Link Building is Like Losing Weight – Are You a Linkless Fatty?

January 2, 2009 - Written by Gyutae Park  

fatboyIt’s a new year, which means one thing – everyone is out at the gym trying to lose weight…again. It seems like an endless cycle. They make New Years resolutions to eat healthy and exercise, yet by December they’re heavier and more out of shape than the day they started. Why is this?

As I sit here and contemplate my goals for 2009, I can’t help but notice the parallels between losing weight and building links (yes, I need to do both).

When it comes to the Internet, webmasters desperately seek better search results so that they can grow their online businesses and make more money. They know what they need to do (optimize and build links) but for some reason they just can’t get themselves to do it. There are thousands of “shortcuts” out there – easy and effortless methods to get all of the benefits without doing much work. You all know what I’m talking about: so-called loopholes that you can use to fool Google, easy high-quality links (an oxymoron), and services that claim they can build thousands of great one-way links for $25. As lame as these things may sound, people fall for them. You know why? Because they’re lazy and they’re disillusioned into thinking there’s some sort of magic trick or magic pill.

fitness coupleIn 2009, it’s important that you change your mindset if you really want to succeed. Instead of setting up goals for what you want to do, develop a plan of action of how you’re going to accomplish them. It doesn’t matter whether you’re building links or losing weight. It’s all about hard work and determination.

So to illustrate my point even further, I’m going to continue with this link building and weight loss comparison. There are a lot more similarities than you might think. And no, SEO’s fighting fat is not the only one.

1. It takes hard work and there are no shortcuts.

Link building: If you’re not willing to put in a solid effort, you might as well just give up now. Link building is a long and hard process that is both time consuming and labor/resource intensive. It’s a long term strategy and you can’t expect to be #1 for a competitive search keyword unless you build up your site over time.

Weight loss: I don’t care what the late night infomercials tell you. There are no shortcuts to losing weight. You have to make the commitment to eat right and exercise regularly over a long period of time. Only then will you see the scale start to tip left.

2. Show up everyday with a consistent work ethic

Link building: In order for you to build natural links that last, you need to be consistent (i.e. have fresh links coming into your site on a regular basis). Rather than gathering a whole lot of links at once and calling it a day, a solid link building campaign requires you to be consistent and improve your site one link at a time. In other words, you have to show up ready every single day.

Weight loss: In the same way, you can’t expect to work out for 10 hours one day and be done with it the next. You need to be consistent if you’re going to lose weight and keep it off. You might not see results from your actions immediately, but in aggregate they will stir change.

3. Beware the scammers

Link building: The SEO industry is full of scammers – consultants who take advantage of people’s dreams and make promises they can’t keep. Beware. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

Weight loss: Same thing in the fitness industry. A whole lot of scammers make a ton of money because people want to take the easy way out. Diet pills, food packs, miracle machines… they’re all the same fluff.

4. You can trick the system, but it won’t last

Link building: There are going to be instances where you can trick the system or get links from loopholes. You might benefit from these in the short term, but they probably won’t last. This is especially true since some SEO’s like to expose loophole links for a boost in reputation. It’s great if you find some, but don’t rely on them to be the foundation of your link building efforts.

Weight loss: It’s possible to lose weight with some of the funky fad diets out there. But do you think it will last? It’s all water weight anyway and the minute you decide to eat something normal you’ll gain it all back. Nothing beats a healthy lifestyle as a method for losing weight.

5. The end result is worth it

Link building: A #1 ranking in Google for your main keywords could mean a HUGE increase in your search traffic. Cha-ching!

Weight loss: Health and prosperity. Without good health, nothing else matters.

So what do you think? Do you have what it takes to build links and/or lose weight? It’s up to you. Go for it.

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69 Responses to “Link Building is Like Losing Weight – Are You a Linkless Fatty?”

Ryan @ Linkbuildr on January 2nd, 2009

It’s great to hear more people talking about quality link building that will last instead of all the stinky tactics people are using.

Gyutae Park on January 2nd, 2009

Thanks for the support, Ryan. I’m a believer of good long-term link building practices. The tricky tactics can work but I don’t think they’re something you should focus on to build your business.

