Link building is one of the most confusing aspects of SEO for most people. Many don't realize that it's the links that provide the most weight in rankings for Google with Yahoo having less emphasis and MSN have even less than that. This is one of the reasons why you will more likely first see ranking in MSN, then Yahoo and finally Google.
Link building is the longest and most difficult process of SEO. Creating content is the second hardest. Why? Because, for the most part, who links to you is the part of SEO that you control the least. That's why Google relies on it as much as they do - its the least likely spot to be gamed. It can be done but it usually requires a great amount of resources and/or money.
Links fall into four categories:
1. Reciprocal linking. You exchange a link to a site for a link from their site to yours. More than likely, even if the site is similarly related, there will be very little gained from this kind of link. There are exceptions to this rule covered below.
2. Directory links. There are two kinds of directories:
a. 'Free For All' directories where there is not much of an editorial process and where many of the existing listings are scraped from other sites. This like has about as much quality as the standard reciprocal link.
b. Established editorial directories link The Open Directory Project (ODP or DMOZ) or Microsoft's bCentral that go through an established quality check. These are the best types of directory links. Note: The ODP is a unique directory in that Google pulls information directly from it. This may have an added bonus. A link from the ODP is highly desirable, but is by no means a silver bullet.
3. One way links. Links from relevant web sites to your own that you do not need to return are the standard link that most people seek out. Links from .edu domains and some established .org domains are more sought after than others.
4. Trusted site links. A 'trusted' site is one that Google recognizes as a special site which are usually well established and have a strict editorial process. For example, news publication sites often fit into this category. Why? For an article to be written a journalist has to research the story, talk to experts and witnesses and have their facts checked then have an editor approve the piece. Because of all of the quality check that happens that means that a link from a site of this nature is more likely to be the most legitimate.
Each of these types of links can and does play a role in most link programs. Trusted links however, are not normally achieved through a link building program but through an interactive public relations campaign. Often it takes public relations folks (or ex-journalists) to know how to pitch a site or a person for an article.
Out of the rest of link types, links from .edu and established .org domains are next on the list. They are usually difficult to get, which makes them carry more weight than standard links.
In addition to the type of links, the link text used will have a significant impact on rankings. Ideally you will want to change out your link text to focus on a diverse keyword list. If you sell shoes you may want to have different link text variations such as:
- Store X - Tennis Shoes, Walking Shoes, Cowboy Boots and Dress Shoes
- Reebok Shoes, Nike Running Shoes, New Balance Tennis Shoes from Store X
- Discount Brand Name Golf Shoes, Running Shoes and Bowling Shoes
To help the process along, link tools can be purchased to help find links, track submittals and track who links to you and who links to your competitors and not to you. Many can be found by doing simple searches in your favorite search engine.
In the end it will take time and persistence to obtain a solid link base. Zunch offers special link building programs that can make the difference in your rankings. Wether your domain is brand new or you have existed for years and are looking to secure your visibility Zunch can help, contact us today