One of the key aspects of promoting your business online is links. And while link strategy has nothing to do with golf, playing by the rules, building relationships and blurring the line between the professional and personal social realms do factor heavily into your success. For the sake of clarity, we won’t torture this metaphor any further. Instead, let’s dive right into why links are so important to Internet marketing, how to craft effective links and how to acquire valuable incoming links.

Links as Votes

In the marketplace, consumers vote with their dollars. The denizens of the web, meanwhile, vote with links. In its simplest terms, the ranking your website gets in the search engines depends on the amount, quality and relevance of backlinks (i.e. incoming links aimed at your website). There is some variation in the ways that search engine algorithms audit each of these three link characteristics and how they count up these votes, but as a general rule of thumb, having many links from reputable sites related to your industry will earn you a higher ranking.

Unlike in a democratic society, where each individual gets one vote of equal value, the “voting power” of websites are purposefully disproportionate based on the amount of trust their domain has accumulated (among other factors). For example, a link from The Los Angeles Times provides far more “link juice” than a link from some unknown blogger who set up shop yesterday. Think of it this way–whose opinion would you trust more when looking for a good restaurant: a local food critic or an out of towner on vacation? Chances are, the local food critic will have better advice.

Bottom-line: High quality backlinks are one of the most important currencies for search engine rankings.

Crafting Links

Online directories are some of the most reliable sources of high quality, relevant backlinks available and getting your business listed in the right directories is a key part of our full service Internet marketing strategy. Specialized business directories are an excellent source of qualified traffic and as an added bonus, businesses are granted a certain amount of discretion about how their listing is displayed. This matters not only because it gives you an opportunity to sell yourself to human visitors, but also because search engines take clues from the way a link is constructed when deciding how to value the link.

With this in mind, we meticulously craft each directory listing so it benefits your business the most. This includes:

•    Crafting relevant anchor text (i.e. the words that compose the clickable hyperlink text) that best describes your business. For example, a listing that reads: “Firm Media is an Orange County-based Internet marketing firm” is more beneficial than “Firm Media is an Orange County-based Internet marketing firm.”
•    Creating a punchy, description that entices readers to click through.
•    Keyword optimizing business descriptions while retaining a natural, readable tone.

By carefully constructing the links to your site, you drive more and better traffic to your site.

Acquiring Links

The link economy is a thriving and competitive market and there are literally hundreds of link building strategies in practice. These link building tactics vary widely in terms of effectiveness and ethical regard in the eyes of web users and search engines. At Firm Media, we prefer to focus our efforts on proven link acquisition methods that align closely with the spirit and intention of the search engine algorithms. Because search engines are constantly updating their technology to become ever smarter and more discerning, the benefits of attempting to game the system are short-lived at best and devastating to your search engine ranking at worst.

As mentioned above, part of our link building strategy is getting your business listed in high quality, relevant directories. For example, if you are a lawyer, being listed on FindLaw.com and Lawyers.com are logical first steps. But there also opportunities to get listed from your state bar associations, local legal associations and other trade groups you may be a part of.

But perhaps the most fundamental strategy for getting quality backlinks is to simply create great, buzzworthy content. This is a two-part process. First, you have to write an insightful blog post or shoot a video demonstrating your amazing product or service or create some other compelling content. Second, you have to spread the word to the influential bloggers, publishers and website owners who might be interested in linking your content.

Of course, “going viral” is easier said than done – it’s an equal mix of creativity, persistence and sheer luck – but at Firm Media, we can help you generate linkworthy content and teach you how to effectively promote it across your social media networks.

Conclusion

The phrase “Internet marketing campaign” is a particularly apt description of any online promotion effort, especially when you consider the dynamic of links as votes. At Firm Media, we rely on ethical, accountable and effective methods for getting high quality links without electioneering or black hat tactics. Everything we do is pure strategy and is geared towards getting you real, sustainable results. Visit our website or give us a call to find out how link building fits into our overall Internet marketing strategy.