SEO and Link Building: We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Links

by Gabriella Sannino September 14th, 2010 

If you’re convinced that links and link building are for suckers and pansies, it’s time to wake up and smell the caffeine. Links don’t need you, but you do need them. Why? Without links, you’re just another Internet upstart cluttering up the Web.

It may seem harsh, but it’s the truth. Links from relevant, high quality sites show the search engines that your site is a valuable asset. Links get the attention of the SEs, make your site more credible and help build relevancy.

The Democratic Internet
You see, the Web is a democracy; each website is a candidate for the presidency of its keyword country. Don’t believe me? Then you haven’t been paying attention.

• A link acts as a vote of confidence for your website for [keyword].

• You gain links by:
1. Posting campaign signs (directory links)
2. Voting campaigns (articles and guest blogging)
3. Giving speeches (your own blogs)
4. Asking those already in leadership positions (relevant, important, authority sites) to vote for you

• The media (visitors/readers) passes around information about your speeches and campaigns, thus bringing more votes (viral link marketing).

Within this democratic Internet are several other areas you need to campaign. These areas are less for SEO and link building than for recognition. However, many of these areas, while building brand recognition and authority, also help with SEO and linking. It’s a win, win situation, unlike most political primaries.

Waxing Philosophical
If a blog is posted on the Internet and no one ever finds it, is it real? The frustrating thing about blogging for most people is successful writers and bloggers make it sound like “write it and they [visitors] will come”. You write it; visitors see it and instantly convert.

‘Tain’t that easy, kimosabi. You could write the most amazing content ever; if no one sees it, it’s guaranteed not to exist in the grand scheme of things. It’s like giving a presidential speech to an empty auditorium. Ouch.

For those that really want to be president of [keyword] country, however, it makes no difference whether anyone came to the auditorium or not. They videotape the speech themselves, type up the press release kit for the media, go on tour and tell people about it.

Shout it out LOUD

How did you inform the public of your last blog? Will they be voting for you as president in [keyword] country or do they even know you exist?

You can’t be shy; you have to be social. When you have a new post, talk about it! You don’t have to share the whole presidential speech; just make sure people know you gave one and where to find it. Get into social networking. Digg into social bookmarking. Distribute, distribute, distribute. Get those votes; get those links.

Search engine optimization, link building, reputation enhancement, building authority: they’re all just fancy names for getting the word out about your site. They’re methods of sharing and informing about what you have to offer. They aren’t outdated, they aren’t unnecessary, and doing them right can make you President of [keyword] country.

Oh, and if all these political analogies seem silly and extreme, then you didn’t pay attention in 2006, either. John Edwards ran for President using a blogger, videographer and Flickr photographer. Granted, he only received a little over 1 million votes, but imagine 1 million links to your site…

Gabriella Sannino

For the past twenty years Gabriella has held positions as a consultant, web developer and creative director until she decided it was time to open Level 343, an SEO and copywriting company. She fancies herself an Italian rocker, rebel and SEO geek. She loves singing in the shower and keeps a notepad next to her bed.

Level343 Blog

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11 Responses to “SEO and Link Building: We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Links”

  1. Kathy says:

    There is little doubt that your material will never be found in the search engine unless you are a well established blogger or unless you get some links for it.

    One of the easiest ways I have found to get the best links is to network with a bunch of friends through some social medium like Twitter. Then just let those people know when you have published a new link worthy article.

    If it is truly link worthy, those people will link to it. Plus they will be the really juicy contextual links that Google says it loves.
    .-= Kathy recently posted: How Will Google Instant Impact Internet Marketing =-.

    • Kathy, I want to agree with you… but I can't. I'm amazed at the traffic we get on our personal blog for specific keywords. I'm not sure about here on SEP, but I can assure you, the blog gets a certain amount of traffic from specific keywords hitting high on the SERPs. I can say with a large amount of accuracy that it has nothing to do with links we send out or links given to us; especially since the blogs rank on their own initially – before I send them out on social networks.

      I am a huge advocate of Twitter, other social networks and yes, word of mouth. However, I will also argue that specific keywords will bring you another aspect of traffic that you may know nothing about. Granted, link building is part of the whole "magic", but it has to work hand in hand with other aspects of your online presence.

      Also, let me add, that SE's don't treat blogs the same way they do site pages. Blogs are considered dynamic, changing content, and so – quite simply – index faster, rank higher and provide traffic more quickly than site pages do. A blog is like an instant hand shake to the world; what it does for your business once it's indexed… well, that's when content quality really begins to count.
      .-= Gabriella Sannino recently posted: Using Web Analytics =-.

