⭕ Manual link building is hardly scalable up to a decent level: the resources needed would increase as you try to build more links per month.
You do the maths backward:
➡️ How many links do I need to build to meet my SEO goals?
➡️ How many outreach emails would I need to send to achieve those link placements?
➡️ How many link-builders (and other resources involved) would I need to pull this off?
It's a linear model. If you want to grow your link velocity, keeping the cost constant is hard.
However, a competitive edge manual link building has more control over link placements compared to naturally earned links.
You can decide the pages you want to place links on, the anchors you want to use, the context you want to put the links around, etc. which obviously means better quality links.
⭕ On the other hand, natural link building helps you sky-rocket your link acquisition, and possibly drive exponential results with the same resources over time.
➡️ What happens in the case of natural link acquisition is that your content generates organic visitors and links usually come as a by-product of that.
➡️ This means as you scale traffic, your link velocity would also increase most probably (as long as the content involves a good percentage of linkable assets).
However, with all this said, this isn't a typical post about naturally built links being better / worse than manually built links.
The truth is: you need both.
So let me break down where each of these link-earning methodologies makes sense:
✅ 1. Manual link building makes sense when your website is in the growth phase (relatively new in a market) in a competitive niche where other players are dominating organic search as their revenue-driving channel. This is because at the start you want the most powerful links pointed toward your transactional / money pages to directly earn some PageRank. Obviously, at this point, you don't have a lot of money (at least not bootstrapped companies) so a digital PR campaign might not be the best investment of your resources.
✅ 2. Natural link building makes sense once your site has built some domain authority. I don't mean Moz / Ahrefs or DA / DR here. I mean in the sense that you've noticed your content performing better now because of the links (and content) you've been investing in. At this point, your content will start picking itself up in SERPs, and you'll start gaining links naturally to those pages. This is when you want to scale results and a strategy to naturally acquire links would be super powerful.
NOTE: Even when you start thinking of natural link acquisition, you shouldn't stop manual link building, because natural links are hard to get pointed toward transactional content.
So it's good to still constantly fuel those demand capturing with some manually placed links in parallel.
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