Back to Basics in Link Building

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A lot of small business owners just starting to study and practice the tricky art and science of SEO try a lot of outlandish DIY link building techniques that just don’t work. When it comes to link building, one of the most important and challenging parts of SEO, it’s important to get the basics down before trying to do anything crazy.

Often, innovation in SEO comes from slightly improving on a practice that’s already widely accepted. That’s exactly how we discovered our unique home page link building method. It’s just a slight, simple variation on the basics of SEO link building.

So what are the basics of link building?

Your site needs backlinks from other sites to rank higher in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Each link from another site to yours is like a vote on behalf of your site.

Obviously, the more backlinks you have, the better. However, it’s not just the quantity of backlinks that determines where you rank with Google and the other major search engines. The quality of each link also plays a huge role.

That means that you need to concentrate your link building efforts on high quality sites, also known as “authority domains.”

What determines a site’s quality?

Reach, influence, and legitimacy all go into determining a site’s quality. The more popular a site is, and the more honest and well-produced its content, the more a backlink from that site will help your own site climb the SERPs.

A lot of this is determined by traffic, and some of it is also determined by links. That means that if a site has a lot of backlinks pointing towards it, its links pointing out to other sites (like yours) will be considered inherently more valuable.

There’s a lot of information out there about expanding your own site’s reach and influence. This will help you get links by making your site more attractive for others to link to, and will also allow you to boost other sites’ popularity by linking to them.

How do I build links?

Once you’ve determined a few sites that you would like to have backlinks from, it’s time to get down to the real work of building links. There are a few ways you can do this:

  • Organic link building – This occurs when another site links to your content because it discovered your site naturally. For example, if another blog references some of your content in one of its post, it will link to your content either in a citation or as a recommendation for further reading for its users.
  • Paid link building – You can often “sponsor” content on other sites in exchange for a link back to your site. However, be careful that you don’t get scammed or engage in any black hat practices when you’re doing this. Before you try it, make sure to read up on search engine rules and ethics.
  • Guest posting – You can often write guest posts for other sites, especially blogs, and include a link back to your own site in an author bio or from within the content itself. It’s a win-win situation: the other site gets a guest post from a knowledgeable contributor, and you get a vote of confidence from that site.

Why is Home Page Link Building the Best Method?

We’ve always stood by our home page link building method as the cornerstone of our business and our SEO marketing tactics, but what makes it better than regular link building methods? There are a few factors we considered before deciding to make this one technique the cornerstone of our business.

Home Page Backlinks are Incredibly Valuable

Because links from within actual page content matter the most, home page links are already great. However, being on the home page itself actually makes them even more powerful and reputable than links within other content like “Our Partners” pages and blog posts.

Home page backlinks also probably get you more organic traffic – traffic that actually arrives at your site via the link(s) in question – than other types of links. It makes perfect sense, of course: every person that comes to a site we work with will see a link to your site right on the home page. That’s the ultimate endorsement one company can get from another.

This Method is Largely Unknown or Unused

Although this is a very powerful method, it isn’t over used like many SEO methods – and that means a lot in our business. When a particular method becomes over used, Google or one of the other search engine giants often does something to tweak how useful it is – almost always for the worst. If you know your SEO history even just a little bit, you’ll notice this is an ongoing trend.

Having a largely unused SEO method in our back pocket also gives us a bit of an advantage over SEO firms – who essentially become your competitors when you choose one SEO company over all the others out there. Having an advantage over them means we can get you results faster – and that the results themselves will be much more incredible.

However, the downside to having a method as effective as this one is that is often highly expensive. That being said, we always work with our clients to offer a fair price that’s competitive with all the other SEO firms out there.

We Only Use Highly Reputable Sites

The advantages of this are twofold:

  1. Because the sites we target for home page back link creation are very legitimate and popular, their links are more powerful than those from many less well trafficked sites.
  2. Because we choose long lasting sites with a great deal of appeal to a wide audience, we don’t have to worry about the sites hosting our links going under – which in many cases effectively renders those links useless.

Using only the most highly reputable sites out there on the web also increases our expenses quite a bit, but it’s a fair trade off for knowing we can always get our customers very quick but also long lasting results.

How to Boost Your SERP Standing with Our Home Page Link Building Method

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You know by now that links are one of the most important parts of your SEO profile and that there are a lot of different ways to build links. But what method of link building is the best one to use?

It’s a tough question, and one not many SEO marketers agree on. However, I believe we’ve found a highly effective method – maybe even the best method – here at Home Page Link Building. It isn’t used by a lot of other companies yet, but we think it may be the next big thing in SEO. We’ve flown under the radar with it for a while, but sooner or later other people will start trying it.

Our method involves building backlinks not just from the content of other sites, but from the main content of those sites – their home pages. Because content links are prioritized over anything else, and home page content is prioritized over other content, these links are simply the most valuable in the SEO game.

