If you are thinking about starting your own link building campaign, you are smart and you certainly are not alone.
To buy backlinks or not to buy backlinks? This is the million dollar question.... I'll make the answer CRYSTAL CLEAR for you.
Backlinking and properly marketing your sites is vital if you are in this business to make serious profit to take care of yourself and your family. For SE's or search engines that crawl website pages and the web in general, backlinks are sort of like the streets between pages.
Since the end of the 1990's backlinks to website have served as votes of confidence in the internet world - representing the democracy of the web's opinion about what pages are important and popular.
The bad thing about this for you and I is that in most cases, it takes a loooong time to get enough websites backlinking to yours. Sometimes years, and even then it often is not enough to boost your sites high enough in the SERPs to reach any REAL payday.
The good thing for many internet marketers who know that they can easily setup a link building campaign is that so many noob bloggers and "green" website builders have been COMPLETELY brainwashed into thinking that they will meet their internet death should they even THINK about link building in any other manner than waiting and waiting for their readers to start backlinking to their site naturally, lol. To be honest with you, this is by design and actually an effective tactic of SEO pros and webmasters in the know, they of course don't wish for any more competitors and slyly look to demonize the very methods that help them rank highly in the SERPs.
It's a dirty little industry secret. Those who know better, do great while backlinking. Those that are effectively terrified into failure, simply fail. Never to be heard from again because nobody can find them in the Search Engines.
Every successful SEO pro attributes a healthy portion of the Search Engines' updated algorithms to link-based factors. It is from the presence of backlinks that Google and the others analyze the apparent "popularity" of a site based on the quality, sheer quantity and even the perceived popularity of websites that are backlinking to your site, as well as metrics like site authority and trustrank.
And for these reasons, starting a link building campaign for your website is absolutely critical to getting the needed traffic, traction, and attention from the search engines. Without it, you will find it nearly impossible to get search engine traffic. As an SEO and online marketer, backlinking is one of the most important jobs you can perform or pay for.
Why? Because websites that are judged to be trustworthy tend to gain backlinks from other websites in bunches, while low-quality sites usually receive only few. This is why your competition is engaging link building campaigns and you should look into it too.
Quality Backlinks Are Highly Influential In The Search Engine Rankings
I am focused on teaching you what I know, even though I don't know ALL of the signal attributes that are measured by the SEs, I know more than enough to get your sites ranked.
Through analysis of patent applications, various studies, papers submitted to information retrieval conferences, and first-hand experience & testing, we can draw some rather intelligent assumptions. I do this because prior to starting your link building campaign and engaging in your backlinking blueprint, it's really for you important to understand the elements of a backlink used by the search engines as well as how those elements factor into the weighting of links in the search engine algorithms.
Below is a list of notable factors worthy of consideration. All of these issues, and many more, are considered by professional SEOs when determining backlink value and a website's backlink profile.
Anchor Text Matters Big Time
One of the greatest factors that the search engines use in figuring out where to rank your sites is the anchor text used in backlinks coming back to your website. If hundreds of links are pointing to a page with the right keywords, that page has a very good probability of ranking well for the targeted phrase in that anchor text. You can see some popular examples of this in action with searches like "click here", where many results rank solely due to the anchor text of inbound links. This is another MAJOR reason why it's imperative that you begin building your own backlinks because you can make them specific to your niche and needs.
The Relevance of Trustrank
Building backlinks is a sweet and saavy art. It's almost certainly the most challenging part of an SEO's job, and, for many websites, the one most critical aspect to achieving long term success that many fail to get. Many big businesses can afford to hire SEO companies to build backlinks to their websites and make them search friendly and search optimized.
Often shown in many studies on backlink building and info retrieval, using the websites that backlink to a website as well as the websites that often domain links to has a great opportunity for staying good backlink neighborhoods. (This is one reason I like building my own backlinks)Thus, it's smart to pick those websites you backlink to wisely and be equally selective with the sites you attempt to earn backlinks from.
Link Building Avenues For You To Investigate Include...
1. Manual Suggestion & Approval - This involves mailing bloggers for backlinks, submitting sites to directories, or paying for listings of any kind fit into this group. The SEO must create a value proposition with the backlink target and complete that transaction manually. I've used this method, it can be very good for your website, but can be alot of manual work. It's a good option to mix-in if you don't have money to build your business faster.
