WP SEO Tips: Link Building Part 1

March 19th, 2007
WordPress Tips

This will be a three part series on link building for your blog.

The first question we must ask is: Why do links coming to my site matter?

The short version of it is that links pointing at your site do matter. For Google, those links mean PageRank. For Yahoo! and MSN, they mean value and search placement.

PageRank is an extensive algorithm that calculates how your site (and pages) should be ranked in the search results. The higher PageRank you have, more often than not, the higher your site will be in the results. This is not always entirely true because of how the algorithm actually works, but that is the general idea behind it.

But again, why do I care about this PageRank?

You are reading this because you want to learn more about how to optimize your site for search engines. That is exactly the purpose of Part 1 here. Links pointing to your site or blog really do matter. There are tons of firms out there that buy and sell text links as their actual business. I am a huge supporter of as they have been very supportive and responsive for everything I do with them.

So if I have a higher PageRank, lets say a PageRank 5 or 6, does that mean I will do better?

This starts to dig into the questions of … what niche are you in? how much competition do you have? who is searching for your content?

You could have ten thousand links going to your site and still do very poorly in the search rankings purely because maybe you don’t have any competition or no one really cares about your industry. To be successful in the search engines, you need to put yourself in the mind of a consumer. What I am looking for? What do I want to click on when I’m searching for something?

Being number one is not always the best, sometimes number two or number is better. Why? Again, put yourself in the shoes of a consumer. Will you always click on the first hit or will you look down the page a little bit to see what else the search engine has to offer?

Here are some example searches to show you what I mean:

G: Search Engine
Y!: Music Lyrics
MSN: Google Inside

Depending on which search engine you use, you will always get different results, but the visitor will vary on which link they click on. The first, the second, maybe the third, maybe the tenth even. It varies a lot, but that is a little bit on search placement. For my site, I don’t want to rank number one for any given search because I feel I am more likely to get traffic if I’m number 4 or 5.

What’s next week? Outbound Linking – Part 2




  1. Matt (1 comments.) says:

    Over the years of blogging I’ve come to a couple realizations; the first and foremost of these is to make sure you know your audience. This realization has moved beyond just blogging into pretty much every aspect of written communication. Not knowing who you’re talking to increases the chances that your message won’t get across.

  2. Doug says:

    Another good method to increase traffic and site visibility is to use free advertising and link exchanges. A lot of bloggers nowadays are so amped up on ‘link baiting’, ‘seo’ and ‘viral marketing’ that they forget about this simple and efficient method. I have used a couple of these since I have been blogging and found that they bring in a good amount of traffic without requiring much upkeep or money (always an added bonus). One of the better services that I have used is because they allow content targeting and work with both WordPress and Blogger. I’ve also dabbled with and found it to be a good directory as well. Hope these help.


  3. Jonathan (83 comments.) says:

    Matt, I completely agree. Knowing your audience is very key to the success of your website. Specific advertising, specific marketing, and specific design is very useful to help keep your audience on your site.

  4. Aaron Pratt (1 comments.) says:

    Buying PageRank via Text-ads goes against Google’s guidelines so I would be careful with that.

    Reciprocal link exchanges are weak SEO.

    The best way to get links is to earn them by offering something people want to link to. This requires creativity.

    You can also have a BIG PR value and get yourself owned by someone with less.

    I would be careful in giving advice on link building, if done incorrectly it can hurt rather than help.

  5. John (17 comments.) says:

    The article is good, but it might be better if it actually suggested ways to get incoming links other than paying for them.

    For me, I find that just having content that is targeted at my core SEO words and phrases is enough to put me in the top 10 of Google, MSN & Yahoo.

    But I blog just for fun. Profit is just icing on the cake.

  6. Mani (1 comments.) says:

    Yes, the article is intended to newbie. I was expecting some advice on link building. Having said that, pretty clear and crisp content there.

  7. Wild Bill (1 comments.) says:

    I did a major overhaul of my blog recently and worked in a lot of the SEO tips I had learned over the years. Within 2 months Google, Yahoo, and many other search engines started showing me major love. One of the things I added to my site that Google really seemed to like was a site map. My daily traffic is increasing nicely. I believe when Google reindexes page ranks next month mine will increase a point or two.

    Dugg! Looking forward to part 2 and 3.

  8. Jayson Joseph (1 comments.) says:

    Do you have quality content? Don’t bother. period.

