Liverpool: If you'll be at SES New York next week, you'll notice that there's a session called Screw Link Building, It's Called Relationship Building."
Featuring Erin Everhart and Jo Turnbull and moderated by Kris Jones, this session goes along nicely with a topic I had in mind for a column about the basics of relationship building. Considering the timing, I've asked Everhart and Turnbull to answer a few questions on relationship building, link building, and SEO.
"Relationship building" became a popular phrase fairly recently, but mostly so after all the high-profile link penalties and algorithm changes of the past couple of years. From a link building perspective, this is something that has always been important, but almost in a more offline than online sort of way.
With the rise of social media, that's changed, so relationship building is becoming a more critical part of many aspects of SEO and SEM. It can lead to links of course, but it can lead to traffic and conversions, too, which is just as good as a link in many cases.
Realtionship building can lead to increased social signals for something that you produce. It can also lead to something good happening months down the road, something that you won't even be able to measure.
In my mind, when people talk about relationship building, they're still talking about link building. Many times, they're talking about building a relationship with a popular blogger who will hopefully talk about a product (and link to it).
As Everhart says below, yes, we usually do want a link out of this (or something else like visibility, social mentions, etc.). That doesn't mean that you should abandon all niceties and only pursue people for a link or a tweet of course, nor does it mean that you should take and never give back yourself. It's like a friendship, remember.
Selling this service is tricky, as you'll see from their answers. It's one of those "we know what is is and we know it's important but we can't tell you how much it will cost" kind of services.
Will we start to see relationship building agencies pop up? Many people are naturally very gifted at building a relationship but many aren't, so will those guys decide to outsource this as a proper service?
It's been said that we'll see people using better writers to write content so that they'll have a better Google+ profile, so I don't imagine this will be any different. After all, if you're online, you can be anyone you want, really. That prospect defeats the whole purpose of relationship building, but then again, much of what we do as online marketers gets abused.
SEO in Liverpool