2. Natural Links - Backlinks that are given naturally by websites and pages that want to reference your content or company. These backlinks require no specific action from the SEO, other than the creation of citation-worthy material and the ability to create awareness about it to relevant communities. These backlinks come so SLOW, super slow for most and even those who buy backlinks still get these types of links. Waiting for these to bring you tons of traffic and income are suicide in this business. You're competitors pray that you only depend on these type of backlinks. I'd PAY my competition to take this tact. Seriously.
3. Self-Created, Non-Editorial - Hundreds of thousands of websites offer any visitor the opportunity to create links through guestbook signings, forum signatures, blog comments, or user profiles. These links are typically quite low in value, but can, in aggregate, have a significant impact. However, automatic methods of generating these backlinks is often frowned upon by many website owners. This is what I do because it works and is consistently helping my websites perform well and bring in steady income. I don't really care what is frowned upon, I only care that it's legal and that it help me get paid. It is and it does. It's not for everybody, but it's most certainly for me. I am extremely fond of Backlinks Genie, I have been using them for nearly 2 years now.
It's up to you, as an SEO, to select which of these will have the highest return on the time and effort invested. As a general rule, it's wise to build as vast and varied a link profile as possible, as this brings the best search engine results.
As with any marketing activity, the first process undertaken in a backlink building campaign must be the creation of goals and strategies. Backlink building is one of the most difficult activities to measure, particularly from a search engine optimization perspective. Although the engines internally weight each link with mathematical metrics that are pretty much on the money, it's impossible for those outside of the Google engineering teams to get access to this data.
Thus, as SEOs, we rely on a number of signals to help build a rating scale of backlink value. Along with the less-measurable data from the backlink signals mentioned above, these metrics include the following:
Page Ranking for Relevant Search Terms
One of the best ways to determine how well a search engine values a given page is to search for some of the keywords and phrases that page targets, particularly those in the title tag and headline. Pages that rank well for relevant queries tend to be more valuable than those that don't.
Despite much maligning over the years for accuracy and freshness problems, there is still value to looking at the number reported. Pages with high PageRank or high PR do tend to pass on more backlink value than those with little or no pagerank. Be careful with those that have PageRank "unranked" ( if you have a backlink or PR checker it will show a gray bar) as these may be highly valuable pages that simply haven't received visible PageRank since the last update.
Number of Backlinks on a Page
According to the original PageRank formula, the value that a backlink passes is diluted by the presence of other backlinks on a page. Thus, getting linked-to by a page with few backlinks is better than being backlinked-to by the same page with many backlinks on it, all other things being equal. The degree to which this is relevant is unknowable, but it's certainly something to be aware of as you conduct link acquisition.
Potential Direct Referral Traffic
Backinks that send high amounts of direct click-through traffic not only tend to provide better search engine value for rankings, but also send targeted, valuable visitors to your site (the basic goal of all Internet marketers). This is something you can estimate based on the numbers of visits/page views according to website stats, but if you can't get access to these, services like Google Trends for Websites, Compete, & Alexa can give you a round-about idea of at least domain-wide traffic, from which you can estimate page-specific popularity.
If you see traffic from search engines like Yahoo and Bing! are rising while Google stays constant, it's possible that you need to seek more authoritative, better trusted backlinks (as Google is the most "finicky" of the engines when it comes to backlink evaluation). It takes time, practice, and experience to build comfort with these variables as they relate to search engine traffic.
Using your website's analytics, you should be able to determine whether your campaign is successful. Buying backlinks and building backlinks is good for your websites. Increases in search traffic when accompanied by more frequent search engine crawling and increases in referring backlink traffic correlates with a intelligently structured and well-managed campaign.
If you have a blog for you brick and mortar business here are ways to get your customers to link to you...
* If you have partners you work with regularly or loyal customers that love your brand, you can use this to your advantage by sending out partnership badges - graphic icons that link back to your website. Just as you'd get customers wearing your t-shirts or sporting your bumper stickers, backlinks are the best way to accomplish the same feat on the web.
Build a company blog and make it a valuable, informative and entertaining resource
* This content and link building strategy is so popular and valuable that it's one of the few recommended personally by the engineers at Google . Blogs have the unique ability to contribute fresh material on a very consistent basis, participate in conversations across the web, and earn listings and links from other blogs, including blogrolls and blog directories.
Create content that inspires viral sharing and natural linking
* In the life of Search Engine Optimization experts, this is known as "linkbait." Each leverages aspects of usefulness, information dissemination, or humor to create a viral effect - users who see it once want to share it with friends, and bloggers/tech-savvy webmasters who see it will often do so through links. This high quality, editorially earned votes are invaluable to building authority, trust and rankings potential.
