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Friday 10 October 2014

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Why Does A Website Need Off Page SEO & Link Building?

Now that you have a lovely new website...what is next? your web designer has done all that yummy on page SEO thingy stuff with your best keywords, and you’re ready to go online! But now what? Will your optimised website now miraculously and instantaneously shoot to the top of Google search without a helping hand? The short answer is probably not, unless your chosen keyword phrases are something like “hammocks for reindeer Lincolnshire” or “custard houses in Slough”….in other words obscure phrases or industries without any competition.

So no…what needs to happen next is some form of off page SEO and link building.

Many people are under the misapprehension that simply having their website online will be enough. But just imagine for a second how many similar businesses or projects are out there in your local or national area, with websites competing for the top page slots on search engines! The work that your SEO web designer does next, just needs to be that bit better (and that bit more) than your top ten competitors are doing, in order to out rank them and appear on the first page of Google. It can sometimes be quite a feat, but it can be done!

If you’re wondering what the heck off page SEO and link building are exactly, you’re not alone…it is a mystery to most lay people, and takes experience and know-how from a professional, especially as Google’s ranking criteria (called algorithms) are constantly updating and evolving. What in the past may have boosted a website may now even demote it. Anyway…I hope I can demystify the process a little, so you can at least make sense of what it’s all about.

What is link building and why is it important?

Simply put, Google and other search engines are looking at certain things when deciding whether a website should rank highly in their results for specific keywords and phrases. These things are: relevance, trust, popularity and authority. And while your website should ideally build all these things over time anyway (reflected in the quality of your content) there is so much competition online, that SEO is nearly always needed to help that process along. And of course…most of your competitors are using SEO too!

The more popular and relevant your website shows signs of being, the more Google values it, and the higher it will rank. The criteria Google uses to measure popularity and relevance is, in broad terms, the number and quality of other websites referring to your website by linking to yours, and the number and quality of people talking about and sharing your website among the many social sites. Achieving this through off page SEO involves creating quality links and social signals to your site from other reputable sources (also known as back links). We call this strategic link building, and, as I said - it has to be done in a particular way to be successful.

An experienced SEO consultant will know how to build these links from the right places, at the right pace, and in the right combination and configurations to get results.

Things to bear in mind…

Link building efforts must be consistent. This is the most important thing, and I can’t stress it enough. Giving up on an SEO campaign before results are showing is one of the most common mistakes people make in my experience. Most SEO consultants suggest working on a project for a minimum of 4-6 months. Many links don’t even get picked up by Google’s radar for as long as 4 can take a while before a site's pages are fully updated by Google’s search index. In my experience, a minimum 6 month time frame for the initial campaign gives a good solid SEO foundation, with mostly top up work required after that point to maintain rankings.

To look natural to Google, link building must be carried out slowly and steadily. Sudden or sporadic volumes of links, and unnatural spikes in traffic, all risk being penalised by Google.

The same thing applies to acquiring links from dodgy sources and sites that claim to boost your SEO with a gazillion of this, that or the other. These should be avoided like the plague. There is no quick, big and cheap SEO fix, and anyone claiming to provide this is a fraud and may damage your rankings to the point where recovery is long, slow and potentially expensive.

All web pages are rated in terms of Page Rank or PR, starting from N/A (when a site has no recognised weight or gravity), then ranging from PR0 through to highly authoritative sites with PR10. An unnatural percentage or distribution of links from pages with a certain PR might also seem suspicious to Google. For example if your back links are either from all high PR or all low PR pages…so it’s best if your links come from pages with a variety of PR.

The good quality SEO link types we build, typically include high PR/DA guest posts, niche blog commenting, local citations, directory submissions, high PR profile creation, web 2.0 properties, social bookmarking, social syndication, press release distribution, social media, video creation and distribution, article writing, infographic and document distribution, business associations, and industry related promotions. In addition, many of Google’s own products can be used to raise your profile and tie that in with search engine activity.


Our dedicated, creative SEO and web design team is headed up by Helen Martin.
We are based in London and cover the whole of the UK and beyond.
The aim of these articles is to help clients understand the techy ins and outs.
We are committed to doing that in a straightforward, jargon free zone!