What is a link? Why are links important? How to increase their number? Before we can answer these questions, we must return to basics for some background knowledge.
Both business and social life of the day are rapidly relocating to the Internet, and the browser has become our meeting platform as well as a marketplace. But while the population is growing, there’s still only one front page on the computer’s screen. If you want the world to know about you, you have to find some way of getting onto that page.
Suppose you sell crocodile milk in Patagonia, and you’d like the world to know about it and buy it from you. Suppose as well that I’d like to buy it, so I open my browser, type the keywords to find out who sells crocodile milk and discover that lots of people do it in Patagonia. And I will most probably buy it from somebody on the front page. So, you’ve got to think how to convince the browser to show you first. Obviously, lots of people try to do the same, so the browser has to decide who will be the lucky ones.
Search Engine Optimization
Several strategies have been designed to assist the browser with the task, and these are collectively known as Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. One of the key strategies is to count the number of times your site or page has been visited or referred to in order to assess your popularity. Needless to say, the most popular ones will be shown first.
A reference to you from another site or page is called a hyperlink, or just a link for short. It may be just a word about you with your internet address. It may also be a direct link to your page, which is called an anchor. I click on a word, and it opens your page. The main thing is, your site has been visited.
That is, the browser’s engine counts your links, and the more links you have, the higher on the priority list you are, until one day you find yourself on the front page, to your crocodile’s satisfaction.
In other words, you’ve got to think where and how to accumulate a large number of links in order to impress your browser, and this is precisely what link building means. Of course, you may spend your lifetime waiting for the world to appreciate your crocodile, but the problem is, it could take your lifetime literally. Plus, we might never even know about it if we don’t see you on the front page. So, what we’re really talking about here is how to build your links artificially. Several strategies have been tried by Links-Stream service, and we will look at the most common ones.
Shopping for links
The first and most obvious idea is to buy the links. They’re not expensive, and it doesn’t require much effort. You pay peanuts to some copywriter to place your ad in his blog or even just to include an anchor to your site in one of his articles. The problem is, the entire game is too easy to see through, and the search engines have become clever enough not to buy it. You’ve got to do more than that.
Begging for links
So you decide to reach out to us and let us know about your site. It may look like you advertise yourself, but you don’t. Keep in mind that you’re not really concerned with our actual appreciation at this stage. You’re collecting the links in order to impress the browser, and if we click on your page, it’s good enough.Which is why e-mailing has been the most common way to do that. I find a letter from you in my inbox, click on the reference to your page, and that’s it. You’ve just received another link. All you have to do is send many letters regularly.
The good thing about it is, it’s comparatively easy to do, provided you’ve managed to find some technological means of generating a humongous number of letters automatically. Plus, it’s decent enough since you don’t deceive anybody, nor cause any harm. The downside is, if you can’t make it gripping, it begins to resemble spam letters and eventually does become actual spam. And again, search engines have learnt not to count it as true links.
One common variation on the theme is to discover your potential audience in social networks and elsewhere in order to bombard them with information about you and links to your site. The difference between this strategy and true marketing is, you’re still shopping for links, so the same pros and cons apply in this case too.
You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours
One less conspicuous way to build links has received a sophisticated name PBN. Effectively, an entire network of sites join in a mutual project of linking to each other from theit pages. The idea seems to work well enough, and there is no deception involved. You’re my doctor, and I’m your teacher. You recommend me to potential students, and I give your number to my friends when they need medical attention.
Nevertheless, you’re still hunting for links here, and it may look more or less unreliable. But the main disadvantage of this strategy is, people are bound to discover that you’re in tandem with each other sooner or later, and when that happens, all your mutual references will fly out the window in a batch. One thing is almost guaranteed though: even if they never discover your PBN, the search engine surely will.
Eventually, you might decide to just let us know about you in order to build your links via genuine popularity. In other words, your link building becomes proper self-marketing. Incidentally, this happens to be the most powerful strategy today. You learn the techniques of successful marketing, introduce yourself on appropriate sites and obtain permission from the hosts to include an anchor linking to your page.
Now that you know what links are, and how SEO works, you might start thinking how to build your own links. The strategy you choose will, of course, depend on your personal style. And your crocodile.