In the first first post of this series, I pointed out that SEO companies sell features that can be done easily by most people, thus avoiding cost. As a reminder, those 4 simple, easy-to-accomplish techniques are:
- Having a descriptive domain name
- Creating and submitting a sitemap
- Descriptive titles and meaningful content
- Getting other websites to link to you
In this post I want to explore the final item:
Getting other websites to link to you
For a long time, this was Google’s secret sauce. Instead of using metadata, or just the words on your webpage, or some other easily-manipulated option to set your page ranking, Google looked for links TO you that existed on other sites.
They still do this, and it’s still useful. It’s also useful because it’s an indicator of how popular your webiste ACTUALLY is on the internet. If people are talking about your site – linking to you, repeating your posts, etc – then you are popular. If they’re not, you’re not.
However, it’s a hard trick to pull off without resorting to various “link exchange” programs and such. One thing you can do that helps a bit is make it very easy for readers to “like”, “retweet”, “+1”, “Stumble” and “Digg” your pages and posts. Each of those creates another link out in the internet that can be picked up by Google and contribute to your page ranking.
But you have to make people WANT to click those options, and these days people blow right past them.
The best advice I can give you goes back to the previous point – creating meaningful content that people care about, and it will be repeated by others and thus improve your ranking.