In today’s internet context, link-building should be performed in-house, in most cases.

The problem has always been “Where do I start? Article submissions? How does it work? Social networking? How could my website benefit from that? Directory submissions? What’s that about? Forum postings? What’s the secret? Blogging? What is SEO-relevant? Press releases? What’s the real deal? Link exchange? Does it still really work?” But the big question ends up being “How and where do I start?”

Too often, people feel “unqualified” and/or overwhelmed with such tasks… Link-building is, after all, one of the most important aspects of your online presence. It is like oxygen for your site. Link-building is the primary consideration for Google technology in helping to define how “alive” your website is within targeted online communities.

In fact, when people discuss your website on blogs and forums, when articles and press releases are being published regularly, when internet communities refer to your website back and forth, such online interaction creates ongoing one-way-links pointing to your site, thus increasing its popularity in the “eyes” of major crawlers…in this case, increasing its link popularity factor.

When 2 websites are doing everything right – great content, good optimization, similar keywords – it is the link popularity which will make the difference in terms of ranking eligibility!

The SEO industry (agencies like ours!) have given link-building almost a mysterious character – something almost far-fetched, something that “mortals” cannot access unless being “initiated”, something belonging to the world of SEO science(!)… The link-building industry has been dressed up with a complicated terminology, thus justifying the intervention of “experts.” The numerous options (link exchange, article submissions, blogging, etc.) have been too often packaged in overpriced campaigns. Oh, well…hiring an SEO agency to do the job was justified until recently. Not any longer, though, unless you have no other option.

In fact, whether you have 4 hours per day available or just 2 hours per week, it does not matter: link-building should be performed in-house/by yourself. Whether someone in your office is twiddling their thumbs a little too often, or whether you have a kid in college in need of a flexible and easy job, link-building for your site is your best investment in regards to your online presence.

Link-building is easy, only requires common sense and little technical knowledge. It is always an “unfinished task”. Once again, it gauges how “alive” your website is in the eyes of major crawlers.

Until the early part of 2008, it was all about posting as many links as possible on websites featuring high PRs. Because of all the “link farms” or, in other terms, the massive networks which arose to legitimately fake link popularity, major search engines “got smarter”. In fact, countless websites with strong PRs started to sell space on their pages for one-way-link purpose. This is why, rather than “honoring” websites featuring a high amount of links coming in from popular websites, Google technology shifted by rewarding URLs receiving regular new links.

Link enhancement is not about how many links are pointing to your site (although, in most cases, the more the better), but rather about the “new link factor” being created on an ongoing basis.

In other terms, until recently, to develop the link popularity of a site, SEO agencies were hired to create as many one-way-links as possible. In today’s context, rather than investing 200 hours over one month to enhance one’s link popularity factor, a website operator is better off spreading the 200 hours over 10 months…Links resulting from such extended and regular campaign is much more credible from a major search engine perspective and yields to stronger ranking benefits.

It is all a matter of “faking” the popularity of your site…“faking” the fact that so many people are speaking about it, writing about it, exchanging ideas and comments about it, loving it, criticizing it, etc. This is why the best way to artificially create your link popularity is to make it an ongoing but “irregular” task, meaning that if you have 50 hours to invest per month, maybe do 6 hours one week, 14 the next, then 20, and then 10…develop an ongoing effort without any regular pattern…it just needs to look real.

Of course, if you are overwhelmed with work and have no one to help you with such tasks, I advise you to contract a qualified SEO agency to perform the work. There are pros and cons involved with hiring a third party to do the job. However, once again, if you have a few hours available here and there, invest them into your link popularity. In today’s internet context, one-way-links pointing to your site count for at least 50% or more of your ranking eligibility.

You may delegate such mission to your son or daughter who’s in college…maybe he or she can spare 10-20 hours per week (once again, no technical knowledge is necessary to do the job.) It might be your secretary or personal assistant who can post comments on forums 2-3 hours per day – even if it’s not every day, it is not may be you, between appointments, writing the next article to be posted on your site…it might be a whole team of individuals working together at enhancing your link popularity factor: John is in charge of article submissions, Mary does forum postings, Steve takes care of press releases, etc.

Of course, there is a minimum technical knowledge to have in order to implement action. For example, if posting comments on forums or blogs based in the UK, it would be highly recommended that you use a UK IP address through a clean proxy server in order to improve your chances of link inclusion. When posting articles on US-based websites, it is best to use a US IP address, and so on. Furthermore, it is important to investigate the quality and reputation of where your links are being posted (links posted on undesirable/blacklisted websites can produce disastrous effects). Anyway, aside from basic link-building knowledge, when possible, we strongly advise you to perform the work in-house.

No one cares about your website’s success as much as you do…no one can take care of your link building as good as you would. Link building requires an ongoing in-house knowledge about what is happening in your company.

Anyway, whether you do it in-house or subcontract such task, one-way-link enhancement is not an “option”. Aside from your website’s content relevancy, link building is the utmost important aspect of your ranking eligibility…Stop procrastinating! Stop putting it off to a later time…stop rescheduling this task on your to-do list…You should have started “yesterday”! Creating one-way-links to your site is so much easier than you think! Do it in-house!

Hein van der Pijl
International Coordinator –