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SEO For Google In Five "Easy" Steps – Part 2

Step Three: Link Baiting

The next step (and an ongoing one at that) is link baiting. Link baiting, as we discussed in our article on the topic, is the development of content/tools/etc. for your website with the primary function of attracting links to that page or to another page on the site.

Link baiting can be something as simple as a blog where updates are posted on a topic that others would want to link to (you’re of course going to have to market your blog to get these posts found so they work as link bait). Link bait can also be created in the form of tools, contests, humorous stories or cartoons, or really anything you can dream up that would inspire someone to link to your site. SEOMoz’s Rand Fishkin managed to make his proposal to the lovely Geraldine link bait.

While most link bait doesn’t inspire links being built directly to the homepage of the site they do work to build internal links which boost overall site strength as well as to build links to internal page which might themselves rank for phrases.

Link baiting is an ongoing process. You don’t simply build some link bait, get some links and move on. The more often you develop content that others link to the more often people will visit your site, the more content they will find and the more new links they will build. You will also want to test out different methods for marketing your link bait: Press releases, articles, blog feeds, etc. People won’t simply find your bait because you built it, you need to inform the world that it is there.

Step Four: Link Building

Ahh link building, perhaps the single most discussed aspect of SEO out there and also the topic shrouded in the most confusion. Do reciprocal links still hold value? Is it worth my time to post to forums from a link building perspective? Are articles really worth the time they take to write and submit? The short answer to all of these questions is “yes” but with conditions (isn’t there always a snag?)

Never wanting to give advice I wouldn’t take myself, Beanstalk applies a minimum of 3 different link building methods for each client. Now, exactly which methods we use for link building depends on the client, the type of site, and a number of other factors but the core reason that we use at least three different link building methods is the same for all: one link building method may increase or decrease in value with an algorithm shift. The sites that tend to skyrocket and plummet with algorithm shifts are those that use a limited number of tactics and thus aren’t safeguarded against changes in the way rankings are calculated. Sites that use multiple techniques are better shielded from these adjustments. And so you are left to ponder, which link building tactics will work for my site?

The link building methods you choose now are not set in stone nor should they be. Should you choose to go with three different link building tactics and settle on reciprocal link building, directory submissions and articles you are not locked into this forever. I generally recommend getting some of the easiest out of the way first. Directory submissions are a no-brainer and should be part of virtually every promotion so they make a good first round. If there are a lot of related sites in your industry (say, if you’re a real estate agent) then reciprocal link building makes a fairly simple second tactic to employ. Now, let’s be clear on reciprocal links. Reciprocal link building is not dead but it has been brought back to what it should be – an actual vote for a site. A link exchange between the mortgage site noted above and the Beanstalk site would hold little value for either of us. The sites aren’t relevant. That said, a reciprocal link between said mortgage site and a real estate broker would make sense to both the visitors and the search engines and thus, it is a good candidate.

So you’ve launched in with two link building tactics, let’s assume you decide to try your hand at publishing and submitting an article next. First you’re going to need to accumulate information and check around to see what editors are publishing and people are asking. This should (and likely will) lead you to forums. While you’re there you might as well answer some of the questions people are asking that you’ll be writing about. This is a good test of your material (but please, make sure your comments actually answer people’s questions and aren’t blatant ads – I visit a number of forums daily and nobody likes the ads and they don’t stay posted for long). So you’re in the forums gathering information and answering questions while writing your article (which has added a fourth link building method into the mix), now you’ve got your article published. The next step is to submit it.

A few simple searches on your favorite search engine will provide long lists of sites that publish articles, you’ll simply need to create an account and submit it. I recommend setting up Google Alerts to email you with a random sentence from your article. This will allow you to monitor where it’s being picked up and, of course, make sure the credits are in place.

So there you are, you’ve already employed four different link building tactics (and we’re not even including link baiting in this total). From this stage you need to keep on each of them to insure your link counts continue to climb but you can relax a bit and move on to Step Five.

Step Five: Social Media

The use of social media for SEO purposes is a fairly recent evolution in the community. While the links from social networking sites themselves do hold value, the larger purpose of social media from an SEO perspective is the effect that it will have on personalized search results. I wrote a very length article on personalization and so I won’t repeat all of the details here (if you’re so inclined you can read it after this. It’s titled, “Personalization & The Death Of SEO”).

Now, using social media as a traffic and SEO tool is a highly specialized area. To keep posted on this ever-changing field I recommend reading Neil Patel’s blog on social media marketing. In his blog he covers a lot more than social media as an SEO tool but I won’t get into that in this article.

Aside from the links themselves social media holds one basic function for SEO’s – building relevancy. Google, in their personalization-related patent applications, has been very clear that they will be looking at community and group similarities when personalizing search results. If I like site x then it is likely that if it shows up for a different search I will find it useful again. That is the current state of personalization. It is clear it is going to go further than this and evolve into a situation where the results will run on assumptions such as, if I like site x and my friend Jim likes site x then if Jim, on a different search, like site y – chances are that I will like site y if I run the same search. Now, this doesn’t work well in a micro, two-person universe however when the technology evolves to the point where the patterns of millions of users can be analyzed effectively the results will likely yield quite significant shifts in rankings. But what does this have to do with social media?

Social media is user-based votes wrapped into communities. If I find a site worth bookmarking in Digg and another SEO finds the same resource worth bookmarking, and so on – soon it can be assumed that people involved in SEO communities feel that a resource is worth saving and thus, that result will – when personalization evolves – rise in the rankings.

It is for this reason that social media is going to be an important factor in the ranking of websites down the road. This makes today the perfect day to get started; you don’t want to be playing catch-up to the sites that are currently employing social media tactics now.

Conclusion
So, as you can see, I was not being altogether accurate in the title when I called them “Easy Steps”. The tactics required to rank highly on Google can be complex and time consuming however the path itself is straight forward. If you are willing to spend the time it will take to do it right, success is virtually assured. If you are not, then prepare to make way for those who are.

This article was taken from:Beanstalk