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We all (me included) talk about link building as if it is a step by step process akin to building a database or a house. I think it is a misleading expression and maybe a good reason why the Link DEVELOPMENT forum [webmasterworld.com] is called something different.
The truth is that the only links we can legitimatly "BUILD" are ones where we control the pages. These - by their very nature - are NOT the ones that should count towards a site's authority. The ones that matter are the one we have no direct control over - the ones we can't actually "BUILD" at all.
Link development is a better phrase, but still not quite on the nail. "Link Baiting" hardly legitimizes the process so I think that we should look to change the language a bit. What what be a better phrase than "Link Building" to encourage us to act ethically and also to present our skills (or non-skills) to the outside world?
"Linking Strategists?" Maybe too grand?
"Authority Development?" Better - but just because we massage opinion, does that really increase the underlying authority of the site in question? Probably not.
"reputation development" helps me - it reinforces the notion that what I am doing needs to always consider the very essence of the ethical approach.
Is it me, or should the phrase "Link Building" be confined to the dustbin started by phrases like "site submission" and "banner advertising"?
"reputation development" .... reinforces the notion that what I am doing needs to always consider the very essence of the ethical approach.
Yup, for my thinking, "brand" on the internet is about traffic and reputation, both of which are substantiated by inbound links.
So personally I would adapt that to "brand development" or even tailor it to "web-brand development".
But that's me playing with words - it amounts to the same thing. I suppose the question is are you looking for a new phrase or do you want to associate a real-world one (to make it more easily understood by clients) with a virtual marketplace?
should the phrase "Link Building" be confined to the dustbin
I did that in my own thinking a long time ago. I tend to think in terms of creating pages that naturally attract links. I do see that in my own mind as a "branding" issue rather than actually building anything or being directly responsible for the aquisition of those links.
"Linking Strategists?" Maybe too grand?
Consider a situation where you issue a press release with your URL in it, but not as a link. Someone then writes about you on a site somewhere and gives your URL as a real HTTP link. Branding or link strategy?
Not bad - I think that's accurate, but it has more of a bearing to me on search engines rather than links or traffic. And I'd like to see a move into thinking about traffic rather than just SE traffic. Traffic is what matters. Traffic is what links bring. SE traffic as a result of inbound links creating an authority status is a generally a by-product.
Link building is really "link buying" in whatever format it winds up being.
Link Development really means creating a website that other webmasters, editors, etc... want to link to and do so on their own. While we can't directly control what they say or how they actually wind up linking to us, we can control how often this happens by development and constant improvment to our sites. As I've always tried stressing to clients, you can't expect a 10 page site to outrank those with writers on staff constantly creating new content, stories etc...
So by creating a content rich website with unique articles and interactive user features you are at the same time working on link development.
But I think "reputation development" is perhaps a bit too broad. What we're really talking about here is really "link reputation development".
I think we need to distinguish what type of reputation we're talking about. The term "reputation" alone will include not only the number, quality, text, themes, etc., etc. of the links pointing to your site/pages (link reputation), but also what the writers are saying (e.g. their opinions) about the page/site (social reputation).
So, I cast my vote for "link reputation development".
Link Building vs. Reputation Development
What it comes down to is, does it make a difference whether you are eating or dining? You're still stuffing your face, right? And it comes out the other end, same as anything else you put into your face. You can put a white tablecloth on it and call it reputation development, but it's still coming out on the other side we call SERPS.
Certainly, there's a difference between having sex and making love; but when it comes to building backlinks it's strictly utilitarian, there are no nuances: It's about getting enough links so that you outrank someone else. In other words, you're stuffing a face.
Reputation seems more a function of branding and how you choose to do business. Link building doesn't, imo, play a role in that- except to a limited extent on a strategic alliance page.
Link building or link development are broad terms. The nuance is in the details of how you do it. This encompasses your content, site design, and even the amount of space allocated to advertising. All of those are details highly relevant to the success of any link acquisition project.
So does the problem with the terms link building or link development perhaps have something to do with the fact that they only cover one aspect of a much larger project?
>>>What what be a better phrase than "Link Building" to encourage us to act ethically and also to present our skills (or non-skills) to the outside world
For me, my ethics are to the client (or myself as the case may be), not any other entity. As far as a better phrase - I'm a search engine marketer and link development (via link building, link baiting, whatever) is *one* of my tools to get the desired results. I don't think there is anything wrong with the phrase link development. I think the problem lies more with people not connecting it to being one component to a successful marketing plan and that the phrase is not = to reciprocal link campaigns. My two cents...
Getting a site "linked" to SE's satisfaction involves a process. Outbound links off your pages to authority sites, inbound links to your pages from either organic, purchased or reciprocal sources are some of the obvious parts of the process.
"Link processing" seems a pretty accurate descriptor for what actually happens.
Mind you, if you replaced the word "process" with "development" in the above comments, you'd be saying much the same thing and would end up calling it "link development"... which is where we started!