By Greg Ball, President of Ball Media Innovations
High-quality inbound links can make a huge difference to your ranking. They can get you seen!
If you have an effective SEO company working for you, they should be handling this, but it's a good idea to check up on them periodically to make sure they're helping and not hurting. I'll discuss how to do this below. And if you're handling your own SEO, you'll want to be sure to include good link building strategies in your plan.
First: My definition of Search Engine Optimization:
First, let's start at the beginning. Link building is an SEO or Search engine optimization technique. As a marketer, my own informal definition of Search Engine Optimization made more specific for marketing purposes is a bit different than the standard definition. Here it is:
SEO is the art and science of getting your website to show up in the search engine (especially Google) when someone from your potential target market is searching online for a site that offers your goods or services. More simply, SEO is part of what can help get your website seen by the right people at the right time.
In your ideal world, good SEO does even more for you. You'll want your website to show up on the first page of results, and hopefully high up on the first page. Once you achieve this, you're much more likely to have higher numbers of more relevant traffic visiting your site, which can cause your sales to increase!
Much of SEO needed to achieve great search engine ranking is done directly on the website itself, however, some of the SEO is done outside of your website.
Here's a high impact off-site SEO strategy: Inbound link building can make a HUGE difference to your website's search engine ranking - Good or bad!
Google and other search engines want to post the most relevant and helpful sites when someone is searching online. They assume that if your website is truly helpful and appropriate, people will post links to it on other websites and on social media. These are called inbound links.
Having a significant number of good quality inbound links can raise your site's status up, and bad inbound link quality can bring your site down in the search engine.
Search engines judge the quality of the websites that your inbound links are coming from, and the quality is important to your website's ranking.
In the past, many search engine optimization professionals were creating poor quality inbound links just to dupe the system, and it worked at first! They were posting inbound links just about anywhere they could just to get a higher number of inbound links. It didn't matter where. Porn sites, paid ads, and link trading sites were just some of the places people were posting. Quantity was what mattered back then. They were also writing and publishing poor quality articles on article mill sites just to create inbound links.
Google caught on to what they called "Black Hat" SEO tactics and started penalizing websites with poor quality inbound links!
They realized that people were creating inbound links just to get their websites ranked. They changed their algorithms to judge the websites that inbound links were on. They started penalizing sites with poor quality inbound links, and raised up sites with good quality inbound links.
If your site is penalized from past black hat link building, you'll need to perform a Disavow on Google. This is where you disavow any of the inbound links on the websites that are poor quality. This is tricky because you want to keep any inbound links that may help your website's ranking, and it's not always black or white. It needs to be performed carefully.
Bad inbound links can happen in other ways too.
Here's a true story: Several years ago my site was hacked. We traced it to people in China. To temporarily push up our site's ranking they used an automated program that created hundreds of thousands of inbound links that were coming from really poorly ranked sites. Eventually, Google saw it, and suddenly our website plunged in the search engine because Google had penalized it. It took some time for us to figure out why. Then it took years to undo the damage and to get our site back up in the search engines. It took a great deal of work, time, and resources, but we finally regained Google's trust and got back to the first page for most of our search terms.
So you need inbound links to rank, but ideally, they should come from sites that Google likes.
You'll need inbound links to rank, but how do you know which ones are good and which are bad? And how do you get good quality links on well-ranked sites?
There are programs out there that can help you judge the quality of websites such as majestic.com, but they're not cheap and they're not always accurate. Also, a good SEO professional will use multiple methods of judging websites. Here's an article from linkresearchtools.com that discusses 9 ways to check the quality of a link.
As you move forward, keep in mind that a good digital marketing company will know how to choose sites that will help you and not hurt you. They'll know how to get you good quality links naturally.
One of the best and most natural ways to get inbound links is to create articles and videos that are truly interesting to your target market. Then get the word out about your new material. You can use email marketing, social media, and other digital marketing techniques to bring attention to your articles and videos. If it's really of interest, it's likely that it will be shared naturally.
There are many other ways to get inbound links but one of the more effective methods is to guest write articles on good quality sites. I've personally guest authored on Business.com and other well-respected sites. Of course, you'll need someone to create the articles with good writing skills, and it will have to be relevant and interesting to the website's readers.
Another good method is to create and post videos along with a link to your site from the posts on places like YouTube and from social media sites. (If you're looking for Miami video production companies, ours is the only one we know of with people who have the expertise as well as experience producing marketing videos.)
Neil Patel, an SEO specialist, discusses several ways to handle link building here.
With so much competition out there, it can be essential to create and/or to encourage large numbers of good quality inbound links.
This is something that Google seems to give a lot of weight to. It needs to be worked on in a way that creates natural and healthy links. This can take a great deal of time and energy, but it's likely that your competition is doing it. If you don't, unfortunately, your site may never get seen by your target audience.
By the way, if you do have an SEO company, you'll want to check up on their work to make sure they're using a technique that will ultimately help and not hurt you. The easiest way is to use the free Majestic.com service. You can also simply eyeball a site where your SEO company has placed an inbound link and see if it's a good quality site with a topic that's relevant to the topic on your website.
Bonus Second Strategy: Showing the Search Engines that Your Website is Here to Stay.
Here's another off-site SEO technique that can make a difference to your ranking. Google wants to know that your site is not a fly by night thing. If you can spring for it, it can help to buy hosting and to purchase your website's name for as many years in advance as you can. This proves to Google that you're here to stay.
Do you need help with your digital marketing or your website?
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