search marketing

What is SEO? 9) Link Building

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what-is-seo-search-engine-optimizationWhen other websites link to yours, it helps your search rankings. So, one common part of search marketing is link building.

In this post we continue our What is SEO? blog series in which we’re explaining all the aspects of SEO, so that when you’re comparing SEO services (or doing your own SEO) you can make an informed decision about what you want your SEO service to include.

Link = Vote

When one website links to another, it helps the search rankings of the site being linked to. It makes sense… Would you link to a website that was inaccurate, provided poor service, or otherwise offered to value to your own website visitors? Of course not. You would only link to a website if it provided value.

So, search engines look at each link as an endorsement or “vote” for the website that is linked to. And all other things being equal, search engines will display a website with more links to it above a website with fewer links to it.

As a result, many SEO services include some sort of link building in which they get other websites to link to their client’s website.

All links are not equal

What makes this complicated is that not all links have the same value. Generally speaking, the more popular and more relevant the website is that links to your website, the more it will help your search rankings. A link on will help way more than a link on some free site your cousin Eddie created and abandoned 3 years ago.

Beware of Banned Link Building Methods

Some links have no value at all. Some could actually get a website penalized.

Over the years, Google has banned certain link-building methods including:

  • Buying links
  • Excessive link exchanges (Link to me and I’ll link to you)
  • Posting articles with links in them to article repository sites
  • Using automated programs, especially those that post comments to blogs and forums

Therefore, if you’re considering hiring an SEO to do link building, it’s extremely important that you find out what methods they will use. Don’t settle for vague answers or assurances that all their methods are legit. Some techniques that used to be standard operating procedure are now banned, and if an SEO uses banned methods, you will be the one that gets stuck trying to clean up spammy links spread across the internet and get your site out of Google’s penalty box.

(You can read about these and other banned techniques here on Google’s website.)

Indirect Link Building Methods

Because there are very few legitimate link building methods left and link building tend to be very time consuming. One SEO reported it takes their firm an average of eight hours of work to secure each link.  As a result, link building services are usually more expensive than other types of SEO services.

There are, however, other marketing strategies that can result in links from other websites. We’ll explore some of those methods in future posts in this series.


  • What’s your view on the value of link building?
  • Have you done any link building in the past? If so, what impact did it have on your search rankings

8) Creating & Correcting Search Listings <– What is SEO? –> 10) Content Marketing

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    About the author

    Paul Steinbrueck

    Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck.