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The Key to Link Building
Tim’s Note: Welcome to first-time Webifiable guest blogger Steve Davidson! Steve is an Internet marketing expert. While our opinions may differ slightly in some areas, he definitely knows what he is talking about.
Getting traffic on your website today is primarily about links back to your website, aka backlinks. In fact, I would say that 80% of the emphasis that Google puts on ranking is about the sites that link back to your website or blog.
Two main points that will startle you into reality and perhaps scare you into keeping your day job…
1. Being on the first page of Google is good, but these days, not good enough to garner you enough income to quit your day job.
In the old days (18 months ago) being in the top 10 was great and everyone’s goal. Today, if you are not in the Top 3… you are sharing the 10% left over because 90% of the buyers are clicking on one of the top 3. (I’m speaking of Natural Links) since most people know that the top Three Paid links are just that, PPC or Pay Per Click. As more and more people become web savvy however, many studies have shown that serious buyers are becoming educated to PPC and may not click there. It is equivalent to calling the largest ad in the yellow pages 5 years ago.
2. Unless you have 10,000 links to your site, it is tough to get to the Top 3. However, enough of the “right” kinds of links do make a huge difference.
I am going to assume you have spent some time working on your blog or site to the extent you have dealt with issues such as User Experience, First Impressions, Titles, Metatags and Keywords. If you have not dealt with these issues properly, spend the next month Googling all of these terms until you become well enough versed that you know the difference between a Keyword and Title Tag.
In your search you will come across dozens of offers from professional SEO “experts” that will promise to get you on the first page of Google etc; etc; and they can; but in most cases it will be for a term like: Buy a Purple Gadget From Us which you may get ranked #9 for, but if it only gets 25 searches a month and no buyers, you just wasted your investment. Become educated BEFORE you hire anyone, so you can ask the right questions. We have a Q & A guide that is useful in hiring the right SEO consultant, but the bottom line is, talk to 3-4 of the clients they have worked with for over a year. If they can’t produce the list, go to the next consultant until you can find someone that can. And it won’t be cheap or short term. Expect at least 3-6 months before you see any true positive results. And keep in mind, those folks that are on the first page of Google, have been doing this for years, so you need to take a long term approach as well. And if you think throwing money at Google through PPC is the answer, take the money to Las Vegas, your chances are better. Until you are educated about PPC, keywords, bounce rates etc; you’re purely guessing. But back to links…
There are a number of ways to garner links today. Posting an article on a high quality blog such as this one can get you some link juice. This blog owner has spent a great deal of time and money getting their blog to where it is. One way to gauge the value of the blog is to do a Page Rank Check with one of the free tools available on the web such as Page Rank Checker. If the page ranks above a 2, you are going to get some link juice from the Blog.
Some of the top referrers of traffic are:
- Search Engines
- Social Bookmarks
- Social Networks
To be honest, I spend very little time paying attention to anyone except Google. Since Google still owns over 75% of the search engine traffic, my attitude is: if I can top rank with Google, I can afford to lose the other 25%, yet I continually find by ranking high with Google, I generally rank high with the others. While there are a few different strategies that work with Bing or Yahoo that can get me to outrank Google, for the most part, leading in one takes care of the other. If on the other hand my entire market was made up of young teens, I would pay more attention to Yahoo, or older adults perhaps Bing, but generally my products and clients are mainstream buyers.
Submitting to search engines these days is a joke. Any search engine (and there are over 80) worth its salt will pick up your new posting or article within days. If they do not, they’re probably not worth being picked up by.
When I refer to media in this space, I generally look to www.youtube.com. Today YouTube is the second largest search engine on the web… and of course owned by Google. More and more people are searching for answers on YouTube along with “how to” solutions. I don’t have to tell you what a high traffic video does for your website ranking. If you don’t believe me, check out what some companies have paid to try to get Viral Video’s on YouTube.
Posting pictures on Flickr or Google Images is a time consuming way to get links, but sometimes works. If you get a lot of downloads to a great picture, or it drives traffic to your website, it pays off. But keep in mind, one video on YouTube is probably worth 20 pics on
Build yourself a Mind Map of the social bookmarks available, and develop a strategy of linking from those Bookmarks on a daily or several times per week schedule. My favorites are:
- Also Ycombinator.com‘s hacker news drives a respectable amount of traffic (like 12%) to this space.
I believe in tagging along with the 900 pound gorilla in the marketing jungle, and Facebook certainly qualifies. While Twitter has been able to survive and grow, and it’s a great way to promote your new flavor of Cupcake or Taco Sale, it’s tough to get links and from a hand held device, you can’t get links from Twitter or Facebook. Getting links from a highly traffic Facebook page, or from your LinkedIn Page can gain rankings for you. While LinkedIn and MySpace don’t hold a candle to Facebook, there is still value there for your site links.
This has been a 30,000ft. view of Link building. It’s hard, it’s time consuming, and it can net you huge returns if you are willing to pay the price.
June 9th, 2011
Steve Davidson is President of Cynergy Corporation. He has been in the marketing business for over 25 years, building several different businesses during that time. Cynergy Corporation has been in business over 10 years and 100% of their income comes from Internet Marketing.