Link building can be one of the most difficult, and yet potentially most rewarding, aspects of a search engine optimization (SEO) campaign. You’ll find tons of link-building information online, but weeding out the misleading info from the real story can be quite the daunting task if you’re not an SEO expert. Here are a few popular examples:
Myth: Submitting your site to hundreds of general directories will increase your rankings.
Reality: A search engine will examine the neighborhood of websites linking to you. If you operate a pet supplies business, for example, you wouldn’t want your link neighborhood to include car insurance or adult-eyes-only websites, would you? Unless the directory has been established for several years, is comprised of only sites directly related to your industry, and has a good reputation, we suggest staying far away from very general, disreputable directories. Your link will likely be nestled amongst hundreds of unrelated websites, contributing little, if any, link value to your website.
Myth: Leaving your website’s link in blog and forum comments is great for SEO.
Reality: If you’re actively contributing to blogs and forums in your industry, leaving thoughtful comments, and also including your link—go for it! This helps strengthen your credibility as an industry expert, and although that link may not result in a large amount of SEO value, it can send more traffic to your site and make others aware of your website. However, if you’re leaving quick blog and forum comments with the sole purpose to only add your link, your comments are probably going to be deleted quickly, and you’ll develop a reputation as a comment spammer, damaging both you and your website’s reputation—all without much real rankings payoff.
Myth: All paid links are evil.
Reality: Purchasing links through a paid text link broker is a big SEO no-no. A more effective form of link building is to craft quality SEO copy for your website, then pitch your site to websites within your industry. Include different incentives, such as a product to review, to attract a blog or website to link to your site. Another great way to promote your site, if done in moderation, is to purchase an ad, such as a banner, on another website. This is called a “media buy,” and is fine as long as you go directly through the website owner.
On Wednesday, I’ll address whether it’s truly important to link to sites that have a high PageRank™ and if it’s true that having tons of links will really land you on the first search page.