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Link Building – Are You Trying to Outrun The Lion?

Last week I published an article on strategic link building which was promoted to the main blog of SEOMoz, the world’s most prestigious SEO community.

The post has received considerable social media activity, including over 500 tweets, many from influential SEO and online marketers world-wide.

I’ll try not to spoil the anecdote at the beginning, but it’s about two men being chased by a lion. Not only will it bring a smile to your face, but perfectly sums up how you should be approaching your SEO strategy.

SEO is not about trying to “game” Google, nor is it a one size fits all approach. Rather, SEO is about analysing your market (in your specific location), understanding the factors responsible for the success of your competitors, and then eventually outpacing them with more stable, longer term link building activities.

The article includes a detailed case study, comparing the competitive landscape for the term “online shopping” across 3 Google locations – Australia, UK and USA. The analysis shows that ranking factors vary significantly between these countries. For example, social signals play a much larger role in Google.com than in Google.com.au, where anchor text and lower quality links are still important signals for achieving top search engine rankings.

What’s the take-home message? Successful link building involves a detailed understanding of your specific market in order to outrank your competitors in the most cost-efficient manner for maximum ROI. At the same time, be sure to future-proof your SEO efforts for long term stability by understanding the competitive landscape in more SEO-advanced markets.