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Natural Inbound Links

January 20, 2010
Jill,

Inbound, good-quality links are a struggle for me. I can sort though all sorts of tech stuff resulting in a good-looking, professional website, but link building is a real challenge.

Partly it's a challenge because of tiny budgets, but also because of some lack of experience in doing this, especially with brick-and-mortar businesses that don't have much going on. They might be a member of a Chamber of Commerce, probably no other professional organizations, certainly not in the news, don't have much to say other than the fact that they do a job. They're not social bees, as neither am I...so I can empathize. Coming up with 5 pages is a challenge in itself.

Do you have any suggestions, anything you can point me to?

Bob


++Jill's Response++

Hi Bob,

I definitely feel your pain! Unfortunately, today, in order to be successful for mildly competitive keyword phrases, you do have to have something on your website that goes beyond your products and services. Many small businesses are not willing or able to do that.

If they're not, then they should still be able to do okay with the not-so-very-competitive keyword phrases. You really only need a handful of links to show up in a local market for those types of phrases. Getting them into all the directories available should take care of that.

But if they want to take things to the next level or if they're in a competitive industry, they'll probably need more than that. In which case, they'll need to have a blog or a resource section, free whitepapers, videos, or anything else on their site that gives others in their industry a reason to link to them.

It shouldn't cost that much to have an intern or someone aggregate industry news and post a few thoughts about the interesting stuff on a blog each week. Those types of posts can also link out to the other bloggers in the field and create relationships whereby they may link back to your site as well.

If you're really stuck for ideas, we're offering a new "Link-Building Roadmap" service where we do the research and provide a boatload of places that would be a good fit to link to sites in your specific niche.

Of course, as previously mentioned, you do need something worth linking to for this information to be worthwhile.

Hope this helps!

Jill
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Jill Whalen is the CEO of High Rankings, a Boston SEO Services company.

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 Amel Ryan said:
Hi Jill,

I have a question related to inbound links, although my issue is almost the opposite of the original poster's (Bob).

I recently noticed my site (it's very new - approximately 2 months old) had a steady stream of links appearing. I've been reading up on SEO and dabbling in it myself, so I know getting links is not easy and the mysterious appearance of a lot of links made me curious enough to investigate.

It appears most of these new links are somewhat spammy - from unrelated web sites I've never heard of. Call me paranoid, but I can only imagine that someone (who sees me as a potential competitor perhaps?) is trying to cripple my attempts at ranking in Google by associating lots of worthless links with my site.

Do you have any advice as to how I can clear up bad inbound links, without it costing me a fortune or taking forever? is there some mechanism whereby website owners can definitively disassociate themselves from bad links? It seems like something that should exist. After all, anyone can use black hat techniques to deluge a legitimate online business with bad links and get them banned from Google (the kiss of death online as you know).

Looking forward to your response.

Regards,

Amel
 eric cartmell said:
Hi Amel, I am also a beginner at this kind of thing, but I remember reading that you don't get penalised for spammy links like that, you just don't get any pagerank from them. The most prominent company in my field has thousands of incoming links from link farms, and if Google penalised for that, then their site would be unfindable in Google but it isnt. I think they penalise the link farm/spam site just by giving them zero page rank, so the links from there worthless. Try installing a pagerank checker extension. I use the one for Safari browser, and looked at the some of the link farms linking to this big company i mentioned...they all have zero page rank.

Google knows that people do these things to their competitors so they wont penalise you, you just wont benefit from them. Like I said im beginner, so in lieu of a better answer from a more knowledgeable person, i thought i might offer this.

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