Improving SEO using Link Building

by David F
 

(Image obtained from : http://etechdiary.com/basics-of-seo/ )

Have you ever wondered why  websites are displayed in the order that they are after going through a search? It’s simply due to popularity! The more links a site has the more people are referring to it. This is the process of Link building. As more and more information is being poured into the internet, users need a way to organize it all. The best solution for search engines is to organize it by the amount of links a website gets. In other words,  search results are based on how popular a link is. Which makes sense, a user wouldn’t want to go to a site that wasn’t relevant to what they were searching for. In this paper, I will explain what SEO is, what Link building is, and how the two work together. I will also talk about some potential problems with Link building.

What is SEO?

(Image obtained from: http://tecnologia.culturamix.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Link-Building-%E2%80%93-Um-Guia-1.jpg)

It is short for search engine optimization. Popular SEO sites include: Google, Yahoo, ask.com, msn, bing and so on. SEOs are not limited to just websites, they may include images, videos, news and so on.

How does SEO work?
It’s based on 4 key principals:

* Identify the Right Keywords
* Optimize the website
* Optimize Inbound Links (Backlinks)
* Measure Results and Repeat

(seocompany.com)

Here’s an example of a website that uses SEO:

 (Image obtained from misclassblog.com)

This website, misclassblog.com, uses wordpress which uses thousands of plugins, a few of which are SEO plugins. If you examine this site, you’ll notice three sections: Archives (which you would have to scroll down a bit to see), categories, and tags. Archives provides the option to browse by date. Categories provide options to browse posts by topic. Tags provides the option to browse by keywords. The site also makes use of accessibility, content, inbound links, social mentions, and usability. (Cabage)

Differences in search engines.

Why is it that you never hear someone say “Let’s Yahoo it!”? Instead of “Let’s Google it!”? Yahoo has been in the business longer than Google after all. The reason being is that Google is better at “determining if a link is a true editorial citation or an artificial link” (seobook) That means users have a better chance of finding what they need, that’s relevant to what they are look for. But that’s not to say other search sites, such as About.com, MSN, or Yahoo, doesn’t do the same, it’s just that their algorithms and focuses are different. Ask.com, for example, places an emphasis on topical communities. Due to their focus on communities, they are slower at ranking sites until it’s heavily cited within the community. Another reason why users may use Google over Yahoo is that Yahoo “has a ton of internal content and a paid inclusion program” (seobook) This means Yahoo searches are more prone to bias search results toward commercial results. But Google also isn’t without bias. Google’s search results rely heavily on informational sources and old sites. But what makes Google the most useful in terms of SEO is that it filters links, look for natural growth in websites, and doesn’t give users off topic search results (at least not on the first pages).

What is ‘Link building’?

(Image obtained from http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-7PPAYP4O3B0/T85ebRRcZ4I/AAAAAAAAFSY/mNoU_jHmHQg/s1600/link+building.jpg)

In the beginning there was something called ‘backlinks’. Backlinks, also known as incoming links, inbound links, inlinks or inword links, was the only way a user could navigate across webpages. (thecodepost.in) Backlinks are links that come from other people’s websites back to ‘your’ website. Each time those links are clicked the user’s website will increase in popularity, and people may see it more on sites such as Google.The problem with backlinks was that marketers used it to boost their websites, this process was also called “Link Spamming’. In the early 2000s, “software was soon created that allowed marketers to automate the process of generating spam backlinks” (Lu). This gave big companies a comparative advantage over smaller companies trying to get legitimate links. Now SEOs, such as Google, have changed their algorithms and multiple factors are in forced to fend off auto generated pages. The focus of Link building is getting quality links to a page, “Link building refers to the process of building quality, relevant links to the website, which in turn helps the site achieve higher ranking in search results and drive traffic to the site.” (Cabage) But to avoid confusion, Backlinks and Link  building are generally the same in terms of execution.

Methods to creating quality links:

* Use tools provided by SEO vendors, such as SEOMoz. This will help users to measure their website’s performance, find competitors’ ‘link juice’ or seek high value sites to ask for reviews.

* Build Links on quality sites such as educational and government websites.

* Build links on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Set up a professional account to spread links to users. This way, for example, friends will spread links to other friends.

* If a user can, publish articles on online magazines. Creators may than provide links back to their own websites.

 

(Cabage)

Problems with inbound links and Link building.

(Image obtained from: http://www.redevolution.com/seo-link-building-techniques/#.UYqEQcqClIc)

The most common analogy of a link is to liken it to a vote. (redevolution.com) And that’s what link building really is. It’s a competition to see what’s the most popular out there. But like most competitions, not all companies and services like to play fair. One of the problems with Link building are Link farms. Link farms “offer a set number of links for a set fee” (redevolution.com) It’s essentially buying links. But, if a search engine discovers these ‘link farms’ than the site will become ranked lower or removed. Another problem would be SPLOGS, or spam blogs. As I stated earlier about link spamming, blogs are another popular method to link spam. How it works is that spammers “seek out blogs in the hope of leaving a comment and associated link to their client’s website” (redevolution.com).  These are particularly annoying on popular sites. But software, such as wordpress, can ‘nofollow’ those links.  Other tools spammers use include forums, directories, hubs, and social bookmarks.

