Posted on November 2, 2013 · Posted in Search Engines

Link building is one of the classic strategies employed in the field of search engine optimization (SEO for short). Links established through link building drive customers to a merchant’s site and thus help generate traffic.

But what is link building? How does it differ from link earning? In this article we will explore these two related concepts and see how they are alike and how they are different.

Building Links

The building of links is not simply about the quantity of links created. The quality of these links is just as, if not more important than their prevalence.

Some common practices involved in link building include:

  • Exchanging Links: Called a reciprocal link, this means that you and your target website mutually host links to one another’s page. In theory, this will boost the traffic of both sites.
  • Article Contributions: Making submission to sites which are relevant to your business where the anchor texts are linked to your site.
  • Online Forums: Most online communities allow links to be posted so long as they are relevant to the subject of the board. Forum signatures also oftentimes feature links.

Link building remains relevant even despite Google’s attempts to discourage these practices for the explicit purpose of driving site traffic. However, it would be wise to concurrently explore other methods.

Changes have been made to Google’s algorithm in recent years with the intent of combating the gratuitous spamming of links. This has diminished the effectiveness of some traditional modes of link building.

Earning Links

Earning links is not a new concept within the world of SEO; however, it has recently been growing in popularity. Many people see link earning as a more appropriate and reliable method of link placement.

The idea behind link earning is the stuff of classic business wisdom – in order to generate increased traffic, websites must provide higher quality content which is worthy of being linked.

The primary difference between link building and link earning is that the latter favors generating traffic through the improvement and optimization of the site in tandem with the above techniques of link building, while the former relies more or less solely on those techniques in order to drive traffic.

Actually, the techniques of earning links are not unlike those of link building. In link earning, affiliates and SEO specialists can still contribute content to other sites or join forums. However, its major difference from link building is that it favors the improvement and optimization of a website so that other readers will find it compelling enough to share and to want to link for other readers to see.

Many professionals in the field of SEO emphasize the importance of providing quality content if you want to see improved search rankings. A site which provides quality content will engage readers, and these readers will lead to an exponentially expanding readership.

While many people still focus on basic link building techniques, the increasing sophistication of search engines means that primitive techniques like spamming links and keyword stuffing will not suffice.

As link earning continues to gain traction and search engines become increasing smarter, we are likely to see the SEO industry make a much more concerted effort to focus on link earning rather than simplistic link building.

Janet Miller works for a local marketing firm.  She just recently designed an SEO campaign for Chargebacks911 – a chargeback fraud prevention company.  The client is new to the world of SEO, so Janet was excited to learn they are interested in link earning – a more helpful way to educate their customers about preventing chargeback fraud.