If you have ever done research on how to improve your organic SEO rankings, you know that acquiring backlinks is the key to the Google’s castle. Simply put, a backlink is a link from one website to another.
Let’s say you are a mortgage broker in Chicago and you want to rank for the keyword phrase “Chicago mortgage broker.” Let's use Perl Mortgage as an example (I hear them on the radio all the time). Here are the three examples of backlinks:
These examples were put in ascending order based on the impact it would have on your search engine rankings. What makes the third example ideal is it hyperlinks the targeted keyword “Chicago mortgage broker”. This is what known as an anchor text link. Google likes those – a lot! It is better than the second example because you'd rather be indexed with Google with a non-branded keyword such as “Chicago mortgage broker” as opposed to your branded company name like "Perl Mortgage". Why is that? If someone already knows your company name, it’s not going to take long for them to find you on Google.
The second example is still better that the first because it hyperlinks the branded company name “Perl Mortgage", rather than the word “here”. No one is looking for you by typing the word “here”, unless your name is “Here Mortgage” (Hey, did I just stumble on something!?). But it is better than nothing, because when Google crawls my website, it will still index that link to Perl Mortgage's site. And the more links going to your site the better. Lesson to be learned from this: while quantity of links is important, quality is most important.
Quantity vs. Quality
Link quality is not based just on what keywords are included in the anchor text link. Another important factor is the authority of the site the link it’s coming from. A coveted link from a website like CNN.com is way more influential than a link from your buddy’s rock band website.
So, if you know what a backlink is, you can understand the job of an SEO company. They leverage their network of webmasters and designers by asking them to link to their clients’ sites. That’s all they really do (after they do an initial audit of your website’s structure and meta tags).
Before you change careers to become an SEO expert because of all the people you know from your high school days, understand that traditional SEO is dead. Almost as dead as a career at the U.S. Postal Service or as a brick and mortar travel agent.
No Easy Way to the Top
Most things in life you must work for. You must earn your way to the top of Google. If you try buying your way there, their Panda and Penguin algorithms will quickly show you the exit.
The way to earn your way to the top -- produce content. Lots of content. The kind of content that educates customers so they keeping yearning for more. This is done through a process called Inbound Marketing.
I’m sure there’s some traditional SEO guys out there that want my head on a platter after reading this. You can find me in the comment box below. The fact is they are living in the past -- even if the past is only a few months old.
Long live content. Long live the king.