While having backlinks is a key factor in your search engine ranking, buying links instead of developing links organically is never a good idea.
Search engine optimization has always been one of the keys to business success in the world of Internet marketing. Also referred to as SEO, search engine optimization is the practice of making sure that your website and online content meets certain criteria that Google’s algorithm considers when it determines the ranking of sites in search results. If you can get your site to place near the top of the first page of results for your business’s keywords, you can expect increased traffic as your reward.
As a result, SEO has become a major strategic weapon for marketing your brand online. In achieving ranking, one of the most important factors are the amount of links on other websites that point to your website – known as backlinks. A popular practice in accumulating these valuable backlinks in years past has been to purchase them in mass amounts for a one-time fee. Google has since caught on to this scheme, however, and has adjusted their algorithm to battle illegitimate link clout. It’s simply no longer a good idea to buy your way onto search result pages.
Google’s Ranking Algorithm
An old mantra of SEO was that the more backlinks you had, the higher your site would rank. Therefore, many paid for links to see their ranking boost. Google’s ranking algorithm is continually being adjusted to be able to identify the methods used to obtain backlinks on your site, and the search engine will punish you with a poor rank if they determine you have purchased your backlinks. Backlinks are still a hugely important factor in determining how your site will rank on Google, but they must be created in an organic way that shows your website is supported by links you have earned.
Alternative Link Building Strategies
Instead of simply paying sites or services to create as many backlinks as possible, you need to instead focus on finding legitimate backlinking opportunities that are relevant to your website and your business. Following best practices in creating a solid link building strategy will allow your site to gain prominence naturally:
- Local PagesOne of the best methods of earning valuable backlinks involves building, maintaining, and updating your business or company’s pages on sites and services like Yahoo! Local, Bing Local, Google Local and more. These types of pages play a significant role in determining the rank of your website with these search engines while also providing an opportunity to connect with local consumers.
- Business DirectoriesSubmitting your website to business directories is a great way to build a network of links back to your content. Think of local chambers or industry associations and websites that have business directories and are relevant to your company.
- Link ExchangesAs you write content and optimize your website pages, include links to your resources, business partners, vendors, and other affiliates and ask them to do the same on their own websites. This creates a genuine online relationship and builds credibility of your exchanged links in the eyes of the search engines.
Some People Just Don’t Get It
Despite the fact that the changes to Google’s algorithm have been widely publicized, we have still seen some examples of big businesses that have made the mistake of thinking buying backlinks is a good idea. Retail giant JC Penney, for example, purchased backlinks in 2011 through a paid link network to amass links for keywords like “living room furniture.” Everything worked exactly according to plan for a few hours, until Google penalized the retailer by dropping its content from #1 in searches for “living room furniture” to #68.
How to Build Backlinks in Your SEO Strategy
According to Google, there will come a time when backlinks aren’t as important to your SEO as they are now, but that day will definitely not arrive for several more years. If you’d like to find out more information about building an SEO strategy or on how to go about link building without getting penalized, contact Scale today.
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