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
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).
(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.
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.
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.
(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