Enough people understand how a link works to remember that it provides a clickable connection to another part of the Internet. In fact, it is links that have allowed the Internet to function, build, grow and actually work as a network instead of a field of itty-bitty silos that never talk to each other. However, building a site from a marketing perspective doesn’t end with just inserting links. Link-building can provide a critical part of a site build strategy, especially when it’s for providing the means for long-term high traffic flow to your site.
The Difference Between a Link and Link-Building
Many will argue link-building just sounds like a quick way to make an extra buck in web design, that it’s simply inserting “a href” HTML script glossed up to sound more than what it is. Technically, “a href” coding is what makes a web link work in HTML, but the concept of link-building goes well into the human behavior side of Internet traffic, the meat and potatoes of Internet presence.
Link-building involves strategically collecting and utilizing links with other destinations that are also being receptive and linking back to your site. This key difference from regular linking causes a circular flow of traffic that grows exponentially over time versus just being one-directional. It is also a factor that search engines like Google look for to rank one site much higher than another in their search engine criteria for topics and queries.
How to Get Started
Unfortunately, link-building doesn’t happen like paying a dollar and getting a soda out of a vending machine. You have to actually interact with other site owners, building a relationship and create a mutual bridge between sites. This is the people factor of link-building. It takes time, presence and presenting value to another partner online to link-build effectively.
Anyone who tries to pitch that they can provide link-building for you in 30 days is speaking absolute gibberish and empty sales promises. Due to the highly personal aspect of link-building, good development can actually take months. Why? First, you have to become a known element in someone else’s world.
Some of the best link-building happens with sites that already have a high amount of traffic for a given reason, such as topic forums. But just popping up and saying, “gimme a link,” doesn’t work. You will need to develop a profile, start posting and interacting, and genuinely interacting and helping others.
After a few weeks and months of this, your presence will become known, and at that point, you become “valuable” and respected. That provides the ready point when link-building can be pitched with the site owner and put into effect, linking back and forth. Your value becomes a known commodity in another environment that is valuable to you in terms of traffic. The two become a win-win for both sides of the link-build. All of the above doesn’t happen in 24 hours.
The second form of powerful link-building involves connecting to experts or voices online who are already building a growing traffic stream themselves. Whether as influencers or voices of authority, these individuals have an audience already, and your company will need to show value to them for including you in their links. In return, you get access to their traffic by “recommendation” from the individual.
This type of link-building is far more familiar from a business partnership perspective, but it too requires your company to provide some value to the individual to be responsive. Without a value provided, that individual has no incentive to include your link in their roster, even if you link to them. You always want the link-building to be a two-way street.
This is Going to Take Hard Work, How Does a Link-Building Consultant Help Me?
Naturally, many companies don’t have the time on their hands to spend weeks and months fostering presence in other online environments. A link building agency acts as a proxy, having already done the hard work with their own presence in the targeted environment, developing their voice, and becoming an authority that provides value to the targeted site owner. In return, the consultant can provide your business opportunity on their existing channel. It’s the same approach you would use to link-build with an authoritative individual, except in this case the individual is the consultant helping you.
This is how folks are able to offer “fast” link-building for you as a client; they have already put in the time and are leveraging their own link-building as a product to you, the customer. When you as a business need higher traffic fast but don’t have time to invest in the presence-build, link-building consultants serve a valuable purpose.
Lastly, once your link-building is in place, it needs to be monitored and fostered. That takes time too. Simply leaving links to themselves means your site could end up carrying a lot of dead weight.
A link building agency can also help with maintenance, providing you key metrics and performance of the links you have and whether they are worth keeping six months from now and a year from now. You want efficiency in your website as much as your product or service. That maximizes the return on your work and capital. Your link-building should be the same as well.