The Reality of Link Building

by Steve Prylon

Apparently it is here to stay: the power of the inbound link. Google values the inbound link in a powerful way. It’s a vote for your site, and without the votes, you don’t get that Googletrust and you don’t get that ranking. Getting the right mix of links is crucial, and how to even get these links is a mystery to most, and a pain in the rear to the rest of us. But with the right effort and knowledge, you can create a logical mix of inbound links that will indicate to search engines that your site is valuable.

Of course, it goes without saying that your site should actually be worthy of the Top 10. So step one is to truly focus on your site from a visitor’s point of view, not a search engine’s exclusively. Only gaming the system will get you nowhere. It may get you temporary results, or it may get you banned from Google’s index, but it will not work long term.

But still, it is a hard fact that is here to stay: the SEO work must be done or your site will end up ignored. Obtaining links, proper structure, not too much flash, fresh content, fresh content, add a blog, directory and articles submitted, press releases, widgets, meta tags, keyword density not too high not too low. All the basics have to be included or even that wonderful site that sells purple pillows shaped like mushrooms will not rank for ‘purple mushroom pillows’. (Ok that is pretty long, maybe it would… but you get the point) There are only so many articles one can provide to their visitors about the benefits of purple mushroom pillows, and how to best care for purple pillows, and the reasons mushroom shaped pillows are the best. Early on in your SEO work, you will realize that all of this manipulation is not adding value to your visitors at all. But it just must be done.

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. A few authority links such as EDU links or GOV links will complement your smaller links and give you a big boost.

Link campaign tips: Keep it well rounded. Work towards a mix of high PR links and lots of smaller ones, even PR below yours. Shoot for links in content whenever possible, they are still absolutely the best. Keep the timing natural, you do not want tons of links showing up at one time, it is unnatural. Use a variety with your anchor text, do not overoptimize for one keyword. And point the anchor text to the complementary internal page, not just the homepage.

Sounds like a lot of work? The best link building is just plain time consuming, there is no way around it, and more and more companies are hiring it out in some fashion.

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