Getting on the Linking Ladder
The Internet is fed by two things, 1) information and 2) links. When we find useful information, we link to it, that’s how it works. Some people might think that’s a bit of an odd way of going about things, but that is how all of the algorithms work and how you will get your website noticed.
Link building is a huge part of SEO. When done right it can get you climbing up the rankings. However, when done incorrectly your site may stagnate or worse, plummet to the murky depths of search engine obscurity.
Just as there is good information and bad information, all sites that may link to you can have a positive or negative impact. Okay, there is also a neutral middle ground where it doesn’t add much noticeable value, but doesn’t harm you either, but for the purpose of this blog lets focus on the classic polar opposites.
Believe it or not, there are some links online that are deemed toxic. They have emanated from bad neighbourhoods, those frequented by scammers and black hat folks, and have had their strength devalued to such an extent that Google and the rest of the search engines will punish you for associating with them. So if you start looking far and wide for a few extra links into your site, beware those who offer false gains.
A good link is often the most natural. It comes as the result of providing information that other people find interesting and subsequently link to or bookmark. This is why blogs have become so widely popular on business websites and why so many now provide more services rather than a simple static site. It is understandable why these kinds of links are afforded more prestige, as they are actually providing a service. They are showing other Internet users that they’ve found something interesting and it may be beneficial for them to investigate.
Link baiting can’t often be forced. You can create content that is engaging and produce a website that is going to appeal to a wider audience, but in the most part it has to be organic. This doesn’t really translate into to an SEO practice as such unfortunately, although the benefits of such a linking process will be hugely beneficial.
Sometimes the simplest thing you can do is just get your name out there. If there are safe sites in your industry, maybe a supplier or a client, then why not ask for a link back from them? Every little helps; soon those few links will turn into dozens, then hundreds and suddenly you’ll have yourself a core linking strategy.
Whilst Google’s PageRank may be slipping further towards complete anonymity, the importance placed on links certainly has not. Your on page content is important, in fact it is hugely important, but you can’t ever take your eye off of the inbound links that your site receives. This is what will bring strength to the site and will further compliment the SEO work you perform on the site, the content can then do the rest.
Don’t forget though that links aren’t just about building SEO strength, they’re also about creating new avenues for targeted traffic to find you. So when you go about finding ways of improving your inbound links, don’t forget that you are effectively doubling your chances of traffic in one easy step. Not bad.