Writing by Brick Marketing in Link Building
Link building is an important part of SEO. There’s no denying that. Inbound links to your website help to convey to the search engines that your site is trusted. However, link building has gotten somewhat out of hand, which is why Google is beginning to take a closer look at the inbound link portfolios of websites in order to determine rank. As soon as online marketers caught on that the number of inbound links correlated with how a website appeared in a search result in Google, they got busy building links and started to get greedy and go overboard. They were building links from any site that they could and focusing quantity. They were paying for links and getting involved with link exchange networks. They were including anchor text links to keyword phrases wherever they could. In the past year Google has made it clear through various algorithm updates that these tactics are no longer viable and can actually get your site penalized. If you’re still doing any of these things, stop right now. Instead, shift your link building strategy. Instead of focusing on the search engines, your top priority when building links should be to improve visibility among target audience members in order to generate traffic to your site.
Long before SEO existed and even before Google existed (can you even imagine a world without Google?!) the only purpose of links was to improve user experience. People shared links via email and instant messenger to share useful content with others. Website owners linked to other websites that had good content that their audience might enjoy. It makes sense as to why the search engines began using linking as a ranking factor, however the end result has been some pretty crazy (and desperate) behavior on the part of website owners to get a link.
The search engines continue to improve their algorithms in order to provide users with the best possible results. The algorithms are complex and secret and nobody has all of the answers. However, what’s become clear is that not all links can improve your trust factor. In fact, some inbound links can contribute towards ruining it which is why building links strictly for SEO isn’t the best way to go about things.
Instead of worrying about how your inbound link portfolio looks to the search engine spiders, concentrate on generating traffic to your website when conducting link building activities. The first question that you should ask yourself is, “will my target audience members see this link?”. If the answer is no, it’s not a good use of your time. Not only will it not deliver any quality traffic to your site, but it’s likely that the search engines won’t weigh that inbound link too heavily either.
The bottom line is that the search engines are tweaking their algorithms to think more like human visitors. Concentrating on websites that target audience members actually visit will not only improve your brand awareness and generate traffic to your site, but will also improve your trust factor in ways that a link from an obscure, unrelated site will not.