Link Building – A Simple Primer

So, you’ve launched your search-optimized web site and are waiting and wondering when all the Google Search traffic will start arriving at your home page?

Truth is, unless you extend your efforts into a meaningful link building strategy, you may be waiting a loooong time.

For some companies in small markets, simply having a properly optimized website is enough to show up in Google Search.

However, for most of us there are other sites competing for those top ten Google results.

This is a huge oversimplification of SEO but, everything else being equal:

A website with more good quality links to it than a competitor will show up ahead in search.

So, with this in mind, what exactly is link building?

First off, there are two main types of links:

  1. “No-Follow” links are links where the site owner puts a tag on the links that tells Google NOT to “follow” these links when indexing. Google still knows these links exist (and they are good to have) but they do not contribute greatly to your search rankings.Sites that include the no-follow tag include social sites, directories, and basically anywhere you can simply just go and post a link. These tags were created to stop site owners from posting “spam” links all over the web and have done a LOT to clean up the web.
  2. “Followed” links are links that Google does “follow” and these contribute greatly to your search rankings.

However, not all followed links are created equal:

  • Links from relevant, high quality, well established sites are worth a lot to your overall SEO. i.e. it would be a major victory if you have a photography site and get linked from an article on
  • Links from less established sites are still worthwhile if the sites are highly relevant. For instance, if you’re a mortgage broker and you get a link from a real estate agent’s site this would be a nice link to have.
  • Links from low quality sites used to be of benefit but are now a liability. Google has gotten very good at detecting sites that are created as a means of generating links (paid or unpaid) and looks very harshly on these sites. In fact, your site can actually be penalized by having links from some of these sites. This is one of the reasons why you NEVER want to outsource your link-building to a low cost bulk link provider.

Again, SEO is in some ways a pretty simple process. You will generally rise to the top if you have a properly coded site that has great content and is optimized for Search, combined with more incoming links than your competitors.

If this post generates interest (we do actually compare how many people read each different type of blog post) I’ll expand on it down the road and touch on some great link building strategies!



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