Link Building

Jeffrey Willenbrink

Link building is an digital marketing strategy used to help establish credibility for a new websites or to increase the trustworthiness of an existing website in the algorithmic eyes of the search engines. The goal of search engine optimization link building is to have a website appear more authoritative for the keyword or keyword phrases being targeted thus resulting in a higher placement on the search engine results page.

The challenge with SEO link building is search engines will penalize websites they believe have obtained backlinks through a less than natural process.

A typical natural link building process would be for a new website to announce its launch after which a few related websites may link to that new website. Those related websites would then attract additional backlinks for the new website. This link building process would continue to repeat until the freshness of the new website stales or the new website is no longer providing useful or relevant information.

To quickly acquire backlinks, many website owners will pay a link building service to increase their website backlinks. Many website owners succeed in increasing the number of backlinks only to learn their link building efforts have adverse affects on their websites search engine rankings.

In my link building blog post I described the search engines reaction to major online brands that allegedly acquire backlinks through aggressive link building tactics. Link building services have two choices when fulfilling backlink requests for a client’s website. Create the backlink manually or create the backlink using automated software.

Creating the backlink manually is very labor intensive, requires extensive competitive research to evaluate which type of backlink will likely be of benefit, a thorough technical understanding of the link building process and how to implement the process for optimal results for each client website. These are skills that few posses and those with these skills tend to keep their ninja abilities quite.

Many website owners demand immediate search engine ranking improvements and they are often very receptive to a link building salesperson who has a low cost, high volume solution promising, guaranteeing or otherwise implying immediate results.

The link building sales presentation can be very compelling and many website owners will focus on the low link price and the high volume of links they can quickly acquire.

Low cost, high volume backlinks are often fulfilled using automated software. Some link building services promote their proprietary link building software as a benefit to the website owner.

Consider this scenario.
You form a link building company, build a website and have content and graphs describe in detail why your link building system is both more efficient and more effective. You promote your service online creating lots of buzz with the goal to get lots of attention resulting in lots of paying clients.
Sounds logical so far?

Let’s continue.
Who do you think will find your link building website interesting?
Individual website owners wanting to improve their search engine ranking?
Website design companies wanting to offer an SEO product and need an outsourced vendor?
Internet marketing companies wanting a low cost product for their sales people to push?
The answer is yes however there is one additional group your link building website will attract.
The search engines.

Before you view this attraction as positive, remember the search engines are opposed to websites that attempt to artificially influence their algorithms. It would be highly improbable that the search engines are unaware of your new overt link building website and your proprietary process that you described in detail using written content and graphs. Your proprietary link building system being automated likely leaves a footprint that can be identified by search engines. Once the search engines identify your link building website and the footprint or tactics you are using, you and your link building clients will be affected.

Do you believe you are the only one using their service or software?
If you use the logic that everyone is using this service or that software so it must be safe, you will eventually find that this is simply untrue. The more websites using the same link building service or software the easier it is for search engines to determine common link building footprints and quickly create a list of websites using similar link building services or software.

The search engines typically notify website owners only when the link building efforts are identified as aggressive and/or they want to send a public message to the SEO world reminding them what happens when you fail to play by the search engines rules. More often the search engines will devalue the links they believe are artificial. What does this mean for your clients? It means your client’s search engine rankings will begin to lose position on the keywords being targeted with link building. The more the client invests with you in link building the more likely their rankings will be negatively affected.

Think this scenario is unrealistic?
Read this Wall Street Journal article or this New York Times article on how Google responded to website owners using aggressive link building.

So what’s the solution?
If you engage in link building be very cautious of link building services promoting a system or software because their methods can be easily tracked by the search engines. Also be prepared for the automated link building companies to switch sales tactics and state they can or do acquire links manually after you inquire about the potential pitfalls of their system or software. While they may reassure you that the your links can or will be manually acquired, sometimes for a small fee, you now must consider if their definition of manual is simply pressing a Get Links Here button.