As discussed here before on the Adept blog, there are 2 main pieces of SEO - On-Site and Off-Site.
On-Site SEO basically refers to all of the keyword targeting that happens within the content, title tags, meta descriptions, and internal linking structure of a website. Off-Site SEO, also known as Link Building, refers to the expanded SEO effort when exploring for quality "link-backs" from credible and relevant external websites.
I'd like to take this opportunity to talk about the latter...Off-Site SEO (aka Link Building).
The underlying reason that search engines reward "link-backs" to websites is because it would be very difficult to determine which websites should rank higher than others if they have similar keyword targets and on-site SEO efforts. Google's driving purpose as a search engine is to continually provide the most relevant, high-quality results for users when they perform keyword searches. Knowing this, Google had to look to other sources to help them qualify and rank websites...that's where off-site SEO comes in.
Every time an external website provides a link-back to another website, Google views that as 1 vote of confidence. An analogy that I make is that Google views these links as recommendations and referrals...just like someone would have to provide for a job interview. The more credible the referral source (external website) is, the more weight that vote gets. This helps Google use popular consensus when deciding on who is the most relevant result for any specific search.
So, now that you have an idea as to what link building is and why it's valuable...here is a quick view into how Adept Marketing does it for clients:
On-Site Link Building
As mentioned, this is something that happens on-site but can easily be qualified as link building. What needs to happen here is to build as many internal links as possible pointing from page to page in order to show the search engines which page targets which keywords. One tactic for this is to build out links in the footer of a site pointing to all the services/product pages by using the main target keyword phrase for each page (e.g. a link saying "SEO Columbus Ohio" should point to the page on the site relating to SEO services in Columbus, Ohio...like on the Adept site).
External Link Building
This strategy covers an exponential amount of tactics to go about obtaining high-quality, credible link-backs to a website. The key is to find the most popular and reputable referral sources. Here are a few favorites:
- Social Media - It was recently reported that 7% of the Google search engine ranking algorithm is built on social media references. Valuablesocial media profiles to create and link-back to a site include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Google Plus. Some others are Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit, Delicious, SlideShare, Wikipedia, MySpace, Meetup, hi5, etc. The traditional social media buttons to include on a website are Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, YouTube, and LinkedIn. These buttons encourage and make it easy for visitors to get and stay connected with you and your business through different channels.
- Business Directories - There are plenty of local business directories to submit to including Google Places, Yelp, MapQuest, FourSquare, CitySearch, Yahoo Local, etc.
- Web Directories - There are also plenty of these more general Internet directories, such as Dmoz.com, Jayde.com, Chiff.com, PearlTrees.com, Business.com/directory, GlobalSpec, SearchSight, JoAnt, and ExactSeek. It's always a good idea to get a mix of paid and free directory submissions so that the search engines see a balanced level of effort. Obviously, the paid directories can be a bit more exclusive.
- Blog Posts - Blogs are a fantastic way to create and share unique content online. Blogs that can be as strategic and targeted as you'd like to make them. There are a lot of bloggers that write about their own life experiences and are just looking for an outlet to express themselves, which is great. Writing for the purpose of SEO value is a bit different though because the goal is to create original, creative, and sharable content relating to a specific topic. This can prove to be very valuable because the search engines love to see fresh, new, sharable content online.
- News-worthy Press Releases - Another tactic for creating SEO link-back value is by utilizing PR channels to promote press releases.
The list goes on-and-on for link building opportunities online. The key for building quality, relevant links to a website is to always keep in mind the philosophy of "give to receive". If you can provide valuable, sharable content then you can obtain links from many sources easily.
Happy Link Building!!