Link Building Strategy – “SEO’s Holy Grail” (Part 1)

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The importance of links to a Web site’s search engine position is no longer a secret. As search engines have evolved, link building has become critical to search visibility. Today’s search engines are looking for new ways to provide searchers with the most appropriate content possible and link analysis is currently the method of choice. Simply put – without paying attention to link building, your site will never meet its ranking potential. But, before you run off to find as many links to your site as possible, keep in mind that there are good ways to build links and there are bad ways.

Link building must be tied to your overall Web site strategy. It is the most tedious and time consuming component of the SEO process – but it is well worth the effort. Because link building is such a broad (and important) topic, I decided to split this post up in to a series of installments. For this part, I will discuss the importance of link relevancy and consistency.

The difference between link popularity and link relevance

Link popularity refers to the number of other sites/pages that link to your site/pages. This used to be the focus of link building, but with the evolution of modern “theme-based” search engines, and the amount of link spamming that has taken place over the past years, it has now become much less important. Link relevancy is determined by the context of a site that is linking to you and the content found on that site. If a search engine is able to identify a common theme between your site and the sites that are linking to you, it will consider your site to be much more relevant to related search terms.

Think of inbound links as endorsements for your site. When other site owners choose to link to you, they are basically telling the search engines (and their users of course) that they feel your site is valuable. This is exactly what search engines are looking for. One well-positioned, highly relevant link from a quality/authoritative source is worth hundreds of low quality links from unrelated sites.

Keep your link profile consistent

Today’s search engines want to be able to identify a theme for your Web site. From an SEO standpoint, establishing your theme starts with the keywords that you choose to target and how you structure your site around them. However, by incorporating your keywords into subsequent components of the SEO process, you will be able to strongly reinforce your site’s theme and consequently your rankings for related search terms. If you can maintain consistency between the on-page and off-page elements of your site, you will make the search engines (and your users) very happy.

You can’t control the sites that link to you, but be very selective with the sites that you choose to link to. It doesn’t hurt your site if an unrelated source links to you, however, if you decide to link back to them it will.

Link building is an on-going process that requires consistent effort. Becoming a prominent member of your web community is not achieved over night, but with the right links from the right sources, your search engine position will improve dramatically. Keep your eyes peeled for my second installment, coming soon.

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4 thoughts on “Link Building Strategy – “SEO’s Holy Grail” (Part 1)

  1. Bob Duncan

    This is a very useful article. Its really nice to see professionals giving us newbies such valuable information. I’ll be looking forward to the second installment.

  2. Arnie - Article Marketing

    As you identified, one of the best link building strategies is article marketing. Many small businesses and website owners do not have the time to write and distribute their own articles. That’s why we created a new article marketing service called Internet Marketing Auto Pilot. We do everything – write, submit and post to a blog(see sample). Check it out!

  3. David Dougherty

    Hi Aaron,
    Take a look at what Arnie did above. He used “article marketing service” as his link anchor text. Even though I did not mention article marketing in my post 🙂
    Arnie is showing us a good example of how to use link text to your advantage. Rather than linking on the name of his company, he is incorporating his keyword strategy into his link building strategy. By adding his comment, he has created a new link to his site, on a relevant page that contains related content (I will be talking more about this in my next post). In addition to this, by adding his keywords to the link anchor text (rather than linking on his company name), he is able to further increase the relevancy of the link in the eyes of the search engines.
    So, with regards to your question – you don’t have to use the name of your company at all. Using “Penticton Tourism” is not bad, as you include the word “tourism”. It is much better than simply using your url. But, if possible, try to incorporate other keywords into the text of your links, and use different variations to make your links look natural.
    Also, with regards to the redirect – make sure that you are using a 301 (permanent) redirect. If not, you can get in to canonical issues with the SEs (although, I don’t know if this applies to your situation). If you use a 301 redirect, you are able to tell the search engine which link you prefer to be canonical (rather than making it pick one for you) and it shouldn’t matter which address others link to. However, you should try to have them point to the url that you prefer.
    I hope this makes sense.

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