  9. Jeff R (1 comments.) says:

    I agree with the previous comment that content is still king and seems to be the darling of the search engines. I have had several blogs shoot up in traffic and PR in a matter of a few short months just by constantly writing to those blogs. I do have some link exchanges with other owners as well. Just my two cents!

  10. saumendra swain (3 comments.) says:

    Beside bloging, you can put links from groups, community sites . But at the best its the content that matters the most and it is the only hard hitting point to explore.

  11. Jonathan (83 comments.) says:

    John: This is only part one, it’s the intro to the 3 part series.

    Jeff: I agree and disagree that content is king. I have a site that has 10,000+ pages indexed, no original content, and I rank higher than sites that were launched with the same content years before mine. Content is a key part of it, but by no means the end all.

    To everyone: I will be continuing this series with outbound linking next week and the third week will provide strategies using the efforts from part 1 and part 2.

    Hope you enjoy!

  12. Brandon Hopkins (2 comments.) says:

    I don’t care much about PR anymore. I have top ranked pages with 0 PR still ranking in the top 3 for semi-competitive terms.

  13. Cogmios (4 comments.) says:

    10 days ago I invented a new way of building links. Users can pick a posting date, claim the date and link it back to their own blog. The coolest would obviously be if it would be the same date in their archives also. See:

  14. TIMMGuru (1 comments.) says:

    Great post! I am looking forward to your Part 2 and Part 3.

    Linking is important. However, one should not be overly concerned about a page’s PageRank. It is just one indication of your page quality.

    A PR5 page may not have many links pointing to it. It just needs a few links, including one that is at least PR7. As you’ve mentioned, you can rent such a link from text link brokers. Like it or not, PageRank can be skewed.

    For a blog, I will focus on providing quality content to my targeted readers. Good content that your readers will recommend to their friends.

  15. azrin (11 comments.) says:

    It’s what U have that matters,content wise that is, and if you play Tagging / MeMe games with yr friends, do remember to change the deeplinks every now and then, help yr friend get more love too.Otherwise, google might think U as a smackdown spammer.

    azrin @

    Did I forget to mention the Googlebot is already awake and running?

  16. Raj (1 comments.) says:

    Thanks for the post! I am looking forward to more on link building strategies and some tips on improving visibility of blogs.

  17. Matt Ellsworth (6 comments.) says:

    Thanks for the heads up – someone else was saying the same thing.

  18. Matt Keegan (1 comments.) says:

    I still value PageRank, but I like how my site does with the SERPs for every single of one of my favorite keywords and key word phrases. Several of my lower PR sites outperform my higher PR sites, therefore I put more weight on SERPs.

  19. Matt Ellsworth (4 comments.) says:

    Matt Keegan – you bring up a good point – and i have definitely noticed that as well.

  20. Jonathan (7 comments.) says:

    To be completely honest, I don’t care much about PageRank. PageRank does in turn mean SERPs, but that’s what everything comes down to for me. SERPs. In the end, nothing else really matters unless you’re trying to sell links or build up other sites. PageRank is important, but not the end-all factor by any means.

  21. Art Designer (3 comments.) says:

    Very useful info. I have been reading your blog ever since you mentioned one of my WP themes, and every time I come back I find tons of useful information, thanks for sharing!

  22. Jon - Blog Commenting software says:

    Great post, I’ve often wondered about the value of directories. Recently we ran a few tests and found that you can get a site to move in the serps by just using directory submissions. This was the shotgun method rather than targeting quality directories. Who knows how well it will hold but we are using it as a link base to build from. I also recommend that you avoid the directories which require a payment for a site to be included. Many paid directories are launched solely to make temporary money. Their owners will promote the directory and try to inflate its PageRank to attract submissions and then switch to yet another new directory using the same bait. Many also have been banned or penalized by search engines for the practice of selling links without editorial review.

  23. Selif (2 comments.) says:

    Like others, I’d have liked to see some solid advice for getting inbound links other than buying them. I know the basics that SEO’s have been hammering for years… Content that has value for readers, appropriate use of nofollow and ‘dofollow’, blog comments, forum and newsgroup postings, contests & services that include backlinks to your site…

  24. Sam (3 comments.) says:

    Am I the only one who finds this bit strange?

    “For my site, I don’t want to rank number one for any given search because I feel I am more likely to get traffic if I’m number 4 or 5.”

    I think thats simply not true. I have never seen a site get less traffic when I got it from #5 to #1.


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