describe the image As Valentine's Day approaches you'll probably be hearing a lot of jokes about link love .

Are you a jilted link lover?

Does link love hurt?

Link love, love me do?

Ha. Ha. If you're a marketer or a small business owner, you should enjoy these, but also take them seriously. Inbound links are critical to your business.

In the rush to try new techniques using Twitter, Facebook or other social media tools, marketers often forget about links.

Here's exactly why they are so important:

(1) Your business needs to get found. If you want to general leads and sales online, you have to focus on getting found by your customers. You can spend lots of money to go out and find the right people via traditional channels -- cold calling , print advertising or trade shows -- but it's far more efficient to do things that help your customers find you.

(2) Search engines are the place to get found. You customers are using search engines like Google to find products and services. If you want to get found, you have to rank highly in search engines.

(3) Links get you found in search engines. The single most important factor in your search engine ranking is the number of sites that link to your site. Not surprisingly, these links -- inbound links -- are also very hard to get.

If you don't quite understand why links are so important, think of search engines as a hiring manager. If you're a job candidate, a hiring manager will interview you and check your resume, the same way a search engine will check a page's keywords and title.

But the hiring manager doesn't stop there. They want to make sure all the information on the resume is correct, and they want an impartial third-party opinion on your potential, so they check references. A search engine does the same thing by checking links. For search engines, links from big, trusted sites are a signal of quality.

Quality inbound links, just like recommendations, are hard to get, but critical to your success.

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Photo: drp

Originally published Feb 8, 2009 8:29:00 AM, updated October 20 2016


Link Building