We also only use authority domains – sites that are respected by Google and have enough popularity to really matter for you in the SERPs. Why?

Because this method is expensive and time-consuming, and because we want the absolute best for each and every one of our clients. There’s no point wasting time on low-authority, unpopular domains when you’re in the SEO business. If you’re an SEO marketer, you know that you have to focus your work and resources on the best backlinks in the world – because two or three of these might be worth as much as five hundred or more from lower-authority domains.

Whenever I describe this method over the phone or at a conference, clients and other SEOs alike wonder why more marketing firms don’t use this same method. I believe there are two possible answers:

  1. Other SEOs don’t know how effective this method is yet.
  2. Other SEOs don’t have the money, time, and/or other resources to put into this very difficult link building method.

Either way, I don’t think it will be long before this method is picked up by some other SEO firms. In fact, there already may be a few trying it – I just don’t think they’re having any success yet.

Our method could very well be the next big thing in SEO – but the best time to get in on a technique (both for us as an SEO firm and you as a webmaster) is before it gets too popular.

SEOs often say that the best methods for link building and other facets of SEO are the ones Google doesn’t know about yet. Home page link building is even better than that, in that Google has actually opened the door for SEOs to do this, and enough of us just haven’t taken that opportunity yet.

 

Focus On SEO Fundamentals: Keywords

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No matter how great your backlinks are, they’ll never make an entire SEO marketing package work on their own – you’re going to have to consider some of the factors we outlined in our last post (and, believe me, there are even more than we had time to talk about there!).

One of the major factors you’ll have to consider are keywords – and despite what you’ve heard either way, they’re not totally useless or the most important SEO factor – the truth is, they’re somewhere in between.

Keywords were much more important when SEO was first developing, but have lost a little bit of their clout as Google and its competitors have perfected (well… worked towards perfecting) semantic search and increasing the artificial intelligence of their algorithms. (And if you don’t know anything about semantic search, don’t worry – that may just be what our next post in this series covers!)

However, they are not “dead,” as many SEOs have claimed off and on since, I don’t know, 2005 or earlier. In fact, leading SEO marketing gurus Moz have just released a keyword research tool this year that takes some of the hard work out of keyword research – and believe me, it is hard work.

What exactly does keyword research involve? It sounds simple, but it’s very difficult in practice. Keyword research is the process of trying to guess – educated guesses only, of course – which search terms potential users or customers of your site will use when searching with Google and/or their competitors – terms you want to direct them to your site.

And to make those words more likely to direct those Google users to your site, you use those words on your site. They’re particularly valuable in headers, titles, and urls (and the closer to the beginning of each of these, the better), but can even contribute to your SEO a bit from within the main body paragraphs of a page or post on your site.

This is where the use of keywords gets a little tricky, and why Google and its competitors have sought to devalue them over the past few years.

It used to be easy to “trick” search engine algorithms into thinking a site was much more valuable than it actually was by “keyword stuffing” – using the chosen search terms much more than one would in natural writing, and sometimes even filling entire pages with nothing but keywords. This was a common practice among many black hat SEOs until recently.

However, if you or your SEO marketing professional can first do the massive research involved with finding valuable keywords (and tools like the one Moz put out make it a lot easier, though it’s easier still to hire a professional), using them occasionally and very naturally throughout your site can boost your SEO. You’ll need good links, site organization, etc. – but good keyword usage never hurts, and sometimes can be the factor that tips you over onto Page One!

It’s Not Just Links: How to Create a Complete SEO Marketing Portfolio

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SEO is a complex beast – and while links are the most important part, they’re not everything.

Yes, we are primarily a link building company and have always stood by the fact that external links are the single most important factor in SEO. However, Google will tell you itself that there are more than 200 ranking factors – and many SEO marketers (some of them very smart indeed) have tried to figure them all out to varying degrees of success.

Even though you’ll probably never know all of the factors – and, frankly, some of them won’t matter one way or the other if you get the most important ones down pat – it will do you some good to consider what else goes into getting your site onto SERPs besides external links. And trust me, we as a company think about it a great deal too – we couldn’t guarantee the results we do based on link building alone.

Here is a brief exploration of some of the factors that may or may not be big in Google’s decisions; I’m sure we’ll explore each of these in depth as we get closer to the new year.

Keywords

Keywords are the search terms that users of search engines type in, which are then compared with words in the text of the billions of sites in the engines’ indexes.

Keywords used to be the major focus of SEO, and they’re still important today. With the arrival of semantic search and the increasing “intelligence” of Google’s algorithm – its being able to detect synonyms and phrasing – keywords are less important, though using certain keywords you think your best potential customers will type in within your site text is still a good bet that will likely have at least some ROI.

