Ramblings of an IT Consultant

SEO and Link Building – The Dilemma

In SEO on November 4, 2010 at 8:09 pm

I was having a discussion with a friend of mine about optimising websites for Google and the importance of using Webmaster tools and Analytics to track search terms and traffic to a website.  We were chatting and agreeing on everything until they brought up the subject of link building.

Linking to other websites and getting links back can build traffic and lets google know you are a popular site, but only if the links are useful.  However my friend disagreed and went on to prove how if you type one of their customer’s names into Google it appears on the top of the search results because of the level of his links, even the unrelated ones.  However this can be true of any website, even one without links.  An example of this is a website I built for one of my clients called Xeles.  Now, this website does not link to any other website online.  However in Google it appears on the top of page 1.  So to me this blows the theory of link building out of the window.  I have launched a number of new sites and if they are built correctly they will appear on page 1 if you type in their name with or without external links.

So what does Google say about link building in its terms and conditions regarding exchanges to sites that are unrelated?  They clearly state that this could hinder your pagerank and position in the search results.  However most web designers will disagree that this is the case and still believe that linking to a website with a higher ranking helps to increase your pagerank.  I cannot disprove this opinion, however I tend not to follow it.  An example here is a chocolate fountain hire website that my friend developed recently.  Their links page has links to contact lens specialists.  If I was  looking for their product but found thier links page chances are I would click away.  Why?  Because they are desperate for traffic and have no focus on their products or their customers.

In my opinion linking to nothing is surely better than linking to something unrelated, no matter how desperate you are for your traffic.  Also my fear would be if Google decided to improve googlebot’s ability to detect these links.  I would not want my website dropping in the search results.

One final thought: as of today my WordPress blog has been running for jut over 3 weeks,  and is already on Page 2 if you search for Gallagher it blog.  All of this without link building…..  or is this just luck on my part?

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  1. That’s good news for bloggers! My blog has been online for about 5 months now, and when I type in ‘Zee’s Wordly Obsessions’ the first 8 links are from my blog, the last two are from blogs (book-related) that I have contributed to as a guest blogger.

    I don’t know that much about SEO, but typing in the actual name of the company is one thing; finding it in a top rank among a search related to it is quite another. I guess we are lucky that wordpress has a good pingback system that alerts google of blog updates. I think keywords are also important when writing your article, and making sure that you add tags to your blog post.

    Excellent write!

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