I had a conversation with one of the organic guys the other guy during which he proclaimed that if you build a kick-ass widget and placed it on a high-traffic site, it would go viral. Ah, bless… the innocence of youth.
His assertion that this was a successful link building campaign led me to ponder whether you can call it link building if all you do is create an application and put a link to it on a high-traffic page. Could you simply create an application and release it into the wild with nothing more than best wishes and call it link building?
I would argue that effort has to be made in any instance to call it work. If you come up with the idea, that is part of the work but simply placing it somewhere without any push or sell cannot lead to a high enough adoption to create a buzz no matter how good the application is. Some work seeding it – some link building, article writing, emailing and promotion – must be done.
Link building though is about more than just creating a widget and placing a link within it. In fact, this has been shown to result in a penalty where the link is not relevant to the content of the widget. Thus widgets entered the same realm as link buying – good if you don’t get caught and keep it relevant.
Links are the special sauce of the internet. They help people navigate to other, less well known sites. They help point people (and spiders) in the right direction. They indicate relevance and quality. They help elevate rankings only as a part of their larger function – navigation. Link building is not just about slapping links up on every directory possible and trying to spam the index. It also isn’t just about creating compelling content. It also is no longer about relevant content being sign-posted for others to find. Links are now a complex beast – part human, part animal, part fruit… or maybe dairy.
Links, like many other ranking factors, have been abused. They have been taken from their origins and made to serve their evil SEO overlords. Many have tried to free them, few have succeeded. Trapping them inside a widget seems cruel… and without support I would argue not link building.
Set your links free and remember to always feed them chocolate
Widget Web Expo – set your watches. It’s the special sauce for your widget building aspirations whether business or personal.