As the internet becomes ever more competitive it has never been more vital to brush up your skills in the art of Link Building. Whether you just need to recheck your notes or under go a course of SEO Lessons, you need to do whatever it takes to hit the big time. But is it really the be all and end all of online success?

In order to have any chance of being successful you need to be noticed and you need to have a site which people want to visit, want to use and will come back to time and time again. The more inward links your site has, the more the likes of Google will take notice of you, and hopefully the higher you will rise up the search engine ranking tree. It is the search engine ranking system which will always bring in the most traffic, and ensure that you are at your most visible to the outside world.

So how do you build links?

Link building is an art in itself but it is an art which can prove priceless in both the short, medium and longer term success of your business. The ability to give your readers information which they want to see will ensure that your inward links grow naturally, but you also need to get your content noticed and mentioned in as many places as possible.

Many people choose to advertise their sites on forums, social networks and by advertising, all of which have the potential to bring in very good traffic. However, if you are able to produce, present and promote your posts and information in a way which appeals to the masses this is when your site can go “viral”. Viral marketing is the holy grail of link building, a technique which can result in hundreds if not thousands of inward links to your site and boost your search engine rankings.

If you are serious about being successful on the internet you need to check out link building and see what it can do for you!

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While we all know about the search engines and the way their spiders trawl the internet looking for new content and indexing sites every second of every day, do you know how to attract spiders to your site? Have you ever even considered it?

While on the surface the internet may look like a fairly sedate place with sites listed, people accessing them and then moving on, under the surface their is so much going on. Each and every search engine on the internet will have their own spiders which they release onto the net, bringing back information about sites and content. It is these spiders which will dictate how and when you are listed, what pages are listed and which are ignored. While they do a great job, they do need help and guidance because they will not hang around trying to unravel your site if you don’t assist them!

By simply connecting your site to the outside world, either by some kind of natural link or paid link (even though they are not strictly allowed) the spider should find you, and once they find you they will remember where you are. However, the more new content you can add to your site on a regular basis, the more often they will come back. They like new food, new content to “feed on” and the more food you give them the more often they will return.

However, there will often be pages which you do not want indexed, whether these are admin or backend pages. There are some simple commands available which will tell the spiders not to index certain pages – all you have to do is tell them!

Treat the spiders well and they will come back time and time again, however if you starve them or feed them the same food as others (i.e. duplicate content) they will soon forget about you and not visit as often as you would like. Do not under estimate the power of the spiders, but do not be afraid!

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There are many webmasters who will today be waking up to their worst nightmare after Google’s recent Page Rank review. If the rumours are correct there have been a number of changes to the algorithm which helps to create you Page Rank. The top target for Google has been directory sites, with links from these sites supposedly now worthless….but what is really happening?

In truth, nobody really knows what is going on although there have been rumours for some time with regards to directly links, and many astute webmasters will have seen a great number of directory sites for sale over the last few weeks. The problem with the Page Rank review is the fact that nothing is ever confirmed, leaving a vacuum which can be filled by untruths, deceit and planted stories. Is that what Google really want?

Google have been waging a one man war against paid links for some time, and the exclusion of directory sites is just the next stage in the battle. However, as much as they try they will never fully eliminate paid links and link building exercises, although it does look as though a greater emphasis will be put onto actual traffic as oppose to links.

Those waiting for Google to change their policy of not commenting on how the Page Rank is calculated will be waiting a long time, as this seems unlikely to happen. Instead it seems that we will need to experience regular bouts of worry, rumours and untruths each time the review happens. While nobody is sure what is going on, we can only go off the Page Rank of our sites – something which many webmasters will have seen suffer!

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One of the most positive, and often negative, aspects of the internet is the speed with which it moves, the speed with which new trends appear and old ones die. If you embrace the quick changing environment correctly it can work in your favour, but you need to constantly monitor the situation and make changes as you go along. So where do you start?

The vast majority of sites will have had some form of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) at some stage, and while you may be fully optimised at the outset, your markets, your customers and relevant trends may well change on an ongoing basis. So what do you need to do about this?

You really do need to keep your SEO work up to date, to check what your competitors are doing and what is actually attracting your customers at the moment. Try to plant a few articles or posts for the future, that way you have every chance of pushing yourself up the search engine rankings for certain terms, prior to them become really popular – while this is not too easy to do, if you can manage even one a month you are doing very well, and your traffic could explode to life.

It is not really rocket science, just a case of monitoring the markets and keeping an eye on whats hot and whats not. A little tweaking here and there can make all the difference and keep your site aligned to the needs of your customer’s, which is essential if you want to be successful.

Whether of not you bring in an outside SEO expert, or are confident enough to tweak your content yourself is up to you, but either way it should not cost you a fortune. Even if it does cost you a few dollars, there is ever chance of receiving it back with interest!

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While Google is by far and away the most popular of the many search engines available on the internet, is it possible to make a living of search results from MSN and Yahoo!?

Like any market which Google seem to enter, their dominance of the search engine market is as strong as ever. However, many people seem to forget that the like of MSN and Yahoo! also receive decent traffic, even if no where near Google. On the surface it may seem as though Google is the be all and end all but this is not quite the case.

Yahoo! have a very strong position in the US market, and while it is still coming under pressure from Google, there is sufficient traffic from the US to actually make a living. Lets not forget that we are still talking about billions of searches on Yahoo a year – not a small figure by anyone’s standards!

MSN is in a slightly different situation as it has no main bias, and more of a general exposure across the world. While not as useful as Yahoo! might be to your online business, if you add the possible exposure via MSN and Yahoo! it can add up to substantial traffic.

However, in order to be massive on the internet it is vital that you are well ranked on Google, as the traffic which it can bring in is enormous. Google v Yahoo! and MSN is the real difference between a popular site and a potentially massive site, the difference between a few thousand dollars and millions of dollars.

Unfortunately at this moment in time there is no competitor in sight for Google, and it seems highly unlikely that a threat will materialise in the short term, although never say never on the internet. Google have been ruthless and spent billions to get where they are, and even if a competitor appeared they could buy out just about any company in the world with their fire power.

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While the vast majority of the more popular websites will be at or around about the number one spot on Google in their chosen fields / keywords, is it safe to depend upon natural search engine traffic, or is this a flawed business model?

The beauty and the ugly side of the internet is the fact that nothing ever stays still for long, search engine listings change constantly, keywords come and go, and your traffic can be flying high one day only to collapse the next on the back of an algorithm change. So what is a safe business model to use for the future? Do you concentrate on paid links, natural link or search engine traffic?

The truth is that there is no one answer to this question, and like many things on the internet it is probably sensible to hedge your bets and try to cover all angles, search engine traffic, paid links and natural links. If one were to drop or fall back for a while, then while disappointing, it would not close down your business with traffic still coming in from other sources.

The internet is an ever changing creature and what is hot today may be gone tomorrow, and you need to be aware of this. While chasing trends is risky in the fact that you may end up with nothing, it is not a bad strategy to run along with the ones mentioned above. If you are able to push yourself to the top of the list for even a short time, it can have a massive effect on traffic and sales, with the possibility of creating a few long term links into your site.

Nothing is ever set in stone on the internet, and the quicker you realise that the better. Businesses which sit back and think they have cracked the market will no doubt receive a shock at some stage, it costs money to keep your name out there, but it is something which is vital to the long term viability of any business.

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