How links TO your website helps your SEO ranking

SEO Linking two websites

When another website has a link that goes to your website, that is good.  The search engines have a tough job.  Just like you, they want to refer the better companies to their “customers” (searchers) because it is a reflection on them.  But, how do they know who is the better companies to put at the top of the list?

The basics of SEO and how link-building helps you

Most of the work for your website to rise to the top spots in the search engines is done within your website.  There are 100’s of places in a website that can be used to help Google and the other search engines to understand where you belong in their indexes.  When many websites have equally or closely optimized their websites to each other, Google then needs to look outside the websites to see who should be at the top.

The SE’s reason it this way: if a company has a healthy and broader footprint on the web, they must be a more substantial company and they want to match those companies to the searchers that are looking for them.

The first way they figure out how broad your web footprint is to look at how many other websites have a link to yours.  It takes time to develop links at other sites and they naturally grow over time.  Each link out on the web to your website is a vote for your site to go up the list.  This makes it important for you to develop links on other websites.  There are many ways to develop these backlinks, but it is very important to point out that buying back links is now a dangerous method.

A BIG word of caution on back-links

Google wants you to develop back links to your website, but the don’t want you to unfairly create them by purchasing them.  They want them to occur naturally as the normal course of being in business.  Today, websites that have purchased links from “Link Farms” and other services are being penalized.  In other having back links from websites that Google believes are link farms can actually damage your standing in the search engines.  This demonstrates Google’s commitment to making sure the competition is fair and only truly good companies will rise to the top.  Keep in mind for the future, if you think a shortcut to getting to the top of SE’s is the way to go, it soon will work against you as Google develops better ways to detect fake tactics like this.  They simply want your site to compete fairly.

Take-Away for this article:

Go out and ask for links and add your listing to your websites on other websites.  For most small businesses websites (like we usually build) you won’t just get links to your site because of your content — usually.  You’ll get links to your site from companies you deal with, other local businesses, your chamber of commerce, the yellow page listings, Yelp listing, and other websites.  A good technique to find good places to link your website is to do a search on your competitors back links.  Then look into getting a link built with them too.  You can do this by going to Google and searching like this: “link:www.yourwebsite.com” (change yourwebsite to your website’s domain).  This will give you a list of links that lead to your domain name.  Looking at those links may lead you to the websites where you can add your link or ask for a link to be added.

A note about link attracting content

When your website has some article, service or product (content) that other people find interesting, they will add links to their blogs, websites, social media and forum postings on the web.  That is very good and some of the best quality link building.  The challenge for many small businesses is creating content that truly attracts links.  You know, it’s kind of hard to get a link to a Camarillo plumber’s website, who’s going to link to it?  Well, if you’re creative, you can write articles or controversial reviews on products, methods or services that people find interesting.  When you publicize this on Social Media, you can create a little buzz.  That in turn can get you links.  It’s important to realize though, it is a genuine challenge for small companies to create that buzz naturally.  You must apply yourself to figure out how to stimulate this buzz that returns links.