Do I need links for my website?
Hello everyone. In my last post of this series, I discussed co-occurrence and why your blog or website needs it in order to be successful (show up in the SERPs). In that post I also talked briefly about how links are not dead. However, I continue to run across people asking the question as to whether or not they still need to be "building links" to their websites, and further more asking the question: "Are links still effective as a part of my continued marketing efforts?", so I decided that I should give you guys a quick write-up giving you my opinion on the subject. It also seems that this post falls right inline with and builds on my current series: Links & Anchor Text. Actually, there is literally a ton of proof out there that links are not dead, and as I mentioned in my previous post, how can they be? Enter The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine. In short, as is noted in Section 2 of the document, Google uses links to improve search results. Additionally there are at least a million other reasons that you should continue linking your website to & from other relevant websites and pages. One of those reasons should simply be just to attract interested visitors to your website. To me, links are the backbone of the internet from a user's and a search engine's perspective, but remember this: "Links are only one of the weighing factors" that Google uses when determining your website's relevance and/or importance! As we progress, I think that the question on most peoples mind is: "How should we use links going forward?"
Don't be too aggressive when building links
Personally, it seems to me that one of the most common problems with link building, or reasons that people do not see any positive results (actually many times they actually see negative results instead of positive ones), is simply because they are in too much of a hurry to "get to the money" and things end up being way too unnatural. What I mean is, no one really wants to put in the effort to do it right! Everyone just wants to whip out their credit cards and start paying these link building services to go and get them a bunch of links. No one really wants to put in the effort that it takes to build "real" links. "Real" links would be the ones that are created naturally when you write guest posts on other people's blogs, when you write posts on Twitter, Facebook, and G+, etc., etc. Also, "real" links can come from other people sharing your content on their social profiles or when other people write about you or your content on their blogs and then link back to you.
That last one there is probably the most powerful and the hardest to come by... When other people write about you or your content and link back to you. It is the most powerful because Google really likes those kinds of links and content the most. They love it when other people recommend you and link to you because that is the most natural thing that could happen (meaning it wasn't done by a machine or pragmatically), and also just because that means that your content actually IS relevant. If other people like your content, then obviously it was relevant to them! However, this is the hardest to come by because in order to get other people to "follow" you and/or write about you (link back to you), then you have to write awesome, meaningful, useful content! ...and people don't like doing this because that actually takes ALLOT of time, effort, and research... more than most people are willing to deal with, especially on any type of long term basis. My advice to you would be best said in the words of Mangus Brath:
Stay away from the easiest links, stay your hand a bit when it comes to anchor text (a lot of people recently lost positions to overoptimizing anchor texts) and stay away from the sitewide links. It will be a bit tougher to get the links but I promise you it will be worth it.
Write Useful, Meaningful Content... You WILL Get Links
In this post I have linked to allot of outside resources for you to read, but I have done so because these are some of the resources that I have used to help shape my opinions of link building, internet marketing, content curation, and how all of these should be applied on a daily basis to your website or blog. Inline with that thought process, I would like to point you to one more outside resource that I have used heavily in my own "training process" in regards to the content side of my internet business. +Corbett Barr from +Think Traffic wrote an AWESOME, EPIC post about writing meaningful content.
If you follow Corbett's advice and actually write stuff that is useful to other people in your niche, then you will naturally build links to your site and it's content, which IS the ultimate way to build links. After all, that is what I just did! He wrote something meaningful to me, and I just linked to it!! See how that works! Heck, I imagine that someone reading this post will probably even link to his post from their website, and I also imagine that at least one of you will even sign up for his newsletter (Insider Tip: You absolutely should signup for his newsletter by the way! ... thank me later. ), see how beneficial that has been to him!?! Yep, that's how its done!
Again, you can also build links yourself though. Just don't get crazy with it, don't go too fast, and always, always, always make sure it is from a relevant site or blog post. Anything worth having, is worth putting allot of work into, and Rome wasn't built in a day! Building something that will last takes time. Once again I refer you to your good 'ole legal pad... Sit down and make yourself a list or a schedule on how you will create content, sites you would like to leave comments on, etc., and start following that plan on a regular basis. People WILL start noticing, therefore Google will start noticing, and that's what you want. Longevity is the name of the game in this business!
Steady the course friend, develop your plan, follow your plan, keep reading my posts , and you will get there. Till' next time...Good luck with your Internet Marketing efforts!