The Right Way and The Wrong Way of External Link Building



What Is The Ultimate External Link Building Strategy?



The Right Way and The Wrong Way of
External Link Building



If you desire to ignite your social media with passion and turn it into a profit, you must set the basics in order. One basic is content optimization and SEO. Believe it or not, all SEO’s were newbies at one time or another; plus there is a always more room to learn for everybody.

The last time we saw how links help search engines love your website and reward you with higher ranking. This week, we’ll build on our discussion of link-building activity.

Building quality links back to your website not only improves your overall popularity in the eyes of the search engines, but also improves your search engine visibility. Perhaps you’re questioning, as most people do: How do I get links pointing back to my site when I have no control over other websites out there?

The good news is that because links come in different forms, they can be generated from different tactics. There are some easy ways to build links. One that you’ll want to implement first is having an online presence in web directories.

Register on Relevant Web Directories

A common way of generating links is by registering your website on different web directories. But keep in mind that you want to be extremely selective about the directories in which your business information and links appear.

I would recommend, for instance, the Yahoo directory as a great place to start. If your business or ministry is local, submit your information to local business directories.

Next, if there are industry-specific directories and listing services that are trusted and unique to your market, register on those directories, too.

Don’t put yourself on listings and directories that exist solely to generate links. There are many spam directories on the Internet and very few are actually trustworthy.

A good guideline to follow is to determine whether or not the directory conducts some form of editorial process that reviews each link and accepts only relevant and trusted websites themselves. If a directory is willing to publish any link without review, it’s probably not a reliable directory. Another easy way to get links to your site is to use social media platforms to direct readers back to your content.

Share Content on Social Media

It is crucial to gain links from social media sharing. People are social beings and are eager to share interesting content on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.

Social media links signal the search engines to what content people actually like and what real people are actually interested in. So use those sharing buttons on content pages and use your own social influence on the networks you participate in to promote links to your content so it is passed around. Leveraging your social connections to alert readers that you have posted new constant is an effective way to build links. But don’t stop there.

Reach Out to Other Relevant and Trustworthy Sites

Another way of building links is to attract other websites to link to your content. The key factor here is that your content must attract notice and appreciation – in other words it must be high quality content. Sometimes great content naturally invites great links as a result of people discovering and sharing it. But more frequently, you will need to do a little outreach to motivate people to discover your content.

Look for other websites that have the same audience as you. For example, if you have a social media website, seek out some of the top-notch people who post content that is relevant to yours, such as, Kim Garst, Jeff Bullas or Pam Moore. Reaching out to them and demonstrating that you have content that their readers might find useful could result in a link back from them – a very relevant and trustworthy link. Building links can be time-consuming and difficult. There will always be temptations to take shortcuts. But you know better than to do that, right?

Stay Safe

There are also wrong ways to build links. If you question whether you are cheating the system, don’t do it. Being caught is inevitable and real consequences follow. It could mean the end of your online business.

Because the Internet is constantly changing and evolving, the search engines are too. As quickly as a link scam can be devised, the search engines find a way to detect it.

Don’t fall prey to companies that sell links. Don’t trade links with strangers who have no relevance to your business or content. If it’s too easy, it will probably get you in trouble.

And don’t put yourself on listings and directories that exist solely to get you more links. You will not find quality links from these sources. As with most things, common sense will keep you out of trouble.

To Sum It Up

Although much about the Internet has changed, the importance of links has remained intact: quality and insightful content will always attract readers who will in turn want to pass along the valuable information you’ve provided. As long as your link building tactics keep these key elements in mind, you will continue to have the opportunity to build new quality links.


How To Link Your Way to SEO-Love


How To Link Your Way to SEO-Love


Links are one of the most important aspects to getting search engines to love your site. Links are a key activity of search engine processes. Search engines crawl the Internet, accessing pages throughout the world, in search of linkages between pages.

What is a link?

