Having friends is great. After all, no one (or at least, not many) likes being lonely. But the wonderfully curious thing about making friends is that oftentimes, having a mate is the easiest way to make another. After all, your first friend has a wonderful resource that you can mine: their friends. You yourself may be the most interesting person in the world, but a man is an island: unless someone gets to know you, they will never have that realisation of just how intelligent and charming you really are.
The same is true for your website: the content you may have on there may be the best (and you should try really hard to make sure it is, or close), but without anyone seeing it, they will never know. This is why having a link from a genuine website is so important: Google translates this link pointing the reader towards your website as an indicator of interest and confidence, and accordingly your rank on the search engine rises ever so slightly. In such a way, this is a popularity contest: the more (genuine) links you are able to gather, the higher your website is listed on Google. Hence, the process of link-building (A.K.A. networking, A.K.A. making friends)has now become the ultimate device in the SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) toolbox.
In the pre-Panda update era, becoming popular was pretty easy: you could cheat and pay people to provide such links (paid links), you could type your keyword hundreds and hundreds of times onto your website (keyword spam), or you could create different websites purely devoted to links pointing to your original website (link farms). The Panda and Penguin update proceeded to completely annihilate all those methods.Using a complex algorithm, Google detected and crushed such spam, as an effort towards improving search relevancy for users. The result for these websites utilising such black-hat SEO was much like paying people to pretend to be your friends in real life:it did not work out well.
So SEO works much like a real life popularity contest: you have to become mates in a genuine way. But what does this mean in practical terms? Apart from remembering your manners, how on earth do you raise your SEO rank? Go Up suggests you consider the below:
Writing Guest Posts
Invariably, there will be other websites and blogs discussing the very same subject that your own website is about. There will be some more established than you, and some less. As you want to create publicity for your own website, posting an article on another blog is great way to attract the attention of that blog’s readership. In the best-case scenario, the article will contain a link that leads towards your own website, prompting the reader to click and be directed there. You can also link towards your website in your biography if you are offered space for one.
Call it online PR or what you will, here is where your friendship-making skills come into play: no blog owner is going to let someone random hijack their website and post whatever they like there. Read their blog thoroughly, get to know the author and get involved. Talk to them, comment on their blog, and let them know you exist. Become friends. Remember that quality counts for everything; having a rock star as a true mate who has your back is better than having twenty fair-weathered friends. Similarly, a high quality blog with a large readership is worth twenty links from websites which are only just about relevant to your topic. It takes time to build up trust between two people, but the rewards are great.
Networking (Making Friends IRL)
Get involved in the online community, but don’t forget about the real life one too. Attend press events, blogger meet-ups, or even lectures. Often meeting people in real life lends itself a genuineness that sometimes can’t be gained online, no matter how many emails or instant messages are exchanged. This trust can translate itself into a guest post, an affiliation, or perhaps a good old business association.
It’s the age-old adage that your nan used to say: you won’t meet anyone unless you get out there.
Writing Viral Content/’Link Bait’
Okay, easier said than done. But this value translates itself well in real life in addition to SEO – if you are a bright, charming person, eventually people will be attentive towards what you have to say. Content does the same: a snappy title, easily digestible ‘bites’ of your subject matter, or an interesting and humorous voice – it all comes together to create an article that people will want to share among their friends. Social media has made link sharing easier and easier, mounting up the traffic directed towards your website. And if you are of the opinion that there is no negative publicity, consider writing something controversial – people always enjoy a good debate.
The rules are much the same between making friends and SEO: be friendly, mind your manners, and reach out. There’ll be someone to take your hand.