What’s the Difference Between Link Building and Link Buying?

Search Engine Optimization is one of the best ways to market your company and website online. While companies are now realizing the importance of links in regards to SEO, they have no clue what the difference between link building and link buying is. Knowing the difference and making sure your SEO Company is doing everything ethically can mean the difference between a top ranked site and a site that’s banned from Google, or at least severely punished.

Buying links is a highly risky practice, since Google frowns upon buying and selling links, and won’t hesitate to penalize companies that do. So what is link buying? And how can you tell if your SEO Company is involved in this practice? Link buying is when websites will buy or rent links to another website. You pay a fee to be featured on a website, usually a spam-filled or irrelevant one, and the link will contain a keyword that increases your page rank. Link buying became popular as search engine optimization became more competitive in the early 2000’s, and buying links became a faster and cheaper alternative to link building.

Link building is the act of creating credible anchor text links with your company’s desired keywords. Common link building practices including blogging, creating links in niche directories, posting on forums, and social networking sites. With link building, you are creating valuable and relevant link bait such as blogs and posts for your followers that link back to your company’s website. Link building, unlike link buying, is a more tedious, manual process that takes much longer and requires much more consideration and expertise.

Then why go the hard way? Because it’s the right way. Google considers link buying to be against their terms of service, since it creates an unfair and unregulated search engine. Google is driven to produce the most relevant search results for its users, and buying links is a way to cheat your way to the top. Luckily, Google cracks down on link buying, and can and will penalize sites that are engaging in the illegal SEO tactic. They are even making examples out of some of the bigger companies that have allegedly been involved in link buying.

So how do you know that your SEO Company is doing everything by the books? Typically, link buying is a much cheaper practice, so if you’ve been approached by SEO Companies willing to get you ranked for a small fee, you should be extremely cautious. An honest SEO Austin Company will gladly show you how their time is being spent and can account for each service they are charging you for. Link building reports aren’t always included because let’s face it, some things need to be kept “trade secret.” The proof is in the pudding. If you are moving up on the search engines, you can bet that your SEO company is doing the work, including link building, ethically and within a major search engine’s terms of service.

About the Author: Allison Schnur is the Marketing Manager of ArteWorks SEO, a full service Austin SEO firm located in Austin, TX. For more information about our top rated search engine optimization company please visit http://www.arteworks.biz.What’s the Difference Between Link Building and Link Buying?

Where is the Best Place to Put Your Blog? (Or, What URL Structure Should You Use?)

Blogging for SEO

Blogging for SEO

One of the the first things we look at upon commencement of a search engine optimization project for a client is whether or not the client has a blog and, if so, where that blog is located (the URL or Internet address of the blog). There are typically three main URL structures for a blog, only one of which is the best way to handle things from the standpoint of SEO.

1. Blog hosted on a third party server or free hosting site. Examples: myblog.wordpress.com or myblog.blogspot.com.

Oftentimes people know enough about blogging just to be dangerous – to themselves, that is. They have read up a bit on the importance of content, typically in a blog, to serve as link bait, and how relevant, inbound links can increase search engine presence. So, they go out and set up a free blog with a URL similar to those given in the examples above, and think they are set. The problem with this type of setup is that while the content in the blog certainly may serve as link bait, the links that are “baited”, or in other words inbound links gained to the blog content, point not to the user’s site, but to the free blog hosting or third party domain. Hence, no benefit to the client site is gained, from a link juice perspective, from any inbound links to the content on the third party site. This is perhaps the worst way to set up a blog if your goal is to obtain inbound links for search engine optimization purposes.

2. Blog hosted on a subdomain of the user’s primary domain. Example: blog.mydomain.com.

While there remains somewhat of a split in the SEO community about whether a subdomain is treated as an entirely separate domain or can inherit (or pass) some authority from (or to) the primary domain, most are in agreement that, at best, a subdomain can only partially pass or receive authority from the primary domain. (For an excellent, albeit somewhat technical, explanation of this, see, e.g., “Multiple Domains vs. Subdomains vs. Folders” by WebSEOAnalytics). Therefore, for the purposes of passing link juice to the primary domain we do not recommend this type of URL structure for a blog. The idea, again, of blogging (at least from an SEO perspective), is to attract links to the primary or Top Level Domain that you want to rank well in the search engines. The use of a subdomain will, at best, only partially aid you in this effort.

3. Blog hosted in a subfolder of primary or top level domain. Example: mydomain.com/blog.

This is by far the best way to ensure that links to your blog content pass authority to your primary or top level domain. Installing the blog in a subfolder of your primary domain attracts links to your specific website url, which in turn should boost your performance in search engines. Happy blogging!

About the Author: Matt Foster is the CEO of ArteWorks SEO, a full service search engine optimization firm headquartered in Austin, Texas. He has been active in the industry since 1995.