SEO Part 4: Link Building

We have laid a foundation of keyword research and on-page optimization using keywords. Now let’s consider link building, the other side of SEO work, in a little more detail.

Basic Idea

The basic idea of link building is to get other websites to point to your website with links. Links are the clickable text or images that allows users to navigate the web.

Often it is good to have your targeted keywords as the anchor text for these backlinks. Anchor text refers to the actual words of a link you click on. These days, it is best to use several variations of your keyword for backlinks.  It is now hazardous to have too many backlinks with anchor text that exactly matches your keywords, over and over.

You want other websites with high authority or high PR ratings (well-known, high quality, and trusted sites) to have links pointing back to pages on your site. The search engines see this as other trustworthy users assigning great trust and authority to your website. It’s a little like word-of-mouth or like footnoting references in a book. The more high-quality links like this you can gain, the better your pages will rank in the search engines.

There are good and bad ways to go about acquiring links to your web pages.

The Bad

You should not submit your website or any of its pages to lots of large, free web directories that are not edited or moderated. Link farms, or websites that exist for the sole purpose of giving people a place to get lots of free links from, are also a no-no. Google and other search engines see this as spammy and tend to devalue those links. Google may even penalize sites for links gained from these kinds of places. The rule of thumb is that easy is usually not good.

You should not leave unrelated or excessive comments on blogs with backlinks to your own site.  You should also avoid posting excessively in forums with a signature that contains a link to your site. There was a day and age when these tactics were useful, but Google has wised up to it. Don’t be afraid to converse and share links in a natural way with people online around your niche, including on forums and blog comment sections. Just don’t be spammy or excessive with it.

More and more, you should exercise discernment about guest blogging. This is still a useful strategy in which users from a shared niche invite one another to write guest posts on related blogs. A blog post either contains a link in the content itself, or in the author’s bio brief to the side or at the bottom. As long as the content is valuable and original, this is fine to do. Just avoid low quality blogs.

Do not “spin” articles. That is, don’t use spammy tools that re-write the content of an original article you’ve written and then send it all over the web. The search engines will catch on to this and ignore your backlinks or even penalize you. They see that the articles are fake duplicates. In other words, these kinds of links look to the search engines just as artificial as they are.

The Ugly

Do not ever, under any circumstances, pay for links. This includes bartering or accepting prizes or free trials for the express purpose of gaining backlinks to your site.

The Good

Submit your website to well-edited, industry-related web directories. Dmoz.org is a good place to start. Offer to write high quality guest posts on related blogs. Write original, valuable articles on high quality article directories. If they’re good enough, people will want to share them through social media and links. Converse with people in your field through blog comments and forums in a natural way. Just don’t do it as a quick link building tactic.

More than anything, though, write good, original content on your own website and blog. Write posts that are so good people will automatically want to link to them on their own websites. Internet marketers call this link bait. Work hard to create content so good that people can’t help linking to it!

You want your link building campaign to be as organic and natural as possible. This is not only ethical, but will be rewarded in the search engines as anti-spam technology continues to develop.

Good luck with your online endeavors, and get in touch with W5 Web Designs today for all the design and SEO services you need!

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