Nicholas James on January 4th, 2009

I agree, specifically because, its useful in the long-term for long tail SEO 😉

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Eamon on January 2nd, 2009

And the old cliche is true “Content is King”. Be an expert in your field. Have broad knowledge too. Base your work on research. Produce examples and case studies. Create lists that are useful. You can be provocative too (but think about it and make sure that your content hasn’t just been just opinons up and until then). Make effort reading other people’s blogs and commenting. Read Copyblogger and fine-tune copywriting skills the whole time. Research / know who your audience are so that you write stuff that is relevant / interesting to them. Write stuff, too, that your regular audience will be suprised by but find engaging. Read creative-thinking blog posts so that you can come up with original ideas. Read off-beat / unusual blogs (as well as the mainstream ones to know what is going) to come up with fresh / different ideas.
Could go on (this list is as much for me as anyone else – just thinking aloud ..).

Ann Arbor Web Design on January 2nd, 2009

You are quite right about the fact that you can trick the system for a while with a gimmick or two, but that wont bring any lasting results. That is a very effective analogy you have there about how link building is like weight loss.

Gyutae Park on January 2nd, 2009

Eamon, great list! Good content will naturally be linked to (with some good promotion) so in the end, it really is the best strategy that will last beyond Googe’s shifts in its ranking algorithm.

Nicholas James on January 4th, 2009

If taking into consideration the terms of long-term benefits via long tail SEO even if Google shifts its algorithms then you will eventually show up in the search results because, of this. Especially if you’ve seo’d your blog 😉

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Tom - on January 2nd, 2009

Good post! It definately takes a lot of hard work, but the results are definately worth it.

Gyutae Park on January 2nd, 2009

Thanks Tom. It is hard work – and I think that’s what most people fail to realize. They look for the easy way out to gain the benefits but aren’t willing to put in the work. At the end of the day, the hard workers will be rewarded.

Make Money Online on January 3rd, 2009

And they just keep dragging and delaying…Tomorrow never comes

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Richard Michie on January 2nd, 2009

Great post. The biggest question I get asked is how do you get links. The answer is always you need great content throughout the site. The issue then is always that that sounds like hard work. People always want the easy way out. And I quess for some people that’s good enough. There’s one reason why the BBC site is so popular, great content. If you too want to have a load of traffic you have to look at what the sites who already have the traffic are doing and mimic, but in your own style.

It takes time, effort and money but is much better for you and your visitors in the long run.

Shortcuts and get rich quick schemes are the reason the world’s in a hole at the moment.

Gyutae Park on January 2nd, 2009

I totally agree with you Richard. Providing value is the most important thing in any business. Shortcuts might lead to some short results but in the end they will fizzle out and cause problems like you mentioned.

Ray's Fantastic Fitness Tips on January 2nd, 2009

Great post Gyutae. I like number 4 the best 🙂
If you need any help with the weight loss just let me know. You have my email and I’d be glad to help you out with some tips in 2009!

Nicole Price on January 2nd, 2009

I am refering you to someone else who is desperate. Thanks for commenting here.

Donny Gamble on January 2nd, 2009

Great comparison. I’m sure link building is like a lot of other things also. You have to be motivated and stay on track in order to see some good results.

Gyutae Park on January 3rd, 2009

Link building can be compared to anything that’s worthwhile. The important thing is to keep at it and stay motivated. The results will come if you put in a solid effort.

Nicole Price on January 2nd, 2009

This is a fabulous post. What a comparison and in my case, it hits very hard. I am one of those yo yo types!

Happy new year to you.

Gyutae Park on January 3rd, 2009

Thanks Nicole, I’m glad you liked the post. I totally hear ya on the “yo yo type”. I tend to be the same way and have to force myself to stay disciplined. Good luck in the new year!

Nicole Price on January 6th, 2009

Thanks and wish you the same.

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Aleksandar Ratkovic on January 2nd, 2009

Realy lucid comparison. Since I need weight loss it’s more than interesting post for me. 🙂

Gyutae Park on January 3rd, 2009

Thanks Aleksandar. I can definitely afford to lose some weight myself. Like link building, it’s going to take a lot of hard work and effort. But it can be done! Good luck to you.

