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Do I Need More Links or Better Links?

Link building is a fine art.  So many choices, possibilities, and directions you can go in.  Starting to link build is quite simple.  Perfecting your link building can take years. Everyone wants the Holy Grail of Link Building: Page one ranking on Google, Bing, or Yahoooooo!  The inevitable question is “Do I need more links to and from my site, or better links?”  The answer is yes.  Confused?  You won’t be after this episode.

More is Better

If you don’t have any inbound or outbound links to your site, you don’t exist.  While this may seem harsh, as far as the major search engines go, that is reality.  You must be linking to other sites from your own, and having your site linked to from other sites.  That shows that you are a valuable website both in terms of your own popularity and your worth in leading seekers to other high quality content.  So, you are like Lebron James.  You can be relied on to score big for your team, and also counted on to dish it off to your fellows every now and then.  The BSEs like that about you.  So then, can you just link to any random site or be linked to by any random site?  Not so fast my friends.

Better is More

Relevance is the word of the day here.  You want your outbound links to go somewhere that is relevant to your site.  It could be to a site that reviews your products, a similar site to your own, or one that sells the products you sell (at higher prices of course!).  The search engines want to be able to go to your site and jump around to other pertinent sites in the same vein.  Remember, it’s all about being part of the BSE’s “circle of trust”.   Relevance is also the key when being linked to from other sites.  If you sell sports equipment, will it be good for you to have a link from a site that sells pots and pans?  Only if you have invented a new sport with them.  How about MLB.com?  Much better. Remember, not all links are good for you.  Here are some keys to finding the right link:

  • Choose sites that have been online for many years
  • Respected sites within your particular industry get you big points
  • The popular kids give you more juice
  • Find sites with lots of inbound links already, both on the main page and deep within.
  • Sites that are faves of the Big Search Engines will make your value skyrocket.

So there you have the golden gooses you may find on your journey.  Be careful though; there be trouble here too.

Pitfall(s)

The world of link building is a jungle, just like on the old school Atari game.  You are the little man trying to get to the gold without getting eaten by crocs, falling in a tar pit, or being stung to death by a scorpion.  Here are some definite things to avoid on your journey to optimization:

  • New sites: Not yet indexed by the search engines, not good for you
  • Sparse sites: Sites that have very little content will yield very little result for you.
  • Link farms: Sites set up specifically for link building.  See also: link system, linking schemes.  These used to be a sneaky way to build links, but the agents are on to them now.
  • Placing too many outbound links on your website: This makes your site look like one of the nasty characters listed above, and the search engines will be swift to swat you down for it.
  • Building your links too quickly: I know it sounds silly, but a certain amount of preference is given to those old timers who have been in the game for awhile, earned their stripes, paid the dues, all of that.  There is a fine line between “new kid in town” and “fly-by-night”.  The big boys don’t like to walk that line.

With some skill and savvy on your part, you can avoid these obstacles and find the treasure at the end of the jungle.

As you can plainly see, you need both more links, and better links.  You also need inbound and outbound links.  The diversity and relevance of your links will help the major search engines build trust in you and therefore move you up the magical list and onto page one of the search results.  It is not meant to be a quick process, so relax, do your research and take your time.  If you do, Google and the others will eventually repay your efforts ten, twenty, or even a hundred fold.

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