend you a helping hand. If someone isn’t linking to you freely you need to find out why, especially if you have built a relationship. You might find out that you don’t really have the relationship you thought you did or maybe your content needs sucks and they dont want to put their rep to bad content.

  4. rambabu says:

    hi jon, i want to know some clarity in there , like it’s an end to SEO we try to focus on relationship rather just building links is quite similar sense to making links. How you would give me more clarity on this to make your readers more confidence .. thanks again for this ..waiting!

  5. Michael says:

    Hi!I agree.Relationships will help you get links.Many people forget it’s importance.I’m glad you shared about this matter.

  6. Shum says:

    What i honestly feel is that people are feeling unsafe after Google recent penalties and they are pretending to be ‘clean link building practitioners’ (as if other traditional techniques are dirty..)by using such terms like content marketing, blogging outreach, relationship matters etc.. oh i forgot content is king!! Its funny when i often see people talking about creating “Valuable content” and wait for “angels” to pick it up and there you go..I Don’t promote crap link building but i honestly see a clear unbalance on the other side in last few months.

  7. Morgan Westerman says:

    I understand with the point you’re making… but I disagree with you. You say “relationships” is a means to an end, and that SEO is the goal. I think you have it absolutely backwards. Ranking number 1 is not the goal, but getting traffic from qualified prospects who have a relationship with you — that’s the goal. SEO is the means to that end. I work with an agency and we have hundreds of seo and social clients, and I think they would agree. Nobody cares about rankings as much as the end result. And focusing on WHY you want links helps you get where you want to be faster.

  8. Tom says:

    This post has inspired me to cancel a tedious dinner party I was set to attend, hosted by my local chamber of commerce. I was going to subject myself to an evening of small talk, fake laughter and the shameless handing out of business cards to anyone barely glancing in my general direction. Instead that time would be better spent cultivating a REAL relationship, that is ensuring that I’m on first name terms with a great new software tool called “Link Sherlock”…..Just kidding :)

  9. Hi Morgan, I totally agree with you. The ultimate result we’re chasing is traffic

  10. kevin says:

    It’s only a buzzword when you don’t know what your doing.

  11. A bit disappointing when every one start posting similar stuff like these buzz words but lest hope in 2013 we will see some more real and practical buzz words in SEO community.

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