Posted by Mitch Mitchell on May 10, 2010
Almost every SEO article you read talks about the importance of link building. They say that you have to create organic ways of getting people to link to you to build your prominence.
They say if you can get one way links that you’ll be in a much better position than trading links. Even Google said that they base their rankings, invalid as they are, on the number of people who link to you without your linking back to them.
What’s happened because of all this talk? I keep getting people writing me and wanting to link to many of my websites, including my business websites. They look at the PR (page rank) on those sites, which is pretty good, and think that by offering me the “opportunity” to trade links with them that it will work out great for me. They may even look at the Alexa rank, which is almost always better than theirs, even if they have high PR (that’s one reason why I question PR) and think they can snow me.
There are many myths that are related to link building. Many of the ideas people come up with don’t work. Some things people believe about link building aren’t true either. Let’s look at some of these things.
1. Link building will automatically boost your site’s prominence. That’s not quite true, although it is partially true. There’s this thing called relationship link building. That means if you link to a page on pink elephants and your blog or website is about quantum physics, you’re not going to get much bounce from that. Whereas if you link to a page that’s related to yours, you’ll get some benefit out of it.
Actually, sometimes linking to a site that doesn’t have much to do with your topic, but helps highlight something you want to be known for, is beneficial to you. For instance, on my business site, I tell people what I do, which works pretty well. However, I also wanted people to know I was based in Syracuse. So I linked to Syracuse and highlighted it, and if one looks me up and adds Syracuse I come up pretty high on the list as well.
2. All related links to your page are going to boost your site’s prominence. You’d think this would be true, but in actuality it’s not always true. I don’t know if you’ve ever gotten one of these requests from someone. Every once in awhile the subject on another site or blog seems like it might be a good fit. That is, until you take a good look at that site. Try to see if you can find the page they’re telling you they’re going to put you on from the main page. Most of the time you can’t because what they’ve done is thrown in a page that doesn’t link to any of their other pages, but is on their site. You don’t get any benefit from that at all; that’s one of those one-way link tricks that benefits them, and it’s sneaky.
3. If I don’t get enough external links, I’m not going to have any good rankings at all. That’s not true, and I’ll give you the perfect example. I’ve mentioned it before, but who’s checked out W3C? That stands for the World Wide Web Consortium, and they’re the folks who pretty much create and monitor the standards for how the web is supposed to work, including coding. They have almost no external links at all; pretty much everything they do is internal.
They’re the masters at internal linking, and the best example for the rest of us. When it comes to page rank, their main page is 10/10. Their Alexa rank, as of when I wrote this, is 479. It’s in looking at that page that I knew that internal linking was the way to go, which is why I often link to my own content on this blog. A few people use a WordPress plugin to do it, but I’d rather do it myself. This way I can bring up some very old posts or newer posts, and hopefully it’ll be more relevant if I do it myself than if software does it. Maybe not, though; sometimes you just have to get a little silly.
Link building is a big deal, but not in the way you might think it is. I’d start off working through your internal linking first, because it’s the main thing you can control. If you still feel the need to do backlink building, at least do it intelligently and ethically.