Today we’ll take a look at how the process of link building can be used as a marketing strategy of sorts within search engine optimisation (SEO) and how it can improve the visibility of a website in search engine results. Search engine optimisation is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines through ‘natural’ or un-paid ways. We could also think of these as ‘organic’ or ‘algorithmic’ search results.
The link structure of the web binds the billions of web pages out there together. Each search engine uses different criteria to rank websites in their search results. Google’s system of PageRank estimates the likelihood that a given page will be reached by a web user who randomly surfs the web, and follows links from one page to another. In effect, this means that some links are stronger than others.
There are three basic kinds of links for a link building program; internal links, general external links and specific external links. Internal links point to pages within your website for further clarification. General external links are from complimentary companies in your industry or companies that offer information that may help your clients but is not necessarily part of your industry. A specific external link is one that comes from a direct or indirect relationship with a company.
Let us take the automotive industry as an example. A car manufacturer may have links to all of its parts manufacturers along with car insurance companies or even tuning companies depending on the market. Increasingly, car makers are linking their websites to others offering ‘experiences’ involving their cars. The Bentley website, for example, links to a company offering an ice driving experience in Bentleys in Sweden whilst the Land Rover website is linked to the Land Rover Experience organisation, which provides off-road driving instruction to clients. In the case of Morgan the site is linked to Morgan’s UK website who offer visits to its factory in the Malvern Hills of Western England. The media coverage that the brand has attracted in China is linked back to the websites that posted it initially, focusing on the media coverage as the brand is young here in Asia.
Search engines uses complex mathematical algorithms to looking at how websites link to each other. In the above diagram, since website B is the recipient of numerous inbound links, B ranks highly in a web search, and will come up early in a web search. Also, since B is popular, and has an outbound link to site C, C also ranks highly.
The leading search engines do not disclose the exact algorithms that they use to rank, but we know that a website’s prominence can be increased through updating content so as to keep search engines crawling back frequently. Adding relevant keywords to a web page’s meta data using tagging will also tend to improve the relevancy of a site’s search listings, thus increasing traffic.
Where does all this tie into Morgan Cars? For example I have been putting the photos, press clippings and other media coverage that they gained from the launch of the cars at the Beijing Luxury Expo up online. Through tagging and adding keywords to this media, the press clipping have been linked to their sources and in that way outward links have been established. The hope is that this will increase traffic to the website and raise its prominence on the web, particularly in the target market of China.
Using keywords and gaining a prominence in relevance to the Beijing Luxury Expo is key since Morgan are marketing their cars as high-end products which are of most interest to those using the web to look at the sort of goods and services offered at the Luxury Expo.
It is going to be important to try and track who reads and downloads the press releases and who looks at the media up online. This will help to ascertain the popularity of the brand in China, as Morgan Cars are still very much in the nascent stages here and the brand has huge potential to develop across the country and indeed the region.
It is important to update content regularly so as to maintain relevance and prominence on the web, as search engines use the idea of ‘Freshrank’ as a judge of a website’s popularity and relevance. This is something which can be upheld quite easily, through blogs, regular uploading of press coverage, photos and so on.
The use of social media and social networking is something to which Morgan Cars in Beijing devote much attention. The beauty of this of course is that it is quick and easy to update and it gets the brand noticed by followers on Twitter and the Chinese-equivalent, Weibo. Whilst the search engines do not regard links in social media in the same way that they do links from other websites, they do pay attention to them. Therefore, each tweet, weibo or blog post is increasing the brand’s prominence. Public interest in the novelty of Morgan cars has seen their followers increase dramatically of late. There is huge potential for the importance of social media in search engine optimisation to grow, particularly in China where the many of the more popular Western social networking sites are barred.
In that way, link building can be used as a public relations and brand building tool, which may take time to establish but when in place is a concept which is a free and unbiased manner in which to increase awareness of a corporation and expand its following.