Link building is a major part of any SEO conversation. It’s fairly common knowledge that links play a major role in getting ranked well in search engines. There are a million little details that play into that equation of course, making some links exponentially more valuable than others. But in our haste to use links as a means to an end, we can lose sight of the fact that the act of building links in many cases can carry benefits that have absolutely nothing to do with the Google-naut or any other search monster. If you look at all of the merits of link building, it only gives us more incentive to put time into the process, and to do it the right way.
When you think about all of the different spammy methods of link building, this one might not seem to fit. But when you skip the link farms, and generic mass emails, there’s a whole world of building links that relies on reaching out to people in a meaningful way. It’s based on building networks, symbiosis and legitimate promotion. When you try getting links that way you’ll find that the relationships you develop hold long-term benefits. Conducting interviews of important people in your niche is one example of such a tactic. Not only do you get the valuable insight of an industry thought leader. In all likelihood if the interview is decent they will link to it and share it with their network. And if you nurture the relationship you may also find an ally for promoting content in the future.
Online reputation management is a subset of internet marketing that often gets overlooked. Generally speaking it refers to everything that can be found online in relation to you, your website or your business. Googling yourself isn’t just something to do to kill time when you’re bored, it’s actually something businesses should do fairly regularly. It’s important to know exactly what anyone might find out about you if they were looking for it. That way you can be proactive about spreading goodwill, or try to do damage control if it’s necessary. When you build links that incorporate your brand name, you are creating new citations about your site on the web. These new results, particularly if you manage to get references from authoritative sites, should rank for your name. When you do it right, these occurrences can usurp unrelated or negative mentions that may be ranking in the top 10 for your name and improve your overall online reputation.
Links are primarily used for achieving higher search engine rankings so that we will get more traffic. But we often forget that links themselves can bring traffic on their own. When done right, a great link bypasses the middle man and brings visitors directly to you. This isn’t necessarily true of all links though. When you cut corners and get cheap directory links, or drop random blog comments you aren’t likely to get very far with people or search engines. But when you choose your directories carefully, as in look for ones that people might actually use and that don’t exist for “SEO purposes,” then you may get traffic. Also, while blog comment links are no-followed for spiders, when they are attached to smart, observant, insightful comments, people often DO follow them. It can also work when you get links on review posts — genuine ones, not cheap paid reviews from sites with nothing BUT cheap paid reviews. You can also get traffic from links in blog rolls, or guest posts. The point is, good links can help your rankings, and bring people directly to your site. Sure these links take more time to get, and they take more work to earn, but they are so worth it when you do get them.
Obviously search engines are a major part of the life of an online business. And links are a major factor in getting top rankings. But they are so much more than that. They are an opportunity to create relationships, improve your online reputation, and get direct visitors. If you think about link building as drudge work, and only search for low hanging fruit, you probably won’t see advances in rankings or any other benefits. But when you work to make your site linkworthy, and view every contact as a chance to make a friend then you will begin to see link building in an entirely new way. And with your new insight, your view of your site’s future may change dramatically was well.