Why Online Links Are Valuable

Posted on April 17, 2013 by

In the pre-Internet days, getting media coverage in the press had a limited effect on a business. It was a way to raise awareness of your brand. Hopefully a few people would read your name in an article or hear it in a news report, tuck it away in their brains, and call you the next time they needed your service.

The downside to this is that the benefit was short-lived. An article in the local daily newspaper would have a shelf life of a day or two. Then it went in the trash.  

The Internet has changed that. News articles and blog posts offer long-term benefits in the form of links to the businesses they cover. As long as that article lives online, that link will yield benefits.

Why is being linked to a good thing?
I’d like to avoid getting at all technical here because for the user, a search engine is not meant to be technical. Search engines such as Google are intended to help your everyday Joe find a solution to his problem: whether it’s medicine for his cat or a limo for his daughter’s prom. Links help search engines find that solution.

In the simplest terms, links can be thought of as votes. The number of votes for a webpage indicates to a search engine the popularity of that page. And thankfully it’s not just the sheer quantity of links that matters, but also the quality.

The search engine optimization experts at SEOmoz explain this perfectly in the article, Growing Popularity & Links:

“Through links, engines can not only analyze the popularity of a website and page based on the number and popularity of pages linking to them, but also metrics like trust, spam, and authority. Trustworthy sites tend to link to other trusted sites, while spammy sites receive very few links from trusted sources.”

Additionally, links from local and topic-specific sites are even more powerful votes. The SEOmoz article continues: “For example, if your website sells dog houses, earning links from the Society of Dog Breeders matters much more than earning links from an off-topic, roller skating site.”

This is all great news for the limo industry, which relies on local clientele and provides a niche service. Of course, it’s not just news websites that matter: links on social media sites also help. But links from local news outlets and industry-specific websites will have a greater effect on where you appear in Google’s search results and are worth campaigning for.

For a more in-depth but very readable explanation of how links work and how to use them to your advantage, read this article, Growing Popularity & Links by the SEO experts at SEOmoz.

— Denis Wilson, LCT East Coast Editor

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