  2. Slavik V says:

    Gabriella, I don't necessarily agree that search engines treat blogs and websites differently. Just because one platform is _designed_ to be updated frequently doesn't mean that it will get crawled or paid more attention to than a frequently updated website.
    I agree, however that regularity of the updates, quality of the content, in addition to the foundation of being a well established blog/site (thru past links) is huge.
    .-= Slavik V recently posted: Amazing Customer Service- Don’t Talk About It- Provide It =-.

    • I had to throw my two cents in. :)

      Does a blog "guarantee" inclusion into the search engine indexes? Only if 9.5 times out of 10 is considered a guarantee. Can we say for sure that 100% of the blogs out there outperform 100% of the sites out there in terms of indexing and crawling? No. What we can say is that it is highly likely a blog page will be crawled and indexed before a site page.

      Why? Because blogs are "designed" to notify the search engines when a new post goes up. Because search engines are "designed" to crawl blogs more often. Nothing ever does as it's designed 100% of the time, but it's more likely than not.

      My 2 cents
      .-= Jahnelle Pittman recently posted: Using Google Web Analytics to Check Your SEO Campaign- Keywords =-.

  3. It's refreshing to see someone advocate the 'need for links' – all to often we are told by The Big 'G' that if you write the best content in the world, everyone will flock to it and you won't have to self promote.

    Social Media has allowed webmasters to distribute their content on a live medium, but this still isn't enough. Sure you can have 100's of retweets on one particular topic, but out of those 100, you'll be lucky to have 1 link to you, and more often than not because your article is popular you'll just end up having someone spin it and distribute it themselves.

    Times are tough, and that doesn't mean we have to resort to guerilla tactics when link building, but most niches are already being attacked by numerous professionals so your site needs to offer something new and entice a user into participating.
    .-= The SEO Dentist recently posted: The Beginners Guide To SEO =-.

    • Hey SEO Dentist, needless to say change & SEO is constant. Add Google's mambo dance, applications, etc. and you have one hell of a time keeping up. Look the bottom line is we have to give our clients visibility in the SERp's. As much as I would like to think there is a written rule for SEO discipline there aren't. Well there are, but so many are conflicting that it would depend on what works for you. Another thing I advocate is listing with directories. I can hear optimizers pulling their hair out and saying "Ooo no black hat, cloaking, voodoo, blah blah blah". In some cases it can help tremendously so who are they to knock it? At the end of the day if it works and you are ethically satisfied that you are keeping within Google/Bing/Yahoo parameters then as far as I'm concerned ROCK ON.
      In conclusion what's up with "dentist" in your name? SEO dentist sounds painful lolol! :)
      .-= Gabriella Sannino recently posted: Using Google Web Analytics to Check Your SEO Campaign- Keywords =-.

    • Indeed, I'd like to see how these white-hat SEO's are creating links for their clients without submitting to directories/social bookmarking sites. Sure there are numerous free and white-hat links out there, but for the most part you'll have a client that wants a stupidly difficult generic term on page 1 for less than the price of a tank of petrol… by tomorrow.

      Directory links are for the most part entirely legitimate and once you've weeded out the crap directories from the list they can be a powerful resource. Unfortunately people tend to submit to 8000 directories and end up listed next to some rather toxic keywords negating the benefits from any link.

      The Dentist thing is due to the fact that I built my business based on dental practice SEO. That and I like to think it's a good gimick haha.
      .-= The SEO Dentist recently posted: Google Webmaster Tools – An Essential Part Of Any SEO Campaign SEO Made Easy =-.

  4. Terry Van Horne says:

    Well specifically it isn't that blogs are better indexed it's that they generally are pinging feedburner and other resources that Google and other Search Engines use in discovery. So bottom line is any site with an RSS feed can get the advantage of instant discovery. A Registered XML sitemap likely performs the same function.

  5. I am agreeing that you have to be social and leave links to your site wherever possible. It's also important to leave your links at DoFollow
    sites. Only this will help you reaching Higher PR's. Othe links can drive some traffic to your site but won't help you much with SEO.

    To check if a link you leave at some site is DoFollow you can download
    the NoDoFollow Plugin for Firefox. It can help you immensely in building
    quality DoFollow Links.

    • Hello eBook sure do-follow is the way to go but rather than "looking" specifically for those blogs/sites/ may I suggest you leave comments where applicable. I can guarantee you most people if interested in what you have to say will click on your link. What it boils down to, is technical is good, crossing your T's & dotting your I's making sure you are doing everything you can as an SEO provider to help and assist you clients. Now that social has become mainstream on line then make sure you are getting as much juice as they can offer.
      .-= Gabriella Sannino recently posted: Using Google Web Analytics to Check Your SEO Campaign- Keywords =-.