I was in the forums recently and a thread contained a lot of posters chiming in with ‘organic links are best’ and ‘get natural links’ for best results. Even though I am a content creator first, linkbuilder second, I think this is quite misleading.
While I appreciate the value of organic links, and encourage clients to get them, freely given links just aren’t best for getting a page to rank for particular keyword phrases and never have been.
While organic, natural, editorial (whatever you call links that are given freely by a website owner) are the most covetted links (and the links Google encourage you to build), in competitive niches, while these links increase the authority of a domain overall, organic links rarely are enough to get a targetted page to the top of Google search results for a desired keyphrase – I certainly wouldn’t leave it to organic links anyway :)
The links just aren’t focused enough to compete against a multitude of crap linking methods or indeed weighty enough to take on an authoratitive domain that’s being worked silly with new content and is engineered properly in terms of internal link structure.
So what is the best links? I don’t think it’s fair to publicly publish where you can physically get links that affect Google rankings – I think it’s a bit irresponsible for fellow site owners and Google, and self defeating these days, but;
9 Links Which Are Better Than Organic Links
- Links You Make Yourself on sites that show signs of trust (not spammy, high pr, etc) and have not already been pounded by linkspammers – the cheek ;)
- Credit links in things you create (websites, plugins etc – as long as they don’t go super popular and to be honest I think this is a legacy thing for old links that might not float in todays Google soup)
- Buy links from sites Google would think twice before banning (think open source, pillars of the web etc etc sites Google needs to have in it’s index or it would be a crap search engine)
- Organic Links You Ask to be changed to a desired keyphrase
- Buying links from sites that don’t sell links (not a long term strategy, as soon as you give themsome cash, they will probably sell more to others)
- Buying a lot of links from crappy hosting companies sites in faraway lands (works a treat with exact match domains but you’re left with a very obvious link profile waiting for a competitor to grass on you)
- Organic links from people who know how to link out and are up for throwing you a bone (would be a lot higher but face it, this sort of thing is short on the ground)
- Links You ask others to make via social networking
- Links with your URL (like http:www.hobo-web.co.uk/) you have dropped yourself on sites that allow it and are not nofollowed (depends of course if it is an exact match domain of course, or this would be higher)
Now do we do all of the above? No. To be honest we don’t advocate buying links at all for the vast majority of our seo clients. Also, I much prefer single, or multiple links from the same site with different anchor text, than sitewide links or any links you suddenly pick up en-masse from one domain. In the end I think it definately comes down to the ‘quality’ of the linking site. Does Google like it and rank it often? The outbound links are probably good.
Some link profiles created via a spammy(?) link building campaign are a bit embarrassing when you examine them and just asking to be outed sometimes, though I don’t. The last year I’ve certainly concentrated on creating linkable content, and building the authority of a domain, so I can add new targetted and relevant content to a site focused on a user search query.
The fact is you can take a 5 page site with an exact match domain (www.keyword.com) and linkbuild to it like crazy, get a very few keyword phrases at number 1 and hope for the best with your 20 visitors a day, or you can add tons of content to your site and law of averages you will get leads from 99% of keyphrases you never even thought you were targetting your 40,000 visitors a month with (and actually create a useful site and possibly a brand).
Either way it’s hard work / or expensive. One way is ultra risky if Google ever decides to actually take crap linking networks out, the other, not as risky.
One point to remember. All the above works best if you have content on your site that people are linking to. At least your link aquisition profile looks more natural because of those sporadic natural links. As the start of any seo project I always recommend some some of content programme for the site.
Natural links are invaluable for building trust and authority, that’s for sure, but domain authority needs to be ‘unloacked’ with fresh new content targetted to a visitor’s needs and at specific times to target specific trends.
Organic links are the best kind of links because your site is getting talked about by real people, not because they boost your targetted keyphrases in SERPS.
I still think you’ve got much more chance of getting to No1 in all search engines, though, with manufactured links, even in 2009. I still think quality links can beat sheer weight of links too.
What do you think?