Internal Links and Site Structure

Google can’t index what it can’t see – so make sure your site is well designed and that you have plenty of internal links as well as external.

Mobile Friendliness

If your site isn’t mobile friendly, it’s not going to do well in SERPs. That seems to become more true every single day, so the sooner you can make your site mobile friendly, the better.

Google itself has some tips on how best to do this. It’s rare for Google to hand out free SEO advice, so it’s best to take it when you get it.

Legitimacy & Popularity

It seems a little unfair and paradoxical, but it is 100% true that you will find it easier to get more and more exposure after your site has already become popular.

However, there is a way to ride the coattails of other popular sites while you make ready to stand on your own – and that’s getting links (yes, it often all comes back to links) from very popular, legitimate sources – the quality of links always matters more than the quantity!

You also need to make sure that your own site is 100% legitimate, and that you’re not trying to scam Google and the other big search engines – because you likely won’t get away with it, and the punishments will be harsh when you’re caught.

What does Google’s focus on mobile friendly sites mean for your link portfolio?

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All the SEO gurus writing for the internet since possibly as early as 2006 or so have known about the importance of making your site mobile friendly if you want to rank on SERPs – and even Google has addressed the importance of mobile SEO directly. So you probably know by now that your site needs to be mobile friendly – if it’s not, take care of that right away before you do anything else.

But there’s another aspect of making your SEO plan mobile friendly that many webmasters and internet marketers overlook – making sure the sites that you share backlinks with have mobile friendly designs.

It’s obviously not imperative that every single site that links to yours – or every site that you link to – has a mobile friendly design, but every mobile friendly site that links back to yours will boost your SEO more than a site linking back to yours that isn’t mobile friendly.

Why is that? Whether or not a site is mobile friendly affects its SERP ranking, which also affects its perceived popularity and legitimacy (as perceived by both Google’s spiders and the general public). Sites with higher perceived popularity and legitimacy are more valuable to get backlinks from – as they will more drastically boost your own site’s ranking in the SERPs.

This doesn’t mean that links from older, “mobile unfriendly” sites aren’t worth having – but you shouldn’t put a large amount of time, effort, or money into them if you want to succeed, just like it’s better to have one or two really legitimate links than a hundred spam links (although the difference here is not that drastic).

This also means that you should look at social media linkbuilding and be sure your external properties (sites that aren’t owned by you but are related to your site, such as Yelp and Google MyBusiness pages) are updated and linked back to your main site. Because these sites are both hugely popular and at the forefront of mobile friendly design, they’re sure to give you a big boost in the SERPs.

This also increases the efficacy of links from sites like Wikipedia, which is hugely popular and very mobile friendly, and news outlets, which tend to be mobile friendly and are often naturally prioritized by Google and its competitors in the SERPs.

Mobile friendliness isn’t the end all be all, but it is a significant part of both your link portfolio and your overall SEO package – if you truly want to succeed, your site and all the sites it is associated with will be mobile friendly. And as we head into 2017, mobile friendliness promises to become even more important – it has every other year since mobile sites became mainstream, and there’s no reason for it to stop now, with mobile devices growing in popularity and wearables putting some freshness into the market segment.

 

Can DIY Link Building Work for Your Business?

diy seo - can it help your business?

Business owners like to save money wherever possible, for obvious reasons. As a result, many try to run their own SEO campaigns instead of paying SEO professionals to do linkbuilding and write SEO-friendly content for them. However, most learn pretty early on that SEO is not as easy as it sounds, and experience and contacts in the industry are a must for real success.

Even a blog post on DIY SEO I read recently begins by saying that if you have the financial resources to support a professional SEO campaign with professional linkbuilding, you should do it. However, I did learn a few things from the post and my time in the industry that I’ll pass along to you.

DIY linkbuilding is not going to put your site on the first SERP of Google. However, having a few good links already established can help SEO professionals do their work faster, and you’ll learn a good deal about the inner workings of SEO while you’re trying to build links for yourself. Understanding how search engines work is key to making your business successful online, even if you have professionals bringing you web traffic on autopilot. That’s one of the major reasons we run this blog – yes, we want you to let us help you directly, but we also want you to understand what it is we do.

Here are a few great tips that will help you build up a strong base of links on your own:

  • If you have a YouTube channel, include links back to your site in both your YouTube profile and the “About” sections for individual videos. If you don’t have a YouTube channel, you should strongly consider getting one if you ever create any video content.
  • Use Google+ to create links. Although Google+ isn’t anywhere near as useful for direct-to-customer marketing as Facebook or Twitter, it can be equally useful (or more so) in terms of linkbuilding, because Google trusts Google+ as a source – convenient, considering the social network is owned by Google.
  • If you’re a decent writer or can hire one at an affordable rate, try to land guest posts on blogs about your industry. If the content is good enough, it can often attract customers to you on its own – and links from established blogs to your main site can only boost your SEO.
  • Pinterest also allows (or even encourages) links in content created for the site. It’s another often-overlooked social networking site that can really help boost your standing on SERPs.