Ann Arbor Web Design on January 2nd, 2009

You are quite right about the fact that you can trick the system for a while with a gimmick or two, but that wont bring any lasting results. That is a very effective analogy you have there about how link building is like weight loss. Great post.

Gyutae Park on January 3rd, 2009

The tricks do work – a lot of black hat sorts spend a ton of time finding loopholes and exploits. This sort of stuff work for sure, but I’d rather spend my time and resources on strategies that are more long term and won’t be negatively viewed by search engines.

Adam on January 2nd, 2009

Heh I love to workout – great analogies!

Gyutae Park on January 3rd, 2009

Do love building links as much as you like working out? 😛

Bill M on January 2nd, 2009

Its so true. People thinking link building is pay some scammer a fee to increase their SEO. What brings traffic is good consistent content.

ps. love the analogies…

Gyutae Park on January 3rd, 2009

Link building certainly isn’t paying scammers, but it’s also not just about good content (although it helps). Check out some of my previous link building articles for some proven strategies that work.

Thomson - Digital Labz on January 2nd, 2009

You are right there is no short to increase your link popularity of your website. I liked your analogy about weight loss and link building A Good one.

Gyutae Park on January 3rd, 2009

Thanks Thomson. Nope, no shortcuts in link building – just like there are no “easy” ways to lose weight. Hope you can put that knowledge to good use!

Nathan from New Orleans on January 2nd, 2009

Hey Gyutae, this is a great article!

I’m new to blogging & link building and this is the first article I’ve read on the subject.

Needing to lose weight, I just started blogging about my experience so you caught my attention and you were very clever with your analogy.

I’ll check back with you for more good information.



Gyutae Park on January 3rd, 2009

Thanks Nathan, good to hear that you’re just getting started. It might be difficult in the beginning but it’s important to keep at it – even when you’re not seeing much initial results. Good luck!

Donna | The Healthy Eating Site on January 2nd, 2009

What a great analogy! And yes, I need to do both too – my goals: lose weight and get fit and get more quality traffic and loyal readers to my website & on my mailing list. In my personal experience the psychology behind my success, or lack thereof, for both goals is the same. Just as you’ve said, you’ve hit the nail on the head. The sad thing is that I’m not necessarily resistant to the hard work that’s necessary for quality results, but in hindsight the reason I don’t put in the hard work is most commonly because I get distracted by other things that seem more important at the time but in the long-run are totally meaningless.

Thanks for you excellent article, I’m going to print it out and put it on my wall right next to my computer which is in the same room as all my workout gear. I’ll keep reading it to keep on track until it becomes my new habit. Great starter for the new year!

Machinery equipment and technology on January 2nd, 2009

The comparison you made is good although losing weight may be hard gaining it is harder too for somebody like me 1.70 meters and 52 kilograms. I have two goals gaining ten kilograms and getting to four of Google ranking this year 2009. So here you have me working hard!!!

Make money online on January 3rd, 2009

These are all great tips, especially #1 and 2.
It takes hard work and consistency.
One of my goals was to eat healthier.. don’t really need to lose weight. I recently did a water/juice fast which was good. Lost some weight and kept it off. It is actually really good to fast, do some research if you don’t think so.

Make money online on January 3rd, 2009

Forgot to mention how much i think that T shirt that guy is wearing on your post rocks! HAHA.. Great picture.

Mike Huang on January 3rd, 2009

There is no easy way to build links, but blackhat seo surely does get the work done for the time being. lol.

Jacques @ SEO Tools South Africa on January 3rd, 2009

This is the first time that I’ve heard link building compared to weight-loss, but you do provide a compelling argument, Gyutae! Cool post!

Make Money Online on January 3rd, 2009

Eh eh Gyutae, good link there! One similarity I would strongly agree is the consistence of work and effort for both of them.


Eric Brown on January 3rd, 2009

This is very helpful, thank you. I am new at trying to understand how all of this works. It likely isn’t as complicated as it seems,

Thanks again, and Happy New Year!

JustinSMV on January 3rd, 2009

Great back to basics information here for beginners both old and new. The end result prize is the key, which is more traffic, exactly!

Walkloss on January 3rd, 2009

Fantastic post!

As a full time SEOer(and part time weight loss blogger), I find link building really is the most demanding, time consuming and downright difficult part of building up any successful campaign. It’s good to read sometimes that the effort involved really is necessary and you’re right to take the white hat route, however long that takes.


