Highlights of us in the news
When Google first popularized the concept of ranking sites based partly on the site's link popularity, the logic was that the most deserving sites would naturally have the most quality links to them. Essentially, any site could be optimized for a certain keyword phrase, but unless other sites validated this page by linking to it, it would not rank highly. This, of course, led marketers to question how they could improve their link popularity.
The answer is just as advertising, sponsorships, and public relations work accomplish this in the offline world, so do they in the online world. Further, since all of the major search engines now utilize some form of link popularity as a factor in ranking sites, improving a site's link popularity is a very important part of a search engine marketing campaign.
At Catanich, our process for improving a site's link popularity can vary greatly from client to client, but it often takes on the following structure.
The first step in the link enhancement process is identifying potential link opportunities. In this process we manually check the "back links" for competitive sites that are ranking well for your desired terms. Specifically, we enter your key search phrases, click on the top ranking sites, and then review who is linking to them and why. After doing this for a number of phrases, we will have a pretty good feel for where the best link opportunities lie. Once complete, this information is presented to the client for review. Common link opportunities include:
Having identified potential link partners, we can now turn to requesting, purchasing, or exchanging links. In an ideal world, every site would want to link to your site simply because it was informative, helpful, and useful to their readers. In reality, links often need to be purchased or exchanged.
Specialty directories will often list qualified sites for free as they are looking to provide good content and attract more visitors to their own sites. They typically save the top spots for advertisers, but many directories can still provide some link popularity. Also, distributors, agents and suppliers will often link to your site for free as they stand to benefit from your success. Your PR work can also provide free links, but there are typically expenses associated with creating and distributing the news releases.
For most of our client sites, there are often numerous "on topic" sites that will sell them ad space, banner ads or just plain text links. The key is in prioritizing these based on:
Many sites that sell ads or listings offer absolutely no link popularity (page rank) transfer. The links often show up on pages buried deep in their site or are redirected through a secondary database.
Many our new clients ask us if they've lost page rank, SERP position or traffic on Google because they were detected to be buying or selling links. Over the years, Google's generally never penalized sites for selling links and in most cases would only prevent the links from passing PageRank.
In year 2008, this has changed. If you sell links, Google might penalize your site in the SERP rankings and drop the Page Rank score of your site. The reasoning is simple, a web site that has no page rank will have no links of value to sell. And if you have bought these links, you have bought a link that has no value.
Complementary sites, partners, and directories are often willing to exchange links in order to improve their own site's link popularity. This is a very gray area of search engine optimization and must be done carefully to avoid joining "link farms", "cross linking" or "link exchange programs" that are frowned upon by the search engines. Your Catanich account manager will help execute this part of your program.
In order to implement a reciprocal linking program, we create a "Resources" or "Links" page that outlines your linking guidelines and serves as your own resource page.
As part of our program, we also advise clients on how to best structure their linking campaign (so as to complement their on-page optimization) and run their ongoing link building efforts.