In the world of marketing and promotion, it is the search engine—usually Google—that has become a hot topic of focus and frustration. On the one hand, Google makes it incredibly easy for people looking for a specific name, service and location to quickly track down the exact thing they are searching for when they’ve made up their minds.
On the other, if people are looking for a product or service, but haven’t yet made up their minds about specifically who or what that should be, this is when the headache comes in. There may be dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of alternatives to choose from. Coming up high in the search rankings to appear on the first page of Google’s search results is incredibly important, but also very challenging. One of the most effective ways to do this is working on your “inbound link strategy”. But what is an inbound link and how do you make it work for you?
Let’s take a closer look.
In the real world, when we look at our possible choices for next book to read, movie to watch or restaurant to dine at, if we’re not certain of our decision, word of mouth is a powerful influencer. When we hear a recommendation from someone we know that we trust, or we find out many people collectively like a particular place or product, or a professional reviewer we respect makes a recommendation, we sit up and take notice.
The same is true online.
People respond to good word of mouth, and this is something that Google’s search algorithms take into account when it makes a determination about how to rank websites for presentation on a search results page. If someone with a reputation, or someone you regard as influential makes a recommendation on the Internet, and provides a link to your website from their own, that carries a lot of weight. And this is what an inbound link is.
Inbound links are when other people, either on social media, or on their own websites, include a link to your website so that other users on the Internet can click on it and be taken to your website. This is a type of search engine optimization that doesn’t rely on people finding you directly through a Google search, so much as naturally stumbling upon a link to your website over the course of other activities. In other words, you’re getting visitors to your website because other people have sent them there.
An inbound link strategy relies on building up your SEO rankings by getting more people to “donate” these inbound links, whether that is links on their own website, or links that are put up in social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter. However, one of the important things to note here is that while getting inbound links is good, this is not a strategy of quantity but quality.
As with traditional advertising in the 20th century, there’s a certain “cultural cache” in having notable people make an endorsement or mention a product or a service. This is why it’s important when using an inbound link strategy to not simply ask huge groups of people at random to let you use them as a source of inbound links. Influence matters, and it matters far more than sheer numbers.
So, for example, if you provide weight loss services in Toledo, Ohio, and there are physical fitness or massage therapy experts that have notable reputations, approach these businesses and websites and discuss the possibility of inbound links. If there’s a certain healthy lifestyle journalist that has a strong Twitter following, work with that journalist, or even invite him or her to experience your service and make an honest recommendation. This type of selective—but high quality—inbound link strategy will do a lot to increase your SEO rankings and results, since there’s a built-in audience around these influencers that drive new visitors to your website.
Toledo SEO for Growth is dedicated to keeping track of the latest developments and innovations in search engine optimization. What worked yesterday may not work today or tomorrow as search engine algorithms evolve and change, but we’ll always tell you what IS working, and how you can put it to your advantage to raise your online visibility. If you’d like to raise your search rankings, we can help you hit your targets.