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Link Building: What it is and Why does it Matter?

Like many of my site visitors, I am still trying to master this important, yet controversial topic. Link Building is important because search engines use the number and value of links coming into your site to determine your site's ranking. It's controversial because some internet marketers have promoted strategies that can actually get you banned by search engines.

Michael Cheney, author of The Website Marketing Bible, describes linking as the DNA of the Internet, and says that if linking didn't exist, there would be no Internet.

Link building graphicIn 2003 Dr. Ralph Wilson of Web Marketing Today, interviewed Eric Ward, who he described as the world's authority in the field of linking strategies. Ward said in the interview that many people are interested in link building strategies as a way to improve their ranking in search engines, but they overlook the extra traffic good links can bring to a site on their own. Ward cautioned that all links are not equal when it comes to improving your site's popularity with search engines. You can read the full interview at

Essentially, it matters how relevant the site is to your content and how well the site is viewed by Google and important directories. It does you no good to trade links with web sites that have little in common with your content. In fact it can actually hurt your site's ranking. You wouldn't want to do it for another reason too: You're looking to attract people to your website who are interested in your content. Attracting a bunch of untargeted traffic will do you little good.

To get started with your link building strategy you should:

  • Profile your customers to determine the types of products or services they buy.
  • You also want to determine what sites they visit right before or just after they land on your site.
  • Identify web sites or companies that offer products and services that are complementary to yours.
  • Keep the purpose of your link building campaign in mind: every link in is going to send you customers and boost your search engine rankings.
  • Cheney says think of these reciprocal links as customers referring you links.

Start with the search engines to find complementary sites, by typing in keywords that relate to your site's theme, says Merle Stinnet, Ezinearticles author of "And You Thought Popularity Only Mattered in High School." In her article, Stinnet uses the analogy of the popular kids in high school who everyone wanted to be around. In essence, to attract a lot of traffic to your site, you have to build its popularity. Stinnet mentions a number of products you might want to consider to help you with your link building strategies.

I mentioned earlier that there are marketers pushing linking strategies that could pose problems for your website. Understanding which strategies are appropriate is not easy. To get a better idea you might want to read 131 (Legitimate) Link Building Strategies by Robin Nobles, Eric Ward and John Alexander. The article published in an abridged form by Ezine Articles links to the full 12,000 word article where you can find a plethora of information about link building.

Marcia Ming


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