Everyone who consults in the field of search engine optimization talks about backlinks, and their importance.

But, there is a huge difference in the types of backlinks that you want going to your website.

Some time ago – long, long ago – a hundred years ago in terms of internet marketing (which means about 4 or 5 years ago at the time of this writing), a person could throw up their website and ask a bunch of different websites to link back to theirs.

There was – back in 2007 and 2008, a popular practice where you would link to one site, and they in turn would link back to yours. Of course, it was still important that those sites linking back would be somewhat related to your own.

“Way back then” you would go to any given website and see a page called “Related Resources” or “Related Links” and you’d see a list of other sites and their URLs.

But, that is no longer done.

Nor is it safe to go out there and simply “buy” links back to your site. Some links are downright horrible to have linking to your site, and could (and DO) send the absolute worst signal to the search engines about the credibility of your website.

Put it this way: You can have a hundred people linking to you, but if they are all foreign X-rated sites doing so, do you really think that would be doing your own excellent pages any good?

Today, it is still good to have links pointing back to your business presence, but you need to be careful how to go about it.

Remember when we spoke about social media and your own profiles in another article? Well, THOSE are very natural and perfect ways to have people circle on back to your site. The search engines (and your customers) EXPECT to find you on those properties since they are 100% related to you and what you do.

So, those are healthy ways to have natural links pointing back to yourself. And those would be among the very first things you would build.

If you get yourself interviewed for what you do, and quoted in a related online trade publication, even better! Typically, the editors will let their readers know where to find you.

Likewise, if you can offer up some expert advice in your field and submit your articles to industry publications, that would be considered a completely appropriate link back to your own web property.

Follow your industry leaders, and join professional organizations in your field. Then, network with them. You never know when they are going to invite you to write for them, or offer another way to swing some readers and/or potential customers your way.

One thing that I have encouraged clients to do is to find an industry product, related to their own services, and then write about it. For example, using our Morgantown Accountant as an example, let’s say her firm just discovered a certain budgeting software by “XYZ Budgeting Software Co” to recommend for their clients’ home use.

The accountant could get a copy of the software, teach a few clients how to use it, and then write about the experience and post it on her site. She could then go find the software company’s Twitter account, and make a tweet about how easy her clients found the XYZ Budgeting Software package.

She could call attention to it through the Twitter “@” symbol and the company name to let the company know that she had written the piece: e.g. “Just taught 5 clients to budget, thanks to the excellent software by @xyzbudgetsoftware See my review now!”

Sometimes, the company will acknowledge that tweet, and thank the accountant – and in an even better situation, the company might consider putting a line in their own site saying, “Check out this fabulous review that the Morgantown Accountant  just gave us! Their clients are loving the software! See the story here…” and BOOM! You have one of the best types of backlinks you could ask for!

Not only that, but you might even get new clients as a result.

So, at this point you might be asking, “Well, isn’t that the reason for getting these links to begin with? To get clients?”

In an ultimate sense, yes. But before you get clients, you need to be FOUND in the search engines.

And the more appropriate and relevant links that you have pointing to your own website, the more likely it is that the search engines are going to “lift” or “buoy” your website’s presence the next time someone goes to the search engine to look for a “Morgantown Accountant.”

It won’t do you much good to be on page 5 of the search results when people are searching. In fact, you could be on page 2, but frankly, if you aren’t on page 1 – and near the top of page 1 at that – you won’t be as likely to get those new potential clients to your site.

So, that is just a brief overview of why and how high quality and relevant links to your own website can potentially help you grow your business!

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