Link-Building: The Bonsai Tree of Online Marketing

February 18th, 2013 09:00am CST by Nathan Schaad

Small Bonsai Tree

Have you ever seen a bonsai tree? That’s what’s contained in our image for today’s blog. What you see when you see a bonsai tree is a tree that is of the exact same type as one of the telephone-pole-sized plants that you know and love, but, well, smaller. There is no breeding which causes this phenomenon, however. How, then, does it happen that a bonsai tree stays so tiny compared to its large relatives?

The answer is both beautifully simple and complex: It takes nothing more than the expertise of a learned grower, a steady hand, and a couple of pruning tools. Bonsai trees can take on a number of different shapes, and can utilize a number of different tree species, but ultimately, it is the work of a person that keeps the trees artful and tiny. It happens to be fairly easy to ruin a bonsai tree, as they aren’t nearly as hardy as their larger relatives. Forget to water the bonsai tree, or water it too much, and it will die quickly. Moreover, something as simple as keeping a bonsai tree indoors can cause it to be weakened and die, simply because of the ambient temperature and humidity in a home not matching its natural habitat.

What’s any of this have to do with link-building, you might ask? It might be a little bit of a reach of an analogy, but your link profile has a direct impact on your SEO efforts, and most SEOs would label link-building as the real footwork of the whole process. Link-building is the pruning shears of a talented bonsai artist, carefully nurturing your website to create a sense of wonder and draw the attention of search engines. If you remove the bonsai artist from the bonsai tree, the tree will die. Likewise, if you remove link-building from your search efforts, then the fruits of those efforts (your online presence) will similarly die.

Don’t believe me? Here’s an article by Erin Everheart on Search Engine Land that provides one instance of this exact thing happening.

Link-building is a fundamental part to maintaining exposure online. It is important not to minimize it, or to stop doing it because you feel like you have already crafted a good, strong link profile. It requires continual monitoring to keep your website healthy, active, and beautiful.





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