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Is Content Really King? – The Power of Links

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On-page content and optimization by itself is no longer enough.
Unfortunately, link popularity has become a dominant factor in
deciding who ranks the highest within the major search engines,
especially within Google. If a competitor of yours is both
optimized for the same target search terms and has a higher
quantity and/or higher quality of back links, they are going to
outrank you: period. Even if your website is perfectly optimized
for an extremely niche search term and no other site in the
world even mentions your exact phrase, you may still have
trouble finding your website if you do not have at least a few
back links to “validate” your website.

If it came down to a contest between on-page optimization
efforts against link building efforts, links would win hands
down. You may find it shocking to hear a President of an
optimization firm saying such a thing, but its true. I would
challenge anyone to outrank a website that has a massive number
of quality back links by using on-page optimization efforts
alone with zero link building efforts. Whereas, you can easily
outrank a website that is extremely well optimized by focusing
heavily on link building efforts. An interesting example is One of the most important elements of optimization is
to place the target key phrase within the meta title tag.
However, search for the word “computers” on Google and you will
find on the first page of results. Apple does not even
mention the word computers in their meta title tag. How is this
possible when there are literally millions of competing websites
that are aggressively trying to show up for this term by
applying various optimization efforts? The answer is that has a superior volume of back links (over 70,000 in
Google alone). And a large percentage of these links include the
word computers within the anchor text (i.e. Apple Computers, Mac
Computers, etc.).

Does this mean Optimization is dead? The answer of course, is
no. Search engines still love websites that have tons of fresh
and relevant content. It is the basis of what search engine
results are all about. Copywriting fees are worth every penny
when it comes to adding well written descriptions of your
products and services onto your website. Professional
optimization companies still flourish because of the success
they bring to their clients through increased rankings and
traffic. For optimum results, you need both optimization and
links to succeed today.

It’s not just the quantity of incoming links, but the quality
and relevance of the websites from which they come, as well as
what words are used within the visible text portion of the
hyperlinks, i.e. “anchor text.” Reciprocated links have less
value than they use to and can potentially hurt your rankings if
you are exchanging with too many unrelated websites, i.e. bad
neighborhoods. One-way links are the best links.

During the last few Search Engine Strategies conferences, I
could not help but notice an increasing number of link-related
workshops, including a class dedicated to purchasing text links.
Matt Cutts, official spokesman and software engineer for Google
shared how he personally believes that buying links is like a
politician buying votes and that incoming links should only grow
naturally. He shared that the best way to receive incoming text
links was to offer something truly helpful and/or unique and
interesting to the public and that this would generate free
unsolicited, incoming links without even asking. He offered some
extreme examples of very creative websites, which caused a
national media stir. Within minutes frustrated attendees spoke
up about how the search engines started this whole thing by
giving too much criteria to links in the first place, and that
buying links on other sites (be it through banners or text
links) has been a conventional form of advertising well before
Google even existed. Some commented that if Google was
considering penalization for sites that buy or sell links, they
should start with Yahoo, since Yahoo earns a good portion of
their income from selling paid text links (i.e. $299/year
directory listings). Interesting enough, Google actually
recommends on their website that you submit to directories such
as Yahoo.

I am sure that a majority of website owners today would love to
come up with creative ideas that would generate a ton of
unsolicited media attention. The truth is that coming up with
something exciting to say about reverse vacuum pumps, or
single-mode fiber optic tool kits, or Batesville real estate is
easier said than done. Most of the clients we work with offer
clear and simple information about their products and services.
Waiting around for other websites to give them free, one-way
text links may very well result in additional years of continual
poor search engine rankings and a lack of sales.

So how do you build back links? Below is a short list of some of
the most common ways to increase your back links: – Offer
something truly helpful that may inspire others to link to you
without even asking. – Hire a website positioning firm to help
you write and distribute press releases and articles to
thousands of sites. – Ask business partners, vendors,
distributors, family members, golf partners, etc. to link to
you. – Ask non-profit organizations if they would post a
“contributor” link to you in exchange for a small donation. -
Offer quotes and testimonials to sites you are comfortable with
in exchange for a direct link to your site. – Exchange links
with websites (but stay within your industry and away from
automated programs). – Purchase text link ads (costly, typically
$20/month each and up – but may be worth it for the right
industry). – Submit to quality directories whose listings are
known to show up as valid back links (excellent value).

Do you need thousands of links? Not necessarily. You may not
even need hundreds. Everyday, we perform competitive back-link
research and people are often shocked at how little it would
take to rise above their competitors. Even if you are in a
fairly competitive industry, there are often select search terms
that may be far less competitive than others. This is why it is
helpful to partner with an experienced search engine positioning
company who can aid you in strategic decisions.


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  • Posted On June 26, 2006
  • Published articles 283513

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