What Are the Most Common Link-Building Strategies and do they Work?
Link-building is perhaps one of the best ways to get search engines to notice your website as well as obtain traffic from sources other than the search engines.
Indeed, the Internet is built on links, for the hyper-link was the tool by which the Internet was able to become what we now it as today. Hence, links are a vital element to building a sound and vibrant website.
Think of links as doorways into and through your website and others.
If you think of your website as a large corporate center, then the idea of links as doorways makes perfect sense. In such a center, there would likely be a main entrance (your home page), several alternate entrances, passages connecting various departments, and even a few “hidden” entrances and tons of windows. Each of these represents a link and each can be used to “enter” the building.
However, most link-building strategies focus on only a few entrances and this is folly. Here are the most common:
- Link-trading: Usually trading the link to your home page with another website. This can be beneficial, but it can also harm your web site if not handled correctly.
- Comments: This involves building links into comments on other sites. This is offered through numerous companies, but the effect of this usually only results in a better page rank and little else.
- Article Marketing: At one time, this was one of the best ways to develop links that were solid and useful, but some of the recent algorithm updates have made this less so.
- Guest Blogging: This is an excellent way to develop both back-links AND traffic.
- Posting Links Anywhere: Some believe that by putting their links anywhere they can, they will build their traffic. No so.
- Social Media: Again, this is an excellent platform for growing links and getting traffic.
Why Most Link-Building Strategies Fail
Most link-building strategies fail because the web site owners simply do not understand the intent or purpose of links.
The purpose of links is simple: To help others find the content they are seeking quickly and conveniently.
Many link-building strategies fail because those building those links are only trying to get quantity of links into the World Wide Web rather than build quality. What is the difference?
At one time, quantity meant that the more links you had, the better the search engines viewed your web site and this helped your page rank and position in the search engine results pages (SERPs). However, that changed with the recent Updates, namely Panda and Penguin. Google made these changes because such practices were fouling their results and Google strives for excellence in their product, the Google Search Engine.
The simplest way to put it is this. If you want to have great search results, simply make sure that the links you create make finding useful, relevant information (content) quick and easy for your readers.
This applies to internal links, outbound links, and inbound links.
This also implies that a balance is needed, which is another reason so many link-building strategies fail.
For instance, if the search crawlers detect that a web site has thousands of links inbound, but very few internal or outbound, it suspects foul play and reacts accordingly…it drops your web site lower in the SERPs.
The fact is that a web site that has grown and developed naturally will over time develop a certain balance of links within and without.
How to Make Link-building Successful
Let us now look back at the list of the most common link-building strategies and determine if and how these can be successful.
- Link-trading: Link trading is good if the web site you are trading with is related in some way to your own. For instance, it would not be uncommon for a web site that offers advice on mortgages to exchange links with a local bank that performs mortgages. But trading links with your friend who runs a website that sells scuba gear would not only not help, it would hurt.
- Comments: Placing comments on blog sites or where ever comments with links are permitted (these are becoming few thanks to spammers) are a good strategy PROVIDED the web site is related to your own. Again, if not, you have just built a link that is useless at best, harmful at worst. This is perhaps the worst part of hiring some of the companies now on the web that offer link-building en-mass. Good link-building takes time and costs, but beware, see if the company has a way for you to follow up on the links they claim to build. If not, they are likely only after your money.
- Article Marketing: Before some of the new updates, Article Marketing was a great way to build quality back-links quickly. However, this caused considerable duplication of many articles on the web and Google and the other search engine companies quickly found that this was causing poor SERPs so this is no longer the case. Taking it’s place however…
- Guest Blogging: Guest blogging is great, done right. There are a number of Guest Blogging companies on the web such as Guestbloggit.com, Pro Blogger, and Blog Success. The biggest thing to remember is that with guest blogging, you need to both host guest bloggers on your site and guest blog on others. But remember to keep it in line with you niche, for if the blog does not fit with your web site, is still may bring your SERPs down and you will likely not get any traffic from the article.
- Posting Links Anywhere: Always bad. This is like driving down the street tossing business cards out the window. Sure, you may get some business from the tactic, but more than likely you will anger many possible customers with the litter so that they never come to you. Be selective about where you post your links.
- Social Media: This is great when used right. If you have a business web site, you need a business social presence. Don’t try to use your personal social media unless the business you run is related to you directly. For instance, Oakes Writing Consultants grew out of many personal clients learning of my ghost writing and seeking advice. Some were friends and some were acquaintances, but all showed me the need for personal service in helping others build better websites. Hence, as this is a company build on personal relationships, I maintain the personal social media connections, although I am also building separate business networks as well.
Build Better Links Because it is the Right Way to Build a Better Website
In short, if you want your link-building to be successful, just don’t try to take short-cuts. It is best if you take a personal approach and build sound links over time and keep a balance between your kinds of links. The goal is to make the Internet an easier place to find good information (content) quickly. This is what content marketing is all about: Marketing content in such a way that those who are seeking what you offer can find you quickly. And when they find your web site, what they find is exactly what they are searching for.
On final example to demonstrate this point.
I have gout and I recently decided to find out if there was anything on the Internet that perhaps I have been missing. Every search I performed led me to useless web site after useless website, each selling some great new herbal cure. I know these are bunk for these have been in trash magazines for decades. However, just last night, a friend turned me on to a website operated by Lance Armstrong and it contained much excellent information for controlling this condition. The website has tremendous amounts of traffic and the information is superb, but it does not show up in any of the first 10 SERPs. Why not?
Because of all the trash that remains to be cleared out with the new Updates still working to eliminate such bunk.
The point is this. Create links that are useful and build a presence on the web that provides great content and even if the search engines do not find your web site, people will refer their friends to you and your web site will grow. Google is working on cleaning up the Internet and kudos to them for it. Until then, we have to muddle through the trash and build our web sites right.
If you build it RIGHT…They will come.