Too many people think that good SEO is about structuring your site a certain way and flooding your page with keywords. In actuality, more than 50% of your site’s ability to rank for whatever keywords you’re trying to rank for comes from off-site factors. The biggest piece of that is the quantity and quality of links into your site. And that’s the hard part—how do you get other people with other sites to link to your site?
Link building, as the process is called, can be done in a variety of ways along the spectrum of white hat (good guy) and black hat (bad guy). White-hat SEO techniques tend to leverage and expand upon a business’s other marketing, PR, social media, and content development efforts. Black-hat SEO methods include things like purchasing large volumes of links on irrelevant sites, or posting low-quality content with links to your site on lots of different sites. Black hat techniques have the “advantage” of being fairly hands-off for the business, “solving” the ranking problem by throwing money at it. But the search engines hate this sort of thing, and are always working on ways to discount these techniques.
So what’s a good guy to do? Build links the old-fashioned way, by earning them. And there are a thousand ways of doing this. Get a mention in the online press. Create good content on a blog that people want to link to. Contribute an article to someone else’s blog and have it link back to your site. Provide a cool badge for your sales partners to put on their site that links back to you. I could go on, and on, and on. But I don’t have to.
Jon Cooper at Point Blank SEO has created an exhaustive list of techniques for encouraging links to your site. And what’s particularly awesome about this list is that it’s filterable—by the value of the link, the time to execute, and the dependency on other company resources. This is a great list to review if you’re thinking of investing some time in link-building yourself or if you want to understand what a hired SEO will (or should) be doing, and why SEO services are so expensive. Kudos Jon, for a great list.