The Reality of Link Building

In their effort to create valid and relevant search results, Google’s complicated algorithm is ever changing. The key to ensuring that your site shows up at all in search, and particularly high enough to get some traffic, is factoring in the importance of inbound links. It is impossible to say exactly how many links you need, what kind of links, or why some links seem to work more than others. But with experience and research, you can learn how to work towards that perfect mix of links that will signal to the search engine spiders that your site is indeed worthy of the Top 10.

Now in the long term, your focus on having a visitor friendly site, with material that a visitor wants to see, will be rewarded by the search engines. And of course increase conversions and loyalty. So be careful not to lose the perspective of your customer, your visitor, and make your site what the public wants.

That said, you still have to do a ton of work that you would not normally do for visitors only, if you want to rank for your words. It is just not possible to build a site just for visitors and expect to rank.  MAYBE if you have 4  years, MAYBE if the nature of your business coincidentally is one that demands new content  naturally for visitors, MAYBE if you are such a huge authority in your field, if your field happens to be something worth linking to, MAYBE then you can just randomly and naturally build up enough inbound links to rank high enough to turn a profit. But what if you sell socks? I mean, how much content can you possibly ‘naturally’ put on your site about socks? Is it really helping your visitor? And how many websites in the world are just dying to link to your fabulously well written valuable articles (1-2 new ones a month, right?) about socks, choosing a color, knee socks vs. crew, etc. It is all just fluff, and this is what the search engines want (expect) us to do.

So accepting that you will have to manipulate your marketing plan for the search engines as well as visitors, you will embrace this intimidating link building campaign. You must get links. Gotta do it. No getting around it. And link baiting, enticing people to link to you by offering rich valuable content, or free widgets, or press releases, is a big part of it. But baiting is just not enough for most sites, you will have to do active building the  hard way:  one at a time or buying them.  You will want lots of smaller links, and a few big boys. Some links in content from a high PR will work magic on most sites, especially mixed in with the average links. Authority links such as EDU links or GOV links will complement your smaller links and give you a big boost.

Keep your link campaign well rounded, with a mix of inbound links from pages with high page rank, and even below yours. Vary the anchor text for your links. Also point links to internal relevant pages in addition to your home page.  Take your time, space out your new incoming links. The crawlers will detect an unnatural spike. This is especially important for new sites.  Links in content are still absolutely the best,  seek these out in every creative way possible. Avoid bad neighborhoods where there are lots of spammy paid links to questionable sites.

And how to get all of this done? It is daunting, and the only way to do it right is to spend an enormous amount of time on it. This is why companies are hiring these things out, and focusing on designing their site for their visitor, letting the SEO worry about the rest.

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