We generally concentrate on building links after webpages have been optimized however you can build links anytime and it should be a continual process. An often heard analogy is comparing inbound links to ‘likes’ on Facebook. The more ‘likes’ you receive on Facebook the higher your popularity. Google looks at inbound links similarly although through a very sophisticated algorithm. If many websites link to your site your website must be important so you receive a higher ranking in the search engine ranking page (SERP).
There are many ways to build links, some better than others. It used to be the more links, the better but now quality links are more important than shear numbers. Websites are awarded page ranks or ‘PageRank’- a trademark of Google. A web page’s PageRank (PR) is a number that measures its relative importance on the web and ranges from 0 to 10 with the most important sites receiving a 10. New sites on the web (or very poorly designed sites) will receive a 0 until they mature or visited more often. For example the very popular www.wikipedia.org has a PageRank of 7 and Facebook is a 9. Free tools exist for viewing PageRank including a tool on the Google Toolbar and one from Alexa.
When you build inbound links the best links are from sites with higher PageRanks. You will get more benefit from an inbound link from a PR6 site than a PR2 site. An example of a PR6 site might be a really successful tourist association site or County/municipal website that has a trusted directory. Don’t be fooled with web ads that promise huge numbers of link building by submitting your site to tons of directories. Some quality directory submissions are fine but low-quality directories and high numbers may actually penalize your rankings. Google keeps mentioning they are after more natural results. As quick as SEO specialists try to outsmart Google, Google comes up with another algorithm that might penalize non-natural SEO.
A good place to start is to ensure you are linked to all your local association websites and local business directories (the free ones). Ask your customers to link to you and more importantly, your suppliers- these links are ‘gold’. Many other strategies exist for link building…we can help you with the process.