Link Building? Take it easy Kimosabe!

Links are one the most important aspects of Search Engine Optimization. The more links you have, the better off you are. But should we be White Hat about it, Lone Ranger style?

Or, again Lone Ranger style, try and hide our true identity from the world?

Other sites linking to yours, what kind of sites they are and how they link to you plays a massive part of Google’s ‘algorithm – the constantly changing formula that’s used to determine where your site, and its pages and posts, should rank for keyword or keyword phrase searches.

Blimey! The amount of words and theories that have been written or conjectured about that bloody Google algorithm!

The Lone RangerNow there are people out there on the big WWW selling $10,000+ courses on mastering this technique ( i.e. interpreting Google’s algorithm) but there are also hundreds of cheap e-books or courses with the latest trick/cheat/loophole to game the system and ‘trick’ Google into ranking your site higher than it deserves to be ranked!

There are SEO firms who haven’t a clue, and some who do, but essentially unless they are promoting ‘best practise’ they and their clients will soon be f*****. That’s the way it is.

SO, big bucks or small, cheating Google’s algorithm long term can’t be done because, apart from hiring the smartest minds around, the Big G can change the rules at any time – and they DO! I’m not saying I like it, but  that’s the reality and don’t let any snake oil salesman tell you otherwise!

Rant over, sorry, but….

Now that I’ve got the Lone Ranger image in my head I feel another analogy coming up ( you’ll like this one, sound FX the whole shebang!):


White Hat, Grey or Black, the point is that it’s  pretty simple to promote yourself effectively without upsetting the Google Gods

  • Your page is optimised for the ‘search term’ the Googler has typed in
  • The content they find is interesting enough that they don’t ‘click off’ your page within a couple of milliseconds ( Google KNOWS that!)
  • Your on page SEO is geared up for that ‘search phrase’ but is not ‘over the top’ – which is how Google decide that you are ‘in contention’ in the first place.
  • Other sites link to you – preferably with that same, or similar, search phrase in the link to you, and/or the descriptive text around the link, on there site. It’s therefore seen by Google to be a highly relevant back link.
  • You don’t, overnight, suddenly have thousands of other sites linking to you when Google’s Algorithm is registering that you’ve only ever had 100 visitors and most of the time that was YOU! Trust me, the Google Gods know!

I could go on and on all blooming day but…
Once you take away all the crap and clever stuff it all boils down to this:

Google wants to give the best possible search results to their users – period!

and you will be rewarded for helping them to do that simple thing – that makes sense right? So why does everybody make it so complicated?

Because so many people are looking for  a quick buck, the fast fix or the latest shortcut. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for shortcuts but am also smart enough to know that ‘quick buck’ methodologies are, by definition, short term and  a shortcut can sometimes mean driving off a cliff to get to the bottom fast!

I’m no angel and if you want to flirt with the ‘Black Hat -Dark Side’ of SEM I’ll help as much as I can because, if done right, for short term gain it can work. But if you are somebody who is promoting an offline business or your one ‘big time’ blog – let’s not go there. But I’ll be happy to discuss the Good, the Bad and the Ugly if you wish.

From my experience, wearing that ‘White Hat’, you just have to temper your enthusiasm for a page to achieve #1 ranking with a ‘slowly, slowly catchee monkey‘ approach. Sure use some automation techniques, a shortcut or two but combine it with good SEM (Search Engine Marketing) practice which may or may not wander into slightly ‘Grey Hat’ territory from time to time.

Believe me when I tell you that if your site has less than 500 pages of content, is not earning a bucket load of money from Adsense and has less than 500 incoming links it is unlikely that the Google Gods are going to be focusing on you anyway!


About the Author

Clive McGonigal is a full time Web Developer, Marketer, WordPress Evangelist and all round Decent Chap. He lives between London and France ( on a tiny rowing boat with an internet connection) and spends his offline time wining, dining and conversing with his dogs. He loves WordPress ( themes, plugins and tweaks) and blogs about them whenever he can.

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