Another issue that doesn’t deal with spam.

Small businesses may have problems starting out. Even if a site has lots of valuable content, if people don’t link to it, the search engines won’t acknowledge that the site as valuable. Why? Search engines are machines, they’re blind about how valuable a site is.

SEO and Link building goes together hand in hand.

Without link building, SEOs would provide users with all sorts of shady sites. Link building may also provide businesses with more customers. This is a good way of promotion, as more links are linked to the business website. In addition to relevant information, users will have less downtime searching for what they need, as content is organized based on relevancy. All in all, users will be going to quality sites because of Link building.

In conclusion.

SEO benefits greatly from link building. It has its share of problems, but it also has a lot of benefits. Relevant and up to date search results are more likely to show up. Sites such as Google have factored in multiple variables (over 200) to prevent spamming. With link building, SEOs has become the online library we can rely on.

 

Resources

(redevolution). (2013). SEO Link Building Techniques. redevolution.com. Retrieved 05/08/13 from http://www.redevolution.com/seo-link-building-techniques/#.UYqEQcqClIc

(seobook) (12/01/2011). How Search Engines Work: Search Engine Relevancy Reviewed. seobook.com. Retrieved 05/08/13 from http://www.seobook.com/relevancy/

(seocompany). (2013). HOW DOES SEO WORK? www.seocompany.com. Retrieved 05/08/13 from http://www.seocompany.com/how-does-seo-work.html

anonymous. (12/4/2012). What are Backlinks and how you can also use them? thecodepostin.com. Retrieved 05/08/13 from http://thecodepost.in/internet/what-are-backlinks-use-them

Cabage, Neal, Sonya Zhang. (2013). Does SEO matter? Increasing Classroom Blog Visibility Through Search Engine Optimization. 2013 46th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences.  Retrieved 05/08/13 from http://origin-www.computer.org/csdl/proceedings/hicss/2013/4892/00/4892b610.pdf

Lu, Charles.  (01/2013). An Investigation into “Negative Search Engine Optimization,” Effects on Stakeholders, and Potential Solutions. charleslu.me. Retrieved 05/08/13 from http://charleslu.me/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/An-Investigation-into-%E2%80%9CNegative-Search-Engine-Optimization%E2%80%9D-Effects-on-Stakeholders-and-Potential-Solutions.pdf

 

 

 

 

8 thoughts on “Improving SEO using Link Building

  • May 13, 2013 at 12:38 am
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    A splendid paper you wrote, David. I never knew that each search engine used different algorithms. It was very interesting to find that Yahoo is heavily based off of commercial sites and that ask.com was more off of the community. I just learned something new today. I really like that you used our class website as an example. It tied in really well. Once again, great job David!

  • May 13, 2013 at 4:31 pm
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    Like Ronald, I never consciously thought that different search engines returned anything more than just the highest quantity of contextual word matching in a website, although I suppose I might have suspected somewhere in the back of my mind. I am also surprised, and yet not, that Yahoo is very heavily commercial. I appreciate your good site examples to clearly identify what SEO and Link Building is.
    I also find myself wondering what the world would be like without search engines. Anyway, thanks much for the fascinating philosophical tangent provided by your concise explanation of the way search engines work.

  • May 29, 2013 at 3:07 pm
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    I knew that every search engine had a different algorithm for determining search results, but was unaware of what they used. Obviously, google is king but others are starting to take into their market share (bing is coming up). Very interesting to see how they work.

    I remember starting a blog ~2000 and having to network with other bloggers to get traffic. Blogger made this interesting since every time a new post was made, a link was posted on their site. I was able to meet other bloggers this way, get linked on their site, and get traffic I never would have gotten otherwise.

    Doing it this way was difficult and took more work, but it allowed me to get legitimate hits. The bots weren’t prevalent because this was the early days of the modern internet.

  • June 3, 2013 at 4:26 pm
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    Like others, I wasn’t aware that different search engines use different algorithms. I liked this blog a lot, it is well organized and full of useful info. I always wondered why Yahoo is not as famous as Google since it is older than Google. I found Link building topic very interesting and helpful for a company to become successful in marketing and search engine results.

  • June 7, 2013 at 7:00 pm
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    David, Nice blog! Again, being repetitive, I really enjoyed reading about the different search engines and their respective algorithms. No wonder Google is the number one search engine! I also really like that you talked about link spams. I am glad that google and other software are able to “punish” sites that do have link spam.

  • June 9, 2013 at 2:04 am
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    Bother you did a good job laying the foundation of what SEO is and how link building relates. Re-reading your article again showed me just how much of your second set of presentations reflected well with your introduction of the SEO topic. Im glad you covered both SEO and link building independently and then brought together to show how they interrelate.

  • June 10, 2013 at 12:25 am
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    Link Building, I like how you went over the cons and how they can hurt your website if overly used. I wasn’t too aware that different search engines use different algorithms. Makes sense why the #1 result is always different. Overall Great blog! It was very informative.

  • March 21, 2014 at 12:20 am
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    The photos is this entry accompany the article itself greatly. I find it interesting that link building may often be overlooked by people who are new to SEO. Clearly it is a highly important strategy to employ when working towards better SEO. Often times this route may be cheaper than paid ads as well.

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