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There are two sides to search engine optimization (SEO): on-page and off-page optimization. Off-page means getting links from other websites to point back to your site, which strengthens your site's position in search engine results. In this course, author Peter Kent dissects the anatomy of a link, explains how links affect page ranking, and reveals the properties that make an excellent inbound link. The course also evaluates reciprocal linking; link building via press releases, blogs, and articles; and the importance of using quality links that are search-engine friendly.
Linking is usually the worst part of SEO work. It's a real stumbling block for many people. Actually creating a website and making sure it's optimized correctly is rather like paint by numbers. You just have to follow the steps and get it done. But then you come to linking and in many ways, it's far more complicated. It can be boring, tedious work and it's often hard to find good people to do it properly. It's going to get harder too; this is really a critical area for search engines.
One sad result of the focus on links to help with search ranking is that the web is now drowning in garbage pages created solely to hold links pointing to other websites, to convince the search engines that the reference sites are important. This is bad for the search engines and bad for the web. So the search engines are going to continue to work on cleaning up, to distinguish between good and bad links. As I discussed earlier in this course, there are two types of links: the real thing and the fake thing.
Links that exist for good reason and links that exist solely for SEO reasons. They're all part of the link game. And as time goes on, the search engines will get better and better at figuring out at the difference. In some ways that will be making linking even harder. But if the search engines could distinguish between two forms of link 100% perfectly, it might actually make linking easier. Right now, there's a link arm's race going on. It's all very well the search engines discouraging the link game, the purchasing of links for instance, but as I've mentioned before, at the same time they are encouraging the link game, quite simply because it works.
If a site owner discovers that 10 competitors are ranking ahead of his site, thanks to playing the link game, what is he supposed to do? Take the completely ethical path and avoid the game or think to himself, if you can't beat him, join him. The latter is what happens most of the time. But having said all that, overall it is true that real links are more valuable than the game; the fake links. Yes, they are harder to get, that's true as well. But if you can get them, that's the way to go.
And that's why Google talks so much about link bait and why you should think about it too. The most powerful linking technique is to create something so useful, or entertaining, or interesting, or amusing, or cool, or whatever, that people all over the web link to it. It's what the search engines want to see and it's what they will reward you for, if you can figure out how to make it happen. This video course is by no means exhaustive. If you want to continue learning about linking methods, there are lots of places to go with a wide variety of opinions.
For the Google point of view, about all things SEO, not just links, I'd suggest that you check in with Matt Cutts' blog now and then. You might also want to read Search Engine Lands, Link Week Column. Search Engine Land is about SEO in general of course, but has a regular column about linking strategies. The major link analysis companies, SEOmoz and Majestic SEO, can also provide interesting information. Or simply Google for terms, such as link-building strategies and link-building ideas, and you'll find plenty to keep you busy.
So we've come to the end of this course. Thanks for watching and good luck with your link building!
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