In many cases, we as SEO engineers know how to evaluate a potential link or directory to get the maximum benefit for a website. Many of these sites are broken up into very specific sub-categories. Sites such as DMOZ, the Yahoo Directory, Go Guides and many others are called authority sites. They have been on the web for many years, some from as early as 1997. With the age of the site, the search engines have found that these are not fly by night Spammer sites that just want to host Google AdSense to make money. A lot of directories are human edited so not every site will get in on the first attempt. These are the sites that are worth going after in your linking efforts. They are the kinds of sites we recommend people submit their sites to.
At first glance, a directory or link site may not look like much, but if you dig a little deeper, you can probably find a category that will fit every business type. The key to submitting to these types of sites is finding the most relevant category for your company. And, remember, even if there is a category that is similar but not exact, it is worth submitting to.
SES has come and gone and it was a wealth of information. You can find some good coverage of the sessions at Search Engine Strategies ’07 New York Session Coverage Roundup. For me, it’s the linking sessions that catch my attention.
What it basically comes down to is that quantity of links is no longer a major factor. Quality is what counts. It seems that the search engines are taking into account the user experience. This means that it is vital to acquire links that are relevant to your topic. Find the experts in your field, the authorities and get them to link to you. How do you do this? One way is submit articles to the industry forums and newsletters. Another is to use press releases and PR services to get your name out there. Just keep relevancy in mind… if it’s not related to your product or service, don’t do it.
Take some time to review the session coverage for Link Building Basics and Linking Strategies as they are filled with information and tools that you can use for improving your rankings through linking. One important thing to remember is that building links takes time, anytime I see a site that acquires a lot of links in a short period of time, I get suspicious. There is no quick fix, what we are aiming at is long term web presence and credibility.
What’s more important? Looking good, or being healthy? Though some would probably say “looking good” without any hesitation, I think we can all agree that if we were honest with ourselves, we would admit that health is just a tad more important than beauty. But what people rarely stop to think about is this: If you focus on getting healthy by eating right and exercising, you’ll end up improving your looks. The latter is a by-product of the former. However, the opposite is not always true. If you start with the wrong priority, focusing on looks rather than health, then you might feel pressured to take short cuts that actually compromise your well-being. In other words, objective is everything. If you aren’t doing it for the right reason, you’re less likely to do it the right way.
Makes sense, doesn’t it? The same is true with the linking strategies we employ for Search Engine Optimization. Take a moment to stop and think about why you’re doing it in the first place. What is your primary objective? Is your end goal to improve your search rankings? Or is it to increase the amount of qualified traffic your site receives? Is it the rankings that matter more? Or is it the conversions that follow them? The answer should be obvious: Conversions are what count; high search rankings are just another means of getting them.
If you really think about it, links are not important because they improve your natural rankings; they’re important because they drive qualified traffic to your site. Try to forget about search engine optimization for a moment, and start thinking about what’s best for your business. If your goal is to increase conversions, then one of the first steps you take should involve building up a network of links with popular sites and directories thematically related to yours. By doing so, you’ll kill two birds with one stone. Not only will your conversions increase, but so will your natural search rankings.
If, on the other hand, high search rankings are all you can think about, then you’ll probably make some bad linking decisions. You’ll chase after links for the sake of having links, forgetting why the engines value them in the first place. But the engines are smarter than they used to be. They know what’s best for your business. The question is: Do you?