In the previous post in this SEO series we talked about on-site optimization – getting your website ready for visitors. Now we are going to look at off-site optimization, specifically Link building. Link building, that is getting links from other websites back to your site, is probably one of the most important things you can do to help boost your search engine rankings. I have heard estimates that 7 of the top 10 factors imfluencing search rankings have to do with links, so THINK LINKS!
Each good link you get from another website has testimonial value, just like getting a citation in written work. However, not all links are equal. Search engines place higher value on links that come from sites they consider to be high quality. If you really want to get into this you should be looking for websites with a high “PageRank” in Google because it thinks these are the most important. Google provides a PageRank toolbar you can download for your browser that will tell you the PageRank of a website.
You should steer clear of most sites that are just there to provide automated links.These are known as “Link Farms” or “Link Schemes” and can be considered bad neighborhoods by search engines. If you only have links from Link Farms it can actually harm your search results rather than help.
So how should you go about getting good links? Here are some tips:
- Ask yourself what does your target market want to know about related to your area of expertise? Build good quality, useful content including your targeted keywords and publish it using any tools out there; blogs, your website, social media, online Press Releases, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Set Goals but be realistic – for example, plan to write and publish one article every month or a blog post every week.
- There are lots of places you can find good links – local or industry-specific directories, good quality article sites, blogs and other websites in your location or industry. SEO Optimizer provides both paid and free ideas for link opportunities.
- SEO Optimizer also analyzes the links that your competitors are getting. Looking at these is a great way to get ideas. Leverage your competitors to prioritize opportunities.
- Always look for trusted and quality websites for links – anything that looks suspicious probably is. Don’t buy links and beware of any link swapping from sites that are just there to provide links.
- Utilize SEO Optimizer – we offer our Jumpstart service which creates 3 quality backlinks on your behalf every month.
If you are a local business you should submit your website to as many local directory sites as you can find. SEO Optimizer can guide you through obtaining listings in the most popular of these. Alternatively, check out our guide to Local Search Visibility for more in depth information on getting local links.
Image via Flickr (creative commons) by seoz87
- SEO Series #1: What is Search Engine Optimization and Why Should you Care?
- SEO Series #2: Audit what you have and plan for success.
- SEO Series #3: On-site Optimization: Get your website ready for visitors
- SEO Series #4: Link Building: Now You’ve Built it, Get it Linked
- SEO Series #5: Add a Dash of Social Media
- SEO Series #6: Market Your Business Locally