I can’t seem to get through the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Dummies book on my own, so my friend who is an SEO expert agreed to do some barter work for me.
Link building is a key component of any good SEO strategy. Or so she told me and I had to agree because I didn’t know any better.
Link building is an ongoing effort, she says. You do it a little bit every week, for several weeks at a time, and then repeat that over and over. In a nutshell, it requires 2-3 people posting comments, blog entries, forum replies, answers to questions, etc, on high ranking sites a whole bunch of times, all containing links back to your site.
At some point, you will see your site’s PR (page rank) improve enough that your SEO effort takes on a life of its own and you don’t need the manual link building any more (or much). At least that’s the idea.
So now that I’ve done a little research into how this works, let me tell you something: it is not as simple as it sounds. Let’s go over some of the finer points of link building:
- First of all, this work is BORING and I certainly can’t spend hours and hours every week doing this. So I decided to get some cheap VAs (virtual assistants) to help. I posted a very simple job opening on oDesk and within 2 hours had close to 50 applicants. Whoa horsey!!! I shut that faucet off as soon as I could chat the help desk to ask them how.
- My personal ethics will not allow me to use black hat methods. If you don’t know what that is, look it up on wikipedia. Trust me, it’s bad. But what it means is that I have to filter out any candidates who I think might use these techniques, because the last thing I want is for Grouvia’s reputation to be tarnished before we’re even one lap into the race.
- You have to hit all different kinds of sites, from ebay and craigslist to blogs, article comments, review sites, and answer sites. You have to hit the ones that have high PR, you have to hit them at different times of the day, and you have to hit them from different IP addresses and different devices and browsers.
- Here’s a critical piece: the things you hit have to be RELEVANT to your subject matter. You can’t just hit anything — you have to hit stuff that means something to your site and your site’s audience. For Grouvia I could hit anything group-related.
- Finally, the things you say in these posts have to be relevant and valuable. You can’t just put a comment on a blog post that says “thanks for the great post, signed soandso at http://www.grouvia.com”. That would be spam and I get that all the time on my blog. I trash them, even if it’s the only comment. Especially the ones that are written by a non-English speaker. Please.
My friend (the same one I talked about earlier) does this for a living. She started doing it with stock sites when she was a day-trader, and according to her it works like a charm.
The whole thing seems really scummy, but everyone does it. Apparently if you don’t do it your site is destined for Internet purgatory forever because nobody will ever find it. Either that or you’ll have to pay for search engine advertisements which, when you have no money, is not much of an option.
[I just found this hilarious post called 101 Ways to Build Link Popularity. Maybe he’ll see my link and link back to me.]
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