It was estimated that there are more than 600 million websites in the world as at April 2013. That’s a lot of websites indeed. Forget the fact that only 30% of these websites are active. That still leaves over 180 million websites which are active. And yours is just one among all of these.
If you are like many other website owners anxious to draw in traffic to their websites, you will definitely have asked the question “How do I improve my raking on the search engines?”. You probably have read a lot of search engine optimization (SEO) articles and have put in efforts to increase your website’s SEO.
Today, there’s more and more people who are increasingly using the search engines like Google (compared to other means like Yellow Pages) to find information, products or services. Studies have shown that 80% of search engines users don’t look past the first page of search results. Thus, ranking high for keywords related to your website’s topics is essential to bring in new visitors.
One of the methods to increase a website’s SEO ranking is by building links.
The “old” link building methods
Here’s a brief history on link buildings. Prior to 2012, beginner web marketers were advised to link their websites or web pages through a few common methods like:
Exchanging links with other blogs or websites
You put your friends’ links on your website while they reciprocate on their websites. This method no longer works and will backfire. Do not do this!
Commenting on other blogs especially popular ones
When you comment, you leave your website address’ link so the more you comment, the more links there are.
Actively participated in forums
Many website marketers create profiles in forums related to their websites’ niches and when they post something on the forums, their profiles are linked to their websites.
These were good advices until people started misusing them. Spam comments and fake forum profiles are just a few of the link building tricks some marketers used to manipulate their websites’ ranking.
What happened in 2012?
As there were increasingly more people using black-hat SEO tricks (as they are so-called) to unfairly influence their search engine ranking, in April 2012, Google announced Google Penguin, a new algorithm update which will lower a website’s SEO ranking should they be found or suspected to violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Many websites were caught in it and saw their ranking plummeted.
What Google wants in the end is that great websites with great content should get higher ranking compared to poor quality websites with spam articles. If not, then Google’s searches will be taken over by spammers and hence, will lose their users. This was partly what happened to Alta Vista, one of the first few search engines in the world.
So how should you build links?
Don’t worry, there are still ways to build links to your website. You should not continue with the “old” methods of links building.
Take for example, link exchange. You should stop this practice immediately, and try your best to contact your link partners to remove your links as soon as possible.
If however you have good reasons to continue with this practice, you should avoid link partners who are not relevant to your website or are part of a link trading network. Choose websites who are of good quality and have high ranking. Keep this in mind – don’t choose links for the sake of boosting your SEO ranking. Instead, choose those who are seen as a relevant resource to your audience.
Here are 2 other ways that you can build good quality incoming links to your website.
Guest blogging (also known as guest posting) is one of the most effective methods to build links and thus, drive traffic. It is also one of the most popular way to build links.
Owners of websites will invite you, a fellow website owner (which will be known as a guest writer), to write an article and have it published on their website. In return for your effort, the article will include an introduction of you as the guest writer as well as one or two links to your website. These links can be in the form of an author box (usually at the end of an article) or rarely a link within the article itself.
The most important thing to remember when guest blogging on other blogs is to write good quality posts which are relevant to both your website and the website you post on. After all, Google is looking for quality rather than quantity! Oh, do make sure the article you write is unique.
Write Quality Articles
Other websites are also seeking quality articles. So if you can create a high quality article that’s unique and useful, other websites will be more than happy to link to you on their websites.
Remember that picking the right keyword is very important. Find a keyword that you would like to rank for. It needs to be relevant to your website and try not to pick a keyword that is too competitive. You can use Google Keyword Planner to help you.
In this case, it pays to build relationships with fellow bloggers as well as those whose websites share your interests. Send them an email with a link to your article. Suggest that they too write an article on the same topic and link to yours. Anyway, don’t insist. Let them decide and if they do not want to do anything about it, move on and try on another website.
Now, if you are following closely on Google’s updates or what SEO experts have been saying, you will note that Google has recently updated their search algorithm to include new link building rulings for guest blogging. The essence of this new ruling is that guest blogging for the sole purpose of SEO link buildings (and less of bringing quality experience to readers and customers) will be penalized!
Naturally, the next thing we would ask is whether this will affect our website and if yes, how. To answer this question, stay tuned on our blog and read our upcoming topics.