People love to talk about “low hanging fruit”, especially when talking about link building. However, not all low hanging fruit is worth gathering. Some link opportunities may be easy to act on and result in successful link acquisition, but some of those are rotten fruit and it’s best to leave them on the branch. Some are even under-ripe and may be best to wait a little longer to go after.
My wife and I enjoy gardening. We live in Colorado, so our growing season is pretty short. Did I mention we’re also not particularly good gardeners? Our herbs, like thyme and basil, grow like crazy. But our vegetables and fruits are very low yield efforts, especially when the squirrels mount a full frontal assault on our garden. Sometimes bugs eat half of every strawberry ruining an otherwise great crop. It makes for some very expensive produce, but when it works, it outshines anything you buy at the grocery store. We also grow varieties that weren’t bred to yield vegetables that are uniform in size, color, texture. Stuff you find in the grocery store often are like that. The plants put more energy into developing a thicker skin so they bruise less easily and present better. This gives the plant less resources to put into flavor and more vitamins and nutrients.
In the spring, our tomato plants burst with tons of little yellow flowers. Only a portion of those flowers turn into a little tomato. And only a portion of those grow large and ripen to a fruit that is worth picking and eating. When they do, the timing of picking it is critical. Pick too early and you’re left with a flavorless or even sour tomato. Wait too long and you risk squirrels and other pests taking a bite out of it. All the while, you’re watering and fertilizing the plant… waiting for the right time. Plants are interesting life forms. Humans have a pretty symbiotic relationship with them. We cultivate the plant and try to provide the ideal environment for them to thirve and produce crops. Picking those crops is actually mutually beneficial. Fruits and veggies provide us nourishment. Once picked, the plant can devote energy and resources to growing bigger and stronger.
Link building (or link acquisition as I like to call it) is very similar. Some will prove to be low quality or outright toxic. Others won’t yield anything despite a lot of time and energy invested. Sometimes pests come in and ruin and devestate an entire section making everything rotten (think of techniques that started off as white hat and then got abused and turned into black hat). Some opportunities are just not quite ready and if you wait just a little longer, it’ll be worth it. Those are links you just can’t buy at the grocery store and the small handful you get are worth more than all the other manufactured ones combined. No two look alike and they aren’t mass produced. They are perfectly ripe, chock full of goodness, and oh so juicy.
Todd Atkins on Google+
Ben Smith is a Researcher at Fruition, specializing in Google's Algorithm changes. Ben is a graduate of the University of Denver’s Mathematics program, and he enjoys learning about Google’s search algorithm updates. He's a vital asset of the Fruition team, and he one day hopes to publish a book. In his free time, you can find Ben enjoying the outdoors of Colorado.
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