352 Inc. / Design / February 9th, 2012

The SEO Backlink Vote

    

2012 Backlink Testing   

As
a marketing professional specializing in search engine optimization (SEO), I
start every year out the same — testing last year’s search engine optimization
strategies for current value.
 Last
year I moved all of my clients up in search engine page rank through a
combination of strategies.

The best strategy was backlinking. In the eyes of a
search engine, each backlink counts as a vote. The
more votes I obtained for a website, the higher organic page rank it received
from search engines. 
I
was able to move most of my clients to page one for many of their targeted
keywords just using 
backlinks. 

Quality Counts 

Unfortunately,
backlinks are not created equal. If they were, then my job would be so much
simpler. Good quality backlinks take hard work, great content, connections to
webmasters and time to acquire.
 

A “black hat” strategist wants volume without
effort and does not mind burning a client’s website rankings with worthless
backlinks.
 

Many
backlinks are “spam” links to low quality websites that will do nothing for
your website’s page rank. These “spam” links are sold by the thousands in
automated programs.
 

They
are incredibly cheap to purchase and belong to a shady industry set up to buy
and sell these types of links. They try to trick search engines into indexing spam
websites for high traffic keywords.
 

Buying backlinks in bulk is not only
pointless, but also harmful to a websites organic health. 
The
“black hat” SEO trick to use bulk links killed online traffic to many websites
when Google implemented last year’s “Panda” change.
 

Websites
that were made up of worthless content, PPC ads, and spammy backlinks were hit
the hardest. 
Black
hat websites that had been on Google’s page one dropped to lower pages and lost
their indexing credibility.
 

The
SEO forums blew up with affiliate marketers complaining about the new search
engine changes. 
Even
large corporations like Wal-Mart, Target, and Overstock.com were penalized for
buying spam back links. Many of Overstock.com’s page one keyword results were
dropped to page 40 or lower.
 

SEO Best Practice
Strategies
 

I
have always practiced “white hat” SEO, and all of my backlinks have been created
through hard work, one at a time. If a potential backlink website allows anyone
to quickly submit a backlink without any quality filters, then I avoid them.
 

White
hat backlinking is far more time consuming, but the risk of being flagged as a
spam site and being penalized are greatly reduced. I am proud to say that none
of my clients saw any significant drop in website traffic or lost page rankings
after good ol’ Panda took effect.
 

In fact, most of my clients saw a drastic page
rank improvement because their websites had a history of building credible
links. When the Panda change cleared away most of the “black hat” cheaters
there was room for the “white hat” websites to move up.
 

Here are five ways to get high page ranked backlinks: 

  •         Provide
    valuable content to high page ranked blogs in exchange for a backlink.
     

  •         Actively
    comment on high page ranked blogs. Some blogs unlock the nofollow backlinks
    after three quality comments.

  •      Submit
    your website to high quality directories. Not the directories that require a reciprocal
    link or a paid link. Reciprocal links kill any page rank juice.
     

  •         Submit
    your website to quality local citation directories. These links connect your
    website with a local market.
     

  •          Build
    relationships with webmasters of high page ranked websites. Offer a digital
    badge, or explain why a link to your website would be of value. These root
    domain backlinks are amazing for increasing your page rank.
     

As
we continue on into 2012, backlinking is still showing strong results in
pushing page rank up. This is great news for website owners who use backlinking
as a major part of their SEO strategy. The more SEO tools we have to help
search engines rank our websites higher in organic search results the better.