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Time, Cost and Authenticity Variables Test Inbound Link Building Strategies

The number of backlinks (also referred to as inbound links or incoming links) pointing to your website and the quality of these links (determined by Google PageRank and relevancy of the site’s content to your website) plays a role in your website’s search engine page ranking results. Any efforts put towards increasing a website’s inbound link building should be carried through cautiously and authentically. Inbound listing research can take time, it can potentially cost money (such as the case of joining a paid directory or becoming a member of an exclusive business community), and moreover, it each time calls to question the authenticity of the participant – whether the person or company joining is entering the community for authentic reasons, or for purely “SEO” reasons alone.

Becoming an informant and a resource and participating to websites and social media that preferably relate to your business field and are well regarded by Google will give your company better results than blasting links to webpages that are not related to your business field or are “link farm” type of sites. The bottom line: A link from an authoritative website with a high Google PageRank is a much more valuable gem than a dozen of links form poorly ranked websites.

“Where can I list my website?” is a question we here often. Think of all the different categories / groups / fields your business could belong to:
– from the international and national level of organizations to the local community level,
– from industry related umbrella organizations to specific business field organizations,
– from general web based directories to local community directories,
– from known social media sites to new emerging social media.

Below is a draft list of various levels of interest and reference groups for mapping out options for your website listings:

General Business Level
  1. International Business Groups and Organizations
  2. National Business Groups and Organizations
  3. State-based Business Groups and Organizations
  4. Regional and city based Business Groups
  5. Organizations and Communities
  6. Internet Based Business Listings and Directories (such as GooglePlaces, Manta, SuperMedia)

Specific Industry Level Based on Your Business Field
  1. International Groups and Organizations of Your Field
  2. National Groups and Organizations of Your Field
  3. State-based Groups and Organizations of Your Field
  4. Regional and city based Groups, Organizations and Communities of Your Field
  5. Vendors you do business with
  6. Customers you are providing services to and who could feature your business on their site
  7. Internet based Business Directories (such as Yelp)

Ownership Specific Organizations
  1. Woman owned Business Organizations
  2. Minority (such as based on ethnicity) Business Organizations

Blog Participation
  1. Owning your own blog
  2. Leaving authentic comments to blogs that interest you

Social Media

Social media sites can bring traffic to your site if you use them actively. Depending on your business field, consider the following social media sites:

  1. Facebook
  2. Twitter
  3. Google+
  4. LinkedIn
  5. Forsquare
  6. Pinterest
  7. Polyvore
  8. Svpply

We suggest that you evaluate each entity in the contexts of time, cost and authenticity.

  • TIME: How long does it take to find out more about any specific organization and their website? How much time does it take to get my business listed? How much time does it take to participate in social media? Is taking the time to get listed worth it?
  • COST: How much is a yearly membership or a subscription? What are the benefits?  How does this site rank in Google? Is the cost to be listed justified?
  • AUTHENTICITY: Do I or does my business really want to be associated with this group? Am I interested in this organization or just contacting them to get a link to their website? Would I be participating with an authentic voice? Do I have anything to contribute? Am I interested in interacting with fellow members? Am I interested in creating real and unique content in social media?

Upon regarding that the time, cost and authenticity components each show green light, go ahead and participate and increase your company’s online and social media presence.

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