Link-Building For Business Owners

Link Building For Business Owners

An Explanation On Link Building

So if you are a small business owner running a website, you most likely understand that incoming links are really, *really* important for your business. Not only do they drive traffic, but they are also one of the biggest metrics that Google uses to rank your site. If you launch a site and you get no incoming links to your website, your site will probably stay pretty low in rank and traffic. The opposite is also true. If your website gets lots of incoming links then you will most likely not be at the bottom of rankings although a lot of factors influence this. In this post we are going to discuss what you should be on the lookout for as a business owner in terms of link building. We will also describe some link building tactics and some “black hat” link building as well.

Link Building

First let’s clarify what black hat link building is. According to Google, black hat link building is any case in which a link is sought out, paid for, asked for, purchased, or created by a website owner, marketer, or SEO. As you can see, this is a really wide range of methods in which you can gain links for your website. This is unfortunately such a wide range, that pretty much anything you do to build links to your website Google will consider black hat. Now there are multiple layers of black hat, some are more serious than others. As a business owner, you could go out and you could purchase a link from an online directory and get a link back to your site. By definition this is black hat link building but in the grand scheme of things it is probably not too dangerous for your website. Now the link that you get from the directory could in fact cause damage to your website but the link building tactic itself in small quantities is not going to get you flagged by Google. If you were to go out today 2000 directories and purchase links back to your website, Google might take notice and penalize you for this.

Guest Blogging

There is also guest blogging, which is considered a black hat link building method. In this case, a guest author might post a blog post on your website with a link back to their website. In the past this was a great method to get links and exposure, but recently Google has made statements about not liking the practice because it has become spammy.

From here a SEO company can go down the spiral and do many more activities which get darker and darker in terms of black hat link building. There are tools which crawl the web and discover blogs and forums to post to which can be used to create artificial links back to website. This is spam, and this is exactly what Google does not like. We are not going to get into these darker forms of link building in this post, but definitely in a future post. if you are really interested in some true expert knowledge about some of the “darker” forms of link building, Matthew Woodward is one of the best resources.

You Need Link Building

Now that you know what black hat link building is, let’s talk about how links and link building affect your website. First off, I’m going to say that you cannot run a website without black hat link building. It is just too hard and takes so much time and effort to build links to a new website or company without using some form of black hat. And I’m not talking about purchasing links from Fiverr or or using forum and blog comment spam. I am talking about you marketing your business to other websites to get links. This is something that you have to do as a business in order to get ahead, and Google considers it black hat. If you specifically market, create, or publish content with the specific goal of getting links in any way other than natural readers linking to your stuff, your outside of the white.

So when you hire an SEO company, what specifically can they do to help you get links back to your website?

There are a very large number of tactics used to build links back to website. We employed almost all of them ranging from purely marketing driven white hat oriented back links, all the way down to some of the deep dark gray hat methods or darker. What we tend to do for our clients is when we sign a new client we automatically begin performing the most basic of link building and white hat link building services. We then typically will give client options in which they can get better traction and results, based on a monetary value. In the end, it works out to the age-old adage “you get what you pay for”.

Basic Link Building

One of the basic link building strategies out there is of course content strategy. By publishing regular content, a company and website can show Google that they have something to say, and Google loves fresh content, as we know. What this also does is allows us to distribute these blog posts to a bunch of different sites using a bunch of different methods. Each of these distributions has the opportunity to bring the website a backlink. For example, we publish a blog post- we immediately convert that blog post to a PDF and post it on SlideShare. In the post and PDF, there is one link back to the website. The quality and strength of these links varies, and some of them are even no-follow (no link-juice). Furthermore, sometimes these links are not of a great link-oriented quality, and instead stand to drive actual traffic (instead of link power) to your website or blog. Some services such as SlideShare or Inbound.org have a LOT of readers.

If you look at this method.. it is the very definition of black hat SEO according to Google, this is something that should not be done. If you look at reality in the way the web works, this most definitely should be done and should be used to distribute your content to fans in other markets, segments, and niches.

The following is a list of things that we do to a blog post every time we publish one for a client.

At Virginia SEO, we have been using a wide variety of services on behalf of our clients, and here is where we reveal our secrets. This list does not include everything, but it does include a ton of great topics. If you have any questions about one of these items or what value it has, feel free to contact us.

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Cheat Sheet

Some of these items are better than others. Some of these items create lasting links while some only create temporary links. Regardless of the results of individual items in this list, the end result is building links to inner pages for our clients websites, which helps with ranking and traffic.

The only downside to this sort of link building is that it is really slow. We launched Virginia SEO January 1 of 2014, and using only this link building method it took us three months to see any serious traction in our ranking or keywords. The upside to this sort of link building is it is really natural and I doubt Google would bat an eyelash at any of the items in this list. Most of them are standard and performed by most SEO companies. We recommend this basic building for all clients- even if a client is interested in better or darker link building, balancing it out with this natural profile keeps things looking healthy.

Other Tactics

There is also article distribution and related services such as press release syndication and natural blog commenting. Each of these tactics has its value, though we do not often swear by these services alone. They do have a value though, if used wisely. Each client is different, and some of these tactics may or may not work for your company.

More Tactics

There a lot more tactics for link building, and we offer these to our clients who are willing to pay a little bit more to get quicker or better results. One of the main tactics that is a little bit more advances the creation of back links using Web 2.0 sites. What is done in this instance is a blog is created using a web 2.0 site and that blog is used to link back to the main site. EdTech has a huge list of sites which are considered Web 2.0 here http://edtechtoolbox.blogspot.com/p/web-20-tools_04.html. This sort of link building is considered black hat, any Google does frown upon it… However you’re not breaking the rules that much only bending them. By being careful using this method of creation, you can build higher rated links to your website which will increase your ranking at a higher rate.

Please remember that all of these methods outlined in this blog post we are only touching the surface on, a lot more goes into building links using some of these methods then we’re listing here.

We do not recommend that any business owner or untrained individual try to do any sort of link building on their own, as the results can be quite negative or even hatastrophic for a business.

Darker Tactics

For our most daring clients, we use other tactics to build links back to a website. These tactics include things such as buying expired domains and redirecting them to client sites. They might also include the creation of networks of links aimed solely at increasing the rank of a client. We can create specific strategies and combinations of building links which makes a companies link profile look natural while also being aggressive in terms of gathering links.

Let’s all be honest. Creating a company and website out of nothing and getting it to rank well in Google is really difficult work. If you do this 100% naturally it can take months or even years of very very hard work for mediocre results. This is of course not always the case. I have seen examples of great websites which get skyrocketed to #1 in Google with millions of dollars in sales without any link building work… just kidding.

For more defined and easier to obtain results, sometimes you need to bend in the Google rules a little bit. By bending the rules, and SEO can accelerate the amount of incoming links to your business website and increase your ranking dramatically.

Conclusion

As a company looking at link building, you need to ask yourself which tactics you’re willing to employ and what result you are looking for. Most companies in our experience are willing to bend the rules to obtain better results with a higher cost, as long as one thing takes place. We always advise our clients that even if they lean towards the grey hat side of link building, we should still have a natural strategy in place. This means that we distribute blogs posts using a content strategy, and work on a companies social media naturally, no matter what sort of link building a company wants. This helps things look normal, stay natural, and also get your company wbsite out there to different outlets. For the best result, we recommend blog and article distribution, web 2.0 backlinks, and more aggressive methods such as specialized domain purchases and blog creations.

Chris Dill

SEO Expert at Virginia SEO
Chris loves web design, marketing, and anything on a computer. Chris just finished his MSIS and is a network engineer.
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