Short answer: Yes, you can publish content for your affiliate site and completely ignore link building.
But you should build links and otherwise promote your site.
Let me explain why and give you some ideas to promote your site to get links, without directly building backlinks.
Imagine a restaurant opens that’s out of the way, not on “main street.”
Some people will probably find it, like people that naturally pass the location.
But the location is a limiting factor because only a small number of people see the restaurant.
If the restaurant advertises and promotes itself, then more people will know about the restaurant. The restaurant should get more customers over time if the food and dining experience is enjoyable.
So if you build an affiliate site and use only long tail, Keyword Golden Ratio terms, you should be able to get some traffic to your site. It’s like the local traffic that sees the out-of-the-way restaurant.
It’s even better if you promote your site because even more people will know about it, just like a restaurant that advertises.
People Don’t Like Building Backlinks
It’s the yard work of internet marketing. One of my most popular posts is about a content plan that doesn’t require backlinks. It’s popular because people would rather focus on the content part.
There are 2 main reasons:
1: Fear of the Unknown
Link building is an unknown process until you do it. If you’ve launched your site, then you have worked on the content directly or outsourced it. Either way, you’ve solved the content part of the equation.
You can do it again and again, and publish more content. It feels productive, and you have a finished product that you can see.
When you think about link building, one thing becomes obvious.
You will be denied over and over again (like a younger Doug getting rejected by the ladies).
When you think about asking for a guest post or linking to your site, you realize that someone might tell you “no.” (Or the equivalent of giving me a wrong phone number but I digress.)
You can accept a passive rejection if you publish your content and no one shows up. But when you ask someone to please link to your site, and they say “no thanks,” it’s harder to accept.
A person with a sales background knows that’s part of the process, but for nonsales people, it’s harder to deal with rejection.
So you’ll have to get over it. The rejection gets easier to deal with — humans are exceptional at adapting to new obstacles.
What’s Good about NOT Building Any Links
There are at least three excellent things about never even attempting to build links.
1: No Action Required
You don’t have to do a thing. I love not having to do something.
It frees up your brain space and reduces stress.
2: Pure White Hat
Google doesn’t want you doing anything that looks or seems like manipulating the search results, especially anything like link building.
Guest posting can be interpreted as an activity with a purpose to improve the search results for a site, especially on a large scale.
3: Links Will Occur Naturally
I used to think that no one would link to an affiliate site naturally, but it does happen.
I see this a lot with obscure terms, like keyword golden ratio phrases, because more authoritative sites link to sites they referenced while writing an article.
So natural links will happen over time. The key thing is ranking number 1 for a keyword phrase. It’s easier to rank number 1 for an obscure KGR term than anything else.
Links DO Help
Backlinks are known as one of the three main ranking factors for Google.
So all else being equal, if you look at two sites that have the same content, and one has backlinks and the other one doesn’t, you can assume that the site with links will rank better the majority of the time.
I haven’t scientifically tested links versus no links, but logic leads us to that conclusion.
A few caveats that I can point out are:
- Some backlinks are more powerful than others, so the sheer number of links isn’t the deciding factor.
- The content quality matters, so if the content sucks the user experience will be bad.
- There are at least 200 ranking factors in the Google Algorithm, and Google tweaks it constantly.
Alternatives to Link Building
There are a few things you can do that will indirectly create links for your site. These may not sound easy if you’re starting, but they aren’t so bad once you gain momentum.
Participate in Roundup Posts
These have seen their ups and downs over time and within certain niches. Internet marketers overuse tactics and roundup posts were very overused for a while to the point I stopped participating.
It seemed like no one reads them. However, in other niches roundups haven’t been used much at all. If that’s the case, you can organize a roundup which is a cool way to gain social shares too. Once you have that in place, you could propose a roundup idea to someone who previously participated in your roundup.
Be a Guest on Podcasts
Podcasting is a rapidly growing industry. There are shows on just about ANYTHING, so you need to find your audience out there.
The key is to have an interesting story to tell. Unsure if you have such a story? Well, case studies, tests, or examples are ways to have a story.
I like to listen to homebrewing and beer related podcasts. So a good case study would be brewing beers with different yeasts, then talking about the results.
You can apply that to any niche, topic, or product.
Be a Guest on YouTube Channels
YouTube is also a huge ecosystem with a separate audience base than blogs or podcasts.
While links from YouTube may not be “follow” links, you may still get a decent amount of traffic if the video has a solid call-to-action.
Additionally, some channels publish all there videos on a website where they include a description with links. In that case, you would have a “do-follow” link.
Over To You!
Please leave a comment and let me know:
- Do you love or hate link building?
- Do you think it’s possible to create a site that reaches its potential without building any links at all?
Or if you have any questions, ask away!