Links are recognizable by their underlined blue text. When you click on the text, your browser follows the link to another page – sometimes to another site, sometimes within the same site. Links represent confidence in the pages to which they link. By providing the link, the linking site is saying, “This site is an authority on its topic and is to be trusted.” But from the search engine’s perspective, not all links carry the same weight of authority and trustworthiness. Understanding how search engines evaluate links can help you rank higher in search results.

What is the relationship between links and SEO?

Your search engine visibility is improved by increasing how frequently other sites link to your site. If no other websites link to yours, the search engines interpret it as lack of trust in your site and your site will not show up well in the search results. A search engine favours sites that have earned links and authority. But you can have all the links in the world, and it won’t benefit your placement in search engine results if those links are not of high quality. The two most important aspects of links are:

1. The number of links pointing to your site
2. The quality of those links

The greater number of quality links that you have pointing to your website from other websites, the more authoritative your site will be to search engines.

What makes links high quality?

1.  Search engines assess the quality of a link by looking for its relevance to the content of the page to which it links.

A parenting blog linking to a website for children’s clothing, is a quality link. The search engine recognizes the relationship between
the two subject areas or themes.

However, if a political blog were to link to a site for children’s clothing, it would be a stretch to come up with how they are related.
Because there is no thematic connection between the two, a search engine may not place as much value on that link.

2. Search engines also look at the link text itself. The text that you click on, also known as anchor text, should be descriptive of the theme or subject area of the destination page.

For example the link content optimization, is a strong indication that the page to which it links is about content optimization.
Without going to the page, the search engine knows what to expect.

Avoid creating links that use anchor text such as click here or link. Unless the link page is really about clicking here or links, it does not give the search engine relevant information about the link page.

We have discussed links back to your site from people and websites that you do not control. These external links are important and need to be cultivated. But search engines also look at links within the pages of your site. To get the search engine to love your site, you will need to make use of both navigational and contextual links.

Navigational and Contextual Links

Be sure to make the most of the links over which you have complete control – links within your website. Internal linking helps search engines understand the structure of your website, the topics and themes of your content and even the relative importance of each page on your site. An internal link helps the search engines to understand topical relevancy between pages and the importance of a page by the quantity of internal links pointing to it.

There are two different types of internal links: navigational and contextual.

Every website has navigation links. They are typically located at the top of a webpage and serve as a table of contents or guide to the site. Search engines analyze navigation links to determine the hierarchy of pages that drill down from your home page. This tells the search engine how your content is organized and whether the structure of your site is flat or deep.

Contextual links are the links referencing the content of one page on a site to the content of another page on the same site. Contextual links help users to cross-reference relevant information, but they also help search engines. Search engines can look at the anchor text of an internal link to help it understand the content of the page to which the link points.

When you are building your website, make sure that you give some thought to the navigational elements that you will use across all of your pages. And when you are writing content, make sure that you are taking advantage of linking to other pages on your site with contextual links that use appropriate anchor texts.

To Sum It Up

By taking advantage of linking opportunities, you’ll get more SEO-love and the users of your website will love it too!

What is Content Optimization?




What is Content Optimization?


As a beginner in online marketing, phrases such as “content optimization” might want to make you run the other way. Although it sounds intimidating, the truth is content optimization is a technical term for a process that is based in common sense. It is the process of improving the quality and relevancy of your website content. Think about it: you want to attract the right visitors to your site and provide them with quality information in an easy-to-use format – that’s content optimization. It’s an ongoing task which will help your website rank higher for pertinent keywords and will also better engage visitors to your site.

Content must serve two masters: It must be valuable to the users of the content (website visitors) and it must “play nice” with search engines. As we publish content over time, we constantly fine-tune it to best serve both visitors and search engines. So, what makes content good?

What Are the Characteristics of Good Content?

When we think about content optimization, keep in mind that we are optimizing our content so that it benefits both users and search engines. And we’re focusing on themes and building trust.