Build content that can be shared through a citation-based licensing agreement
* If you have and use photos, videos, charts, raw data, or text content that can be licensed out with a program like Creative Commons' Attribution-ShareAlike, you can also leverage the power of the web's penchant for information sharing while receiving links back to your originals and your site each time someone uses your material.
The backlink building actions you engage in depend largely on the type of site you're working with - for smaller sites, manual backlink building, including directories, backlink requests, and backlink exchanges may be a part of the equation, but with larger sites, these tactics tend to fall flat and more scalable solutions are required.
Search for websites similar in theme or niche to yours in the search engines by using keywords and phrases that are directly relevant to your website theme or niche business. When you are able to find sites that aren't directly competitive, you can easily email them, call them on the phone, fill-out their online forms, or you can even send a letter by mail to start a dialogue about getting a backlink back from their site, even if they ask for payment it may be very much worth it.
**Backlink Building - An Aside on Buying BackLinks**
OK so I'm tackling a contentious, thorny issue and that's always a tough task. Thus, I'll ask, up front, for a bit of forgiveness ahead of time on how my words are parsed and interpreted. I'm happy to make the needed clarifications on specifics if needed. This income-assisting practice does actually go against Google's Quality Guidelines, as do most of the direct forms of paying money to get a backlink that will assist with organic search rankings.
Lately, I've been getting a bunch of questions (through Question and Answer as well as from clients and the SEO community) about the "wicked" practice of buying links. I endorse several text/paid link brokers - companies that aggregate link ad inventory and sell it to those seeking to boost their rankings. Buying backlinks and building backlinks is good for your websites, period.
I've listed some of our general thoughts about paid backlinks:
* Buying/selling links is being done on an EXTREMELY wide-scale all across the internet.
* Certain smart methodologies cause professional SEO's to be VERY successful buying and selling backlinks.
* To perform SEO is to decide that the environment and rules created by the search engines is, for better or worse, in your best interest or not.
* Choosing to manipulate that ecosystem in ways that violate the engines' rules or intent is not immoral, illegal or unethical.
If your business has risk tolerance for buying or selling links and you go into it with your eyes wide open, I have no problem with that. The businesses and individuals we've recommended in the past value their customers, provide a high level of service and are smart operators. Many of them also offer so-called "white hat" backlink building and SEO services which I still recommend today.
Many SEOs who ARE CURRENTLY backlink building to their sites are actively trying to discourage backlink building. Why?
I'll tell you why, because it is in their best interest to demonize backlink creation and backlink building. I am hear to tell you, backlink buying is a low-enough risk activity to make alot of sense for your online marketing efforts.
You are reading this blog because I reached you through the search engines, building my own backlinks is the reason I am ranked well enough to be found by you. Do I seem afraid to tell you that? No I don't, because I'm not. Google knows this goes on and they have bigger fish to fry. Buying backlinks and building backlinks is good for your websites.
Unfortunately, over the past years, a great number of misconceptions have emerged about how the search engines operate and what's required to perform effectively. Well right here I'll cover the most common of these, and explain the real story behind the myths.
In ancient SEO times (the late 90's), search engines had "submission" forms that were part of the optimization process.
Since the early 2000's, search engine submission has not only not been required, but is actually pretty useless. The search engines have all publicly noted that they rarely use the "submission" URL lists, and that the best practice is to earn backlinks from other websites, as this will introduce the engines to your content naturally.
Webmasters & site owners would tag their sites & pages with information, and "submit" them to the engines, after which a bot would crawl and include those resources in their index. Buying backlinks and building backlinks is good for your websites. For obvious reasons (manipulation, reliance on submitters, etc.), this practice was unscalable and eventually gave way to purely crawl-based engines.
You can still see submission pages the big 3 Search engines, but these are no longer relevant in the big picture, and are essentially useless to the practice of modern SEO. If you hear a pitch from an SEO offering "search engine submission" services, go in the other direction and hire yourself a real SEO professional to backlink your website for you. Even if the search engines did use the submission service to crawl your website, you'd be very unlikely to earn enough "backlink juice" to be included in their indexes or rank competitively for search queries.
Search Engine Assistance
Once upon a time, much like search engine submission, meta tags (especially the meta keywords tag) were an important part of the SEO process. You would include the keywords you wanted your website to rank for and when users typed in those terms, your page could come up in a query.
