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September 3, 2009

How to Develop a Natural Link Building Strategy

In SEO, link building is the practice of accumulating relevant links in order to build up site authority, and rank for certain keyword phrases on search engines. However, link building is often associated with questionable practices like link buying and link spamming. Too many businesses focus on buying sitewide static links, and building a specific number of links. Once they achieve that goal, they tend to forget about their link building efforts. What they have failed to discover is that a successful link building strategy is one that is natural, builds your web presence, and strengthens your brand.

In this day and age in the online world, there are a variety of effective ways to build your brand and links such as using video sharing websites, blogging, and participating in social media. The types of online brands with the most successful online strategies utilize all of these methods of brand building and link building. Sitewide links, or links that are placed on all pages of a website, have lost a lot of their value for the simple fact that they are unnatural. Sitewide links are the links in a template or sidebar under a section such as “friends,” “links,” or “resources.” Many websites get the majority of their inbound links from sitewide linking, but they must build a strong web presence first in order for those sitewide links to be credible and effective.

Tips for Building Your Web Presence

Foundational link building consists of building your web presence in order to really “earn” those sitewide links. You can build your web presence by writing and distributing online press releases, writing guest posts for well-known blogs in your niche, and participating actively in social media and networking sites to build your brand.

Many link building strategists get inpatient and try to build thousands of links in a period of just a month or so. Your ranking may temporarily improve but search engines will spot the unnaturalness in your site’s accumulation of inbound links and come to devalue it. Focus on building your online brand first prior to accumulating so many links. This can take anywhere from six months to a year. Of course there are exceptions to this rule, but to ensure that your long term link building strategy is effective, it is a good idea to keep this timeline in mind.

Build a Diverse Link Portfolio

You can get real power from your links by diversifying your link portfolio. Sitewide links should make up only about 10% of your link building portfolio. Other methods of link building include the following:

Video – Videos can be uploaded to websites like YouTube. Not only will they include a link back to your site, they will show up in search engine results for searches of your company name, product, etc.

Press Building Tactics – In order to generate press and tons of links and traffic to your site, hold big contests and giveaways, and donate money to charity. Anytime you do these things, contact the press and let them know what you are up to in order to get some media attention.

Documents – Upload documents like ebooks, brochures, white papers, and marketing materials to document sharing sites like Scribd. If you upload a document to your own website, you can build links to it by writing blog posts and press releases about it.

In sum, focus on building your web presence and online brand so your links come naturally. No matter what kind of changes happen at Google and other search engines, as long as you focus on maintaining a natural link building strategy, you will not notice any effect on your ranking. A natural web presence will always persevere.

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