Think about your nearest city, whether it be New York or Chicago, and consider an ordinary day without highways, streets, or roads. How would you get to your favorite shopping center effectively? How would you make it home to see your kids every night? These slabs of concrete are the backbone of our infrastructure. They make it possible to travel from one place to another with limited confusion or research. For example, a trip from St. Louis to Denver would largely depend on one interstate for over 90% of the trip.
Think of links as the streets of the Internet. Without them, search engine spiders wouldn’t be able to get from one web page to another. Links are important because they influence how your website is found on the Internet. The more links on the Internet that lead to your website, the better. This topic was briefly discussed on our crash course in website optimization.
Link building is always the most challenging part of an SEO’s job, but also the one most critical to success. Below are three main types of link acquisition strategies you can use in a link building campaign.
“Natural” Editorial Links. These are links that are given naturally by sites and pages that want to link to your content or website. They require no specific action from your SEO, other than creating killer content and making people aware of it. Blogging is a great way to create content about your industry, and you should learn the ways of blogging effectively for business. Twitter and other social tools allow for this content to be talked about and spread throughout the internet.
Manual “Outreach” Link Building. These links are created by the SEO in ways of emailing bloggers for links, submitting to site directories, and or paying for listings of any kind. The SEO wants to make their link a best interest for the link target and this is often obtained by creating a value proposition. Examples include filling out forms for submissions to a website award program or convincing the target that your resource is worthy of inclusion on websites.
Self-Created, Non-Editorial. These links offer the lowest value for SEO, but can still have an impact for some sites. Generally, search engines do not favor these links and have been known to penalize sites that pursue them. Today, these types of links are considered spammy and include creating links through guest book signings, forum signatures, blog comments, or user profiles.