RSS Ray interviews Arnie Kuenn, Founder of Vertical Measures, on how to get high natural search engine rankings with link building best practices.
RSS Ray recently sat down with Arnie Kuenn, Founder of Vertical Measures, an award winning link building and social media marketing company. Together they discussed how to use link building best practices to get high natural search engine rankings. Check it out:
Why are high natural search engine rankings so important to businesses?
There are a couple of reasons. One, the amount of traffic a website can receive from a top 3 ranking on Google is about four times greater than if you were in the same position with a sponsored ad. The sponsored ads on Google are all based on pay-per-click which means you are paying for every visitor to your site. When you quit paying the traffic stops too. Where with a natural listing, all of those clicks are free. The second reason is that being listed on a search engine means that people actively sought out your service. This is the real hidden value to being on a search engine compared to having a display ad running on another website or traditional media like a newspaper. In the later examples, people stumble across your ad, on a search engine they are looking for you.
Companies can get on page one of the search results by using paid search advertising? How do paid search results contrast with those from natural search?
As I mentioned above, you can get as much as four times the traffic from a top search engine ranking as compared to paid search or PPC ads. Some studies indicate that the conversion rates from natural search are better than from paid search as well. Those are two strong reasons to work on getting higher search engine placement.
What does a company need to do to get high natural search engine rankings?
There are three things that go into good search engine optimization (SEO). First, you must have good, original content. Search engines look for sites that are adding value to the community. If you are presenting information that has been presented 100 times by others, it is going to be tough for you to get ranked. Second, you need to optimize the site itself. Everything from good keyword usage on each page to having your meta tags set up correctly on each page (not just your home page) to internal navigation. Third, you need inbound links from other sites. Google counts these as votes for your sites. The more votes you have from trusted sites, the higher you will rank.
What’s a link and what’s an inbound link?
Most people refer to a link and an inbound link as the same thing. And for the most part that is true. The only difference is that you can (and should) actually have internal links helping users move from page to page on your site. Inbound links, mean links coming from other websites. For example, this text: link building is an inbound link to our website. Because we are using text in the hyperlink it is also referred to as a text link.
What role does inbound links play in high organic search rankings?
The best way for me to answer this is to give you a quote directly from Google’s website. “Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. But, Google looks at considerably more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; for example, it also analyzes the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves "important" weigh more heavily and help to make other pages ‘important.’”
Are all inbound links valued equally by Google and other search engines?
The search engines look at inbound links as a sort of popularity contest but more importantly, they are looking at the quality of the pages that are linking to you and the "anchor text" – the "clickable link" and what it says about the page that it links to. The key to linking is to have the right anchor text on a link that points to a page that has content using the same keyword phrase.
Where do inbound links come from?
Simply put, they come from other websites. Website owners or managers decide they want to link to your site and add a hyperlink to it.
How do you attract inbound links?
There are many ways to get inbound links to your website. You can barter for them or attract them naturally. But is usually boils down to having quality content. You need to give other website owners a compelling reason to link to you. Do you have a great top 10 list that they would like to recommend to their visitors? Maybe a clever video? Or even a useful tool? These are all ways to attract links to your site.
How do you approach other companies about linking from their website into yours?
Generally this is done with a personalized email to the owner or webmaster of the sites you are targeting. Notice I said personalized. Spamming website owners looking for links will get you nowhere. Every once in a while we actually pick up the phone and call. You would be surprised at the success rate via the phone. But remember, you must have a good offer for them. Usually this is a link back from your website. You can read a pretty good article on this topic here.
Let’s say you want to get started with a link building program for your company? Where do you start? What are the important first steps?
The very first step should be to identify your most important keyword phrases and the best landing pages for each phrase. Hopefully you did this when designing your site and you have the information handy. Then you might draw up a list of potential link partners. Brainstorm with others, you will be surprised at the number of opportunities. Determine why those sites should link to you (what is your offer?). Then go after them.
What are some common mistakes companies make when starting a link building program?
