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How the Networked Economy can help your link building strategy

Asad Imam
Asad Imam
Head of SEO
24 October 2011

For my latest post, I wanted to emphasize the significance of creative link building using promotions or give-aways. The most fascinating aspect for me is that I was introduced to the importance of link building and the “value of free”, theoretically during my university days, without even realizing it. However, now that I am actually applying and experiencing this theory as a Search Specialist, it motivated me to write this blog.

Our Online-Business module professor introduced us to the concept of a Networked economy (a term first used by Kevin Kelly in the 90s). According to the concept, this emerging new economy – based on Information and technology – has such a disruptive force that it is capable of reordering our lives more than any hardware or software has ever been able to.

It has its own distinct opportunities and its own new rules. Those who play by the new rules will prosper; those who ignore them will not. If you think about Google and Facebook and the impact they have had on their own business, other businesses and our lives in general, I am confident you would agree with the above statement.

According to this theory there are 12 rules of the Networked economy and today I am going to touch upon 2 of them that are relevant to link building. They are –

  • The Law of connection
  • The Law of generosity

The Law of Connection

According to Kelly “the Network Economy is fed by the deep resonance of two stellar bangs: the collapsing microcosm of chips and the exploding telecosm of connections”. The focus of this post is on the latter.

What Kelly was primarily trying to prophesize was that a network of devices is far more valuable than a single device as it allows seamless flow of information. The same principle can be applied to websites, which are essentially computer programs being hosted by computers.

It is this phenomenon that Google tapped into to build its fortune. This is because whenever you type anything in Google, all it does is differentiate one network of websites from another (connected through external back links) and reports the website which has an authority in that network.

Hence, if one must follow Kelly and live by rules of the networked economy, there is no denying the fact that you need to grow the strength of your network.

Influencer Engagement


Influencer engagement‘ based link building is one of the best ways to strengthen your network. In a nutshell, influencer engagement is the process of identifying people who are your brand champions and have influence over your customers. Through building relationships and ‘incentivising’ these influencers, you can achieve coverage of your campaigns and promotions, with the secondary benefit being naturally-occurring links to your website, which will increase your search rankings.

The ‘incentivising’ part of this strategy is what brings me to the second law, the law of generosity.

The Law of Generosity

The Law of Generosity states that the most valuable things of all are those that are given away. It states that what may be “free” now would later lead to extreme value.

When applied to link building it means that if you have something that you could give away for free then you could use it as bait to get an “influencer” to talk about you.  This format of link building is often termed as link baiting in the SEO industry. Whatever the term you wish to use, essentially it means –

FREEBIES -> COVERAGE -> LINKS

Such links or mentions can drive traffic and position your brand amongst your target audience. When calculated in terms of monetary value the ROI is going to far exceed the investment – which in some cases could be nothing.

The idea is to be creative and innovate methods in order to align yourself or your business with this new Network economy else you may risk running out of the race.  I personally believe that the network will always grow and is beyond any of our control. What is important is to stay vigilant and always seek and utilize opportunity which this network will continue to provide.

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