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Link Earning in SEO

'Build it and they will come' is a common mantra you'll hear about link earning but the Catch 22 is how will they come if they are not aware of it because it doesn't rank in the search results due to its lack of links? Let's solve that!

Gone are the days when you could build links by submitting a page or site to a bunch of directories or hammering out 300 words to dump on an article site.

Getting links today is most effective when you follow a two step process

  1. Create exceptional content - this is content so good that it will earn links in its own right. Sometimes that is enough as I demonstrated with my SEO Example where I achieved top rankings without links.
  2. Let others know - this is known as content marketing which I cover in the link building part of this guide.

But before we go to step two let's take a moment to make sure you have content that will earn links.

Exceptional content exceptionally presented

People often talk about 'exceptional content' but they rarely talk about 'exceptionally presented exceptional content' which is actually what this is all about. I'm regularly approached by clients who do have exceptional content but it isn't earning links simply because it isn't exceptionally presented.

You can have excellent content but if it comes across dull as dishwater and sends the visitor into a sem-coma it is not going to bring you any links.

In fact the exceptional content is often stolen by someone who does turn it into something exceptionally presented - like a 5,000 word article turned into an easy to digest infographic.

Here are some points to consider when it comes to presentation:

  • Website design - if your pages look like something from the 1990s users aren't going to be confident that your content is up to date.
  • Mobile friendly - people create links from all sorts of devices but they want to link to content that is readable on that device.
  • Font size, font family, line height, paragraph length and paragraph spacing - make sure your text is easy to read, have a look at news websites or your competition which ranks above you.
  • Infographics - can your content be changed into a graphic that is easier to digest and more attractive to share?
  • Images - because pictures speak a thousand words .... very quickly. Especially true for 'how to' articles
  • Videos - has someone made a video that explains part of your content or backs up what you are saying. If so use it, if not make one.

Almost everything in that list is time consuming but once it is done, it is done. The exceptional content you have made that is then exceptionally presented will last for years and keep people linking to it - today, tomorrow, next month, next year.

And a couple of myths to blow out the window:

  • It doesn't have to be fresh - freshness has nothing to do with it (with the exception of news sites!), it has to be useful.
  • It doesn't have to be original - but if it isn't the way it is presented has to be.

Market your content

The flaw search engines have is in not being able to spot quality content when it isn't in long form. Let me explain that.

The reason this website ranked very quickly and started getting traffic within two weeks of its launch was nothing to do with links. Search engines could see

  • There was a lot of text content here - no guarantee of quality but a good first step.
  • The text used vocabulary expected within this topic - something they can ascertain through Latent Semantic Analysis.
  • The text used a wide range of vocabulary - something they can also ascertain through Latent Semantic Analysis and a key signal that the content has quality.

That's enough for most search engines to say "Let's give this a try and see what people make of it" for a medium competitive keyword phrase and they found a positive response.

That's all fine and dandy but they struggle on short content or non text content like infographics no matter how good it might actually be and so you are going to have to tell people about it ... and that's content marketing, the modern foundation of link building.

I'm Tim Hill, a Search Engine Optimization 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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