Small Business SEO Link Building

Part 1 – SEO Link Building Basics

Original Publish Date: July 14, 2011

This session is about the basics of link building and will set up future sessions. Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • Link Structure
  • Link Anchor Text
  • No Follow Links
  • Do Follow Links
  • Natural Links
  • Natural Linking Patterns

Be sure to watch the companion video for more and how to detect DoFollow and NoFollow Tags.



Link Structure

We’ll start with some very basic technical SEO. The internet is based on linking and links have a definite structure that must be followed using Hypertext Markup Language or HTML.

The basic HTML link structure is:

<a href=””>SEO10x Small Business SEO</a> That link will show on a page as SEO10X SMALL BUSINESS SEO. If you’re using WordPress or an HTML authoring tool, this work will be done for you in the background. Even then, it’s useful to know what the basic structure should be when creating links for blog commenting, resource boxes and so on.

Link Anchor Text

The anchor text for the link is the text between the first > and the </a> tag. Simplifying the hypertext link code its the “anchor text” here –> <a href=”page”>anchor text</a>.

How important is anchor text? It’s critical. The best link is your exact targeted keyword in the anchor text, coming from a relevant high authority site. For instance a link with the term “Austin Real Estate” in the anchor text, coming from the CNN Real Estate site, would be about the most powerful link you can get, if it’s “DoFollow.”

Do Follow vs. No Follow Links

Several years ago, blog spam was destroying the relevancy of search results. Spammers and SEO specialists were using blog comments to send links back to their pages. Google and the other search engines adopted the Nofollow tag in links to remove any PageRank or link juice from the link. In other words, they significantly reduced links with NoFollow tags for SEO. There are many good reasons to gain links from NoFollow sites, and we’ll go into them below and throughout this link building series.

How can you tell if a link is NoFollow? Looking at the link we used earlier, we’ll now introduce the NoFollow tag. <a rel=”NoFollow” href=””>SEO10x Small Business SEO</a>. You may also see the tag as “External NoFollow.”

Natural Links

Natural links are links that come to you indirectly because of the quality and relevance of your content. They may also come from your Social Media presence, news mentions, and other sources. The point is that you didn’t directly create that link.

In an ideal world, natural linking would be enough to get your sites ranked. I believe backlinks will become less relevant over time, but not any time soon. Social media “Likes” “+1” reviews, Tweets and ReTweets, and other social signals will become more important over time, but will vary in importance by market. For now, know that natural links are important and link plans need to include activities that will gain you natural links.

Natural linking patterns

A natural linking pattern shows links coming from many different sources at a reasonable rate for the market. If a Denver Dentist gain links from 300 different and diverse sources over the course of a year that would appear natural. If the same dentist, gain 3,000 links in two weeks, that would not look natural and could raise flags.

We need to talk about a critical point in SEO. Everything in SEO is could, not will. You will see sites ranking in search engines that are breaking all the rules. They might get caught and banned eventually, but until it happens, it’s profitable and they’ll keep doing it. If like my sites, your site is a reflection of your business and critical to its success, stay away from blackhat SEO and spamming. It’s not worth the risk.

NoFollow is natural. SEOMoz recently published its annual SEO survey and analysis. A surprise finding is a correlation (not definitive causation) of a good amount of NoFollow links in the link profile of high ranking sites. If you are engage in your market, you will be commenting on NoFollow blogs, bookmarking NoFollow bookmarks, creating NoFollow YouTube video links, and so on. If there are only DoFollow links, you could be making a big mistake.

We covered a lot of material in this first session of small business SEO link building. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below. In the next session, we’ll talk about Blog Commenting.

Link Building Series

Link Building Basics – Part 1
The basics of link structure including HTML code, anchor text and dofollow and nofollow taqs. Link Building Principles – Part 2 Basic principles that must be followed when building links for small business SEO.

Small Business Link Building Principles – Part 2
Link building principles that must be followed when building links for small business SEO.

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