It is true that other meta tags, namely the title tag and meta description tag (which we've covered previously in this guide), are of critical importance to SEO best practices. And, certainly, the meta robots tag is an important tool for controlling spider access. However, SEO is not "all about meta tags", at least, not anymore.
Also, a strong false myth in SEO revolves around the concept that keyword density - a mathematical formula that divides the number of words on a page by the number of instances of a given keyword - is used by the search engines for relevancy & ranking calculations and should therefore be a focus of SEO efforts.
Many won't like this, but it's time for the most common SEO conspiracy theory - that upping your PPC spending will improve your organic SEO rankings. In all of the experiences I've ever witnessed or heard about, this has never been proven nor has it ever been a probable explanation for effects in the organic results. Google, Yahoo & Bing all have very effective ways to prevent precisely this type of crossover. At Google in particular, advertisers spending millions upon millions of dollars each month have noted that even they cannot get special access of consideration from the search quality or web spam teams.
Despite being proven untrue time and again, this lie has legs, and indeed, many SEO tools feed on the concept that keyword density is an important metric. It's not. Ignore it and use SEO keywords intelligently and with usability in mind. The SEO value from an extra 10 instances of your keyword on the page is far less than earning one good editorial backlink from a source that likes your readable content.
So long as the existing barriers are in place and the search engines cultures maintain their separation, we believe that this will remain a myth.
Personalization seems to primarily affect areas in which we devote tons of time, energy and repeated queries. This means for many/most "discovery" and early funnel searches, we're going to get very standardized search results. It's true that it can influence some searches significantly, but it's also true that, 90%+ of queries we perform are unaffected (and that goes for what we hear from other SEOs, too). This post helps to validate this, showing that while rankings changes can be dramatic, they only happen when there's substantive query volume from a user around a specific topic.
There are many manipulative backlink building tactics that the search engines have not identified or found algorithmic methods of reducing their impact. As new backlinking systems emerge, it is becoming easier to stay ahead of the curve and benefit.
A usual tenet of all the search engine guidelines is to show the exact same content to the search engine's spiders or crawlers that you'd show to a human visitor that would find your website. When this guideline is broken, the search engines term it as "cloaking". Cloaking can be accomplished in a bunch of ways and for a bunch of reasons, both good and bad. In many cases, the search engines may let practices that are technically "cloaking" benefit the website in question, as they've done it for positive user experience reasons, which Google loves.
These are important tips because they can lead to better search engine traffic, these tips plus the creation of backlinks can lead to great income. In addition to watching individual pages for spam, engines can also identify traits and properties across entire root domains or subdomains that could flag them as spam signals. Obviously, excluding entire domains is funny business, but it's also much more practical in cases where greater scalability is needed.
Similar to how a page's value is judged against criteria such as uniqueness and the experience it provides to search visitors, so too does this principle apply to entire domains. Sites that primarily serve non-unique, non-valuable content may find themselves unable to rank, even if classic on and off page factors are performed acceptably. The search engines simply don't want thousands of copies of Wikipedia websites filling up their indexes, and thus take algorithmic and manual review methods to prevent this.
Although it may not technically be considered "web spam," the engines all have guidelines and methodologies to determine if a page provides unique content and "value" to its searchers before including it in their web indices and search results. The most commonly filtered types of pages are affiliate content (pages whose material is used on dozens or hundreds of other sites promoting the same product/service), duplicate content (pages whose content is a copy of or extremely similar to other pages already in the index), and dynamically generated content pages that provide very little unique text or value (this frequently occurs on pages where the same products/services are described for many different geographies with little content segmentation). The engines are generally against including these pages and use a variety of content and link analysis algorithms to filter out "low value" pages from appearing in the results.
Websites that earn trusted status are often treated differently from those who have not. In fact, many SEOs have commented on the "double standards" that exist for judging "big brand" and high importance sites vs. newer, independent sites. For the search engines, trust most likely has a lot to do with the backlinks your domain has earned. This is yet another reason why getting backlinks is so important for online marketers, because more backlinks tells Google to trust your site more than websites with less backlinks.
Trust built through links is also a great methodology for the search engines to employ in considering new domains and analyzing the activities of a site. A little duplicate content is not the end of the world in SEO but I don't suggest doing it.. On the flip side, if you have yet to earn high quality backlinks, well, you need to get more backlinks.
As you can see launching a link building campaign and creating quality backlinks to your websites can be very important to your bottom line.
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