There are probably two big mistakes that people make. First, they quickly realize that link building is hard and they start to take short cuts or even give up. Short cuts often mean paying some company to get them hundreds of links for $99. As in every business, you get what you pay for. The risk here is that if you get a lot of spammy links, you risk being penalized by Google. The other mistake people often make is not trying to control how someone is linking to you. Ideally you want hyperlinks using your important keyword phrases as the anchor text. This helps tell the search engines what your website is all about.
How long do I need to work on link building before I start to see results?
I am asked this question 2 or 3 times per day. The standard answer is that you should expect to conduct link building for a minimum of 90 days before you see any significant results. However, there are a lot of factors that go into this; what is your competition doing during that period, how competitive are your keywords, are you getting links from good sites, and so on. We have seen good results in less than 90 days, but for the most part it takes a few months of continuous link building, and then you need to keep at it to protect your position.
Is there such a thing as a “bad” inbound link?
Good question. It used to be that there was no such thing as a bad link. The logic being that why would Google or Yahoo or anyone else, make it easy for a competitor to sabotage you if all they had to do was send you a bunch of "bad links". But in recent months, there has been several indicators pointing to Google penalties from bad links. A bad link might be from a spammy site or one that is perceived to be a paid link. Get links from trusted sites, and mostly for traffic and you will be just fine.
Is it OK to pay for inbound links and what’s the going rate?
It is a very common practice to pay for or buy links. The intent is what matters most. If you buy links with the intent of increasing your rankings, then Google frowns on it. If you purchase links for traffic (an advertisement), then Google is okay with it. Going rates is almost impossible to answer. You can rent links for as little as $5 per month and as high as $2,000 per month. You can even buy one time, permanent links with prices ranging from almost nothing to thousands of dollars per link.
What are reciprocal links and how are they viewed by search engines like Google?
A reciprocal link is when two websites agree to link to each other. Usually from one "links page" to another. Until recently, it was thought that this strategy no longer worked. However Google has recently commented that a reciprocal link from one site to another is often appropriate and can help with rankings. Like everything else, the links should make sense and be from a trusted source.
How many inbound links are needed to get high organic search engine rankings?
Another question we are asked almost every day. And another question that does not have an easy answer. It all depends on your market, your competitors and the quality of the links. However, there is one thing I can assure you; quantity is almost never the issue. There are many factors that go into valuing backlinks and quantity of links is very low on that list.
Lots of companies are offering link building services. How can you separate the good from the bad?
Generally if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Link building is like any other business service. There are always people who are going to cheapen the service and sell it for less. But as you have seen throughout my answers, quality is what makes the difference in link building and rankings. Even Google will tell you the value the link based on how much they can trust it. One of our favorite blogs just put a post up on link builders you should avoid. You might want to read it.
How does Vertical Measures bring results to its clients that are different from other companies?
There are all sorts of link building companies. From offshore companies (who in my opinion are to be avoided) to high end link builders with programs starting at $5,000 per month. Many of them focus on the links themselves whether it is the quantity of links or the quality of the page from which the link originates. At Vertical Measures we tend to focus on how well we are improving the search engine rankings for our clients’ keyword phrases. To our clients, that is the bottom line. So to us that is also the bottom line. We usually win by building links from a variety of sources, just the way our client would if they had the time, expertise and resources to do it themselves.
You’re a big NBA fan and a long-time season ticket holder of the Phoenix Suns. Who wins this year’s NBA title and why?
LOL. Yes, I am a big Suns fan. They tend to find a way to break my heart year after year. My guess is this year will be no different as it will end with some crazy playoff series – not a trophy. My best guess is that it will actually be a Western conference team this year and the nod would have to go to the Lakers.
Vertical Measures is an award winning company providing quality link building, website publicity and social media marketing services. Clients include ecommerce sites, media companies, career colleges, and SEO agencies.Tags: Backlinks, Google Rankings, Inbound Linking, Inbound Links, Link Building, Organic Search, paid search advertising, PPC, Search engine rankings, SEO, Vertical Measures