Let’s imagine that we searched on “flight cancellations due to Hurricane Sandy.” We choose a search result near the top of the list, click through and begin reading. But instead of information about flight cancellations we read about the extensive damage in heavily populated states including New York and New Jersey; we learn about power outages in the affected areas; we see pictures of the storm’s devastation; and perhaps flight cancellations were briefly mentioned. All important, accurate and informative, but…

Even though there was a great deal of information in the article, there was really no central theme and the information was not relevant to our search topic: “flight cancellations due to Hurricane Sandy.”

Both website visitors and search engines expect a theme – the more specific your focus, the better. No one wants to wade through layers of generality when they are seeking specific answers. More importantly, both website visitors and search engines want content that is trustworthy.


If we are searching for a resource about “flight cancellations due to Hurricane Sandy” and we end up with details of the storm, but nothing helpful about flight cancellations, we will mark that resource off our list. We will not trust it to provide similar information in the future and may therefore never visit the site again.

On the other hand if the website gives us specific and relevant content that helps us find out if our flight has been cancelled, how to apply for a refund, alternate forms of transportation between points, that’s a website that we will remember the next time we have similar questions. And we trust the answers we’ve found. We will return to the site.

When people find content that they like, they also share it. Search engine programs can detect the sharing of information and view it as a sign of trust. The more they see that visitors trust your site, the more they reward your site with search engine visibility. But search engine rankings also take into account the content of blog posts and pages.

Blog Posts and Pages

In WordPress, there are both posts and pages. Each is used for a different purpose. Posts are for composing blog entries. A blog post is like a newspaper. The content of a blog is updated frequently.

Pages, on the other hand, are for content that does not change frequently – in short for all non-blog content. Pages titled such as “About us,” “Contact us,” etc. provide a way to quickly navigate your website. Together, they communicate the reason your site exists, and the kind of customers or readers you want to serve. Just like blog posts, pages have keywords and the content of pages can be optimized.

As you begin to build content around keywords, you will be developing content for multiple pages on your website. It is important to structure these pages in a meaningful way, so that search engines understand how the pages relate to each other.

The job of the search engine is much like going to a new shopping mall for the first time. You don’t have a clue where shops are located and you must learn its layout. You are looking for the newest gadgets for phones, tablets and laptops. Fortunately this mall has a great directory to show you where the Apple store is located. Once inside the Apple store, you’ll need to be directed to the section that has what you are looking for.

Now, imagine that you repeat this process to learn the entire layout of this new mall. You figure out the location of every store, what store it is next to, what items each sells, the closest restaurant, and even where the restrooms are! You know this mall inside and out.

This is exactly what a search engine does. It crawls and navigates your entire website to know what’s there, where it is located within the site and how it relates to the other things on the site. So, you see, effectively optimizing the content and organization of your website is critical.

Content Optimization: Not Just For Text

We generally think of content as text, but it also includes images. On my website, the “Meet Olga” page has not only text, but also a picture of my husband and me. The image helps you, the reader, to understand who I am, where I live, what I do and why I built this website. While the text on this page tells you some things about me, it’s likely that when you think about my website you might remember the image more than the text. Feelings and emotions are better communicated through images. Video is another form of content that can be used to optimize a webpage. I don’t YET have videos on my website, but we all have experienced the immediacy of a video. The rich visual experience and sound of videos can communicate at a level that images and text alone cannot.

The key to content optimization is using the type of content that will be effective, useful and helpful for your specific audience. While the search engines may bring visitors to your website, once they are there, you must engage them and ultimately convert them to your business goals. Using a mix of the most effective content type will surely help the experience of your visitors.

To Sum It Up

• Content optimization is an ongoing task

• Content must be valuable to the users of the content (website visitors) and it must “play nice” with search engines

• Good content is organized around a theme and builds trust

• Blog posts and pages must be optimized

• Texts, images and videos are ways to optimize your content

Are you new to content optimization? Let us help you get started! We are here to serve you.


Two Fundamentals of SEO: Relevance and Authority



Two Fundamentals of SEO:
Relevance and Authority


Have you ever thought about how much the Internet has changed since the first page was posted online some twenty years ago? Next to email, what we do most with the Internet is search. Searching is the gateway to everything we do online. Wherever you type a word or phrase (search term) into a box, press enter and wait for a list of results, there’s a search engine at work.

The topic of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can become technical and complicated very quickly.Perhaps you just started blogging and need to progress in your SEO knowledge, concept-by-concept, continually building your mastery without becoming overwhelmed. This blog post is for you. We’ll demystify and simplify SEO so you’ll understand how it factors into the success of your website. But first, we’ll quickly set the stage for how a search engine works.

How A Search Engine Works

A search engine process has three components:

• an input phrase or search term (the words typed into the search box)
• an algorithm or the step-by -step procedure used to find matches to the search term
• the results, a listing of websites with links that relate to the search term

Now we understand the components of the search engine process, we next want to know what we can do to “play nice” with the search engine so that our site is listed high in the results when certain search terms are entered.

What Is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization is simply making improvement on and off your website in order to gain more exposure in the search engines results which will ultimately lead to more visitors finding you for the right reasons and then going to your website. Search engines constantly scan the Internet, cataloging and classifying all its content. And then it quickly delivers relevant and authoritative results relating to the search term.

What Is Relevance?

When the search term “social media” is entered, a search engine wants to show a list of results that are relevant to the topic of “social media.” So in a split second, it scans all the relevant pages and loads this data into its algorithm. But how is relevance determined in the first place?

In the split second that the search engine is evaluating pages, it is also evaluating many other factors including how the content is written. Search engines make a very clear distinction between content that is about “social media” versus content that is relevant to other search terms such as “social media tools” or “social media platforms.” While “search engine” is a semantic term, “social media tools” or “social media platforms” are themes that are related to “social media.” Search engines are able to pick up both semantic and thematic connections between words and concepts.

Here’s another example: A search engine picks up webpages that contain content about coaching are extremely relevant to the search term “life coaching,” but also includes websites with content about “business coaching,” “executive coaching,” “coaching skills,” and even “mentoring.” When you think about it, it’s pretty amazing what goes on behind the scenes after we press enter! But relevance is not the only attribute a search engine evaluates. It also rates the site’s authority.

And Why Do I Need To Know About Authority?

Because websites and the information they contain are, for the most part, unregulated, allowing anyone to post anything. Before including your website in its search results, the search engine will make an effort to assess whether your site is trustworthy. Does your site have authority in your topic?

A very common way that search engines determine the authority of a webpage or a domain is by evaluating the links that point to it. You can think of a link as an online vote for your site. For example, when you make a comment on this post, you will leave your link on my website. Essentially you are saying “I trust your content enough that I am willing to reference your blog and possibly even send traffic to your site.” It is a vote of trust and as the search engines scour the web reading, evaluating and storing all the data that they can find on all the pages of the Internet, they pick up on your “votes.”

A word of warning here: This is not a popularity contest with the objective of accumulating as many links as possible. That is a very bad idea! Search engines have safeguards in place to prevent such abuse. They are looking at the quality of the link; so don’t try to play games. That can actually work against you.

A search engine is more likely to trust a link coming from a well-respected or well-related site. A link from a one-month-old blog having no relevance to you or your niche, that links to a many other sites is not given the same value as a highly relevant, well-established site. From a search engine perspective, some links carry more clout than others in casting their vote for your website and determining your site’s authority or ranking.

To Sum It Up

Way to go! You have progressed in your SEO knowledge, and have laid the foundation for mastery. By understanding how a search engine works and the importance of both relevance and authority you can improve these factors on your site. In a future blog, I will cover specific things you can do to capitalize on this understanding. These improvements will ultimately lead to better search engine exposure and more visitors to your website.

Please remember to post your comments and questions. Olga Hermans VA is here to serve you. As you ask questions and make comments, it helps all of our readers to gain additional insight into the many facets of social media.

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