Understanding "Organic" Link Building in 2008

Mar 20th
posted in

Michael Arrington, writing about how many blog networks are trying to raise capital, describes the natural state of linking on the web:

And now that the big guys in the Gang are being injected with capital, hiring tens of employees and expanding their businesses, they suddenly have a lot more to lose. Linking is never done just because. Rather, links are your political capital that must be expended appropriately. Don’t link at the right time and in two weeks when you’re pushing your own headline, you’ll wish you had. When you stop seeing other blogs as people you admire and want to discuss things with, and start to see them as your competitor, your brain shifts and you stop linking the way you had previously.

Luckily, the newbie bloggers are there to fill in the links when they’re needed. That’s why, if you are a mid-level blogger, you are likely courted by the bigger blogs looking to get your support. If you know what’s going on and are willing to play the game, you can see your blog rise very, very quickly. Choose the wrong blog, though, and you may find yourself alone and lonely in your forgotten blog.

Launch something new? You better beg at least a dozen people to help spread it if you are in a saturated market. Hopefully you just them some favors too! This fending for your own self interests + backscratching is the new reciprocal link. Depending on how selfish we get, bloggers could make the mainstream media irrelevant or just make ourselves irrelevant.

Published: March 20, 2008

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Comments

March 20, 2008 - 3:24am

Michael, interesting post. "When you stop seeing other blogs as people you admire and want to discuss things with, and start to see them as your competitor, your brain shifts and you stop linking the way you had previously."

Can you explain what you mean by that comment? Are you suggesting we should not look at blog commenting as a link building strategy or that we should only comment on blogs we feel are not competitors?

I'd appreciate a little more info on that...

thx!

- Chris

March 20, 2008 - 6:42pm

My point was not that I agree entirely with Michael, but that he likely believes what he wrote and THAT is how HE views linking. That is the web that has been created by commercial forces, and it is still young. Who knows where it is in another 5 years.

March 20, 2008 - 3:52am

"Linking is never done just because."

Well sure we do. It happens ALL of the time and you can clearly see it throughout the blogsphere and any decent niche resource website online.

March 20, 2008 - 8:52am

Real people linking to real things. Thats exactly how it should be done.

March 20, 2008 - 8:56am

Good post. The independent bloggers need to unite if they want to maintain leverage against 'clogs' or corporate blogs :)
Cooperatives are usually the mode for small timers to meet this end.

March 20, 2008 - 2:38pm

The idea that "links are your political capital that must be expended appropriately" is so true. Links remain very much a commodity that must be cared for and watched over.

March 20, 2008 - 6:07pm

The importance of link building these days is definitely high. It must be done in the most natural way and more businesses and people need to learn both the benefits and the way to do it.

March 24, 2008 - 12:48pm

This is so right on. Links are all about people. Don't mean to just throw in a link drop, but I just posted here about basically the same thing: http://www.audettemedia.com/blog/link-building-fundamentals

BTW this is the wrong post for this - but Aaron what will it take to have you guest article on my blog? I saw over 50 responses so I doubt you'll have time for the next 250 days!

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