Link Building – Doing It Well

Getting great rankings isn’t just about the structure of your website and its copy. Obviously they both have a major influence but there is also a third element that must be present.

Frequently businesses will fork out for a great website and hire a professional SEO copywriter to ensure their copy is SEO friendly, engaging and customer focused. But once their site is live they just sit back and wait.

That’s when the web designer or copywriter gets a phone call asking why their website isn’t on the front page of Google.

First it takes time for that to happen (it’s not going to be an overnight occurrence), secondly your SEO strategy does not end once your site has gone live. That’s just the beginning.

Make Google love you

Probably the most important aspect of SEO is link building.

They are important because they show Google the relevancy and authority of your website. So the more you have the better.

But that doesn’t mean any old link will do.

The link building process has to be done over time and consistently. But don’t be tempted into taking shortcuts by using link farms or paid link networks. The links coming into your site must be genuine and relevant to your site. Google does check the quality of your links so if they’re not genuine and relevant you could end up with a hefty Google penalty.

Here’s what Google’s Webmaster Tools has to say on the matter:

Link schemes

Your site’s ranking in Google search results is partly based on analysis of those sites that link to you. The quantity, quality, and relevance of links count towards your rating. The sites that link to you can provide context about the subject matter of your site, and can indicate its quality and popularity. However, some webmasters engage in link exchange schemes and build partner pages exclusively for the sake of cross-linking, disregarding the quality of the links, the sources, and the long-term impact it will have on their sites. This is in violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and can negatively impact your site’s ranking in search results. Examples of link schemes can include:

  • Links intended to manipulate PageRank
  • Links to web spammers or bad neighborhoods on the web
  • Excessive reciprocal links or excessive link exchanging (“Link to me and I’ll link to you.”)
  • Buying or selling links that pass PageRank

The best way to get other sites to create relevant links to yours is to create unique, relevant content that can quickly gain popularity in the Internet community. The more useful content you have, the greater the chances someone else will find that content valuable to their readers and link to it. Before making any single decision, you should ask yourself the question: Is this going to be beneficial for my page’s visitors?

It is not only the number of links you have pointing to your site that matters, but also the quality and relevance of those links. Creating good content pays off: Links are usually editorial votes given by choice, and the buzzing blogger community can be an excellent place to generate interest.

Once you’ve made your changes and are confident that your site no longer violates our guidelines, submit your site for reconsideration.

Source: Google Webmaster Central

Back link analysis

Your Google rankings will constantly go up and down as your competitors vie for the top spot. Constant link building will help you in the rankings battle, so making use of a back link analysis tool (such as SEO Books free tool) will allow you to check out not only where your links are coming from but also who is linking to your competitors.

Links through content

Another way to grow your links is through content. Writing relevant articles which link back to your website should be part of your SEO strategy.

Plus look for guest blogging opportunities and again link back to your site within your blog post.

Generating links should be seen as part of your marketing strategy. Take the ‘one thing a week’ approach and alternate between creating directory listings, writing and submitting articles and generating blog posts.

Breaking down your link building into manageable chunks in this way will ensure the process is continuous.

What strategies do you have for link building? Why not leave a comment and share your experiences.

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