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link building

Link Building

link building Unfortunately, the premise for the Google search algorithm determing importance or relevance of a site's content was built around the concept of backlinks or "linking". I say unfortunately because while this solution to the problem of creating a relevant search engine is reasonable, it is also greatly flawed in the sense that it can be gamed quite easily. Who's to say that because a given web page has more inbound links pointing to it that it is more important or more accurate in its content over another?

I could be the pre-eminent researcher and scientist of powdered gravy and have the most relevant and informative articles posted on my website but if I don't have link equity built up, someone else with content that might be completely false could trump me in the SERP's because they have a large number of inbound links. Doesn't sound like a great search engine to me. But it is, in my humble opinion, the best that exists on the web today and if I had a better solution I'd be rich. Very rich.

In the world of search engine optimization, linking discussions typically fall into one of three buckets: organic link building, paid link building and internal link optimization. A quick summary of each can be found below...

Organic Link Building

Organic link building is the idea of attaining inbound links to your site naturally (or organically). Which could mean that people come across your site's content, deem it important/interesting/funny, etc. and decide to link to it, or it could mean that you ask someone to link to your website from their's. An old school method of doing organic link building is the idea of "reciprocal linking" wherein someone is willing to link to my site in exchange for a link back to their site.

Paid Link Building

Paid link building is a little more interesting in that there is an actual exchange of goods/services/cash for the right to obtain an inbound link. More often than not, the "fee" for an inbound link is a recurring (read monthly) fee as the website publisher is looking for another method of monetizing their asset (in this case, their website is the asset). Google looks down upon paid link building as a method of influencing the algorithm. In some cases, I feel that Google is correct in wanting to shut down paid link building programs. A specific example being someone paying for links that help them rank high for a term that does not pertain to their site's target market. But, I also feel that if someone is buying links in order to increase their rankings for terms that directly relate to the content/products on their site, what's the harm in that? I mean heck, Google's goal in search is to create the most relevant search engine for its end-users. If black hat seo practitioners can game the system and outrank the legitimate websites, why not level the playing field? The use of paid links to bolster the ranks of highly relevant websites seems like a no brainer to me.

Alternatively, if Google feels that the big issue is that sites should not be able to monetize their sites simply because they have a high PageRank and weight in the engines, then why be such a major part of the online advertising game? Google makes almost all its money from people monetizing their sites through ads. Why is it site owners shouldn't be allowed to make a few extra bucks by selling links on their site but selling ads is perfectly okay? You be the judge.

Internal Link Optimization

The most interesting part of link building in my mind comes from how much a site owner can directly influence link value just by optimizing the links found within their own site. One must remember that when crawling the web, Google's spider follows links and applies value to keywords found inside of those links. Maintaining a large site with a variety of keyword optimized links all pointing to landing pages with the same keywords built into them will help the spider's determine the relevance of those pages as they relate to those keywords. Always keep internal link optimization in mind when designing a new site or when you add new content to your site, it's a valuable SEO tool that doesn't cost you a dime.

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