Link building is the linking together of a website's page rank to another website. The technique behind link building is that a website which has more history online and has higher page rankings, meaning they come up faster when searched for in natural or organic search, will link to a lesser ranked website and that link will grow the page rank of the lesser ranked site to better it's potential organic search results.
For years link building strategies have been a part of every search engine optimization (SEO) campaign, and for many more years link building may still be a part of SEO campaign strategies for natural search rankings, but with a new twist.
With the onslaught of new and highly advanced mobile technology, Google's (TM) new "Hummingbird" algorithm, and the way people have been marketed to over past years online link building has had to evolve with newer marketing campaigns...or it may hurt a website that it is being used for. It is easier to find good quality information and share it faster than ever before.
Here are two areas to look at how you or your SEO specialist should be aware of that are potential danger zones. A common trap to avoid and also a low effective technique which wastes your time.
Too Many Links
Everyone wants their website to be on top of the first page because very few people go past the first page when looking for that new "product" they need, or the "service" they want. So a lot of SEO people and companies in the past would buy links to shorten the organic process (non paid/natural search results). The more links the better right? Not so true, Matt Cutts (head of Google's Webspam Team and a huge player in the SEO works on the internet) has explained that when Google(TM) crawling programs look at a site they see how many websites link to that particular website, they also see what kind of traffic it receives, where the links come from and other important information to determine if the website is relevant to a search query. Now if you have had 100 visitors in one month who visit 10 pages each, with 30,000 links to your website will you do better than your competitor because of links? Probably not. Things are not adding up, 100 visitors x10 pages = potentially 1000 links at most. This looks like you are a spammer and Google does not look upon spam/spammer techniques well and will most likely drop you in page rankings.
Keywords to be aware of for this danger zone when shopping for online marketing are "link networks", "link wheels", "massive link building" and anything else that denotes quick and fast links. STAY AWAY from QUICK/MASS link building.
Mass Article Distribution
Another form of link building that is not really a danger zone, but more so a low effective technique are press releases that you submit as a contributor to any news media outlet through some online software program. Some companies rave about how they distribute your article to hundreds, thousands, even tens of thousands of news media outlets that "pick up" the article (not as their own) and you can get 50,000+ impressions for the article because with many links pointing to the article/your website. Based on Matt Cutts' statements about how Google treats the links given by these press releases at the October 2013 Pubcon, its best to avoid them. Here is what Matt Cutts said at Pubcon:
"...Google identified the sites that were press release syndication sites and simply discounted them…”
“…press release links weren’t penalized, because press release sites do have value for press and marketing reasons, but those links won’t pass PageRank.”
These types of press releases are more of a waste of time rather than a hurtful to your SEO campaign. The problem is anyone can contribute to a news outlet, if the news outlet who is a trusted source does not pick up the article as if it is their own, then the article and any links that come from it don't hold any sway.
Keywords to be aware of here when researching good outlets are "massive reach", "massive distribution", massive reach with little or no foundation spreads your link quality very thin.
The New Evolution of Link Building and How You Build Effective Links That Work
Link building techniques that are effective, and wont penalize your page rank may seem like a slower start, but will give you a much added foundation to your SEO marketing campaign. Things to keep in mind that you can verify through many trusted SEO brain organizations online are:
- Quality versus Quantity/Highly Targeted versus Mass Distribution. Building relationships with specific news media professionals who have a high authority ranking factor and letting them distribute your article as their own through their media outlets (i.e., news publication, social media, etc.), journalists and editors have more authority than a contributor. A key piece of info to note, journalists know other journalists and communicate with one another, if you submit the same article to more than one you tend to lose potential acceptance, and in turn lose a stronger distribution from one powerful link.
- Quality Content Matters. Taking the time to have engaging pieces of information and content will produce better results in the long run. If you produce enough "quick" articles just to get information out in the online world people are not very engaged, then people will not be likely to interact with your content. Don't bore people with simple facts, connect to them on their level.
- Social Media Matters. If people love content they often share it and talk about it online to their friends and associates and refer back to that piece of content. Most internet users have seen videos, or pictures, or quotes that have been "liked", or shared thousands to millions of time. Great content can be shared at no cost to you online through social media. Letting others market for you at no cost is awesome! Businesses, and individuals can link to it through social media and their own websites. If it relates directly or somewhat indirectly to your content, then it is a good link, because it is a natural link. Natural links are wonderful, they shows search engines that people are enjoying and interacting and also show there is relevant content that needs to be shown to others.
You don't have to be perfect at grammar, or graphic design to connect with your audiences and build strong links, but keep your link quality standards up. Powerful linking strategies done right will build a foundation that will exponentially grow your page rankings online. These strategies are not a quick launch, but will take your website farther as part of a strong SEO campaign.
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