By: Brad Callen
Today, I’m going to try something different. I’m going to go out on a limb here and make a blind assumption about you.
"You think that the Q-square formula (quality + quantity) of getting inbound links (reciprocal or one-way) is the best way to increase your search engine rankings."
Just about right, eh? And unless you are a complete newbie to search engine optimization, this is exactly what SEO experts have been telling you time and time and time again. And if there was any doubt that search engines were being spammed, paid links put rest to those fears. The SEO experts make money, you get a boost in your rankings, everyone’s happy.
Or so they’d have you think.
Over the past year or so, search engines have started to take serious measures to combat spam against them. Search engine spamming usually occurs in one of three ways:
Multiple submissions of your web pages (you’d be surprised to learn that people still do this).
Keyword spamming in low quality content.
Link spamming (building tons of links to a new site REALLY quickly).
On the other hand, you’ve probably heard about the need for quality content ever since you started learning about search engine optimization (hopefully). Either way, here’s a refresher:
Search engines are looking for unique and useful content – information that is accurate and important to the people interested in that field. Search engines also look for fresh content – regular additions to your website, etc (this is why blogging became / is such a huge craze).
So let’s put that all together:
Search engines are working towards fighting SEO spam – bad, keyword stuffed content and link spamming – by:
Devaluing the "ranking boost" that these elements give.
Penalizing the websites that are obviously spamming search engines.
The end result?
Traditional link building is no longer your best bet to get high search engine rankings.
That’s not to say that you should dump your link campaigns all at once and scamper for the hills – links will continue to have value within search engines and until the search engine algorithms develop well enough to distinguish between "organic" linking and links generated through a link-building campaign (not easy to do at all, even with Google’s or Microsoft’s resources), getting inbound links will stay the easiest way to bump up your search engine rankings by several pages.
However, for SEO purposes, that brings us back to square one. We like things to be easy, but we also want things to work well. If link-building is a good tactic, but not the best tactic (especially when everyone and their mother is getting a few hundred links every month to their 30-page AdSense websites), then where does it leave the rest of us?
The answer lies with what the search engines have been saying all along – quality content, wrapped around quality, organic links.
Let me explain that.
Search engines have taken two specific measures to improve their results and reduce commercialized spam from their search engines:
Link pages are being "identified" as such and therefore are being considered as low-quality links (you’ll remember from Link Building 101 that the quality of the link is a big factor in how much it improves your website’s rankings). Some of the identifying criteria for a link page are: the number of links on that page, the ratio of text to links on that page, and relevance of the link, which I explain in the next point.
Search engine algorithms are now looking at the context that the links are placed in (i.e. surrounding text as well as the page’s keywords) to measure the relevance of the host site to YOUR website – in other words, checking the text of the page your inbound link is placed on to find out whether that site is relevant to your industry / niche.
This leads us to the following conclusions:
The linking page must have as few links as possible.
The links should be focused on as few sites as possible (to funnel the value of the link page).
The links should be surrounded by "relevant" content.
The linking page should contain "quality" content (written for human reading rather than written for search engines – there’s a sharp difference between keyword optimization and keyword stuffing).
Now you must be wondering....”is there a point to all this?” And I respect that, because this is exactly what internet marketing and SEO gurus have been saying these same things for a long time now. Just like I often ask myself:
What if I told you that you could use a blindingly simple marketing tactic that will not only bring you relevant, powerful and valuable inbound links, but that it will ALSO bring you regular visitors?
How many SEO techniques can promise visitors from other websites?
Now I’m not trying to sell you a product here, so I’ll cut to the chase.
Take a single page. Take ONE core keyword describing your industry / main business, and a few more keywords for a couple of main category pages. Write 350-550 words of unique, quality content that gives the reader useful information. Each paragraph should be tightly focused around one keyword, and should contain one link (not more) to a related page (for your main keyword, link to your website, for your category keywords link to your category pages). Use keywords (but not sentences) as anchor text.
Once you’ve completed this page, contact link partners in YOUR niche – not direct competitors obviously, but complimentary businesses (if you sell information books on candle-making, your ideal link partners would be informational websites on candle-making), and make them this pitch:
"Are you looking for a quick and easy way to boost your search engine rankings? Search engines demand relevance, they demand quality, they demand freshness. I’d like to offer you the chance to do a valuable exchange – I’ll provide you with an optimized article on a subject relevant to your business, and in return all I ask is that you allow me to place some links to my website on the page. In fact, you can even plug in your own links – affiliate, to your own website or any other website."
Of course, you’ll probably have to write a more sophisticated approach letter than those 6 lines, but the intent is clear: write quality content, and then place it on websites relevant to your industry. Usually, the website hosting the page will want some monthly payment in return (after all, you’re effectively buying a page on their website). If you’ve followed my advice and picked well-ranked websites with quality content, the money will be worth it. In addition, you’ll probably be paying less than an out-and-out link purchase as you’re also giving them something in return (quality content to boost their search engine rankings).
Got all that? Congratulations. You’ve just learned about what I like to call a “Hosted Marketing Page”. Don’t be fooled by its simplicity. What I’ve explained in 4 paragraphs (318 words) will probably be the subject of endless marketing campaigns and short $49 reports over the next year.
Now some of you might be saying: “I know this – isn’t this just another version of marketing your website through articles (where you write articles, submit them to article directories and have webmasters pick them up to post on their websites)? What’s so great about this? We KNOW this.
The question isn’t that you know this, the question is: are you doing this? Article submissions are shots in the dark – article farms do give a better boost in search engine rankings than simple links, but most article directories are too general to help you rank well on the relevance factor. If your article gets picked up by a few webmasters, the extra links will be dampened by the fact that now the content is "duplicated" – thus reducing its value.
Search engines are wising up to article submissions just as they started combating link spam an year and a half ago – at any rate, article submissions are marketing tools / branding tools, not pure SEO tools.
Experiment with a Hosted Marketing Page of your own. If you don’t have the time to contact link partners directly, talk to your link-building expert (or company) and explain what you are looking for (heck, you can forward this article to them).
The beauty of Hosted Marketing Pages is that they compliment your regular SEO strategy. Link building, if done right, is still a quick and cheap way of getting higher search engine rankings. However, if you are looking to make a HUGE splash instead of just poking around, then I urge you to seriously consider the power of Hosted Marketing Pages.
If you would like help with your "Hosted Marketing Page" campaign, visit Textlinkbrokers.com. They are the leader in link popularity building programs and are the only company offering this particular service.
About The Author
Brad Callen - SEO Specialist and Internet Marketing Consultant for http://www.textlinkbrokers.com http://www.seoelite.com.