Some Definition Behind “Natural ...


For those who don’t live, eat and inhale #SEO, the terminology can be perplexing.

Like the emphasis on natural or organic link building.

It’s easy enough to understand that you shouldn’t buy a bunch of links from a guy named Borislav with a site in Bulgaria. The price point, 100 links for $9.99, also tips off there’s something unnatural at work.

But what exactly is organic link building beyond the obvious, “I liked your post, so I linked to it?” Besides writing great storytelling content, what types of actions are construed as natural?

While there’s no single answer to these questions, I had a recent experience that shows how a helpful nudge can accelerate the natural process of link building.

Writing a post on the resignation letter by Groupon CEO Andrew Mason triggered a series of fortunate events (sorry Lemony Snicket).

You can see how the process evolved in the graphic below:

February 28
  • Groupon CEO Andrew Mason Resigns
March 1
  • Mason’s Farewell Letter Triggers Media Hoopla
March 2
March 4
March 5
  • Tweet Drucker Institute Post on Mason with Finessed Request for Backlink
Tweet Drucker Institute Post on Mason with Finessed Request for Backlink

Some observations:

  • You make your own luck by increasing the touch points to your writing, which in this case comes from the relationship with the B2Community (thank you, Brian Rice).
  • When leveraging a high-profile news event, get in early (36 hours later barely met the criterion).
  • Rethink posting on weekends. I always thought weekends were the worse times to post, but with less competition it made the post more likely to be picked up by both B2Community and Yahoo News. Less competition also increased the odds of showing up in search results, which led to the inclusion in the Drucker Institute post.
  • There’s a reason clichés become clichés. One does “catch more flies with honey than vinegar.”
  • Applying storytelling techniques to your post makes a difference. If I called one of Mason’s phrases “somewhat confusing” instead of “somewhat muddy,” it’s possible that the Drucker Institute takes a pass.
  • Even though internal links don’t carry near the clout of external links, they still have value especially when the content gets syndicated with those extra links going along for the ride.

That’s my story on organic link building.

Matt Cutts who is the wizard behind Google’s link building curtain puts it best:

The objective is not to make your links appear natural. The objective is that your links are natural.

I welcome your insights on adding to the definition.


  • Frank Buddenbrock


    You’re absolutely right. If you produce and submit content that’s interesting enough (read “story telling), people love more than nothing else than to pass is on to others, or at least link to it in a blog, tweet, FaceBook post, and/or bookmark it in a social bookmarking site such as Digg, Delicious, Reddit, etc.

  • hoffman


    Good hearing from an expert.

    I agree.

    Given the cost of a link, people don’t tend to be stingy.

  • Brian Rice

    Hi Lou

    First off, thanks for being a part of Business 2 Community. Second, thanks for sharing your stuff. It is very cool to see how one post had such a large impact. Keep up the great work.


  • hoffman


    Good to have you in my neighborhood.

    I figure if I can get a rudimentary understanding of SEO, anyone can.

    As you know, I’m a fan of Business 2 Community. You’ve built something special.

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