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SEO - Building sustainable traffic

The art of "link building' is one of the most popular ways that experienced webmasters use to boost their traffic.  Link building is the practice of finding other sites that are willing to link to your site.  Not only does this help to improve your search engine rankings, but you may also enjoy an increase in traffic as people click these links.  Unfortunately spammers and other blackhat search engine optimizing companies started to generate meaningless links to their sites.  They would use computer programs to automatically register accounts on blogs and forums and then use these accounts to link back to their site.  In response to this Google (and subsequently other search engines) implemented a way for webmasters to mark links as being worthless - the "nofollow" link.  When a search engine encounters a link that is marked as "nofollow" they do not count it as being valuable for their search engine rankings.  This makes it more difficult to build quality links to your site.

There are a few ways in which you can still build quality links to your site in order to promote it:

  • Submitting your site to press release websites.  These sites allow you to submit an article that links back to your site.  This way you can release a press article and gain a link. 
  • Blogging can also generate links.  If you write a particularly informative or entertaining blog then your readers may very well link back to it.  Of course setting up a valuable blog requires a fair amount of effort, but once you are established as a credible and valuable resource you will likely enjoy a sustainable influx of backlinks.
  • Link trading is becoming less popular as this system has been abused.  It is believed that search engines can spot these sort of linking strategies and may penalize you.  It is far better to obtain a link from a website because they believe your site is valuable, rather than trading links with irrelevant sites.  Purchasing links from popular sites is viewed in a very negative light by search engines and you may get penalized if they discover you are doing this.

Overall - the best linking strategy is to develop content that people want to see.  The internet will reward you with links.

When performing search engine optimization to build traffic it is important to be aware of five misconceptions:

  1. Many people believe that increasing traffic to their website will mean that search engines will rank them higher.  This is not strictly true - it is possible to get a highly ranked website that does not get much traffic.  Your ranking is dependent on the quality of your site as compared to your competitors.
  2. Too many people focus on developing only their home page.  In reality it is important to promote all of your web pages.  Building links to your sub pages is known as "deep linking".  The practice of linking your various pages together is known as an "internal linking strategy".  These two efforts will help to increase the overall quality of your site.
  3. Don't waste your time getting other websites to link to your site if their content is not relevant to yours.  If your website is about automobiles then there is no value to be had in getting a website related to the fruit industry linking to your website.  Search engines will spot the fact that the link is artificial and will not count it in your favour.  Note that Google says that irrelevant links won't result in a penalty to your site, but they won't be beneficial either.
  4. Ranking highly for irrelevant keywords is not a measure of a successful SEO campaign.  Unless you rank highly for keywords related to your business then people finding your site are unlikely to want to purchase what you're offering.  In our automobile example, if you rank highly for "Egyptian Apricots" then it is highly unlikely that a visitor coming to your site will want to buy a car from you since they were looking for a sort of fruit.
  5. SEO novices spend a lot of time with META tags.  In truth these tags are largely ignored by search engines.  Suffice to say that there are programs that will automatically generate your META tags for you, and it is a waste of SEO time to have a human manually edit them.