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The Ultimate SEO Showdown: Link Quality vs. Link Quantity

Generally speaking, the entire search engine optimization community is in agreement that a link-building campaign is absolutely important for creating and maintaining healthy SEO. Beyond that, the disagreements on tactics are as colorful and imaginative as the link-building strategies themselves. One area of constant disagreement an age-old argument: When building links, should you aim for quality or quantity?

Pirate or Ninja? You Decide.

One of the more humorous disagreements in recent history has been the Link Ninja approach vs. the Bait Pirate strategy. Roughly translated, that means a manual link-building strategy versus link bait. In this comparison, manual link building is the process of scouring the SERPs for and requesting link from high-quality sites. This is a cherry-picking approach that garners high-quality links. Conversely, link bait is a strategy that involves creating a great piece of content (or tool, widget, what have you) that attracts a great quantity of links, albeit typically with a strong marketing push. While link bait has the potential to generate a ton of links, it leaves you, the SEO, with no control over the quality of the links generated. And many, if not most, of those links could be completely worthless.

Link Building. . . Time-intensive. Frustrating. Sometimes confusing. Yet unavoidable. Because ultimately, it’s still the trump card for higher rankings.

Manual SEO Link-Building How-To

If you have to choose, go with link quality. Consider SEO Boy a Link Ninja. But this begs the question, how can you build quality links? Here are some tips for creating a great manual link-building campaign:

  1. For a more passive approach, begin by linking from your website to the types of sites you would like to receive links from. Blogs are a great place to start, as blog authors review in-bound links and will be more likely to reply back with a link to your site.
  2. Take your time in reviewing the SERPs for the highest-quality sites to request links from. Ask yourself these questions:
    1. Do those sites have content related to the content you’re trying to have ranked?
    2. Are those sites in good neighborhoods or, better yet, neighborhoods related to your content?
    3. Are those sites trusted in their niche?
    4. How well are those sites linked to? Use the Yahoo! SiteExplorer to review the link profile of any site before you request a link.
    5. What about PageRank? Use PageRank as a guide for requesting links from the strongest sites.
  3. When sending a link request, send a thoughtful, targeted message that includes the name of the site, the URL of the page you would like a link from, and the name of the individual you are contacting (a personal touch makes all the difference).
  4. When possible, specify the anchor text for the link pointing back to your site to maximize the keyword targeting for your site.

A manual link-building campaign may not be as sexy as link bait, but the potential rewards are worth the time and effort. Just remember that sexy link baiting can produce a strong influx of links, but it can’t guarantee any level of quality.

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