Of course, if any of these seem too challenging to do on your own, a professional SEO marketer or marketing team can easily help you with these while also doing some more advanced behind-the-scenes work.

In summary, DIY SEO and linkbuilding probably won’t work on its own for your company – but it can help the professionals get you results faster and teach you a great deal about the industry!

 

How to Understand SEO Linkbuilding in 2017

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Does linkbuilding matter in 2017?

SEO is always changing, and it’s at the beginning of a new year that those changes still become apparent for the first time. New Years is an important time for SEO professionals as they look back on what worked (and what didn’t) in the previous year and study trends in search engines’ inner workings that will affect SEO and SEM in the coming year.

Here’s what we know is changing.

Google has tended to focus on two things more each year since around 2013 – QUALITY and RELEVANCE. While it was possible in the old days to boost a page’s standing through keyword stuffing and junk links, it’s more important than ever for sites to produce consistently relevant and high quality content to continue attracting customers.

With the advent of semantic search (a topic we’ll surely address in-depth before the beginning of the new year, and which there’s an excellent article about on Search Engine Journal), Google has come to focus more than ever on relating to its users on an individual basis. That means that your site, too, has to relate to each user who clicks on it.

Here’s what to do about it.

The old techniques that SEO professionals have been using since 2000 or even before, namely the use of keywords and linkbuilding, are just as important as they were in the early days. However, businesses and marketers need to be more conscious than ever of how they use those tools, and need to stay far away from lazy or black hat methods of using them.

External links, for example, are still the single most important deciding factor in where your page lands on a SERP (Search Engine Results Page). However, junk links are not only useless going into 2017 – they’re a punishable offense. If you or your marketers get caught spamming Google with junk links in public forums, you could be banned from Google results listings – and the same goes for the other major search engines as well.

It is more important than it ever was before for links to come from vibrant, trustworthy, popular sources. Think of links as roads to your site – you don’t want those roads to go through dangerous mountain passes and the worst parts of town on their way back to you. The ride should be smooth and delightful for customers (and for the search engines’ ever present search bots, too).

Keywords are another huge part of SEO marketing that still matter a great deal going into 2017 – but they, too, will need to be used more judiciously and considerately. Also, Google’s perfection of semantic search (and the other search engines’ race to improve on it even faster than Google) means that keyword synonyms and answers to questions users type into search bars are also more important than they were before.

Everything has changed. Or, nothing has changed.

The fundamentals of SEO are the same as they ever were, with link building highest among them. But with that being said, businesses and SEO professionals alike need to take note that the details have shifted – and SEO, really, has always been and will always be in the details.

How a Social Media Presence Can Increase Your Relevance through Links

link building through social media linkbuilding with social media

Link building, a hugely important part of SEO that helps grant your site legitimacy and relevance on Google and other search engines (as well as giving interested parties an organic way to access your site without Google), often goes hand in hand with social media marketing.

It can be a complicated balancing act for even experts to make sense of in the fine details, but here’s the basic gist. Social media can do all of the following for you when used professionally and maintained properly:

  • Boost your main site’s credibility with links from relevant, high traffic sites like Facebook and Instagram
  • Help your brand take up even more of Google’s first page once you get there, shutting the competition out
  • Leading customers directly to your main website, and providing opportunities for them to shop, exchange messages with employees, and more
  • Temporarily rank higher in Google (and possibly other search engine) results because social media posts from large pages and well-followed accounts are given preferential treatment (like news articles).

How does this work? To use links with other sites to the advantage of your site, the other site in question must be legitimate and widely used. Social networks are some of the biggest and most legitimate sites around.

If your site, your Facebook, and your Instagram all make it to the top page of Google, you’ve taken up not one but three spots that could have belonged to your competitors.

Your social media profiles and your main site will all be linked to one another (usually many times over), creating a large network delivering your customers a wide variety of content in a wide variety of settings – holding their attention and piquing their curiosity. Also, social networks such as Facebook allow customers to shop with your store or message you with their comments and questions directly in their main interfaces.

Also, social media “stories,” or posts, from major social networking sites are often given preferential treatment in Google search result listings because of their relevance to many internet users and time-sensitive nature. Once you have grown your social media account(s) so that they’re relevant to large numbers of people, you can regularly use this feature of Google’s algorithm to your advantage to cause a spike in views at your main site.

While social media isn’t a cure-all for your current lack of solid links, it can definitely be a major part of the solution. With a strong social media presence and a proven, white-hat linkbuilding strategy such as ours combined, your business could become unstoppable online in a matter of months.