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I've been saying this a lot lately: the old way of getting good SEO rankings is now seen as tactics to manipulate search engines. If you haven’t already, it’s time to get rid of your old ways of achieving credibility with search engines through link building and start link earning instead. You may be asking yourself: what does it mean to earn links? We don’t blame you for not knowing as this is a subject that confuses even many strategists and marketers. Part of the issue is that Google loves to surprise us with rule changes about how they identify a relevant or qualified link. With each rule change, Google has strengthened its ability to understand quality content and which websites are worthy of authority on a given topic.

Why is link building the old way of doing SEO?

The old way of getting a website to the top of the search engine results was to build links by embedding a whole bunch of them onto any website, regardless of whether the link had any value to the user, any legitimate connection to the original domain or was linked from a spam website. Many businesses literally purchased links for this purpose. Today that practice is seen as spammy and part of a list of “blackhat SEO practices” that should be avoided.

Google now insists that business owners earn links by creating relevant content for their audience that other legitimate domains want to link back to. In order to rank well on relevant search engine results searches, businesses must now find a way to earn links. Earned links tend to drive more traffic and provide more value to internet users. Search engines have developed powerful algorithms in an attempt to reward businesses that earn links.

Benefits of link earning

There are several benefits to earning links, including:

Search engine results

These days growing sales mostly happens with online presence. If people searching for the products or services you sell cannot find you online through the search process, they will overlook you in favor of a competitor who shows up. When a website earns links, search engines reward that website with higher search engine results rankings so that internet users can find your business.

Increase traffic

Businesses want people searching for the products or services they sell to visit their website because this increases the chances of converting them to a customer. Businesses increase their traffic when they earn links because people reading the content on the other site can click the link back to yours or they may share the article with your backlink to their social media accounts.

Grow brand

Having a strong brand is vital to the success of a business. It’s also important to grow your brand by reaching as many people as possible. When you expose your brand to the people who manage relevant sites that can link back to yours, you are growing your brand by reaching their audience as well.

Seek the Help of an SEO Expert

Most small business owners do not know how to improve their search engine results rankings to drive traffic to their website, let alone the difference between white hat SEO and black hat SEO. The best thing to do is find an SEO expert who keeps up with changes to Google’s algorithms and who is knowledgeable about how to improve your business rankings through legitimate SEO work.

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17 SEO Myths  You Should Leave  Behind

Topics: SEO

Tony Sova

Written by Tony Sova

Owner of Softwired, a web design, SEO, and Inbound Marketing firm.