Dawid Ryba on January 4th, 2009

Hi Gyutae,

Great post, Great back to basics information.

P.S T shirt guy rocks! Great picture.

Dawid Ryba

Zipporah Sandler on January 4th, 2009

I know that weight watcher’s works for weight loss. Link building – we’ll – I think I need a guide for that as well.

Yung Drew on January 4th, 2009

I’m not quite a linkless fatty, but I really think that 09 will be a very good year for me. When I write “bigger” articles that are packed with more information, I tend to get more links… (cap’n obvious I guess). Nice article as usual Gyutae and I love the pic selection! HAH

Anthony on January 4th, 2009

Yes link building doesn’t happen overnight. Its something you need to work at.

Tom Lindstrom on January 5th, 2009

Very inspiring post.I have divided the working week into “marketing-days”.I make a new blog post every day and on Mondays I do social media marketing, Tuesdays is remote blogging, Wednesdays are dedicated to forums, Thursdays are for blog commenting and Fridays are research.

Let´s see how that goes.If I would do a little of everything every day I would not get anything done, or so it feels.

Ari Lestariono on January 5th, 2009

I love to read article on how to boost blog on PR, traffic links and etc.What puzzles me is what is the difference between quality links, inbound links and back links? do they generate the same result on search engine or any degree of comparisons?please advice needed on this forums

designed2perform on January 5th, 2009

I couldn’t agree more with this post. In our field it’s difficult to explain that results take time. Most people expect results within 1 month only recently I’ve quoted for a search term 6 – 8 months the response was I’ve been told 14 days. Something needs to be done about the quality of the SEO industry.

Excellent Post!

Link Builder on January 5th, 2009

i would say both are a little difficult when losing a weigh it requires discipline and sacrifice i think same with link building also in order to achieve a certain goal, you must give a serious time for it, they say “no pain no gain” but anyway this article give’s a visual idea about online marketing.

MY STADY on January 6th, 2009

I always cringe when I see bloggers using stolen images.

Did you get permission from Fatboy Slim to use his album cover?

Ari Lestariono on January 6th, 2009

Yes stolen things are bad images for anyone, will get name blacklisted

slr on January 6th, 2009

Great post! Sobering (too much work!), but grounded in the truth.

Pheak Tol on January 7th, 2009

good metaphor.

it’s a lot of hard work when it comes down to it, but perserverance and commitment can help you succeed!

ZK@Internet Maketing Blog on January 7th, 2009

SEO is a long term initiative with results that can be explosive in terms of revenues for your site

ZK@Internet Maketing Blog on January 7th, 2009

Will Google changing algos very often it can be frustrating for a new website wanting to be listed

Ari Lestariono on January 7th, 2009

That’s the kind of question I asked to myself of Google algo, will it differ and biased for Internet Marketing

cooiky on January 8th, 2009

i think it still works.

Cheap Mobile Calls on January 12th, 2009

A nice way to put things in perspective!

Link building definitely does take time and effort, as does weight loss. Link building is indeed an ongoing process, and the best links come from somewhere you work hard at.

Aggressive Dog Behavior on January 18th, 2009

I really like this post. You make great, clever parallels between link building and losing weight.

Webmaster on January 20th, 2009

Its really a nice post..
Yes, link building can easily be compared to loosing weight.

Proven Online Business on January 22nd, 2009

What a great analogy! Link building takes time and effort, just like weight loss!

You have to work for those six packs – oops I mean #1 SERP

ZK@Internet Maketing Blog on January 22nd, 2009

You ve made a good comparison between link building and weight loss…both are tough to crack but can be cracked with dedication

Classifieds on February 1st, 2009

This is a great analogy, it is so true. Both require hard work and both are satisfying once you actually get the job done

Ari Lestariono on February 1st, 2009

Both need to focus on the steps doing it, not just motivation and persistence, yet the way of doing it.

Chris Peterson on March 23rd, 2010

The way you have written is excellent. Creating perfect link structure is necessary to achieve big aim. I’ve seen most of SEO guy makes huge number of links within short period which will be harm full to the site. So it will be better to take time and slowly build quality link structure.

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