Link Building Isn’t Just For Search Engines

Link Building can be a confusing subject to many. I hear questions all the time asking if a certain link is good or bad and which link will a search engine like better. There’s another way to think about links beyond how they will be seen by a search engine.Instead think about the people who will see those links and think about the value of the link itself. The best part is it will get you traffic and most likely help when it comes to search engines as well.

There are basically two kinds of links. Inbound links and outbound links. If you consider any web page a link that points to that page from another page is an inbound link and any link on the page itself that points to another web page is an outbound link. You’re constantly having to decide whether or not to include a link on one of your pages and also having to decide if you should work to get a backlink to your page on another site. With the simple approach you can pretend that there is no such thing as a search engine and then decide if you still want that inbound link or if you still want to add that outbound link to one of your pages.

A Simple Way To Look At Inbound Links

When you’re thinking about asking another site for a link or submitting to a directory or anything really that will lead to an inbound link, ask yourself a few questions. Would people visiting that page or site find your site interesting? Would your site provide some value to them, particularly some value at that moment? Would they be likely to click on a link to your web pages while on that other site? If the answer is yes then by all means try to get a link on that page or another page on the site back to one of the pages on your site.

If you answered yes then that site is relevant to yours. Regardless of how the link looks to a search engine, people will click on that link and visit your site. Because the site they came from is related to yours they have already expressed interest in the subject of your page and site. Think for a moment why you wanted to be found in a search engine. Probably because of the traffic it can bring. If the link itself brings traffic through it haven’t you already gotten what you wanted?

It’s true there is more to making a sale than simply having traffic. You’re looking for targeted traffic. Traffic that is predisposed to buy your services and products before they get to your site. That’s what makes search traffic so desirable. You’ll be getting the same kind of traffic by following the simple method above and chances are very good the search engines will like the links as well improving your chances of being found in the results pages.

A Simple Way To Look At Outbound Links

Outbound links are important too. There was a time when webmasters were afraid to link out for fear of draining page rank. It’s as stupid now as it was then to not link out from your pages. Linking to quality sites can increase the trust a search engine has with your page and site and it can be pretty useful for your visitors too. In some cases the only way to get a link from the site you want is to give one back.

When you’re trying to decide if you should link out to another web page from your site ask yourself one question. Will your visitors find the page on the other end of that link useful? If they will add the link. If they won’t then that link does’t belong on your page. That’s all there is to it. So if the site that insists on a link back before giving you one won’t be of interest to your visitors don’t bother with it. It most likely means the link from their site isn’t as important as you think.

By linking to pages and sites that will provide value to your visitors you stay away from ‘bad neighborhoods’ that could cause harm to your site. You can’t completely control those ‘bad neighborhood’ sites linking to you, but except for extreme cases the search engines won’t penalize you if they do. If you link to them though the search engines will lose trust in your site and begin to see you as part of that same ‘bad neighborhood. Only link to sites and pages your visitors will have interest in seeing and you won’t have to worry.

Yes link building can be confusing. We all know more links are better, and many are beginning to realize that some links are better than others while some links might cause more harm than good. The details of which link is which and which link will help more with a search engine can be difficult for many to see. However, if you simplify things and think about links in terms of your visitors instead of search engines you not only make things easier for yourself, you also improve your chances of building both inbound and outbound links that the search engines will like too.

Download a free sample from my book, Design Fundamentals.

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