When it comes to SEO, there’s a vast amount of the web occupied by articles relaying information on how to appease the search engines and their complex algorithms; mainly because everyone with a website wants to claim the prolific top spot. Often words like ‘penguin’, ‘panda’, ‘white hat’ and ‘black hat’ crop up, and such terminology can be quite confusing and intimidating for an SEO novice. This weeks article aims to simplify the SEO process, focusing on link building, and enlighten you on why developing a long term, sustainable SEO strategy is of great value and importance. We promise, it isn’t all that complicated.
We’ve chosen to concentrate on the link building aspect of SEO because it’s the area we find people are most worried about and ill informed on. Because the search engine’s algorithms change frequently, website rankings can fluctuate. This is because the algorithm determines the search results and how they calculate a websites relevancy alters. When a website suddenly drops to the bottom of the search engine results, it’s usually associated with poor quality backlinking, AKA black hat techniques. This is every site owners fear and with a great deal of SEO companies out there, it can be tricky to know which one to trust with such an important task, especially if you’re not fully informed on the subject.
First and foremost, what is a backlink?
It’s all fine and dandy if an SEO company explains that gaining backlinks is a crucial part of improving your search engine rank and the more of them the merrier, but if you don’t know what one is, you can be totally flummoxed. A link acts as an avenue that leads a user on another, usually relatable website, to yours. As an example, if your website sells health foods, a link from the National Institute for Nutrition would be really valuable. The backlink would be created if the Institute mentioned your health food site on their website/ blog/ social network and provided a way for the user to reach your site. Pretty straightforward, right? The difficult part is gaining enough links from other websites to show the search engines that yours is the one to rank well on your chosen keywords.
How can SEO companies assist the link building process?
No one knows, apart from the search engines themselves, exactly what makes up their algorithms. From experience, we have a pretty great idea and with almost 4000 clients, we’re able to spot trends really quickly. So, it’s the norm for SEO companies to alter and update the way they build links and each may favour different techniques. Commonly, SEO companies will try to create backlinks by publishing content that inspires sharing, emailing bloggers, submitting sites to directories, or sometimes paying for links to be placed on relevant websites (the latter we wouldn’t advise). Here at Click Submit, we advertise your site to webmasters of relevant websites. It is up to them whether they decide to link build or not. For us that is the key element in our SEO; only webmasters who want to link to your site and who think it appropriate, will do so. This is a very natural, white hat (AKA moral) SEO method.
The more the merrier
The assumption that the more backlinks you carry, the better your site will rank is quite true, but the type of backlinks you gain play a large factor in this too. Any links that appear spammy or manipulated will be picked up by the search engines and not recognised. An example of a poor quality link would be one that you’d placed yourself, such as a comment on someone else’s blog. So if you were to build 500 low quality links overnight, you might notice a quick bump up the search engine rankings, but you’d be foolish to think you would stay there.
When the search engine algorithms update, this is the time many businesses notice their rank fluctuate. If you concentrate your efforts on building a portfolio of relevant, good quality links, you should have a positive outcome from any update because the links won’t be discounted. Also, Google/ Yahoo/ Bing are only trying to improve their search results so if you’re ticking all the right boxes and working alongside their SEO guidelines, you should be rewarded for doing so.
How soon should I expect to see results? I need results NOW!
We’ve been in the SEO world a while, and if we’d been given £1 for every time a client had asked us how long it would take for them to be on page 1 for their desired search term, we’d be millionaires, all of us. And if we could make all our clients appear on page 1 overnight and stay there, we’d be billionaires. So, let’s make it quite clear that to see the best, most consistent results, SEO is a long-term investment. Because every keyword has a different level of competition, it’s impossible to give an exact time frame for when you’ll start to notice an impact from our service, so we always suggest between 3 and 9 months. We aim to build between 150-300 links per quarter; this is where we have found optimum results. We’ll also make sure those links are categorized and even geo targeted where possible. Links will decay over time so SEO needs to be an on-going process to maintain and improve your rank.
How you can further help your SEO:
If you’re eager to progress the SEO process yourself, there are loads of ways you can do so. Here are a few suggestions:
Create a blog: Creating a blog is a great way to engage your clients. Evidently, we think so. If you can publish interesting content, it may encourage existing and potential clients to interact with you. You can share these blogs on your social profile/s as well. If people interact with and share your blog on their websites, the search engine algorithms will recognise this. If someone were to share your blog and create a link back to your website, it would count as a backlink. Yippee.
FYI: You could always contact bloggers who are well followed in your industry and ask them to test your product/s and agree that if they like them, they’ll write about them.
Go social: In last week’s blog we went to town on explaining how growing your social profile can help grow your business. It can really help your SEO too. If you can build up a popular social network, this will help improve your rank.
Link to your customers: If you regularly work with another agency/ company/ client, displaying their logo on your website that links to theirs and vice versa is a great way of growing your backlink portfolio. These are people you know and trust so you can be assured that the link will be of a high quality.
Viral: Every business owners dream is to create one piece of content that goes viral. So keep brainstorming because if you manage to achieve it, you’ll have hit the jackpot for SEO and your business.
With all the above in mind, don’t spend all of your time trying to please the search engines. If you create/ have created a fantastic website that’s developed with SEO in mind, and you’re exploring avenues like social sharing, blogging, gaining testimonials, then you’re the perfect top rank material.
Please let us know if you have any link related questions. We hope we have explained backlinks clearly and helped increase your SEO knowledge.