It’s All About the Links

After a certain point search engine optimization is all about links.  You can only generate so much quality content or do so much on page optimization.  This isn’t to say that on page optimization is pointless, but after you spend enough time doing it, you’ll see little benefit for the amount of time you input.  Every other factor search engine ranking factor has a theoretical cap with regards to how much you can do to maximize it.  Links on the other hand are limitless.

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Linking, Commenting, & Networking

Interacting with the community of your niche is an essential step for success.  If you want people to know your website exists, then you’ll need to start engaging in these activities.

Writing superb content just doesn’t cut it anymore.  You can create a website or blog with cutting edge and novel content, but unless you promote it no one will find it.  Well, a few people might accidentally type in the url for your site and discover it, but the market you are targeting will be oblivious to your existence.  In order for people to find your website, you need to market it.

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Effective Resource Management in Link Building

If you have an infinite budget or endless amounts of time, then reading this post will be a complete waste of your time.  Before you go though, please fill me in on how one can acquire either of those.

For the rest of you, utilizing your time and budget effectively while link building can improve your return on investment in projects substantially.  There are a lot of factors to consider:

  • How much time do you have available?
  • What sort of budget do you have available?
  • What do you value your time at?
  • What is your link building plan?
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Jump Start With Yahoo Answers

Yahoo Answers is a surprisingly useful resource to give a new or existing website a shot of adrenaline.  The community is full of legitimate people, who actually answer questions, and spammers, who are abusing it for traffic and backlinks.  Yahoo does a decent job suspending (aka banning) the accounts of these spammers, but it really is a futile effort as the spammers can just make new accounts.  Another method of deterring spamming is that links on Yahoo Answers appear clickable only if the user posting is level 2 or above.  On the plus side, this banning keeps Yahoo Answers from becoming a complete cesspool.  You can choose to be a full out spammer, borderline spammer, or a more genuine user.  All will have their respective pros and cons.

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Website Trust and Authority

Website trust and authority are completely different things; they are commonly clumped together and confused.  Website trust is essentially a measure showing search engines that a website provides real value and does not engage in unethical techniques (aka blackhat seo).  Where your backlinks are from is an important factor in domain / website trust.  If you have backlinks from highly trusted editorial websites (Newspapers, universities, goverment sites, professional associations, etc.), then you will more likely be trusted than a website which only has backlinks from spammy or bad neighborhoods. 

The other side to this determining trust is who you link out to.  If you link to non-reputable and spammy resources, then your website will lose trust.  One last factor may play into the trust that is designated to a certain domain or websites; this is registration details.  Google is a registrar of domains; thus they can see who owns what domains, and they already know what these websites link to.  If the majority of your portfolio contains spammy or link farm like websites, one could make the assumption that on a whole, domains with your contact details could be flagged as having a greater chance of not being trustworthy. These are the factors that play into determining the trust a domain or website has.

Website authority is a bit simpler to understand; authority is a measure of how many website link to your domain and how these websites link to you.   Different links hold various authorities; the sum of these links and the authority associated with them determines your authority.  Google PageRank was once a good measure of authority, but it has recently been tainted by manipulative webmasters.  Google likely accounts for this tainting by adjusting the trust of these websites.  The diversity of a websites link profile is another factor.  If your website has 100 links from 1 different website, this will not be as affective at raising authority as having 100 links from 25 different websites. 

Authority can also be considered on a webpage to webpage basis compared to trust which is generally viewed as a global website factor.  A singular webpage of a website may have authority, while the rest of the website might be filled with non-authoritative content.  This touches upon the concept of deep linking and the importance of building deep links.  Domain / website authority and trust can be broken down into these concepts, but their value to a website in seo is clearly significant.

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Benefits of Being the First To Post

There is clearly a bias regarding search engines giving the webpage that exists (aka is indexed) first a boost in the search engine rankings.  Another way to look at this ranking factor is as the age of a webpage.  An older webpage is given more authority by search engines, like Google.   By being the first or one of the first to post  regarding a new upcoming topic or keyword phase, that webpage is given an advantage over a webpage that is posted a week or a month later.  When a new keyword phase first comes about, there are a few webpages in existence referencing or mentioning it.  As word starts to get around, there is a huge influx of new webpages that are created that will target this keyword phase; then the amount of webpages that are created drops down and stabilizes to a constant level, until a new fade or popularity occurs and repeats the same process. 

If you are one of the lucky and few people who first post and provide information regarding this keyword phase, your webpage will have a distinct advantage over all of the webpages that target that keyword phase.  I have seen instances where a website with little authority or age itself and a moderately aged review post with no links pointing toward it and little on page optimization outranks a well optimized and linked to post on a more authoritative domain. 

The first review post had little going for it aside from being one of the first to write a review prior to the huge spike of posts that followed.  The second website posted their review after this spike and likely ranked for this keyword phase because of their quality on page optimization, links, and the authority of the website.  In addition to the benefits provided by search engines, being the first to post also give other advantages.  When that huge spike occurs and even after as the topic dies down, people that write about it will be more likely to cite and/or link to your webpage because of its age and the visibility of it in search engines. 

Better visibility in search engines essentially means that the higher you rank for a keyword phase, the more likely people will be to link to you simply because you rank for that phase.  Granted having quality content helps increase the chances of people linking to you, even if you content is sub par compared to other websites in the rankings, people will still link to the higher ranked website more often than not.  The benefits of being the first to post are important with regards to search engine rankings and linking.  Instead of trying to catch up with all of the runaway popular keyword phrases, try to be one of the first to post about a new up and coming topic.

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