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How to do link building for SEO

Very effective SEO activity

Very effective SEO activity

This activity carries a strong weighting in Search Engine Optimization. It may need to be carried out alongside other tasks in order to be fully effective. Read the text carefully for further details on how to do link building for SEO for maximum impact


Why do it?

Links remain a major factor when search engines decide how to rank pages in their search results pages (SERPs). Links give your site Authority so long as the content of the page can be understood ... it has relevancy.

What it was

In the early days of the internet the simple fact that someone linked to you was good enough. A link was a link and the more you had the better.

What happened

As more and more people became involved in the internet the inevitable bad apples arrived and saw an opportunity. If this was just a numbers game they could create tens of thousands of websites through automated programmes and then offer others tens of thousands of links.

At the same time many webmasters got into link exchange programmes - if you link to me I'll link to you - in order to up the number of links they had.

Understanding that not all links are equal was what set Google apart from other major search engines at the turn of the millennium. It worked out how to give links a weight so thousands of links from websites that contained nothing but links carried no weight while links from websites that themselves had links from real websites were important.

Websites that swapped links with each other carried no weight.

However it still took another ten years for search engines to learn everything they needed to in order to flush out the spammy links and truly understand a good link.

Today one link from a good quality website can count for more than tens of thousands of links from poor quality ones. The numbers game is well and truly over and if search engines suspect you are behind the acquisition of tens of thousands of links your site can quickly be banned from the search results.

Useless links include:

  • Directories that no one uses - classed by search engines as 'link farms'.
  • Article websites that no one uses - classed by search engines as 'content farms' you only need to ask yourself if you would go there in search of useful information.
  • Guest blogs on blogs that no one reads - also classed by search engines as 'content farms'. If they have a mix of shallow articles and you wouldn't want to follow that blog yourself, its a content farm.

These fall into two types:

  • Direct SEO links
  • - getting a link that will have a direct affect on your rankings such as a 'do follow' link from CNN.
  • Indirect SEO links
  • - getting a link that will bring in the right visitors, some of whom may later create 'do follow' links from their websites.

Both basically require your website to have excellent and original content to the point that many today talk about 'link earning' rather than 'link building'. In reality is is a bit of both:

  1. Link Earning - You need to have content so good that if people knew about it they would want to link to it. See Link Earning in SEO for more on how to do this.
  2. Link Building - marketing your content (content marketing) so that people do know about it.See Link Building in SEO for modern methods.

I'm Tim Hill, a Search Engine Optimisation and Online Marketing specialist. I created this site to help others understand that SEO is not a mysterious black art!.

If your a newbie try the Getting Started in SEO page, otherwise feel free to dig around and learn more.

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